The clock is ticking

Gift Guide: The Horologist

November 26, 2013 Buying Guides By

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While other children played with LEGOs, he was the one rebuilding a pocketwatch. In staff meetings, he’s the one who always volunteers to be the timekeeper. On road trips, he insists on navigating with a sextant and chronometer. He wears a watch to bed and wakes his wife up at 2 a.m. to show off the SuperLuminova.

You know this guy. He’s got a different watch for every day of the week. What could you possibly get him that he doesn’t already have? We’ve got you covered. Here are 12 gifts for the horologist in your life.

Additional contributions by Ed Estlow and Shane Griffin


Off the Cuff 2010 Watch Movement Cufflinks


What’s the point of an exhibition caseback if your watch is always on your wrist? Etsy store Off The Cuff 2010 takes the beauty of a watch movement out of the case and puts it on your sleeve. They attach vintage hand-wound movements to silver cufflinks by way of an industrial adhesive. These cufflinks are perfect for the watch guy whose timepiece is often hidden by the sleeve of a suit jacket. More like exhibition French cuff.

10% off with checkout code THEWATCHGUY10

Watch Case Opener


Most watch guys are not only into the aesthetics of watches, they’re also into the mechanics. There’s no better way to get familiar with what makes a watch tick than to open it up. Whether he wants to be able to change a battery, play around with old junk watches, or simply admire the craftsmanship behind a solid caseback, a watch case opener is a must-have for any watch guy looking to get his hands dirty. (Note: Removing the case back from a new watch can void your warrantee.)

Hodinkee Unlined Shell Cordovan Strap


After successfully launching lines of hand-made Italian leather straps and nylon NATO straps, Hodinkee has turned to the crème de la crème of durable leather in their lined and unlined Horween Shell Cordovan watch straps. We suggest going unlined, which adds to the strap’s pliability and tendency to conform to your wrist. The best part about shell cordovan? It undergoes patination and gets softer with wear, the best complement to a carefully chosen timepiece.



Have you heard enough of your watch guy’s ramblings on power reserves, column wheels, and silicon hairsprings? This picture-heavy coffee table book will surely stop him mid-sentence. Featuring over 90 pages of calibers from many of the world’s best watchmakers, Guido Mocafico’s stunning watch movement photography is the perfect addition to every watch guy’s living room. Even if your buddy can’t have that hand-finished Vacheron on his wrist, he can have it on his coffee table.

A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World’s Most Legendary Watch


Every watch guy likes a little horological history. A Grand Complication by Stacy Perman is the story of two men of the Gilded Age, Henry Graves, Jr. and Ward Packard, and how they spurred Patek Philippe onward in their quest to own the most complicated watch ever made. Guess who won?

Only Brown Watch Roll


For the traveling man with more than one watch to carry on an extended trip (can’t wear the same one two days in a row — what will people think?), the Only Brown watch roll safely holds three timepieces. Check it out, but don’t check it in your baggage.

Orbita Voyager 1 Winder


That spare watch needs to be kept wound and running like (ahem) a Swiss watch. The Orbita Voyager 1 is a stylish watch winder that’ll do the trick. Plus, it has a two-year warranty and packs neatly for stowage in a briefcase or carry-on for the road warrior.

Rapport London Securita Safe Quad


Sadly, there are those who look on a watch collection with covetous eyes; no one wants to come home to a watch case emptied without permission. Let your collector buddy keep his prized wrist machines safe and wound with the Securita Safe Quad from Rapport London. Sure, it costs as much as a new GMT-Master II. But then again, what price do you put on peace of mind?

Loupe System Model 01


A guy can’t call himself a proper watch nerd if he doesn’t own a loupe. Stroll into a watch dealer with one and everyone knows you mean business. Examine the details of your heirloom pocketwatch. Learn why a five-figure watch costs what it does.

Even if your favorite horologist already has a loupe, odds are it’s not this one…and it should be. The Loupe System Model 01 is a revolution in magnification. Constructed like a camera lens with separate coated elements, the Model 01 provides a perfect 6x magnification and no chromatic aberrations or distortion, which is just about right for seeing the engraver’s initials on a Lange & Sohne balance cock. The two included rubber top elements fit the eye perfectly, and the barrel of the loupe is sheathed in silicone (carbon fiber and alligator leather are two other more extravagant options) for good grip. The Loupe System Model 01 comes packaged in a waterproof case with carrying pouch and microfiber cleaning cloth. Finally, a “louped” Christmas Day that doesn’t involve spiked egg nog.

Vintage Hamilton Marine Chronometer


That clock on your computer may be accurate, but it’s a poor substitute for a good desk clock; for someone obsessed with time, a vintage marine chronometer from Hamilton, the company that guided the American Navy for decades, is just about perfect for the role. Sure, it’s bigger than your computer monitor, but it’s a good reminder of where priorities should lie. Winding and setting will bring a sense of ritual back to the workday beyond checking social media feeds. And the heavy oak box and brass gimbals were made to keep the timepiece steady and safe at sea — so it should survive the rigors of the office.

ZIIRO Titan pocketwatch


There may be no better horological stocking stuffer than a pocketwatch, and while your horologist might typically prefer mechanical, he’ll appreciate the ingenuity of the ZIIRO Titan. Displaying time in three concentric circles, the Titan is innovative and intuitive at the same time. The matte-finished aluminum case and quartz movement should be more resistant to the knocks of everyday life than his heirloom Elgin. And it’s more acceptable to pull out of the pocket to check the time than an iPhone.

NOMOS Lambda


You’ve worked hard this year, and you’ve been wanting a white gold wristwatch handmade and hand-finished in Saxony for a long time. Luckily for you, NOMOS, the Glashütte brand known for its affordable in-house (and Bauhaus) creations, just surprised the horological world with the release of its first true luxury timepiece: the Lambda. It has all the qualities one expects to find in a Glashütte watch, albeit one from down the road at Lange & Sohne. Flip it over and admire the radially finished three-quarter German silver movement plate and hand-engraved balance cock. The front shows off familiar NOMOS minimalism with slim hands, fine markers and a prominent power reserve gauge that shows off this watch’s astounding 84-hour power reserve. The Lambda comes in a red gold or white gold case; get the white gold. It’ll look less conspicuous at Christmas dinner when everyone is wondering why you only bought them a Starbucks gift card.