Christmas Gift Guide: Watches For Men
Sunday - 01 December 2019
2019 has seen a wide variety of watches being introduced into the world, with all new releases from top brands including TAG Heuer, Breitling, Bremont and Grand Seiko to name but a few. With Christmas now on the horizon, watch fanatic, Steve Ashby, takes a look at some of his favourite releases so far.
My fiancée is always complaining about how I am ‘difficult to buy for’ at Christmas. Every year there’s a period of time, during which she will try her best to force hints out of me. Eventually that becomes far less subtle and she will quite blankly ask what I want outright. The simple fact is that she could not be further than the truth - Men are incredibly easy to buy for, and no gift beats a brand new watch.
Let me to put your mind at ease. It does not matter if the person you are buying for already has a watch at home. It doesn’t matter if they have ten at home. There is always room in a collection for another timepiece.
With that in mind, allow me to share with you a few watches that I myself would love to find wrapped up under the Christmas tree this year.
This watch is one of several new pieces to be unveiled this year as part of the 50th anniversary of the Monaco. The watch pairs a square blue dial with stainless hands and baton-style hour markers, each highlighted with superluminova for improved readability. Two white subdials are arranged horizontally at the 3 and 6 o’clock positions offering a chronograph function, with the hands coated in red making them stand out beautifully. Completed in a stainless case and complemented by a blue alligator leather strap, the watch is an instant favourite with fans.
The piece is equally as impressive on the inside as it is on the eyes, with TAG Heuer placing their in-house movement, the Heuer 02, inside the piece, replacing the ETA calibre 12 that was previously used. The movement beats at 4hz and offers the wearer an impressive 80-hour power reserve. TAG Heuer hasn’t hidden the movement either, displaying it proudly through an exhibition caseback.
Released earlier this year at Baselworld, this watch found itself on my Christmas wish list the moment I saw it. Designed in collaboration with Norton motorcycles, it’s not difficult to see the inspiration behind the watch’s aesthetics. Breitling pair a black dial with a white tachymeter chapter ring and chronograph subdials. PVD gold coated Arabic numerals give the watch a sporty feel to an otherwise classic design, and the combination is perfect.
Inside the watch’s polished stainless steel case sits Breitling’s Calibre 01 automatic manufacture movement, ticking at 28,800 vph and offering the user a more-than adequate 70-hour power reserve. The movement can be seen in all its glory through a sapphire crystal caseback, which has been embellished with the Norton Motorcycle emblem.
Bell & Ross’ BR 05 collection immediately caught my eye when it was released, and found itself permanently on my radar when I tried it on for the first time. The brand has long been known for combining square cases with round dials, drawing inspiration from cockpit instruments found in fighter jet planes. The BR 05 is slightly less square, but retains the brand’s DNA perfectly while creating a watch that many have compared to pieces that find themselves in the five-figure price bracket.
The watch is available on a rubber strap or on Bell & Ross’ first integrated bracelet, which I can personally attest to as being unbelievably comfortable. It’s available with blue, black or silver dial options, each fitted with a date window at 3 o’clock and baton hour markers - the only exceptions being the Arabic numbered markers at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock. For those looking for a stand-out statement watch, the BR 05 is also available with a rose gold case and integrated rose gold bracelet.
£3,990.00 (Stainless Steel)
This stainless steel piece is one of three watches created as a tribute to the historic H-4 Hercules - a 1940's aircraft known for it’s magnificent size. Used for transporting wartime vehicles across the world, the plane was the largest of its kind when first built.
The Bremont H-4 Hercules watches are equally impressive, featuring a modified La Joux Perret movement which houses actual wooden pieces taken from the fuselage of the plane itself.
The watches portray a vintage aviator appearance, with large Arabic numbers and an elegant uncluttered dial for easy readability. The pieces come equipped with a date window at the 6 o’clock position and a 24-hour GMT function. The chapter ring has also been given a 12-hour colour split, enhancing the GMT to feature a day / night indication.
Limited to only 700 pieces worldwide, this Grand Seiko gets my vote for one of the most beautiful dress watches of 2019. For those looking for a more understated, classic design, this piece ticks all boxes. The highly polished case of the watch is second-to-none. The dial features bold striking lines radiating outward from the centre, which reflect the light differently depending on the angle you’re viewing it from. Stainless steel dauphine hands and baton style hour markers complement the dial, while a striking blue second hand offsets the overall design perfectly.
The piece is made even more beautiful by the watch’s movement; Grand Seiko’s own Spring Drive Calibre 9R31. Thanks to the way the movement has been engineered, the second hand glides around the dial in a smooth motion, rather than ticking, accentuating the dial design even further. If that wasn’t enough, the movement has an ample power reserve of 72 hours and will retain accuracy to within +1 second per day, averaging no more than +15 seconds per month.
While not conventionally what you might consider to be a ‘luxury watch’ there’s no doubt that this timepiece would be right at home in any collection. Armed with more gadgets that a Swiss Army Knife, the watch offers a wealth of functions to the user, including a variety of cardio workouts, fitness tracking, step counting, heart-rate monitoring and more. The smartwatch has a battery life of up to 72 hours, and thanks to Garmin’s new Battery Saver function, you’ll get the most out of every minute.
The watch also feature’s Garmin’s all-new Pace Pro function, which allows runners to create routes with custom start and finish points. Once activated, Pace Pro will advise the runner of upcoming inclines, declines and advice on what speed to run in order to hit the user’s desired target time. The Fenix 6 range is available in a variety of sizes and colours to suit all tastes, but my favourite has to to be this Sapphire variant on an orange rubber strap. Priced at only £799.00, there’s no denying that you’re getting a great deal of value for money.