You’ve seen our Windup Shop picks, and as we inch deeper into the holiday season we’ve asked the team here at Worn & Wound for their top gift suggestions from elsewhere on the internet. We’ve got watches, gear, and even a few surprises mixed in for good measure. If you’re struggling with any last minute gift ideas, we’ve got you covered.
I’m sure if someone was measuring the metrics of hand washing during a pandemic, the data would suggest you’re washing your hands more than ever. If you know anyone on your gift list like me (a huge pain in the neck to shop for), then consider this wonderful smelling jug of hand soap from the Australian brand. This liquid soap consists of 100% vegan and cruelty free ingredients while smelling of citrusy Mandarin Rind and rich Cedar wood with the herbaceous finish of Rosemary Leaf. Aesop’s Resurrection Aromatique makes those 10 hand washes a bit more enjoyable, while leaving your hands feeling cleansed and refreshed without overly drying them out. This soap from the brand has a bit of a cult status, they go as far as pre-screening the high end restaurants that feature it in their restrooms to make sure they share the same values. At just under forty bucks for a 16.9oz jug, it doesn’t come cheap, but it’s placed firmly in that luxurious, but not over the top price range that’s perfect for gifting this holiday season. I’m already on my second bottle.
Consumables are one of my favorite gift ideas for the holidays, and one of my favorite drinks to consume is coffee. Flux Coffee is based out of Farmingdale, NY and they’re one of my go-to local coffee spots. They have a strong focus on quality coffee and coffee education, encouraging their baristas to push the limits, even competing in coffee competitions. They roast all of their carefully-sourced beans in house on a vintage Probat roaster. I always look forward to my trips there for an excellent cup and rarely leave without a bag of beans to take home. Plenty of coffee roasters have subscription boxes, but few are presented as nicely as the one from Flux. Each month you’re treated to a selection of Flux’s finest coffees, in four sample-sized tins. The box contains enough beans for 12-16 cups of coffee, while allowing you to try different crops from origins across the world. You can snag a monthly subscription, or a very gift-able block of three months for $84.
This year has seen me spend a heck of a lot of time in my home office – like many, I suspect. What used to be a desk and chair in a spare bedroom has now become my home for 40+ hours a week, and over the last nine months I’ve slowly kitted it out into a comfortable and productive area. It looks like home working is going to be a lot more common going forward, and as such I’m picking two items to reside in that space.
As such, my first pick is the Seiko QHL062Y desk clock. Styled after the large timers seen at athletic events, this cool little desk clock has alarm, stopwatch, countdown and calendar functions, but more than anything just brings a bit of colour and fun to your desk.
Next up your favourite piece from one of the many talented artists in the watch enthusiast world. I commissioned @watchioniste on Instagram to create a digital rendering of my Sinn 809, and that now takes pride of place beside my desk. Many other artists will specialise in different hobbies or subjects and prices will vary depending on exactly what you want, but there are plenty of options out there for a personalized piece of art.
A gift guide without whiskey isn’t a gift guide for me, so here’s a Brooklyn-made dram for you. A small business in our hometown, Van Brunt makes a solid bourbon. I’ve had it many a time and even had a few too many in their Red Hook tasting room back when you could do such a thing. And if you want to make it a social gift, they offer a “virtual tasting” package as well.
This might seem like a really obvious tiem to include, because I suppose it is, but only recently did I really gain an appreciation for the Leatherman multi-tool. After receiving one as a gift myself, I’ve found that I keep it handy throughout the day. It’s useful in many ways, and it’s made very well. In fact, it’s much like a watch in that in addition to its primary purpose, I find myself at times just holding it, opening and closing the various tools, and snapping the handles into place with a satisfying click. The fact that it’s made by an independent company manufacturing in the US makes them all the more compelling. Seems like they have an option for every budget, but the blacked out OHT just has a mean look that fans of tool watches will likely appreciate.
I’m a pretty big movie fan. Before watches, and a whole bunch of other rabbit holes, movies were the first thing I was ever really obsessed with. This year has been tough for so many reasons, but a big one for me (though certainly trivial in the larger picture of 2020) has been the virtual cancellation of the movie business. Theaters were closed for much of the year, then reopened with restrictions, and big, tent-pole releases from major Hollywood studios have been pushed to 2021. Long story short, I haven’t been inside a movie theater since February, and have been watching more movies than ever before on the couch, through streaming services.
I want to highlight one such streaming service, because it’s been an absolute miracle for me and many other lovers of classic films throughout the course of the year, and I can’t think of a better gift for a movie fan than a year-long subscription. The Criterion Channel is the streaming arm of the Criterion Collection, a series of classic and noteworthy contemporary films released on good old fashioned physical media. (They started on Laserdisc in the 80s, and have transitioned to DVD and Blu-Ray through the years). The scope of the titles on offer for streaming is absolutely enormous, and differs substantially from the films available on physical media (although there is some overlap). As I write this, curated collections of films on the landing page include New Korean Cinema, Cary Grant Comedies, and a series of seven films directed by Claire Denis. This year they’ve put a spotlight on long forgotten sci-fi classics from the 70s, and had a great retrospective of Australian horror movies. Plus there’s a ton of supplemental material that the Criterion Collection is known for: making-of docs, director commentary tracks, and so forth. You get the idea – there’s a lot to take in, from classic Hollywood, to contemporary indie, plus more high quality international cinema than on any service I’m aware of. It’s been a bright spot in a dark movie year, and for $99 for a full year of access, it’s a great gift idea for the movie fan in your life in search of something new to discover.
Books make great gifts for any occasion, but something great to read in the cold winter months has a particular appeal. This year, neighborhood book stores, like so many other small businesses, have struggled in the face of the pandemic, so if you’re gifting a book this holiday season, consider using IndieBound to find a bookstore local to the recipient, and either purchasing a gift card or buying the book directly from them. IndieBound features a useful tool that makes it easy to find independent bookstores within any zip code, and I’ve found that these businesses want nothing more than to serve their communities and customers, and will do whatever it takes to provide a great, safe, shopping experience. (Shout out to my local bookstore, which offers private shopping options for at-risk customers, plus curb-side pickup).
All small businesses need help in the current public health and economic climate, but neighborhood bookstores occupy a special place in my mind because of the way they serve as a central, cultural hub in so many communities, including my own. It’s a place where people come together to explore their individual streaks of intellectual curiosity, have a cup of coffee, and discuss the issues of the day. They’ve been sorely missed as gathering places in this turbulent year, and will be even more important once we come out of this, so supporting them now to bridge the gap is crucial and truly worthwhile.
Late last year, I had the chance to meet Tom Medvedich, the man behind the Instagram account @notoriousEDC. Among other things, Tom’s an EDC enthusiast and in a short conversation he managed to convey to me the virtues of knife/EDC collecting in a way that I hadn’t previously appreciated. The parallels between the small, independent knife and tool maker community and the small, independent watchmaking community are many, and understanding this really helped frame the hobby for me in a new way.
While I haven’t become an EDC enthusiast over the past year, I have kept an eye on the IG EDC community and, specifically, the @notoriousEDC account. Tom recently released a pretty sick combo bottle opener and multi-tool, aptly called the Beer Bomb, that just may be my gateway into EDC collecting. Made from Grade 5 6AI4V Titanium, the Beer Bomb includes a bottle opener, a flathead screwdriver, a 1/4″ hex bit driver, a pry bar, and a package opener. At $94, this would be the most expensive bottle opener or multi-tool in my EDC, but I feel like owning one would make me cooler, which is all that matters, right?
If you’ve been reading Worn & Wound, coming to our Windup Watch Fairs, or just hanging out on watch Instagram for the past few years then you know of and probably own something from Crown & Buckle. They offer a wide variety of fairly-priced and well-made watch straps and accessories. But above everything else they sell, I implore you to pick up one (or several) of their Chevron Adjustable straps. The Crown & Buckle team created something really great with their unique Chevron design, including the strap weave, the hardware, and the way you adjust the length of the strap. The Chevron strap comes in a range of unique colors, most of which are available in 19mm, 20mm, and 22mm widths. At $32, these are a steal.
Australian based industrial design shop, RAMA Works has opened the ordering window for their KARA Keyboard kit for Q1 2021 delivery. This is a translucent take on their popular 60% layout, made using injection moulding techniques, and offered in a range of colorful options. Their MUTE mounting technology should provide a softer experience than some of their earlier sandwich mounted options, especially when paired with an internal dampener. Don’t expect the weight or fit and finish of their anodized aluminum boards, but the price here is far more accessible. Building and programming RAMA boards is always a treat (also QMK compatible), but be warned, you will need your own switches and keycaps (Cherry MX compatible). On the bright side, constructing the PCB doesn’t require a soldering iron, so if you’ve been mechanical keyboard curious this would be a great entry point.
This one has been around for a minute, but the NASA Graphics Standards Manual by Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn is a must for space nerds, designers, or just anyone who appreciates the work that goes into creating and preserving an iconic brand like NASA. This book is beautifully presented and details the nuance in applying the brand to everything from confidential letterhead to satellites sent into orbit. Presented as put forth in 1975, there’s plenty of nostalgia here, making this an easy one to get lost in.
Bonus Pick: Blake Malin already selected a strap from our friends at Crown & Buckle, but I want to give an extra shout out to their new Matte straps. They are only offered in a few colors at the moment, but they are spectacular in fit and finish quality, and should be on your radar this season.