A watch is a classic gift for a reason – whether elegant and refined or rugged and utilitarian, few objects express their wearer’s personality better. That also makes them tricky gifts to give. With over a decade of horological experience at Analog/Shift, Watchonista and now as a VP specialist at Sotheby’s, Vincent Brasesco offers his advice on selecting the perfect timepiece for a holiday gift and curates a selection of the most stylish and desirable luxury watches available to buy now.
Gifts for Gearheads
“There are no two categories with more crossover than cars and watches. As long as there have been cars, there’s been racing; naturally, we needed a way to know how much time I beat you by – ergo, time keeping. The Rolex Daytona is at the top of the list of watches with motorsport pedigree even though, unlike the Omega Speedmaster, it wasn’t designed for racing. Heuer, and the contemporary brand TAG Heuer, have serious racing bonafides from the glory days of the 50s and 60s – their watches like the Monaco, Carrera and Sebring are actually named after famous races.”
Cocktail Attire Watches
“A watch is as dressy as you make it. Remember, James Bond wore a Rolex Submariner with a tuxedo. But traditionally speaking, a black-tie affair calls for an ultra-thin, time-only watch in precious metal. A dress watch, on the other hand, could be a precious-metal, high-complication piece. And of course, today we have the whole genre of the dress chronograph: watches from Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe that are thin and elegant enough to wear with a suit or formal attire.”
Iconic Stocking Stuffers
“No one stuffs a stocking like Cartier. Jackie Kennedy and Fred Astaire wore Tanks, one of their most iconic watches. Andy Warhol said, ‘I wear a Tank because it’s the watch to wear.’ It was one of the first wristwatches ever made, in 1917, and it was designed to resemble a Renault tank. It’s so timeless. It works on men and it works on women. There are so many different variations and sizes from the last century that you can find a Tank for everybody. I especially love the new monochrome Tanks that pay tribute to the Must de Cartier references from the 80s.”
“Complications are what Patek does best. Their ref. 5960 is such a good-looking watch with a very interesting two-handed subdial that measures elapsed time. And the ref. 5524G is an exciting callback to turn-of-the-century aviators with a hidden, skeletonized GMT hand. The yin to Patek’s yang is A. Lange & Söhne, who I think makes the best watches in the world. They’re engineered to a different level, entirely from precious metals. The Datograph is a flyback chronograph with a traditional big-date window in homage to the clock that Lange & Söhne made for the Opera House in Dresden.”