By Ben Newport-Foster

The nights are closing in, the goose is getting fat and Kevin from accounting keeps pestering you to let him sing Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You at the office Christmas party. For watch geeks, Christmas is a time of hope that all those not-so-subtle hints dropped to significant others about this or that watch haven’t gone unnoticed. If they have, then hopefully this buyers guide will act as some horological inspiration for them!

Timeless Classics

Rolex Datejust

In a category called ‘Timeless Classics’, is there anyway I could start with a watch other than the Rolex Datejust? It is still a horological power house seventy two years after its release because it is incredibly versatile, both in form and in function. The patented Rolex Twinlock crown ensures waterproofness down to 100m and the in-house movement inside is rated to a staggeringly accurate -2/+2 seconds a day. The multitude of sizes, dials, bracelets and bezels options available allow a classic watch to be made all the more personal. $7850

Cartier Tank Louis Ref. W1529756

The sapphire cabochon on the crown of the Cartier Tank Louis is an example of the simple yet elegant design of the entire watch, which manages to balance a traditional aesthetic with a modern feel. It’s thin enough to slip under a shirt cuff with ease, yet the distinctive shape means that what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in status. So no matter if paired with a tweed jacket and a button down, or a pair of Ray Bans and a polo shirt, the Tank will look stunning regardless. $9750

IWC Big Pilot IWC500912

Big numbers, big crown, big dial, big pilot. At 46.2mm, the IWC Big Pilot is no shrinking violet but that’s what makes the watch work. The ultra-legible dial and comfortably over-sized crown make this a watch that can be enjoyed just as well at sea level as it can be 32,000 feet in the air. Throw in a luxuriously long power reserve of seven days and you’ve got a watch that will keep going whilst you jet-set across the world, even if you suffer from chronic jet-lag. $12,900

Grand Seiko SBGR307

The SBGR207 may be a relatively new design but it has all the hallmarks of being a future timeless classic: a stoic and timeless design, an in-house movement and impeccable finishing that rivals watches three times its price. There are no needless bells and whistles, just three hands and one date window. Its a watch that is bound to start conversation over Christmas dinner with that drunken uncle who only knows Seiko as those cheap quartz watches he keeps losing. $4600

Omega Seamaster Professional 300M

To many, this is the Omega diving watch of choice. Never mind that it was the choice of James Bond for 11 years, but it was one of the first Omega watches to use the co-axial escapement, designed by legendary watchmaker George Daniels. With 300 meters water resistance (as if the name didn’t give that away), a ceramic bezel and an diver’s extension clasp on the bracelet, this watch will be able to withstand whatever drunken antics happen at your office Christmas parties trip to Seaworld. $4,400

The Alternative Segment

Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 42mm

What? A Panerai that isn’t 2 foot wide? No dear reader, this isn’t a drunken hallucination from on by too much eggnog, but rather one of the latest releases from the Italian brand. For those that have always wanted a modern dive style Panerai that can actually fit on the wrist, then the Luminor Submersible is for you. Whilst not traditionally beautiful, the ultra-tough aesthetic does have a certain charm to it, especially when you see the in-house designed Caliber P.9010 through the sapphire crystal case-back. $8700

Omega Aqua Terra Ref. 220.12.41.21.03.002

The Omega Aqua Terra has often felt like the awkward middle child; not quite a full diver like the 300M and not quite a dress watch like the De Ville. Yet the new design of the Aqua Terra makes this latest edition of the best dress/casual/sport watches currently out there with the integrated rubber strap looking just at home on a yacht as it does back on the dry land. With a shockingly accurate METAS certified movement and an all new dial design, the Aqua Terra demands your attention. $5400

Ochs und Junior Moonphase

If you want a true alternative pick then you can’t go wrong with an watch from Ochs und Junior as you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone with a watch like it. Nearly every element of the watch from the hands, to the moonphase disc, to the hour markers can be customized and there is a ludicrous amount of colors to chose from. Along with the customization options, you’re also getting a watch with some serious horological chops as the moonphase is accurate to over three thousands years! (Just remember to wind it!) $8000

Oak & Oscar Jackson Chronograph

Named after Chicago’s Jackson Park, home of the first official road race in the United States, the Jackson Chronograph is the latest watch from independent brand Oak & Oscar. The watch has a devilishly good design with the highlight being the stacked hour and minute register at 3 o’clock, making longer events easier to time. Powered by an Eterna column wheel chronograph movement with a fly-back feature, the Jackson is one serious watch for fans of micro-brands, but you better act fast as there are only a 100 or so that are going to be made. $2650

Rado HyperChrome Captain Cook

Yes, I was as shocked as you are now to discover that Rado makes more than glossy ceramic dress watches! The Captain Cook was the talk of Baselworld 2017 and its easy to see why. With a domed crystal, a curved dial and a charming rotating logo at 12 o’clock, the Captain Cook has tons of character that many heritage re-editions unfortunately lack. Paired with a large knit fisherman’s sweater and some chewing tobacco and you’ve got a winner. $2400

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