RealStyle | Wear This Gift That Watches
RealStyle | Wear This Gift That Watches

Wear This + Gift That: Our Best Watches for the Holidays

Words by Noelani Piters | 12.19.18
Holiday shopping is never easy, especially when you’re looking for gifts to give and festive pieces to wear. You end up buying gift cards your friends and family will never use, and party-ready impulse buys you’ll wear a handful of times. But what if you could make shopping this year a sustainable act, and get an insider’s perspective on the best watches on the resale market, all in one? Read on as our watch expert Maryanna Nagle dives deep into our best timepieces to wear and gift this year.
Wear The A. Lange & Söhne, Gift The IWC

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A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Watch; IWC Portofino Romana Perpetual Calendar Watch

Seasoned collectors can complete the holiday party circuit wearing a noteworthy A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1. “The Lange 1 was released in 1994 as the brand made their comeback,” notes Nagle. After A. Lange & Söhne’s main production building was bombed on the last day of WWII, it took forty-five years and the fall of the Berlin Wall for the company to revive its business. “The watch’s 72-hour power reserve indicator is so meticulously crafted,” adds Nagle, “that when the watch needs rewinding, the second hand stops at zero to ensure the most accurate time is kept.” If you can’t bear to be late and favor precision and perfection over all else, this is the pick for you.
Gift a fellow collector a lauded IWC Portofino Perpetual Calendar Watch. “There are few movements as poetic as a perpetual calendar,” explains Nagle. “An absolute feat of engineering, the perpetual calendar not only accounts for the 365 days in a year, but also accounts for the occurrence of leap years.” The perpetual calendar was created over two hundred years ago but fell out of favor due to innovative battery-powered quartz watches; IWC revived the complication, however, to the delight of aficionados. Once the slimmest perpetual calendar watch in the world, it’s a must-have for anyone who appreciates the finer things.
Wear The Omega, Gift The Breitling

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Omega Speedmaster Watch; Breitling Blackbird Watch

Go straight from the office to the party with a timepiece that doubles as daily driver and polished dress watch: an Omega Speedmaster. Originally introduced in 1957, the modernized version features a white dial with yellow accents, a date window, small-seconds subdial, 30-minute recorder and 12-hour recorder — typical features for a chronograph. “Each subdial is decorated with a ‘Claus de Paris’ textured pattern, making them stand out against the black speed-measuring tachometer ring,” notes Nagle. It’s immaculate in both design and functionality, and certainly prime for the holidays. And fun fact: Buzz Aldren wore this model to the moon on the Apollo 11 mission, and it’s still NASA-qualified for space travel.
For the history buff and aviator at heart, gift him a Breitling Blackbird. “Since their genesis, Breitling has found their niche crafting timepieces for industrial, military, scientific and athletic professions,” explains Nagle. Selected as the pilots’ choice for generations to come, the Blackbird is modeled after the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird — a long-range, Mach-3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft designed to outfly any missile threats as its main defense. “No Blackbird aircraft has ever been lost due to hostile action,” says Nagle. It’s a symbol of technological triumph and stealth, and a thoughtful pick to boot.
Wear The Cartier, Gift The Bvlgari

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Cartier Panthère de Cartier Watch; Bvlgari Serpenti Watch

If you’re ready to show all the way up for the party, the Cartier Panthère de Cartier is the ultimate high-shine timepiece to wear. Cartier has used the panther for inspiration for nearly one hundred years, and returned to its roots by re-introducing the iconic watch to the maison’s collection this year after a 20-year hiatus. “The smooth, brick-like links of 18 karat yellow gold are comfortable and luxe, and this model features two rows of high-grade diamonds perfectly set around the bezel,” says Nagle. “It’s the epitome of elegance.”
Gift the queen in your life a Bvlgari Serpenti, a watch that got its glamorous start in the 1940s. “The flexible ‘tubogas’ or ‘gas pipe’ style bracelet coils around the wrist in 18 karat rose gold, and leads to a classic 35mm Serpenti case,” notes Nagle. The serpent represents many things, from wisdom and eternity to the battle between good and evil, and Bvlgari channels these myriad meanings into an effortless, painstakingly crafted timepiece anyone would fawn over.
Wear The Rolex, Gift The Panerai

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Rolex x Pro-Hunter GMT-Master II Watch; Panerai Luminor 1950 Watch

The utilitarian who’s always on the go need not eschew a luxury timepiece, especially when the Rolex x Pro-Hunter GMT-Master II is around. “There’s something to be said about the high-quality customizations by Pro-Hunter, made exclusively for the rebellious adventurer,” says Nagle. “The GMT complication allows the wearer to track two time zones, plus it features a scratch-resistant carbon coating.” If you’re jetsetting from coast to coast or continent to continent for the holidays, this watch will have you covered.
Gift a fellow globe-trotter the Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatica Ceramica. “With a flyback chronograph complication, you need only push once to reset it,” says Nagle. “The second hand will jump back to zero and start sweeping the seconds again, making it possible to record time perfectly. It’s like driving a car at 90mph and throwing it into reverse without stopping. Truly an example of horological ingenuity.” If that’s not enough of a selling point, its zirconium oxide coating is five times stronger than steel but lighter, scratch-resistant and resistant to corrosion and high heat. It’ll withstand the elements and last a lifetime, no matter what the wearer puts it through.
Wear The Nomos, Gift The Hermès

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Nomos Tangente 38 Watch; Hermès Arceau Watch

For the minimalist art lover, a watch that marries precision with a design-minded lineage may seem impossible to find. But indeed, such a watch exists with the Nomos Tangente 38. “Nomos Glashutte watches were inspired by the modernist aesthetic of the Bauhaus movement, and the Tangente model has been their best-selling watch for 25 years,” explains Nagle. The Tangente is streamlined to the essentials with a 38mm case, perfect proportions, cornflower blue hands and crisp white dial. “Its five numerals and a clear sub-second dial allow the watch to appear entirely clean,” notes Nagle.
Fellow lovers of art and fine craftsmanship will fall in love with the Hermès Arceau. “It comes as a surprise to most that Hermès has been in the watch business since 1910,” says Nagle. “The Arceau, designed by famed artistic director Henri d’Origny, debuted in 1978. Its sloping numbers and asymmetrical lugs — which resemble an equestrian stirrup — became an instant classic.” In short — you really can’t go wrong with gifting the Arceau.
Shop more luxe, giftable and editor-approved watches here.

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