The Watch Standard Holiday Gift Guide 2021 - The Watch Standard
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The Watch Standard Holiday Gift Guide 2021

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Tis the season! Let us at here The Watch Standard be the first to wish you and yours a very Happy Holidays and, as a special present, we are going to take as much of the work out of shopping for your loved ones as we can.

We all have those certain people on our list who can be a challenge to buy for every year, but what could be better to unwrap on the big day than a beautiful luxury watch? The quintessential ‘gift that keeps on giving’, a high-quality timepiece built to last a lifetime.

We have curated the perfect Holiday Gift Guide with of some of the very best from our extensive stock just for you. We’ve made sure to cover as wide a range in both style and budget as possible, so there will be something for everyone no matter their tastes.

Whether your special someone is a seasoned collector or a total newbie at all this, read on to make sure this Christmas is one they’ll always remember.

 

The Sporty Selection

Panerai Submersible Carbotech PAM00616

Panerai Carbotech PAM00616

Italian watchmaker, Panerai is the poster child for timepieces which can handle just about anything lifethrows at them, and the tough-as-nails PAM00616 is no exception.

Part of the Submersible series of professional dive watches (a subgroup of the famed Luminor range) is where only the most capable and robust models live. Described by the brand as ‘Survival Instruments’, all are waterproof to at least 300m and come equipped with rotating timing bezels and that instantly recognizable crescent moon crown guard.

The PAM616 is an enormous 47mm beast of a watch, with signature oversized hour marker numerals and minimalist styling. But the big news is in the materials used. Panerai was the first manufacturer to use Carbotech, a revolutionary material created by binding long sheets of carbon fiber together under extreme heat and pressures. The resulting case is lighter than titanium, stronger than steel, scratch resistant and with a unique military-style matte black finish. Look closely, and you will see each one has a mottled, striped texture which catches the eye beautifully.

Inside is an in-house, automatic winding movement, the P.9000. With a 28,800vph frequency and 72-hour reserve, courtesy of the twin mainspring barrels, the caliber powers the main time telling hands, the date function, and the small seconds sub dial at nine o’clock.

The perfect gift for someone with the most active of lifestyles, we have a superb example of the Panerai Carbotech PAM00616 on sale in our shop for just $13,675.

Omega Speedmaster Blue Side Of The Moon 304.93.44.52.03.001

Omega Blue Side of the Moon

 The different versions of Omega’s seminal Speedmaster are too numerous to count, but take in models of all shapes and sizes, in all manner of materials and with a whole array of complications.

The ‘Blue Side of the Moon’ example (or the ‘Omega Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph Moonphase’ to give it its full title) is one of the more recent inclusions, and one of its most impressive.

Another large watch, weighing in at 44.25mm in diameter, everything here—the case, bezel, dial, pushers and even the moonphase indicator disc—are all cast from high tech ceramic. A tough, lightweight substance, and one impervious to scratches, ceramic is becoming more and more prevalent in watchmaking, and Omega has been at the forefront of its popularity.

As the very long name suggests, blue is the overriding hue for this model, and it provides practically a top-to-toe wash across the entire piece. Unlike the steel version of the watch however, the color has a deep matte to it, particularly on the dial, making the whole thing nicely understated. The only instances of any other shade are little pops of red on the pointer date hand and the tip of the chronograph counter, along with the ‘Speedmaster’ signature.

There are further state-of-the-art touches too. The bezel scale and moonphase detailing are finished in Omega’s own LiquidMetal™, a zirconium-based alloy which maintains impressive corrosion resistance and should stay looking brand new for many years.

The inner workings are also ultramodern. The homegrown Omega Caliber 9904 is a co-axial-equipped, Master Chronometer-rated movement, meaning an accuracy of between 0/+5 seconds a day and an immunity to magnetic fields up to an incredible 15,000 gauss.

All in all, this is a highly talented and distinctive addition to the Speedmaster family, and an affordable one. We have one in stock right now for just $10,495.

Tudor Black Bay GMT 79830RB

Tudor Black Bay GMT

The easiest way to think of the Tudor Black Bay GMT is to picture what the Rolex GMT-Master was like about 60-years ago.

There are very few brands which have adopted the whole vintage-inspired vibe as successfully as Tudor (Rolex’s subsidiary company, in case you were wondering) and they have managed to score a massive hit with their Black Bay range. The GMT variant arrived in 2018 and was an instant success.

By drawing on their own, and their parent company’s, archives, Tudor has created a faithful reproduction of an honest-to-goodness tool watch, as they were back in the ‘50s and ‘60s. So, we have a straightforward satin-finished steel case, a large 8mm crown with (crucially) no crown guards. The dial is a nice matte black with gilt detailing, complete with a period correct chapter ring around the perimeter, and the bezel is coin-edged, with its blue and red ‘Pepsi’ insert cast in aluminum. Even the no-nonsense three-link steel bracelet has rivets in it, for that added nostalgia.

But while the brand has certainly adopted the best of yesteryear to bring right up to date, it is what they have resisted doing which has made the model such a hit. Unlike many others in the business, they haven’t fallen into the trap of trying to make the watch look ‘aged’ with beige hour markers or handset—something which can easily look overdone if not careful.

Providing the power is Tudor’s first ever in-house GMT movement, the chronometer-rated MT5652. With a 28,800vph frequency, 70-hour reserve and even a silicon hairspring, it is a thoroughly modern workhorse for this most traditional of throwbacks.

An absolute beauty of a watch, with an extremely tempting price, you can pick one up just in time for the holidays for only $4,045 at The Watch Standard.

 

The Casual Selection

Rolex Datejust 126333

Rolex Datejust ref. 126333

The Datejust has been Rolex’s biggest success story of all time, even among a catalog not short on iconic models. The epitome of the everyman timepiece, its basic form is the blueprint for what a wristwatch should look like. However, those underpinnings act as a blank canvas onto which customers can apply their own tastes through their selection from an enormous range of different options. There are so many combinations of case size, metal type, dial color, bezel, bracelet, and hour index styles available, it is a wonder how any two examples ever come out looking the same.

The ref. 126333 is a classic Datejust visual. One of the latest in the 41mm generation, it is presented in the characteristic two-tone setup invented by Rolex in the 1930s; a blend of a steel case and outer bracelet links, coupled with a bezel, crown and inner links cast from 18k yellow gold. The resulting bimetal union is known as Rolesor.

The bezel, as with all gold Rolex surrounds, is the fluted design which evolved out of the vintage coin-edged style. It catches the light beautifully and gives the watch a hint more wrist presence than the smooth, domed version.

As the 41mm Datejust series is a relatively new addition for the grand old statesman, only introduced in 2016 (after the short-lived Datejust II from 2009), the range doesn’t have quite the same balance of dial variations to pick from. You can choose the traditional champagne color (gold), through black, white, silver, mother of pearl, or a special slate grey with dark green Roman hour markers, nicknamed the “Wimbledon” dial. Rolex has been official sponsor of the world’s oldest professional tennis tournament since 1978.

Inside is the brand manufactured Cal. 3235, part of the new wave of movements Rolex has been rolling out recently. An absolute workhorse, benefitting from their groundbreaking Parachrom Bleu hairspring and Chronergy escapement, the Cal. 3235 ranks among the finest mass-produced calibers ever made. Adhering to Rolex’s own Superlative Chronometer standards, it maintains an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day.

But above all, the reference 126333 carries on the Datejust’s long held mission; to never look out of place, in any situation or with any outfit. This is truly the watch that can be worn all day long, and absolutely anywhere.

Panerai Luminor Due PAM00906 Ivory Dial

Panerai Luminor PAM00906

Our second entry from Italian style leaders, Panerai, the PAM00906 is at once similar but also vastly different to the ultra-masculine Carbotech above.

Part of the Luminor Due range, those lines are unmistakably from the original full-blooded Luminor series created in the 1950s, designed for and exclusively supplied to the Italian Navy. But where that initial piece was typified by its great bulky, oversized case, the Due collection has been scaled back and slimmed down, bringing a greater versatility to the Luminor persona.

So rather than the imposing 47mm diameter of the debut models, the Due range starts at 38mm and tops out at just 42mm. That is where you will find the PAM00906, a Luminor piece which can actually fit under a shirtsleeve.

It is a far more lighthearted, less serious watch than the Carbotech. The ivory dial gleams and the cool blue numerals keep the whole thing bright. The 316L steel case, while reduced, retains the traditional cushion-shape and, of course, the crown guard is present and correct. The handset is the same simple batons as before, and there is a date display tucked in at the three o’clock and a small seconds sub dial ticking away opposite.

Under the hood is the Caliber OP XXXIV, a Richemont Group movement modified in-house by Panerai, which beats at 28,800vph and offers an impressive 3-day power reserve.

And finishing it all off perfectly, a light blue calf skin leather strap adds to the summery look and feel of the watch.

Tudor Black Bay 79230N

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030N

 Following on in much the same vein as their dual time zone model above, Tudor’s Black Bay Fifty-Eight was launched the same year (2018) and has absolutely blown away any and all competition in the retro-reissue stakes.

By drawing once again on their own peerless heritage, the brand has produced one of the most authentic, and commercially successful, vintage-inspired dive watches of recent years.

As with the GMT, Tudor has cannily taken everything that worked about perhaps their most famous past model and included it on this homage. In this case, that watch is the Oyster Prince Submariner ‘Big Crown’ ref. 7924 (released in 1958, hence the name), the first of the company’s dive models to be water resistant to 200m.

The case size is a nicely restrained 39mm (admittedly 2mm larger than the ref. 7924) with no guard around the 8mm crown. The dial is a matte black with gilt finish, and no date display to spoil the equilibrium. The aluminum unidirectional bezel has a coin-edging and an inverted red triangle at the 12 o’clock, complete with lume pip. You even get a domed crystal, although it is sapphire rather than the historically accurate acrylic.

There are, in fact, only two visual details not taken from the 1958 original, but they are still vintage.

The first is the shield logo, which replaced the Tudor rose of earlier models. And the other is the now-expected Snowflake hands, not seen until the ref. 7016 and ref. 7021 references, both Submariners but issued later, in 1969.

Driving the time-telling hands is the homegrown Cal. MT5402, a COSC-certified chronometer with silicon hairspring and 70-hour reserve. Back in the day, it was really only the fact that Tudor used third-party movements which separated them from parent company, Rolex. That they have now started building their own has closed the gap between the two manufacturers considerably, in every area but price.

We currently have a range of Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight pieces in stock, selling for $3,695—one of the biggest bargains in modern watchmaking.

 

The Dressy Selection

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Blue Dial Ref. 5168G

Patek Philippe Aquanaut ref. 5168G

 It seems there’s nothing a watch brand likes more than a good birthday party, and Patek Philippe are no different.

The Aquanaut ref. 5168G was released in 2017 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the model’s arrival and to celebrate its barnstorming success.

When it first arrived in 1997, the newcomer was thought of as something of a Nautilus-light. But its combination of versatile styling, quirky design flourishes and range of colors has seen it become very much its own entity over the subsequent pair of decades, and one with a massive and passionate fan base.

The 5168G differs from the rest of the collection in a number of ways. To begin with, it is the first Aquanaut to be cast in 18k white gold. And secondly, it is the largest example of the piece so far. On its debut, the original reference came in at 35.6mm, later joined by a bigger 38.8mm version. Then, the 10th anniversary watch in 2007 upped the dimensions again to 40.8mm. But now, and paying tribute to the first ever ‘Jumbo’ Nautilus, the 5168G expands to a thoroughly modern 42.2mm.

Other than the size increase however, this model remains faithful to the Aquanaut aesthetic. The rounded octagon case looks as fresh and innovative as ever, with its mix of satin finish on the top surfaces and beautifully polished flanks.

The dial, complete with the model’s characteristic checkerboard pattern, has been given a lovely blue-to-black ombré vignette, providing a real depth to the face. Both the sword-like hands and the large, bold Arabic numeral hour markers have been filled with lume for easy legibility, and the whole thing is secured by a midnight blue tropical rubber strap, which echoes the dial’s embossed decoration, tying the entire design together.

A watch to be worn whatever the occasion, check out our range of Aquanaut watches in stock now.

Rolex Day-Date 228348RBR

Rolex Day-Date ref. 228348RBR

 Thought of by many as the archetypal dress watch, Rolex’s Day-Date, otherwise known as the Presidential, has remained first choice of the world’s elite for more than 65-years.

An unapologetically opulent creation, the Day-Date has only ever been cast in precious metal—any of the three flavors of gold or the ultimate luxury of platinum—with not a hint of steel or even two-tone Rolesor ever showing its face.

As with the Datejust, the Day-Date exists to give options. The vast number of different dials, bezels and indexes lend an almost infinite number of possibilities, but there are some combinations which will always remain classics.

The ref. 228348RBR is such a watch. One of the newer 40mm models first released in 2015, the reference is cast in 18k yellow gold, complete with champagne dial. A head-to-toe solid gold Rolex is about as old school dressy as you can get, but it is a visual which never goes out of fashion.

This reference ups the ante still further with its use of Rolex’s flawless diamonds. There are 10 baguette cut stones in place of the standard hour markers, with only the 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock missing to leave room for the two calendar displays. A further 48 brilliant round-cut gems are set into the bezel.

On the inside, the very latest Rolex manufactured Cal. 3255 takes care of the timekeeping. Another Superlative Chronometer, it is guaranteed to stay accurate to within -2/+2 seconds a day and has an industry-leading service recommendation of 10-years.

The watch is fitted with the eponymous President bracelet, which is something of an amalgamation of the brand’s other two metal bands. So, it has three semi-circular links, with the outer links given a brushed finish and the inners polished to provide a distinctive contrast, all fastened by the hidden Crown clasp to look like one unbroken whole.

If you are in the hunt for the ultimate statement watch, one which will keep on going forever and be handed on to future generations, then Rolex’s flagship masterpiece should be top of the list.

IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar IW503302

IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar ref. 503302

 IWC, or the International Watch Company, may not have the brand recognition of the likes of Rolex or Patek, but the highly respected, Schaffhausen-based manufacture has been crafting impeccable luxury watches for more than 150-years.

The Portugieser is one of their longest-running series, originally created in 1939 at the request of two businessmen who wanted a watch with the accuracy of a marine chronometer to supply to the Portuguese Navy. The debut reference, the IW325, was the first wristwatch to be powered by a pocket watch movement, the Caliber 74.

Since then, the range has expanded significantly to take in a wide selection of different variations and complications, but there have been a number of key design elements running through the entire collection.

They have always been relatively large pieces, for example, with most existing in the 40mm+ range. Each has a very thin bezel, helping the watch look bigger still, and all have had some form of sub dial on the face, most commonly at the six o’clock. And, as befits a watch built to aid ocean navigation, hour indexes have always been sizeable too to increase legibility, pointed to by IWC’s own elongated ‘feuilles de sauge’ leaf hands.

The ref. 503302 arrived in 2015, a 44.2mm yellow gold model with perpetual calendar and moonphase. If you weren’t sure, a perpetual calendar is a watch complication which compensates not only for the differing number of days in various months (as an annual calendar model does) but also automatically adjusts for the far shorter February AND for leap years every four years (which an annual calendar does not).

As such, it is seen as one of the most complex mechanical complications there is and will need to be manually corrected just once every 577-years.

IWC’s Perpetual Calendar presents its information in a typically elegant and refined way, with four neatly arranged counters set into the snow-white dial. The day of the month is at the 3 o’clock, the day of the week sits opposite at the 9 (with the running seconds arranged inside) and the month of the year takes up a slightly larger totalizer at the 6 o’clock. If you look carefully, a small four-digit year display nestles in at the 7.30, and just below the 12 o’clock is the moonphase indicator.

But if the outside is impressive, what’s going on underneath is incredible. The movement is the homegrown 52610 caliber, complete with IWC’s patented Pellaton winding system, which is not only highly efficient, but also practically wear-free thanks to its use of ceramics. Sumptuously finished and all visible through the display case back, the 52610 delivers an astounding 168-hour power reserve, meaning the watch can be laid down for an entire week and still keep ticking.

A superb timepiece from a widely admired manufacture, the IWC Perpetual Calendar is something very special.

 

The Budget Friendly Selection

Cartier Santos WSSA0039

Cartier Santos de Cartier WSSA0039

There’s a strong argument for calling Cartier’s Santos de Cartier model the first wristwatch ever made. Created expressly for legendary Brazilian aviator, Alberto-Santos Dumont in 1904 by Louis Cartier himself, it has been in continuous production, in one form or another, since 1911.

During all that time, the model has obviously been issued in myriad different guises, but all have preserved numerous design details from the original.

First of all, it is one of the truly iconic square watches, a shape which has been relatively uncommon throughout history. Likewise, the Art-Deco-inspired dial has been a constant for the Santos’s entire run, its Roman numeral indexes arranged to emulate the radial design of Paris’s centre-ville region. Even the exposed screws securing the flat bezel are said to have been based on the shape of the Eiffel Tower’s legs.

The beautifully understated WSSA0039 was only released last year, part of the refreshed Santos collection which emerged in 2018. It is one of the larger of the two sizes Cartier issued, meaning it measures 47.5mm x 39.8mm. It also means there is a date function, sitting discreetly at the 6 o’clock, something the medium sized pieces lack.

The case is forged from stainless steel and then covered in black ADLC (Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon), an elastic, incredibly hard and extremely smooth coating developed by Cartier which makes the Santos virtually impervious to scratches and even fingerprint smudges.

The dial is jet black too, with high contrast white hour markers and sword hands, both filled with lume. Even the date disc (the part behind the day of the month numeral) is black, avoiding having a conspicuous white rectangle at the bottom.

Driving it all is the brand manufactured Caliber 1847 MC, first introduced in 2015’s Cartier Clé collection. The 23-jeweled self-winding movement beats at 28,800vph, with a 42-hour reserve.

Holding the watch in place is a choice between a black rubber strap with screw-shape rivets which make it look like one of the Santos’s traditional metal bracelets, or a simple black alligator leather band. Both are fitted with Cartier’s QuickSwitch interchangeable system, so they can be swapped in a hurry depending on your mood.

The Santos de Cartier may be more than 100-years old, but the manufacture always seems to find a way to breathe fresh life into it, and this stealthy addition is an absolute gem. You can find a superb example on our site right now, for just $7,695.

Omega Speedmaster 311.30.42.30.01.006

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional ref. 311.30.42.30.01.006

Where would we be without the Speedy? Quite simply one of the most beloved timepieces ever devised, it will be forever remembered as the first wristwatch worn on the surface of the moon, strapped to Buzz Aldrin’s arm during his Apollo 11 mission.

Unveiled in 1957 as part of the three-piece Omega Professional Collection (alongside the debut Railmaster and Seamaster 300 references) it is a model which has gone through only nominal cosmetic changes during its lifetime, mainly because there was nothing which really needed changing.

It was the first chronograph to relocate the tachymeter scale onto the bezel rather than printing it around the dial’s edge. That, and the large 42mm case, meant there was plenty of real estate to play with, immediately making the Speedmaster the most legible chronograph on the market. Even though it is a busy watch to look at, with the tricompax layout of its chrono sub dials, the stark white on black dial furniture only enhances the readability.

The case itself is stainless steel, asymmetric and with Omega’s twisted lyre lugs—a favorite feature since the Speedy’s second generation in 1964.

That sort of adherence to the traditional is carried over on to the inside, with the Caliber 1863. This is the premium version of the Caliber 1861, a direct descendant of the famed Caliber 861, which powered several moon mission watches throughout the ‘60s. The 1863 is given rhodium-plated components and a higher level of finishing, all visible through the display case back. It works away at 21,600vph, has a 42-hour reserve and, as with all Moonwatch movements, is manually-winding.

Tudor Black Bay Blue Ref. M79540

Tudor Black Bay Blue ref. M79540

Just about as simple and straightforward as a watch can get, Tudor’s Black Bay ref. M79540 hits that perfect sweet spot between sporty and dressy.

Measuring a healthy 41mm in diameter, and with a smooth polished bezel, there is a casual elegance to the piece which means it never looks out of place. It can be worn on both formal and more relaxed occasions, complementing a t-shirt and jeans just as well as a business suit.

The watch carries over much of the rest of the Black Bay range’s vintage leanings, with its big crown, dot and baton hour markers and the Snowflake handset.

The model is offered with a small selection of dial colors, with our personal favorite being the deep blue. The glossy surface on the face lends it the ability to change shade in different conditions, sometimes appearing near black, then switching up to a popping ultramarine in the sunlight.

As for functionality, there is absolutely nothing superfluous here. You get three hands to tell the time…and that’s it. Not so much as a date function is present to muddy up the watch’s symmetry. But what it does do, it does in some style. The steel case has a mostly satin finish, with just the bezel given a high shine to draw the eye. The dial text is discreet and tastefully done—the Tudor shield logo, brand name and ‘Geneve’ sharing the space below the 12 o’clock, then ‘Rotor’ above the six o’clock and ‘Self-Winding’ underneath, curved into a smile.

The movement is the Caliber T600, a Tudor modified ETA 2824, possibly the most widely used third-party mechanism in the industry. Bombproof and utterly reliable, it beats at 28,800vph and offers a 38-hour reserve.

In short, this is an outstanding all-rounder, the ideal gift for someone in search of that one good watch to suit any and all occasions and not break the bank at the same time. You can buy a brand new, unworn example from our store for just $3,045.

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