Holidays are all about tradition, so it’s time to honor our own with a gift guide put together by the w&w team. Everyone submitted something watch related and something not to the list. Enjoy!
The Timex Expedition Scout is a great update of the classic Timex Camper. It features an updated case size over the original at 40mm, a quartz movement making it a great grab-and go watch, a classic military inspired design and Timex’s Indiglo for reading the time in the dark. The watch has two case options, one a brushed finish and the other a darker (not quite PVD) finish; both come with nylon bands. The best part? The price. The darker case is $35 while the lighter case is $28, both available from Amazon.
Men and women spend hundreds of dollars on shaving products each year, and frequently with less than satisfying results from those products. Blades are frequently over priced and perform less than one would expect. Harry’s has worked to change all of that and make shaving a pleasant experience again. Their blades are German made and perfectly affordable and their shave cream makes for a smooth clean shave. They have various gift sets available to get started, like their current Winter Winston Set, available for $30.
Anyone with a dive watch (vintage or modern) needs to have an Isofrane rubber strap. This classically styled strap is hands down the best rubber strap out there, easily worth every penny. One word of advice, spring the extra coin for the RS buckle, it’s head and shoulders above the IN buckle. Available at www.isofrane.com
Every guy needs a comb (well, if you have hair…), and the folks at Metal Comb Works make the best. Hand crafted in the US, these steel or titanium combs come in a variety of styles for every taste, and made to last a lifetime. Available at www.metalcombworks.com.
Autodromo’s Prototipo has been with us for around a year now, and I’ve been a big fan of the design since the unveiling. For the 2014 holiday, however, they’ve released what for my money is the most attractive Prototipo so far- the blue dial. The Prototipo’s always been a greatest hits album of 60’s and 70’s chorine design- shades of Heuer Montreal here, a dash of Omega Speedster MkII there, but with the blue dial another inspiration comes to the fore. The color combo here is pure McQueen Heuer Monaco, and this design wears the colors beautifully. And while yes, $625 is still on the high side for a mecaquartz movement, the level of finish on this piece still makes it a great value.
Chelsea boots are a staple of cool, as stylish today as they were when the Beatles wore them in 1964, and this pair from Cole Haan are both very high-quality and versatile- as good with raw denim and a t-shirt as they are with a suit. It’s hard to find a place in your wardrobe where these won’t fit.
The Watch Curmudgeon
HoHoHorological bliss! Well, here are my two humble gift suggestions for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Festivus for the rest of us.
As you would expect, my first choice is a watch. But not just any watch. It’s Helson’s ridiculously magnificent Porthole in bronze. The dial is superbly designed, but what really makes this baby is the unique case. Every millimeter of it, from the outer bezel to the two crowns, appears to have been designed by Jules Verne. Even the crystal is double-domed sapphire. And on the inside, there’s the venerable ETA 2824, a movement that’ll beat for generations to come. My only regret is that the watch measures 44mm. However, I’d easily learn to live with that. Price? A very fair $1299.
Gift idea number 2 is the brand new Sony a7II, a gorgeously designed, palm-sized, full-frame, mirrorless camera. And, to make it even sweeter, it boasts 5-axis image stabilization, whatever the hell that means. But it sure sounds good. Why would I want this thing? Well, to take smashing photographs of my watches, of course. Is there any other reason to own a camera? When you’re at a pub, or at family and friends gatherings, you can bore everyone with your shots. Now, just ponder the importance of this: one fine day in the future you can say to your great great grandson, “Hey little Marvin come sit on Gran Pappy’s knee, and I’ll show yuh a photo of my original Sinn.” The camera will set you back $1998. with a 28-70, f3.5-5.6 lens.
……………..and to all a good night.
As you start accumulating watches, you begin to realize you need a nice place to store them all when they’re not on your wrist. There are thousands of options for watch boxes, but one I especially like is this 6-watch box from Carolina Woodshop. Handmade in Belton, South Carolina, these boxes are handsome and sturdy and can be made in number of combinations of hardwoods including walnut, maple, and cherry. $135
Despite its somewhat misleading title, King’s County Distillery Guide To Urban Moonshining is a must for every whiskey fan. It’s an amazing 101-level introduction to all aspects of the spirit, from its history through its modern production landscape (despite the hundreds of whiskey brands out there, you’d be amazed how few companies are actually producing the juice – check out the chart they made for the book here at GQ. With additional sections on making and drinking whiskey, it’s full of great boozy information from cover to cover. $20
We spend so much time talking up Horween shell here at Worn&Wound you’d think we were on Horween’s payroll. To be honest, we’re just huge fans of the stuff–shoes, belts, straps, you name it. Horween shell can be pricey–prohibitively so–but for good reason; cordovan leather is rare enough as it is, but cordovan from Horween’s tannery is like the holy grail of leather. Well, the German brand Fluco has decided to eschew the laws of supply and demand by selling their Horween shell straps for…get this…$70! No catch. No gimmicks. Just high-end shell without the crazy markup. Head over to Holben’s for a nice selection.
Cold brew coffee became a bit of an obsession of mine this summer. But after spending way more money than I’m comfortable with at coffee shops, I decided to cold brew at home. And I did for a while, that is until my laziness and impatience kicked in and I grew tired of waiting 14 hours for the coffee to steep. Looking for a middle ground and after some serious trial and error, I discovered Grady’s Cold Brew. Sure, Grady’s may be a bit pricey, but it’s also the best extract I’ve tried. The flavor is rich with a wonderfully sweet aftertaste, and there are many different ways to mix it up. My favorite combination is to a do a 50/50 extract-to-milk blend. It’s the perfect gift for the coffee lovers in your life looking to switch things up.
One thing I’ve found myself wanting and wishing for this year has been a subscription to – no, not watch magazines (although those are cool too). No, I’d like a subscription to the auction catalogues from each of the Big Three auction companies.
Sotheby’s, Christies, and Antiquorum each offer annual subscriptions to all their catalogues. But I’d be happy with just the books from their watch auctions. Annual subscriptions are $106 for two catalogs, $114 for two catalogs, and $650 for ten catalogs, respectively. Note that both Sotheby’s and Christies hold auctions in four different locations each year. That means four subscriptions each if you want them all. Antiquorum’s subscription is all-inclusive.
Over time, these subscriptions would produce a collection that’d be immensely interesting and valuable to watch geeks everywhere – especially when supplemented with sales prices.
And from an alcohol point of view, I’m going to change it up a bit. Skipping the whiskey this year (well, not entirely), I’m going to recommend a case of Kinkerbrick Zinfandel (~$250). Folks love the Cabs for rich, full-bodied reds, but I’m a half a bubble off, so I like the zins.
Not to be confused with the white zinfandels loved by beginning drinkers the world over, the red zins are uniquely American. Their earthy notes of cherry, black currant, plum, blackberry, raisin, coffee, tobacco, and even an occasional dash of pepper, to say nothing of the noble zinfandel grape itself, strike the taste buds just right on a cold winter’s night.
Here’s a gift for your inner watch super-nerd, a Multifunction Timegrapher 1000! What the heck is that? Well, it’s a machine that looks like it belongs in a hospital that will tell you the accuracy of your mechanical watches. It’s a good tool to have to keep an eye on the health of your collection, as well as a handy way to check newly arrived pieces for immediately apparent issues. One simply places their watch on the device, sets the “lift angle” of the movement (something you can google per watch), and the Timegrapher does the rest. Here’s a video of one in action, exciting right! (yes, I really would enjoy having one of these and you know you would too)
While I lack the in-depth knowledge to review whiskey properly, I have bought and drank a bottle or two… and know what I like. To that end, one of the best bottles I’ve ever come across, one that cost enough for every sip to be savored, but not so much as to be prohibitive is Redbreast 12yr. This single pot Irish Whiskey aged in bourbon and Sherry wood, is just about the smoothest, most palatable liquid in a bottle, earning a perennial spot on the shelf. It’s perfect for those times you want to sip something delicious, that has enough depth of flavor to make you think, but doesn’t challenge your palate either, the way perhaps a Laphroaig Cask might (another favorite, but for a different mood).
A great gift is always something that the recipient wouldn’t splurge on for themselves but would be super happy to receive. If you have a dive watch collector, get them the ISOfrane rubber strap. Any rubber strap that starts at $130 seems ridiculous, but price aside, the ISOfrane does a standout job at holding a heavier watch head securely on your wrist. These straps have a secure but not too tight feel that, in my experience, has not been replicated by other brands. Is it worth the cost? Not an issue if it’s a gift. You friend will be happy. I also happen to like the overall look and rock a 20mm black ISOfrane with a DLC’d buckle in the summer.
Running shoe tech is hard to keep up with. But I’ve grown to enjoy running with the Escalade of running shoes, the Hoka One One (pronounced oh-nay, oh-nay), which has twice the amount of cushioning as a standard running shoe and is still very light. Keeping along the theme of luxury goods that will be appreciated by the recipient, these maximalist shoes fit the bill. Honestly, they feel like your are running on clouds. Of course, size is hard to tell, so grab your running friend a gift certificate to Road Runner Sports but include a photo of this gnarly-looking shoe to inspire them.
This year I’m going to indulge my love for the technical. Back when the world was young and I was just 14, I used to spend a lot of time at my local watchmaker’s workshop helping out and dreaming of following in his footsteps. Sadly, in the early 1980s, there wasn’t a lot of need for watchmakers. Quartz digitals were still exciting and mechs were on the slide. A career choice it wasn’t. But with the mech renaissance today, I’d be studying horology and picking up the screwdrivers.
He lent me Omega’s technical manual for the Time Computer 1 – one of the very early LED watches that one set by placing the magnet in the bracelet clasp in two slots – hours and minutes – on the caseback. I spent days with it and knew almost every page by heart. I’d love another. So, Santa, if you’re listening and have access to the safe at Bienne… £??
Instead, I became a writer and now get to write about watches. And the one thing I’ve learned is that it’s impossible to write without a drink of some sort. Last year, I picked a rather wonderful Madeira Pereira d’Oliveira. This year, I’ll sober up with proper, serious, artisan wood-roasted coffee from my local roastery, UE Coffee. So, may I have a kilo of their Kenyan Kiuyna beans, please? £30