In our Ask an Editorseries, our editors answer your pressing questions about fashion, authenticity and consignment. In this installment, Senior Director of Fine Jewelry & Watches, Michael Groffenberger, gives his expert advice for selecting the perfect fine watch for a graduate.
Q. My nephew is graduating from college, so I’m on the hunt for graduation gifts. I’d love to give him a watch, but I have no clue what to buy. Any suggestions?
A. A watch is a great graduation gift! It really signifies that transition into adulthood to have something of value that you’re responsible for taking care of. Is there any other gift you could buy for a grad that they’ll wear every day? Probably not. It’s like having a piece of your family on your wrist. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
Classic design. A graduation gift is a forever gift, so you want something your nephew can wear today or twenty years from now. He may give this watch to his kids someday! So look for something that has longevity.
Durability. I would shy away from gold. Your nephew isn’t at the stage where he needs gold — save it for a big promotion. Instead, go with a stainless steel automatic watch with a sapphire crystal face, so you don’t have to worry about it getting scratched.
Versatility. Make sure what you’re buying can work on the weekends or with a business suit on job interviews. The safest place for a recent grad to keep his watch is on his wrist. I think a water-resistant Rolex is a great option, so he can keep it on all the time — even at the beach.
As for specific brands, Tag Heuer is probably the most gifted gradation watch, because it has an accessible price point and youthful style. Zenith also makes incredible watches; they fabricate their own parts, and offer a lot of bang for the buck. But you really can’t go wrong with Rolex. It’s the foundation of a watch collection. I would go with a Rolex Professional series or a Datejust. A Datejust is a classic look if your nephew is going into a more conservative career where he has to wear a business suit, while the Professional series is good for a crossover watch that he can wear everywhere.
If you stay in the $2K-$10K range, you’re going to find a lot of great value, especially on The RealReal because of our prices. It’s really an investment. Your nephew isn’t going to lose value in his watch; it becomes an asset he’ll have forever.
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