What he wants: a classic watch (that won’t break the bank)


Certain men are a nightmare to buy gifts for. I know, I live with one. But one of the safest things you can buy is a classic watch. They don’t have to be expensive, there are a few brands I like a lot that plug the gap between high street and luxury, are nicely designed and well made.

Uniform Wares is interesting because it has recently adapted its business model. The UK-based brand of clean, unisex timepieces is now positioned as a progressive luxury quartz brand, bridging the gap between mass market quartz brands and the quartz offerings by the likes of Tag Heuer, Cartier and Chanel. All watches are now made in Switzerland with some limited edition batch assembly carried out in its assembly lab in London. All its watches will be sold only from its website which helps keep the price fairly keen (from £240). Experimentation with watch straps is encouraged thanks to the ‘watch strap boutique‘ on the Uniform Wares site that lets you buy handmade, exotic-skinned straps to pair with your watch purchase, or to upgrade your existing watch. My current favourite is the alligator skin that can be bought just as a strap, or as the C35 style above (£560).

For now, you can buy some styles on Mr Porter too. I particularly like the utilitarian 152 Series brushed-steel watch (£350).

Shinola is this year’s success story, marrying industrial good looks with very slick branding and marketing. The leather of its watches come from an all-American tannery and the styling is a deft mix of heritage-chic and macho modernity. These watches hover around the £500 mark which is not bad for a watch he’ll want to wear forever.

Another good option for the under-£500 budget is this beauty from Mougin & Piquard. The Parisian brand has been revived by J.Crew, giving us this suitably vintage-looking watch hand-assembled in Switzerland using a crystal quartz movement. This is a watch that really seems to transcend the age borders.

Of course, if you have the funds, then I can’t think of many men who wouldn’t appreciate a fine, hand-assembled watch. That’s not to say it has to be flashy though. Of the fine watches on Mr Porter, this croc-strapped Bremont chronograph (£13,950) with its rose gold case, is functional and understated, yet definitely luxurious.

I don’t know much about Junghans but I love the spare design of its Max Bill stainless steel and leather watch (£825). Based on a vintage 1930s model, this is a watch that a man will feel confidently dressed in and ready for business. Junghans’ stainless steel Meister watch (£1,625) is another winner, an elegant everyday watch that can be worn both for work and more formal occasions. Invest in a workhorse of a watch like this and on a cost-per-wear basis, it will easily pay for itself.


WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl