While all watch enthusiasts are different, and diverse in their pursuits and interests, there are some traits that we’ve found to be fairly common among the collector community. Among these are an eye for stylish fashion; a taste for fine spirits and, often, premium cigars; an appreciation for art, travel, and high-end writing instruments; and, of course, an interest in storing and displaying one’s timepiece collection. As we head into the home stretch of the holiday gift giving season, here’s a rundown of exceptional items from some of our friends and partners that you may consider for the guy who has everything — everything, in this case, meaning so many watches you wouldn’t know where to start to look for another one.
For the connoisseur of both fine art and classical horology, there’s the eye-catching sculptures of Berd Vaye — founded by artists “Edward K.” and “Albert A.” and helmed by watch-industry veteran and former Glashütte Original U.S. brand manager Steven Cohen — which collect vintage watch parts culled from antique clocks, pocketwatches, and wristwatches from around the globe and encase them in Lucite, a virtually shatterproof precious resin. The tiny components are all anywhere from 50 to 100 years old and nearly all Swiss-made. Four models are currently available, including the Lost in Time (skull themed), Horosphere (globes), Time Framed (wall art) and Time Squared (cubes, as pictured). Each is a limited edition of 999 pieces (the wall art is only 250 pieces), and comes with a customized precious metal plaque and a certificate of authenticity. Pricing and details are at www.berdvaye.com or at 833-BERDVAYE; the pictured item is $2,900.
The Mull of Oa is the name given to the southernmost point on the Scottish isle of Islay, producer of some of the world’s most famously smokey and peaty whiskies. The new Ardbeg An Oa (pronounced “an oh;” $60) pays tribute to the Mull’s rocky, towering cliffs, which guard the island and its storied distilleries against the raging waves from Atlantic storms, with its blend of intensity and sweetness — a rarity in an Islay whisky and a liquid celebration of “the spot where storm meets calm.” Created in the Ardbeg distillery’s famed Gathering Room, An Oa mixes a variety of rich spirits matured in Perdo Ximenes sherry casks, in virgin oak, and in used bourbon barrels, all together in a vat made of French Oak specially for this gold-colored, non-chill-filtered whisky. The result is an exceedingly complex elixir, with enough smokiness, brine, leather, and peat to satisfy an ardent Islayphile but also a smooth, creamy texture and hints of toffee, burnt orange, and syrupy sweetness that make this expression something truly unique. www.ardbeg.com
With its Great Characters series of collectible pens, established in 2009, Montblanc pays homage to some of history’s most exceptional and impactful figures. The latest to receive the honor are the Beatles, the foursome of lads from Liverpool who would go on to become one of the most famous and influential pop music bands of all time. The Great Characters, The Beatles Limited Edition takes its design inspiration from the Fab Four’s milestone “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album, one of the earliest “concept” albums ever recorded. The multicolored stripes on the cap and barrel echo those on the uniforms that John, Paul, George, and Ringo donned for the album cover; the shape of the cap resembles the microphone used to record the album at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, while the cone is shaped like buttons from the studio’s mixing table; and the four “mustaches” on the clip are a cheeky reference to the facial hair that the band members sported at the time. The stripes are derived from a lacquering process involving more than 10 different steps, from treating the base metal to lacquering each of five colors onto the metal tube in perfectly equal stripes to the final application of transparent lacquer. The solid gold nib is ruthenium coated and finely engraved. Rollerball ($805), ballpoint ($720), and fountain pen ($930) options are all available. www.montblanc.com
Luxury watch winders enter the digital age with the 1834 Cabinet collection from the maestros at Wolf Design. Available in three versions, Regent (12-piece, below), Baron (24-piece) and Ambassador (32-piece), the 1834 uses Bluetooth technology to allow users to conveniently control the winding modules remotely with an app for any iPhone or Android device. Each cabinet features one or more accessory drawers to hold watches and watch rolls and are constructed of sturdy wooden frames in a variety of colors, with tempered glass doors, chrome hardware and a combination lock. The 10 customizable rotation settings include 1-199 turns per day (TPD), 4-11 RPM rotation speed, 1-255 hours of start delay, and clockwise, counterclockwise, or bidirectional rotations. The watch cuffs are designed to hold even the largest and heaviest timepieces in your collection. Prices range from $8,999 for the 12-piece cabinet to $24,999 for the 32-piece. www.wolf1834.com
General Cigar Co. has updated its popular Dominican-made Partagas 1845 line of premium cigars with an even deeper and richer flavor profile as well as adding a new, handsome, modernized packaging. The standout of the revamped blends is the Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte, which — despite its “extra strong”name — achieves a middle ground between robust intensity and smooth complexity that any connoisseur can appreciate. The filler blend mixes aged ligero tobacco from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, a Connecticut-grown, Cuban-seed Habano binder leaf, and a dark, silky wrapper from the Olancho San Agustin region of Honduras. The result is a rich, aromatic smoke with spicy and peppery notes weaving through overtones of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Four sizes are available: 5.5 x 50 Robusto, 6.5 x 45 Toro, 7 x 49 Churchill, and 6 x 60 Gigante. Prices range from $6.49 to $7.69 per stick. www.partagas.com
Your coffee table can always use another beautiful tome devoted to your watch collecting passion, and the one you don’t want to miss is Drive Time, the Expanded Edition ($85), by former Autoweek contributor, luxury lifestyle author and avid watches-cars-and-racing enthusiast Aaron Sigmond. The expanded edition features 40 additional pages and a ton of updates from the original version released in 2016, and boasts a foreward by Jay Leno (famously a voracious collector of both cars and watches) and an afterward by LVMH watch division honcho and frequent WatchTime interview subject Jean-Claude Biver. Drive Time explores the evolution of automotive-influenced timepieces, and the relationship between watch brands and the world of motor racing, in a more thorough and comprehensive manner than any book that preceded it, and showcases more than 90 automobile- and motorcycle-inspired watches — with 180 full-color photographs — from the early to mid-20th century, from TAG Heuer’s “Big Three” chronographs (Autavia, Carrera, and Monaco) to the Rolex Daytona to more modern collaborations like Chopard’s Mille Miglia models, Hublot’s Ferrari series, and IWC’s Mercedes-Benz AMG partnership. Published by Rizzoli, this 272-page hardcover volume retails for $85 and is sure to rev up the engines of watch nerds and car freaks alike. www.rizzoliusa.com
The artisans at the Porsche Design Studio don’t just create some memorable watches (though they are quite good at that; check out my review of the brand’s Monobloc Actuator). They also offer a full range of lifestyle items suitable for discerning gentlemen — like these Gold P’8586 Sunglasses ($5,940), available at www.porsche-design.com, and at select Porsche Design Stores. With frames made of solid 18k gold, they are hypoallergenic, very durable, and noncorrosive, in addition to looking pretty darn sharp. Each pair is handmade, utilizing a production process that consists of no less than 500 separate steps. Keep in mind: sunny weather will be here again before you know it.
Carbon fiber has been finding its way into more and more watches in recent years and now the avant-garde material has debuted at the highest levels of the luggage game. Travel to Baselworld or next year’s WatchTime New York event in style with Zero Halliburton’s new Carbon Fiber Carry-On Bag ($3,250) an extremely limited edition crafted in a painstaking, time-consuming production process similar to that used in the creation of high-performance motorcycles and race cars. The company obtains the carbon fiber from a well-known artisan in Japan, heats it in a special mold and after it’s cooled treats it with a special coating that increases its durability and imparts a herculean level of scratch-resistance. In the final stage, this coated shell is polished to a high-gloss finish. Only one of these shells can be made per day, yielding only about 15 pieces worldwide, according to the company — thus ensuring that the owner of this bag can boast a piece of luggage that is just as valuable and exclusive as any item they will carry around in it, including some of the world’s finest watches. But you’ll definitely not want to entrust this one to ham-handed baggage handlers. www.zerohalliburton.com
In the elite world of fine brandies, youth is most definitely overrated. Hardy Legend 1863 Cognac takes its name from the year in which the prestigious Cognac house was founded by Anthony Hardy, grandfather of the family-managed maison’s current proprietor, Benedicte. Aged up to 12 years in French limousin oak barrels to achieve its appealing bronze coloring and rich, seductive flavor profile, the Legend 1863 ($59.99) blends grapes from the Petit Champagne and Borderies regions of Cognac to achieve what Benedicte Hardy intended as a tribute to his grandfather, the “Legend” who started it all. Its complex flavor profile features notes of cappuccino, citrus, and vanilla and culminates in a smooth, elegant finish. The bottle is also a tribute, with its stylized rooster imagery representing both the symbol of France and the Hardy family’s historical coat-of-arms. www.hardycognac.fr