What better gift can one give than the gift of time? Of course, this is often more easily said than done. Watch lovers can be a fastidious group. The following five recommendations run the gamut in Christmas gift-giving suggestions from high-end, limited edition releases to cool merch and straps. They also indicate some of the independent brands we have been excited about this year. Below we have listed our Top Five Gift Ideas in alphabetical order. We’d love to hear your thoughts and your own gift-giving ideas in the comments section below.
Aquastar: Go Big or Go Home
One of the most exciting independent releases this year has got to be the 39mm Aquastar Deepstar. We’ve been following the Aquastar story since the brand’s revival in 2020 and have had hands-on with every timepiece in the watchmaker’s collection. The 39mm Deepstar takes the brand’s seminal design from the 1960s and faithfully recreates it in a modern package, including a customized column wheel chronograph movement from La Joux Perret. Unlike its bigger brother, the 2020 Deepstar, this latest iteration has a much tidier, everyman sizing that is sure to please the dive watch enthusiast on your list. At the time of publication, all three colourways are in stock with next day, worldwide shipping.
However, if the watch is a little too pricey for this year’s budget, or the watch lover on your list already has this one in their collection, consider one of the many other gift options available directly from the brand. Because of its close relationship with both the Isofrane and Tropic strap companies, Aquastar offers a variety of watch band options suitable for all divers with 19-22mm lug widths. They even have a brand-specific Nylon Seatbelt NATO. Click here to check them out.
Canister: Everyday Carry
Canister represents everything we love about microbrands. The company slogan is “Built from lessons learned.” Founder, Chris Lewington, isn’t kidding. He’s an active member of the Canadian Armed Forces with twenty years watch collecting experience. His Fieldmaster–the brand’s first watch–is a true labour of love that began at his kitchen table. This military field watch is purpose-built and tough as nails. Rendered in 316 stainless steel, it features a ceramic bezel, C3 Super-LumiNova, and a flat sapphire crystal. The Fieldmaster also boasts 200m of water resistance. Behind the dial you will find Citizen’s mighty workhorse, the Miyota 9015. As a bonus, the Fieldmaster comes with three different straps and its own watch roll. At $300USD, the price of this watch is almost too good to be true.
If you were hoping for stocking stuffers instead, check out the brand’s shop for cool Canister swag, including T-shirts, stickers, and possibly the best waxed canvas watch roll we have ever laid hands on. If you are looking for a solid everyday carry, Canister has you covered.
Locke & King: Old Timey
At Locke & King, they dance to the beat of a different drummer. The brand’s first two watches–The James and The Ossington–appear as though they just walked off the set of Peaky Blinders. This is perhaps appropriate in that the rough and tumble, working-class past of Birmingham is not unlike that of Hamilton, Ontario–the hometown of brand founder, Ryan Moran. But while Moran’s neo-Bauhaus designs may look like the tool watches of yesteryear, they are built to adorn the modern wrist and full of rakish charm. Domed sapphire glass, Miyota movements, and guilloché dial decoration are just some of the design highlights of a Locke & King timepiece. For $500USD, you could make your vintage enthusiast very happy on Christmas morn.
If your watch lover needs a little help to fully look the part, stop by Locke & King’s online shop. There you will find a wide array of accoutrements, including sunglasses, pens & notebooks, snapbacks, and some very cool docker caps. They also offer four different styles of Rustic Suede Leather Straps and a fine stainless steel mesh bracelet.
RZE: It’s Elementary
While French DJ David Guetta and Australian singer Sia may have introduced the world to titanium, RZE’s Travis Tan actually built something with it. A lot of something. Since the launch of their Resolute line of titanium watches in 2020, RZE have grown quickly and relentlessly. The brand now have seven different collections, including their most recent automatic GMT, the Ascentus. Built from Grade 2 Titanium and treated with their proprietary Ultra-Hex, anti-scratch coating, RZE watches are tough and featherweight and assembled for adventure. The brand practically presides over the competitive $500USD space of titanium tool watches.
But more recently, RZE have expanded their catalogue of goodies to include a collection of NATOs, Tropics, Marine Nationale bands, and their very own HexaFlex Rubber Straps. You can also choose from a series of watch pouches, rolls, patches, and a titanium bracelet sizing tool. Take it from Sia, “bulletproof, nothing to lose, fire away, fire away.”
ZENEA: History at Hand
The Muonionalusta meteorite struck the Earth more than 1 million years ago, north of the Arctic Circle and west of the border between Sweden and Finland. Discovered in 1906 near the village of Kitkiöjärvi, the remnants of this strike are believed to be more than 4.5 billion years old. It has witnessed the wax and wane of four different Ice Ages since its arrival. Now, Jason Hutton of ZENEA has taken pieces of this space stone and transformed them into the dials of his Time & Space Ula Diver. Talk about history on your wrist. If you really want to give the gift of time this Christmas, why not make it the beginning of time?
There are four other Ula Divers in the ZENEA collection. All of them are Swiss Made and fashioned from 316L stainless steel with ETA2824 hearts. They sport ceramic bezel inserts, embossed case backs, BGW9 Super-LumiNova, and on-the-fly micro-adjust bracelet clasps. You get a lot of watch for your $869USD. The brand also sells full grain leather straps and a series of NATO bands.
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