Buying gifts for watch guys has the same pitfalls as buying gifts for any other guy who’s shown a disproportionate interest in a single thing: Their holidays and birthdays end with them surrounded by a pile of new watches without much in the way of variety. Sure, you could branch out and buy him a watch case, but it doesn’t take long to have more display space than watches.
In the interests of diversity, these gift suggestions orbit watches but aren’t actually men’s watches themselves (though if you’re looking for men’s watches in every budget, there are plenty of guides for that, too). That way, you’re avoiding the standard pitfalls while still indulging the guy’s biggest interest.
Practical Watch Repairing by Donald Carle
People who get really into hobbies or collecting things owe it to themselves to have some practical knowledge about their passion. Watches are no different. No one is saying that every guy with more than a handful of watches has to be an expert to rival a Swiss watchmaker, but it’s good to know how to make some basic repairs or change out the battery. Practical Watch Repairing breaks repairs down into easily digestible sections that walk through virtually any situation that could arise in the course of a normal watch’s life. The repairs are also presented in clear, black and white illustrations that the author assembled with the assumption that the reader has absolutely no experience in watchmaking.
Vintage Leather Single Watch Roll
There are very few good ways to bring a watch along with you when traveling other than wearing it the entire time. One exception is this single watch roll. It protects the watch from added hazards of traveling, like having something in your toiletry kit nick the glass or a pair of shoes warp the buckle. Sure, it’s a single use item that only carries one watch, but it makes sense: it’s a travel case, not a display case. It’s not designed to shove every single watch you own into it, just so that you can protect that one special watch before wearing it on the special day or night out.
Timex Pay Strap
Luddites (and, let’s face it, even those just not up with every new phone or smartwatch update) may have some residual doubts about using our cell phones to do those tap to pay transactions and exactly how secure they are. But the Timex Pay Strap has all the convenience of using your phone without any of the security liability. There’s an RFID chip in the strap that you turn into a clone of your card. It’s a one time bit of programming. After that, you don’t need Bluetooth or data or battery, similar to how your physical credit card doesn’t need any of those things. It’s like an analog smartwatch, removing the Apple and Google middlemen.
Duo Watch Roll
This watch roll comes with less protection than the single watch case, but it doubles the carrying capacity without taking up much more room. The added capacity is good if the itinerary of the trip is going to be a little more varied than a single alternate watch would suit. The construction here is also encouragingly simple. A traveling watch roll doesn’t need to be bullet proof, it just needs to prevent scratches and cracks. The high quality leather on this watch roll is more than capable of doing that.
Relic Watch Movement Cufflinks
There are whole watches built around the appeal of seeing the internal workings of a wristwatch, so it follows pretty closely that the same aesthetic would work on other accessories. Cufflinks, for example. These are made from mechanical watches that have stopped working for whatever reason and are so faithfully reconstructed that it’s hard to believe they don’t tell time. The sterling silver also means the cufflinks will blend right into most of your fanciest outfits. $190
DIY Watchmaking Kit
This bends the “no watch” rule a bit since the giftee ends up with a watch after this gift is given, but hear me out. First off, the gift itself is the process of assembling the watch, not the watch itself. That means whoever you get this for is going to learn a hell of a lot about what makes a watch tick — and in ways that are a lot more practical and will be retained longer than figuring out how to do a simple repair. Second, this kit comes with an expertly curated set of tools. Obviously those will take the giftee through the assembly, but once that’s over, they’ll get to keep the tools for future maintenance on this or any of their other watches.