Forget the socks, the ties, the colognes, the monogrammed golf balls—or any of the usual trinkets you may have snatched up at the last minute at your local pharmacy on Christmas Eve. (And definitely forget that ultra-fancy shaving stuff he’ll use twice before switching back to his go-to bottle Edge.) No, if you want to truly light up his stocking this year (or your own!), opt for the greatest gift of all: Time. But not just any time. Invest in a retro-inspired timepiece he can wear for the rest of his life.
With that in mind, we partnered up with the folks at Hodinkee—the web’s reigning watch publication of record—to highlight seven of the most stylish, must-have watches on the market right now. So, from a handsome diver watch to a classic model once worn by Mr. McQueen himself, here they are.
Longines Legend Diver
$2,300; buy now at Hodinkee
Vintage reissues are either hit or miss. Longines Legend Diver is, firmly, a hit. The case looks as it if walked off the set of a ’60s spy film, yet its guts—the functionality and movement—are as modern as can be: This indestructible timepiece possesses a power reserve of 38 hours and can withstand depths of up to 300 meters.
Oris Divers Sixty-Five 42mm with Blue Dial
Every guy loves options. And Oris—in reviving their retro-chic midcentury diver—sure delivered. Available in three dial colors (blue, green, and silver) and two straps (stainless steal or jet black rubber), the company’s Divers Sixty-Five is sure to have at least one mix-and-match suitable for everyone.
Zenith Heritage 146 with Brown Dial
$6,700; buy now at Hodinkee
The stainless-cased Zenith Heritage 146 is available in two debonair shades: a deep mahogany or a dreamy azure. We’re partial to the brown tone; it’s evocative of the cigar smoke and whiskey lounges that were so prevalent in the era this watch was borne from. (That’d be the 1960s.)
Zenith El Primero 36,000 VPH with Panda Dial
$8,700; buy now at Hodinkee
Back in the 1960s, the Zenith’s El Primero became the world’s first automatic chronograph. This deep history is precisely why the company has decided to reissue the watch today—except with an updated panda-dial aesthetic and a case constructed entirely out of ceramized aluminum, a material that was unavailable 50 years ago.
NOMOS Glashütte Tangente Neomatik 39 Silvercut
$3,880; buy now at Hodinkee
Simplicity is key, and NOMOS’s Glashütte Tangente—with its brushed stainless case, burnished cordovan leather strap, and sleek azure hands—is the epitome of simplicity. As a bonus, you can see the caliber work through the back of the case.
Grand Seiko SBGR253
$3,800; buy now at Hodinkee
Despite its relatively small case—the SBGR253 clocks in at a mere 37mm—don’t count out this onyx-faced timepiece. Just look at the elegantly domed sapphire crystal, or the intricately woven three-link bracelet: This stainless beauty has an undeniable presence.
TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 17 COSC
$12,000; buy now at Hodinkee
There’s a reason TAG Heuer reissued the Monaco Calibre, and it’s not because of the 18k gold case, the sumptuous alligator leather strap, or the unique-yet-still-reserved square face. It’s because Steven McQueen—yes, that Steve McQueen—used to wear the dang thing.
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