Twelve Watches For The Twelve Days of Christmas
Time is the most precious gift you can give to that special someone in your life — so why not memorialize it with a watch this holiday season? Elevate the art of gift-giving with our Christmas and New Year’s buying guide
The rule of thumb when it comes to shopping for others is to buy them an item they would adore but, for one reason or another, not buy for themselves. With thermometers dipping in most places around the world and Christmas looming around the corner, it may be time to start looking for unique ways to express affection and gratitude to those that are near and dear. Gifting a watch to a loved one often attaches particular sentimental value - worn regularly and against the skin - it also serves a tender reminder each time the wearer gazes upon their wrist.
To steer and help inform this meaningful journey, Wristcheck has put together a gifting guide to suit varying price brackets and tastes.
Tudor is a name that routinely enters the conversation with regards to approachable watchmaking with a distinguished pedigree of its own. Its wildly successful Black Bay line has spawned numerous iterations, but the variation that took the watch community by storm in 2018 was the Tudor Black Bay GMT. As an overt nod to the original “Pepsi” designs produced for Pan Am Airlines back in 1954, the bezel of this selfwinding beauty boasts the classic blue and red coloration utilized for tracking two time zones simultaneously. Its announcement four years ago ignited a frenzy which depleted stock at the time.
The IWC Portofino is a dress watch cleverly disguised as a daily driver. This version of the Portofino was released as part of a celebration for the 150-year anniversary of IWC - and limited to only 2,000 pieces worldwide. Delicate stick hour markers are set against a rich blue dial with roman numerals for “6” and “12”, making it the perfect companion under the cuff of a well-tailored dress shirt and suit with its slim profile of 9.2mm. Refusing to be typecast, the Portofino is equally at home paired with a field jacket and some denim, and would make an ideal gift for the sartorial chameleon in the family.
The Kuruno Seiji is a fantastic example of smaller-scale watchmaking out of Japan that amalgamates the best of modern and vintage. Representing incredible value, independent watchmaker Hajime Asaoka founded KURUNO TOKYO with the intent of democratizing his haute horology projects via an automation-driven approach. With a stunning “Tiffany-esque” dial and a limited run of only 500, this piece comes on a contrasting white calf strap that is certain to stand out from the pack.
Throughout the years, Grand Seiko has cemented itself as one of the preeminent watchmakers. Consistently finished at a level to rival its Swiss counterparts, the commemorative Grand Seiko 60th anniversary “Superman” edition features the high beat Calibre 9S85 that delivers astonishingly accurate timekeeping in addition to 55 hours of power reserve. As for the exterior, the case is reminiscent of the much lauded 44GS profile which closely follows the “Grammar of Design” philosophy.
THE CRÈME DE LA CRÈME
Richard Mille has long been favored by the world’s top athletes and musicians. Subtle they most definitely are not, but for an outgoing person who prefers their wrist candy to mirror their extroverted personality, the RM-07 Black Ceramic & Rose Gold is a perfect match. As with all Richard Mille releases, the case shape and flourishes are iconic and recognizable from a distance. Light as a feather, this murdered-out timepiece sports a diamond encrusted onyx dial with tasteful 18K rose gold accents throughout.
Rolex needs no introduction. A household name that is synonymous with top-tier Swiss horology, recognized across the globe by obsessives and non-enthusiasts alike. Affectionately known as the “President”, this white gold Day-Date 40 has all the hallmarks of prestige - a fluted bezel, stunning sunray finish olive dial and the all-important President bracelet. One would be hard-pressed to find a watch more timeless than this.
For traditionalists, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is the ultimate culmination of form and function. Its octagonal bezel, exposed screws and seamless integrated bracelet were famously developed by the legendary Gérald Genta, whose influence is still evident to this day. The people at Wristcheck are huge fans of this model, which is why there are not one but two on this list: a sleek Royal Oak in Yellow Gold with Diamonds and a terrific Royal Oak Chronograph Ref. 26300ST. The yellow gold version possesses a desirable heft and is available in a supremely wearable size of 36mm, which would suit both men and women (meaning this could potentially be a “shared” gift). The chronograph model adopts a more modern take on the storied design - stainless steel construction and a deep blue dial that is offset with orange hands on both the main and sub dials. Both feature the quintessential Tapisserie pattern.
On top of its stellar craftsmanship, Grand Seiko shines at creating tapestry-like dials that are interwoven with irregular patterns that mimic the many facets of Japanese nature. The Grand Seiko GMT “Shunbun” pays homage to the ethereal cherry trees on which the famed sakura flower blossoms during springtime. The stunningly gorgeous leafy green dial is complemented by a smattering of rose gold on the GMT hand and marker.
One would be forgiven for mistaking the Girard-Perregaux Free Bridge for a miniature super-car. The three dimensional structure of the visible movement is nothing short of an architectural marvel. Though it is engineered to be a time-only watch, it goes to great lengths to do so in an aesthetically pleasing way free from superfluous complications. Sure to be a conversation starter, the Free Bridge often gets compared to concept pieces produced by its Swiss contemporaries - but at a tenth of the outlay.
The complex mind of MB&F founder, Max Büsser, may be hard to navigate - but getting one of these M.A.D.1 RED in hand at launch may just be even more challenging. Released only to those who had inquired about the original M.A.D. EDITION 1 in blue, which was offered to “Friends and Family” at an uncharacteristically reasonable price, this second release in red drove social media wild. Devotees of Büsser have since been clamoring for a chance to own this unique upside-down triple-bladed watch.
“Stella” dial Day Dates were released by Rolex in 1965 and were largely ignored at the time due to their vivid colors (only for their value to skyrocket in subsequent years following their discontinuation). Fast forward a couple of decades, Rolex reintroduced the new and improved Oyster Perpetual range - now in an array of sizes and familiar bright, cheerful hues. The 41mm option with a yellow dial is a winner on all fronts: an uncommon and covetable color; wearable case dimensions; and in a rare configuration that has since been discontinued.