WatchTime readers are obviously really into collecting watches. We’ve found, after meeting many of them over the years at events like WatchTime New York, that most of them have many other interests and hobbies as well. Herewith, our annual holiday roundup of luxurious gift ideas, curated from some of our friends and partners.
For the Aspiring Shutterbug:
The Leica Q is the brand’s first compact camera to offer a full frame sensor and fixed focal length, making it ideal for shooting in all sorts of lighting situations. Indoors or outdoors, day or night, the Leica Q will have you covered and is an ideal gift for the discerning watch enthusiast looking to enter the camera game. Previously only available in black, gray, and silver, Leica recently rolled out a new limited-edition colorway in Khaki Green. ($4,995, us.leica-camera.com)
For the Spirits Connoisseur:
When Alabama moonshiner Clyde May needed to keep his then-illicit barrels of homemade bourbon hidden from the law, he buried them under huge piles of sawdust. Necessity, as it often does, begat innovation as May realized that the whiskey inside the barrels became toastier and more flavorful while it rested under the piles. From this historic process comes Clyde May’s Cask Strength Straight Bourbon ($175, www.clydemays.com), aged 10 years and bottled at an intense 117 proof, from the Alabama-based distiller, which has been making whiskey since 1946, and marketing it legally since 2001. A limited release of only 3,500 bottles, it offers notes of caramel, chocolate and almonds and a long, rich finish. If tequila is more your speed, we recommend Avion Reserva 44 ($150, www.tequilaavion.com) in its gift-ready, fire-polished crystal bottle. Distilled from blue agave in the Mexican highlands town of Jesus Maria, this luscious, small-batch extra añejo brings ripe fruits, vanilla hints, and warm spices to the palate. Of course, sometimes only a sensuously dry martini will do. Mix up your next one with Malfy Originale Gin ($30, www.malfygin.com), the first Italian gin imported into the U.S. (and we’ll bet you didn’t know gin was first distilled by monks on Italy’s Amalfi coast). Continuing the tradition, the Vergnano family blends juniper and five other botanicals and mixes it with mountain spring water from a high-altitude coastal region for a crisp and distinctly dry spirit.
For the Cigar Aficionado:
Five premium tobacco-growing nations have a hand in Cohiba’s newest and most exclusive release, Cohiba Spectre ($900 per 10-cigar box; www.cigarworld.com), which masterfully blends eight varietals representing an array of soils and microclimates. The dark, silky wrapper is Sumatra-seed leaf grown in Ecuador and set aside for extended barrel-aging; the binder is Connecticut broadleaf; and the earthy, powerfully spicy, complexity-packed filler is anchored by tercio-aged Dominican Piloto Cubano from the 1995 harvest, with additional enhancements coming from hand-selected leaves from two regions of Nicaragua (aged in Spanish sherry barrels) and three regions of Honduras. Only 180 boxes have been produced, each with 10 Churchill-sized cigars (7.25 x 54), priced at $900. From the Grupo de Maestros, a brotherhood of master cigar blenders whose collective experience in the craft spans 200 years, comes the H. Upmann Connecticut by Grupo de Maestros, a new, fuller-flavored take on the traditionally mild-to-medium-bodied Connecticut shade-wrapped smoke. This cigar’s wrapper is grown in Ecuador from Connecticut seed for a more robust flavor profile, strengthened and given flavor nuances by the Pilotico filler leaves, a proprietary strain grown in the Dominican Republic’s fertile Cibao region by the Mendez family. ($167 – $176 per 20-count box, www.altadisusa.com)
For the stylish traveler:
Launched in Paris in 2011, luxury jacket-and-coat purveyor Éclectic expanded to New York’s SoHo district last year, offering a range of high-end outerwear using a variety of impeccably sourced materials. Among our favorites for the chilly winter months is its Alpaca M Coat ($1,700, 212-334-3600), with its slightly oversize cut, waist-fitting martingale back belt, and thermally insulated shell made of rare, dark indigo alpaca wool — lighter than sheep’s wool but just as resistant. When the jacket is shed and it’s time to TCB, why not also make a stylish statement with the French cuffs that demurely surround your timepiece? Atelier Paulin, based in NYC’s Garment District and founded by two fashionable young entrepreneurs from France, makes its customized cuff links out of 18k gold wire right in its own workshop, offering up to three uppercase initials ($1,600, www.atelierpaulin.com). And when it’s time to pick up the check at that holiday outing, reach for the Shades Wallet from Denmark’s Georg Jensen, suitably understated yet elegant in that classic Scandinavian way, in dark gray leather with a removable money clip in PVD-coated steel the color of burnished brass. ($80, www.georgjensen.com)
For the literary maven:
Boulder, Colorado-based Juniper Books is a specialty bookseller known for curating and compiling beautifully designed and exquisitely packaged book sets, creating what it calls “custom libraries” for collectors and avid readers. Its wide-ranging portfolio offers something for just about everyone, from single-author collections (Jane Austen, George Orwell, J.D. Salinger, John Updike) to themed sets (science fiction, Gothic horror, historical documents, female, and African-American authors) to cookbooks, poetry, and contemporary best sellers like Harry Potter. The one that caught our eye was this handsome Ernest Hemingway set with safari-inspired jackets, which includes alpha-male classics such as “A Farewell to Arms,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “The Sun Also Rises,” and others. ($395, www.juniperbooks.com)
For the refined scribbler:
The EDC (everyday carry) movement has helped emphasize the crossover appeal between pens and watches in recent years. Both objects are incredibly personal, function as a necessary part of your quotidian lifestyle, and appeal to those who are detail-oriented and love the feeling of holding something well-made in their hands. Ian Schon might understand the connectivity between these two passions better than anyone outside of the Montblanc manufacture. In addition to running things at Schon Horology, this young Bostonian is el jefe at Schon DSGN, a pen company that prioritizes the usage of mixed metals and the importance of finishing. There are currently over a dozen pens available that each offer their own unique weight and personality. Order the anodized aluminum or crystal titanium pen and you’ll find it to be easily portable and ideal for journaling or sketching on the go; on the other hand, an option like polished brass or polished copper will offer a robust feel and develop a patina as it ages in your pocket or bag. ($70-$240; schondsgn.com)