The holidays are close, and while a new watch or two (or three or four) might be on the minds and lists of many WatchTime readers, most of us are also interested in other accessories of the good life outside of watches proper. Over the course of the year, we have come across a number of these fine products, some made by top watch maisons, others by some of our other favorite partners and friends. For this year’s last-minute holiday roundup, we have curated a selection of these items to inspire some luxurious gifting.
Breguet Fountain Pen
Almost all watch collectors know of Breguet’s watchmaking prowess, and many also know of the brand’s forays into jewelry making, but fewer among us know of the brand’s expertise in a third realm: writing instruments. The 1775-founded company currently offers a wide assortment of writing tools — from mechanical pencils, to classic ballpoint pens, to much more exquisite fountain pens, to complete sets inclusive of all three. The variety allows for some room in buying a gift that will quickly become a cherished heirloom.
Pricing for the writing instruments begins at $1,700, though inquiry is required for purchase if working directly through the brand. Breguet
Did you know Omega produced and sold rings? Neither did we, until recently. The Swiss watchmaker actually makes a large assortment of non-watch accessories, including wallets, watch boxes, planners, winders, cuff links, sunglasses, bracelets, belts, and even cologne. Most of these small goods take their design influences from Omega’s assortment of iconic horological designs, and the Omega rings are no different.
The foremost design influence of the Omega rings is the scalloped unidirectional bezel of the Seamaster, with each model meant to be matched and paired with one of the brand’s watches. Omega offers four different rings — brushed titanium, brushed steel, polished steel, and black ceramic — Cwith prices ranging from $170 to $280 depending on the material option and available via inquiry and through Omega boutiques. The rings can be somewhat tricky to locate, but once found surely make a great and unique gift for any hardcore Omega fan. Omega
The holidays call for toasts, and we found a handful of very special spirits made in the U.S.A. Crafted especially for Flaviar, the world’s largest spirits club, Corn Trooper 2020 United Craft Bourbon ($71.00) is a blend of seven craft bourbons, aged from 2 to 12 years, from seven U.S. states — Kentucky, South Carolina, New York, Michigan, Colorado, Texas, and Washington — each participating distillery contributing its own signature elements. Robust and powerful yet smoothly balanced, the 101-proof spirit offers notes of maple syrup, vanilla, orange peel and spices among its complex flavor profile. • Made from unpeated, 100 percent pure brewer’s malt and distilled in small batches of heavily charred oak barrels to ensure optimum quality control, Devil’s Share American Whiskey ($152) is a single malt experience unlike any other, with engaging flavor notes of vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom and licorice, enhanced with hints of oak and pepper. • The winner of a Double Gold Medal at 2020’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Templeton Barrel Strength Rye ($59.99) is drawn from a small, select assortment of the Iowa-based distiller’s finest barrels that are set aside and vatted together. Non-chill-filtered and bottled at 113.1 proof, it’s a no-nonsense sipping whiskey, full of richness and balance, with notes of dried fruit, orange peel, and exotic spices.
Continuing the trend of watch-matching accessories, we come to British-based Bremont and its distinct collection of cuff links. The watchmaker currently offers three different models, including the MB T-Bar links that take their influence from the MB and U-2 watches, complete with their orange or brown accents and distinctive knurled-effect surfaces.
Bremont also offers the somewhat similar MB Barrel links that draw their inspiration from the same models, but here feature a more circular design, along with reddish or dark brown accenting on the knurling. Finally, the most visually unique offering is the Radial Rotor cuff links designed to resemble the rotor of the ALT1-C watch, though they are fixed rather than freely rotating.
Pricing for the MB T-Bar and MB Barrel links stands at $165, while the Radial Rotor links are marked at $185, all available directly through the brand’s online store. Bremont
Despite its very impressive footprint in the world of high watchmaking, Montblanc is of course best known by most of its fans not for timepieces but for fine pens. The Hamburg brand has, in fact, has become a versatile purveyor of all kinds of luxury goods and accessories, so since we already spotlighted Breguet in the pen category, we’re going to focus on another great gift option from Montblanc, from its collection of Florence-produced leather goods.
With leather goods starting at $70 for a stationery notebook and spanning up to $1,500 for travel duffels, the luxury maker offers an excellent assortment of gear able to meet many different budgets and tastes. Our favorite? These smooth Meisterstück wallets, which while available in several different styles is best characterized by butter-smooth, full-grain cowhide and an extreme durability able to withstand years, if not decades, of daily use.
Pricing for Montblanc wallets begins at $230 for simpler styles, and can span up to $900 for more complicated travel companions that incorporate space for passports and writing instruments. Montblanc
Tequila long ago began its maturation from a mixer and shot option into a spirit to be sipped and appreciated by connossieurs. Recently, we discovered and tasted three noteworthy bottlings. San Diego-based Cutwater Spirits followed up its award-winning Reposado of 2019 with this year’s Cutwater Añejo ($49.99) edition, produced at a family-owned distillery in Jalisco and made from 100 percent blue agave slow-cooked in traditional brick ovens, double-distilled in traditional alambique stills and aged over a year in imported whisky barrels. The resulting spirit has a rich amber hue and a full-bodied flavors of caramel, vanilla, and hints of pepper. • Espanita Artisanal Añejo ($32.99) is notable for its use of Highland Agave plants that are larger in size, richer in sugar content, and longer in their growth cycle than the Lowlands agave found in many other tequilas. Harvested, cooked, fermented and distilled in traditional methods, this mountain-grown agave imparts the finished tequila with a floral sweetness and a honeyed richness on the palate along with a hint of wood from its 18 months of barrel aging. • Taking its name from that of Mexico’s most famous historical revolutionary, Pancho Villa (whose given name was Jose Doroteo Arango), Los Arangos Reposado ($55) traces its origins to the 16th Century. Los Arangos is made in an ancestral hacienda near Pénjamo, Mexico; its 100-percent agave blend is slow-cooked in adobe clay ovens and bottled in blown glass. The award-winning Reposado offers a nose of white pepper and citrus and caresses the palate with silky-sweet notes of herbs and honey.
WatchTime Magazine Subscription
For a serious watch aficionado, one of the best gifts is undoubtedly the gift of knowledge about his or her passion. Each bimonthly issue of WatchTime magazine includes fantastic insight into the world of horological happenings. In each issue, you can find in-depth watch reviews, tests, company profiles, interviews with some of the top industry leaders and innovators, and so much more.
Plans begin at just under $25 for a trial six-month subscription, and span to a three-year subscription for just under $100. WatchTime Magazine
Julie Kraulis Print
Watch-focused art is gaining a new found interest in collectors’ circles as of late, and few artists are producing quality of work like that of Toronto-based artist Julie Kraulis. Kraulis, who specializes in graphite drawings, is known for her extremely detailed drawing and hybrid distortion work, combining gorgeously realistic horological visuals with piece-specific imagery. For example, overlaying a pencil-drawn Omega Speedmaster CK2998 with the surface of the moon, or a Rolex Submariner 5513 “Metres First” with light peaking through the waves a diver might experience while taking an early-morning dip.
Kraulis has garnered quite a bit of attention since first starting out in the space in 2017, even recently being mentioned in The New York Times for a piece commissioned by F. P. Journe and later sold in an auction benefiting COVID-19 research.
Many of Kraulis’ prints are available via her online shop, with prices ranging from $300 to $2,400 depending on the piece and size. Kraulis also has some original works and commissions available for those who wish to inquire via email. Julie Kraulis
Looking to truly give the gift of horology to a like-minded timepiece aficionado? Make them a part of America’s first watchmaking guild with a membership ($100) in the Horological Society of New York, an honor that comes with an exclusive lapel pin and a mention in The Horologist’s Loupe – HSNY’s newsletter and one of the oldest continuously running horological publications in the world. HSNY members also receive priority access to meetings and special events, plus immediate access to video recordings of lectures and more.
A Man & His Watch
Many horological coffee-table books are dominated by rich imagery rather than text, yet what draws so many into watch collecting isn’t the looks of watches alone, but the stories behind them. Few books capture those stories like A Man & His Watch, a collection of watch-focused memoirs by travel writer Matt Hranek that explores the more sentimental side of collecting. Interviewing celebrities and influencers from around the world, Hranek captures an array of personal stories of men and their watches, richly displaying how each of them became a “watch person.” A Man & His Watch can be found via a number of retailers, including Amazon, for just over $25. A Man & His Watch
Looking for other great book options, albeit ones not necessarily available right now? WatchTime’s Senior Editor, Mark Bernardo, was co-author on the recently released (and currently sold out) SEA TIME: Watches Inspired by Sailing, Yachting and Diving and the author of the forthcoming AIR TIME: Watches Inspired by Aviation, Aeronautics, and Pilots, which hits shelves in June 2021 and can be pre-ordered via the publisher, Rizzoli New York, for $85.
— Mark Bernardo and Caleb Anderson contributed to this story.