Graduation season is in full swing. As we watch friends and family make the transition from adolescence to adulthood, armed with knowledge, aspirations of doing great things, and maybe not a small amount of student loan debt, we got to thinking about great ways to mark the occasion. The following gift guide is geared toward the recent college graduate who is ready to make their mark on the world.
Hamilton – Intra-Matic Auto Chrono
We love watches for a lot of reasons. They’re functional in that they let you know what time it is, how long you have until the next meeting, or, perhaps more often than we’d like, how late we’ll be for said meeting. They look good, and give us a way to stand out in a crowd of gray suits and power ties. They’re mechanical, which is just inherently cool. And, perhaps most importantly, in an age of disposable technology, a good watch is meant to last a lifetime. What better way to celebrate the graduate in your life, then, by gifting him or her with a tool that they’ll carry with them throughout all life’s adventures, successes, and milestones to come?
The Intra-Matic Auto Chrono by Hamilton, with a blue panda dial, is a great grad gift idea. Based on a classic design from the Hamilton archives, the two register chronograph display is distinctive but will never be out of style. At 40mm, the watch is a trend-proof size that will be appropriate for most wrists today, tomorrow, and much later on. It’s powered by a workhorse Swiss movement that is built to last, and the case has a style that is appropriate for a serious work environment, but will also be comfortable and cool for any casual situation. It’s a great, all purpose timepiece, and lent a degree of added sophistication through Hamilton’s unique watchmaking history, spanning two continents and over 120 years.
The Intra-Matic Auto Chrono can be purchased on Hamilton’s website here for $2,195.
Grant Stone Longwing Bluchers in Dune Chromexcel
Like a watch, a good pair of shoes should last a long time. Certainly more than just a season, and ideally for years. Grant Stone makes high quality Goodyear-welted men’s shoes using old fashioned hand craft that only get better with age.
These Longwings strike a great balance between casual and a more professional look. They look great with jeans but can easily be dressed up. Most importantly, they are built to last, using high quality leathers and Goodyear-welted soles, making them incredibly robust and far more durable than an ordinary shoe you will find in a typical department store. The cork footbed will mold to the wearer’s foot, creating a fit that gets better with time. The leather outsole can be replaced by a cobbler several times over, ensuring longevity. And, if you live in a particularly wet or wintery climate and just can’t risk a leather soled shoe, Grant Stone sells shoes with a highly durable rubber outsole as well, using the same tried and true construction techniques.
The Grant Stone Longwing sells for $350, and you can find more information or place an order here.
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
If the graduate in your life has become dependent on dining hall coffee, the AeroPress is a great way to start a new chapter of coffee appreciation in their life. One of the challenges of making great coffee at home is doing so without bitterness, and AeroPress has solved this with a simple total immersion process that filters quickly, producing coffee that is consistently full flavored. An added bonus: the AeroPress system takes up very little space, and unlike a traditional drip coffee maker, uses no electricity on its own. That means the AeroPress is ideal for that first post-college apartment, as well as outdoor activities like camping and backpacking.
You can find the AeroPress on Amazon here for $29.95.
Lexon InOut Clock Designed by Hector Serrano
For anyone interested in design, and looking for a unique and intuitive alarm clock that doubles as an objet d’art, we think the Lexon InOut Clock by Hector Serrano makes a great gift idea. The alarm function is controlled by a pop-up element on the top of the clock. The idea here is to give you a visual sense of both the actual time, and the alarm time. The InOut Clock is also appealing for many of the reasons we love watches — it’s highly legible, fun to look at, and can start a conversation.
You can purchase one for $32.90 here on Amazon.
Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA Stainless Steel Mug (20-Ounce)
When I was in college, I carried a generic clear plastic water bottle with my university’s mascot emblazoned on the side wherever I went. It was enormous and adorned with decals, and was as much a part of my college uniform as flip-flops and a tattered hooded sweatshirt. To say it would be out of place in an even somewhat professional environment would certainly be an understatement. If the college graduate in your life has often been seen with such a bottle, you can do him or her a favor by gifting them one of these simple, minimalist Zojirushi steel mugs. Unlike the simple water bottles given out to freshmen at campuses nationwide, this stainless steel mug is fully insulated, so it keeps hot beverages hot, and cold drinks cold. With a variety of colors available, you’re sure to find one that strikes the right tone. Decals are optional.
You can order the Zojirushi mug on Amazon for $28.99 here.
Filson Ballistic Nylon Dryden Briefcase
College graduation is a great time to upgrade from the backpack, that staple of high school and college, to a decidedly more mature briefcase, like this one from legendary Seattle, WA based Filson. Made from a durable and hard wearing nylon, this briefcase will protect your valuables (including a 15 inch laptop) with a style that is enduring. It has plenty of convenient storage areas, and sends a message that you’re not a kid, and that the backpack has been officially retired.
The Dryden briefcase sells for $175, direct from Filson here.
Tile Sport GPS Finder
Tile is a cool tech company that has introduced a bunch of products in recent years with the single minded goal of helping us keep track of our stuff. The Tile Sport GPS Finder is, to put it simply, a small dongle that can be fitted onto almost anything. Say, for example, a new stainless steel mug. Or your first real briefcase. Maybe it will take your recent college graduate some time to learn the real value of all of the nice new things in their life. Until then, the Tile Sport can help him find his gear by connecting to an app on his smartphone or asking Alexa through an Amazon Echo.
The Tile Sport starts at $19.60 and can be ordered through Amazon in a variety of quantities here.