Don’t let the clock run out on your holiday gift shopping. Invest in a watch that can be regifted for generations.
In 1984, James Cox was working on a tree house at the legendary actor Paul Newman’s Connecticut home. Cox, a college student, was dating Newman’s daughter, and was helping restore the structure. Newman, a stickler for punctuality would often check up on Cox’s progress, and on one such visit, he ribbed his daughter’s boyfriend for never wearing a watch. He then gave Cox his Rolex Daytona chronograph, saying “If you wind it, it keeps pretty good time.”
In 2017, Cox and Nell Newman auctioned the watch and donated the proceeds to charity. Collectors had come to love Rolex Daytonas and paid hundreds of thousands for them. The opportunity to buy the timepiece Paul Newman wore took the watch world by storm. It sold for $17,752,500!
We can’t say that a watch you give or receive this holiday season will be that spectacular or legendary, but watches do provide a unique opportunity to give an enduring gift that is likely to maintain its value and usefulness for generations. Here are five that come highly recommended:
Created for sportsmen and women, the Reverso’sface can be reversed to face inward, toward the wrist, protecting it from incoming tennis balls and the like. This maneuver exposes a rectangular caseback that has ample space for engraving. Consequently, it has become a tradition in France to gift a dedicated Reverso to a child upon his or her college graduation. Small by modern tastes, the Reverso works equally well as a women’s watch. (Approx. $4,000. Carried by Tivol. tivol.com)
Black Bay GMT
The Black Bay GMT is the rebirth of cool. Tudor is Rolex’s baby sister (with the same founder) and is intended to offer more affordable timepieces of the same basic quality. Recently, Rolex has used the brand to reissue hipster bait, vintage-inspired watches that are based on old Rolexes but no longer fit the larger brand’s strict design language. The Black Bay GMT is the most anticipated of this bunch. It’s inspired by the early Rolex GMT-Masters, watches that display multiple time zones and can endure extreme temperatures and pressure. The Black Bay GMT’s forefathers graced the wrists of Concorde pilots and round-the-world yachtsmen. (Approx. $4,000. Carried by Meierotto and Tivol. mjewelry.com, tivol.com)
Omega Constellation Globemaster
The Omega Constellation series derives its name from Switzerland’s prestigious Observatory Trials. Studying and navigating by the stars required precise timekeeping, so observatories became de-facto standard-setters for watch and clock builders. The Observatory Trials were the Olympics of watchmaking, and Omega won them so many times that it began to engrave an illustration of the observatory on the back of its most precise watches. The Constellation Globemaster continues this tradition and is, like its Constellation predecessors, the most accurate mechanical watch Omega is capable of mass-producing. Simply styled with a throwback “pie pan” dial, the Globemaster walks the line between dress and everyday watch. (Approx. $6,000. Carried by Meierotto. mjewelry.com)
Junghans Meister Mega
The Junghans Meister Mega checks the time more than you do: Precisely 1,440 times per day, it scans for a radio time signal based on an atomic clock reading. The practical consequence of this is that it sets itself, accurate to the second. Although there are many radio-controlled watches, only the Meister Mega retains the legendary Bauhaus aesthetic of Junghans. Moreover, the German firm invented the radio-controlled watch. The Meister Mega can also pair with your smartphone, allowing it to be synchronized in the absence of a radio time signal. (Approx. $4,800. junghans.de.)
Grand Seiko SBGA211G “Snowflake”
Produced by master craftsmen and women in a clean room environment, Grand Seiko watches are said to have more handmade components than comparably priced Swiss pieces. Although Grand Seiko watches might not feature as iconic designs as do their Swiss competitors’ products, their fit and finish are arguably superior. The SBGA211G, called Snowflake by watch lovers for its textured dial that resembles a macro image of a snowflake, uses a unique “spring drive” mechanism to power itself (much like a mechanical watch) while retaining the accuracy of a quartz watch. (Approx. $6,000. Carried by Meierotto. mjewerly.com.)