We hope you enjoyed yesterday’s Holiday Gift Guide 2019: The Watches.  Today, we’re back with a look at everything else we enjoy here at team Fratello.  From watch-related gifts, to travel, to everyday living, and some fun…here we go!

Watch-Related Gifts

Original and Colourful Pastiche Patches (80 EUR)

In case you missed it, we give you another opportunity to look at a summer piece from Balazs, who dug deeper into the story behind this college side-business idea that became one of the coolest watch accessory brands on the internet. A bunch of great iron-on patches could be purchased individually or as a pack of all 22 designs. “The top seller is by far the Submariner patch followed by the Heuer and the Rolex crown. I guess the simplicity and the “under the radar”-look of the submariner patch is the reason behind the success. ” Johan, the project founder, told to Balazs. Go to their website, flip through the different patches and let Daytona, Speedmaster or Seiko Wave or Calatrava inspire you. -Tomas

Jewels of Time: The World of Women’s Watches ($25)

Because no one can ever have too many books and you can’t go wrong with choosing the next great read. “Jewels of Time: The World of Women’s Watches” will work wonderfully for those who are already watch enthusiasts, as well as for those who look for the inspiration to become one.  Roberta Naas’ gorgeous coffee table book is the ultimate bible of luxury timepieces made for women. Deeply beautiful story about watchmaking history written from a female’s perspective that differs so much from men’s experience. This book is an exploration of the women’s empowerment movement and its unique relationship to time alongside with over 200 images of the most splendid watches. Containing interviews with industry legends, professionals, and celebrities, the 300-page collection reflects Naas’ desire to redefine standards and highlights over 200 years of creativity. This book is definitely a conversation starter – unlock the secrets of the watch universe and let your love immerse in our magical world.  Here’s a link on Amazon. – Karina

Archive image © Europa Star

Europa Star Club Subscription (99 CHF + Fratello offer)

Want to gift or be gifted something more original than watch cases, watch rolls, straps, books…? How about a subscription to the Europa Star Digital Library. It’s a treasure trove for watch (hi)story lovers to enjoy fascinating and entertaining reads at their fingertips, be it vintage or modern (I introduced it a few months back HERE). Europa Star is the only publishing house still in existence that has been reporting 90 years of horological records and major happenings, since it started life in 1927, just a few years short of Rolex S.A.! This year, Europa Star has opened their digital library with access to its searchable archive on a subscription basis. With an annual fee less than the cost of a strap (or less than a Swiss coffee monthly), any watch enthusiasts or professionals can roam around for an invaluable source of information and references on their favourite brands and watches. Find out more about the subscription launch offers here: EuropaStar.com/Club and for a Fratello festive special of an extra 10% off, use code: ESpecial10Sky

Image source: eBay

Vintage Seiko Alarm Flip Clock (100 – 500 EUR)

Giving the partner a wristwatch is like a walk through the minefield. You never know, how it ends. If you are not sure, what shall be the next edition to his wristwatches collection, what about looking for a safer choice? I was always fascinated by flip clocks and so I just typed it into eBay search. I was surprised by the variety of styles and colors jumping on me from the screen under Seiko branding. They vary in little details like lighting, font styles or screen design. If you don’t want to mess around with cables, there are some options of battery-operated clocks like the one on the picture. It is for grabs for 333 euros here, but I also listed striking Citizen, or Panasonic with AM/FM tuner. -Tomas

Watch Thing Co. T-Shirts ($28)

I received a pleasant and timely surprise email from a friend and reader, Justin Williams.  Justin lives in Pennsylvania and happens to work at one of my absolute favorite craft beer breweries, Hershey-based Tröegs.  But Justin is also a big watch fan and he and his wife decided to start a small brand making vintage-watch detail inspired t-shirts called “Watch Thing”.  They’ve got a number of designs in the pipeline (including something Speedy related!), but their first is the “Tritium Tee” with the famous “Swiss – T<25” script on it.  I’ve got one on the way and I cannot wait to wear it!  As mentioned, there’s only one shirt now, but follow the website and their Instagram account for more information.  – Mike



Rimowa Original Aluminum Luggage (840 – 1,420 Euros)

Most of the team here on Fratello are fans of Rimowa.  Several of us have had them for years while others have picked them more recently as either funds have allowed or they decided to listen to those of us who constantly speak about the overall quality.  Yes, Rimowa is expensive and, yes, I am sure there are plenty of other great luggage brands.  Plus, I know that hardcore Rimowa fans dislike the fact that the brand was bought by LVMH and now has a shorter, stricter warranty.  Well, I’ve owned a lot of luggage and as one who travels 100-200K miles per year, nothing has lasted as long as my Rimowa.  But this year, I stepped up to the “Original” aluminum luggage (RJ’s cabin trolley is above); I was only using polycarbonate previously. My massive Salsa Polycarbonate edition developed a lot of cracks – likely due to me overfilling it and the airline baggage handlers flinging it from its handle.  I went with the big metal beast and while it is heavy, I’m thankful (well, not really thankful) to have a status that allows for a heavier bag.  I love the dents it takes on and I also love to slowly adorn it with stickers from cool sites, bars, breweries, etc.  Yes, these bags (in any size) are frighteningly expensive, but if you want to give your significant other something that will last for a seriously long time and take on both purposeful and inadvertent character that reminds them of their travels, an aluminum Rimowa isn’t a bad choice.  Head here for a look.  -Mike

Sony WF-1000XM3 in-ear noise-cancelling headphone ($230)

If you travel a lot there is one thing you can’t go without, and that is noise-cancelling. Something I also mentioned in last year’s gift guide. But when walking around Schiphol Airport earlier this year, I saw the Sony WF-1000XM3 in-ear noise-cancelling headphone on offer. As I’m not really an impulse buyer, I did a quick online read on them to learn they are the What-HiFi 2019 award winner. Just a few minutes later I unpacked them to learn they are easy setup and the sound is fantastic. And the best thing? With the charger case included they are so small that you can always find a spot for them in your bag or pocket. Although the controls might be a bit limited, which is a common thing for in-ear headphones, I always have them in my travel luggage. They play up to 6 hours, and even longer with noise-cancelling turned off. When the battery is drained, a quick 10 min charge in the case gives them enough juice for the next 90 minutes. – Bert

Timbuk2 Tuck Laptop Backpack ($79)

On a normal day, I guess I’m what you’d call a business person.  I go to an office or I travel via plane, train, or car.  There are days where I’m in a suit, but most often I’m in some khakis or slacks with a blazer.  I used to carry a soft brief case and sometimes I carry a really formal attaché, but I most often use a backpack.  Goodness, how I looked down upon this in the past…  I was at some work conference and I got some free grey roll top backpack as a parting gift and, dammit, I loved it.  But, it was pretty cheap and when I closed one of the strap clasps in the door jamb of a taxi, it was done.  I feverishly looked for a replacement that offered the gaping hole of access offered by a roll top and stumbled upon the Timbuk2 Tuck Laptop Backpack.  At under $100 it was worth the risk and I’ve been damn happy ever since.  It’s plain, water resistant and big enough to allow me to throw gifts, a duty free bottle of whatever, and two laptops with ease.  Plus, it’s light and small enough to stow under the airplane seat when I’m feeling altruistic and don’t want to clog up an overhead bin.  I can even put my Yeti in the side pocket!  Head to Timbuk2 for a closer look.  – Mike


Picture courtesy of peakdesign.com

Peak Designs Slide Lite Camera Strap (Black Friday Sale Price 39.95 Euros | RRP 46.95 Euros)

Camera straps are usually that forgotten accessory that comes with the camera body, yet they can affect where and how you shoot. Supplied straps usually attach to the camera with a fiddly buckle system that relies on friction to stay secure. In my view, a camera body and lens with a combined value of 500 Euros or more needs something sturdy, secure, adjustable and comfortable to keep peace of mind. With Peak Designs camera straps, the anchors are fastened to the body with paracord that can support a weight of up to 90Kg. A simple cow hitch knot is all that is needed so even the hammiest fist can fit it within seconds. The anchors slot into the strap ends using metal spring boards that hold it in place. This quick release system gives the option to switch between hand-hold and tripod camera work without losing precious shooting time. The adjustable sliders lock into place when a perfect length is chosen and the seatbelt style fabric is smooth and comfortable against bare skin. I personally selected the Slide Lite version that is slightly slimmer and more suitable for my compact Fujifilm mirrorless camera but more heavy duty options are available for DSLR and full frame cameras. Check here for more info. – Ben

Hasselblad 907X Special Edition (US$ 7,499.= / € 6,335.= excl tax, without lens)

Meanwhile, you all know that anything Moon-landing-related has our interest here at Fratello. So it’s no surprise that the following camera made it to our Holiday Gift Guide. The limited-edition Hasselblad 907X Special Edition celebrates the anniversary of the first Moon landing and the Hasselblad cameras that documented this historic event and which were left behind on the lunar surface fifty years ago. The 907X is Hasselblad’s smallest medium format camera body ever, weighing in at only 206g. It’s extremely thin, lightweight and built to smoothly combine with the CFV II 50C, and enables shooting with a wide range of Hasselblad optics, including all XCD Lenses. It features a brilliant 50-megapixel CMOS medium format sensor with outstanding color depth and a huge dynamic range of 14 stops. Hasselblad uses its Natural Colour Solution technology, delivering superb, true-to-life tones that match what the human eye sees. The Hasselblad 907X Special Edition will be available 2nd half of December 2019. More info through www.hasselblad.com – Gerard

Everyday Living

Orlebar Brown Swim Trunks (125+ GBP)

I was listening to The Grey Nato podcast and it was probably well over a year ago that Jason Heaton mentioned Orlebar Brown and some swim trunks he had bought from the brand.  He also mentioned their association with Daniel Craig in one of the bond movies and that the style was rather Connery-esque.  I didn’t give it much thought, but I was on vacation this past Summer in Cyprus and the hotel shop actually carried clothing and swimming gear from Orlebar Brown, so I figured I’d try.  Well, I’m never going back to board shorts, volleyball shorts or whatever else I was wearing.  These shorts have a tailored, sort of retro look (I chose the Bulldog Sport), but they’re comfortable.  I wanted to fit in with the rest of the Euros at the hotel pool, but I didn’t want to go the Speedo route that my Dutch teammates like so much (hahahaha!).  In any case, this is the most I’ve ever spent on swim trunks, but the brand clearly puts in a lot of work as these things have a 5-year warranty!  Head to their site to find nearby retailers or stop in when you’re next in the UK.  -Mike

Mount Street Shoe Company Watch Dial Slippers (495 GBP)

I love that men care about style and take pride in it, more than ever. Tom Ford’s famous quote “Dressing well is a form of good manners” rings true. These slippers smarten up your dress code without effort, ideal to be worn from casual to special occasions. Fancy a treat for yourself, or for someone who deserves to feel fabulous? The Watch Dial slippers are made to order, and are inspired by the most iconic and sought after wristwatches. They come in gold, steel and lume glow in the dark embroidery options. Each slipper is unique with optional embroidered initials on the side or embossed on the leather soles. Mount Street Shoe Company is an independent purveyor crafting a range of exclusive dress slippers for both men and women. Available to personalise online at Mount Street Shoe Company. – Sky

Vollebak the Indestructible Puffer (895 Euros)

One of my healthy obsessions is to find clothing brands that really push the boundaries as far as technology goes and can also make a garment look good. Vollebak – which is a Dutch cycling term and roughly translates into ‘full throttle’ – was founded by English twin brothers Nick and Steve Tidball and they have literally been pushing the limits of what is possible with clothing. The idea the brothers have is to use science and technology to make the future of clothing. And the list of products they have developed shows that they really mean business. In the Vollebak collection, you will find the Graphene Jacket that is made from graphene, the lightest, strongest, most conductive material ever discovered. Or the Solar Charged Jacket that is made from a highly responsive material that can be instantly charged and made to glow in the dark by any light source you can find. Their latest piece is called the Indestructible Puffer and it is built from Dyneema, the strongest fibre ever created. So with this jacket, you don’t have to worry about scratching or tearing it as happens often with puffer jackets. And it can withstand cold up until -40 degrees Celsius thanks to the insulation made of used plastic bottles that are turned into insulating synthetic fibres. If you need a warm winter jacket that is made with cutting edge technology, look no further because the Vollebak Indestructible Puffer is the only jacket you need. Check out the story of the brand and all the amazing Vollebak products here– Jorg

Double RL (Expensive to Ridiculous)

Double RL is the somewhat retro, somewhat Western, somewhat worn brand from Ralph Lauren that’s named after Ricky Lauren’s Colorado Ranch.  Introduced over 20 years ago, this brand kind of came and went.  I still remember having a shirt from the sub-brand back in the early 2000’s – damn I wish I still had it.  Anyhow, Double RL came roaring back with the whole selvedge denim look and it’s one of my absolute favorite brands.   Hint: there’s no Polo horse here.  What’s amazing, though, are the stores – they look like nothing else.  There are so few in the world with only places like NYC, London, Paris, Tokyo, L.A. and now Nashville having them.  If you ever get the chance to visit a Double RL, if only to look, they’re an absolute feast for the eyes.  The sotres are adorned with antiques and look nothing like a clothing store.  Plus, they look even better lit up for the holidays and you’ll likely find an interesting salesperson there with a cool watch.  I mentioned Nashville as the newest store, but Soho in London also has a new standalone shop that I’ll be visiting (and bleeding in) soon enough (there’s also Bond Street that I visit every time while in town).  I don’t like all the things that Double RL carries, but I like a lot of them and damn do the clothes last…  Head to Double RL for more information.  – Mike

Yeti Rambler Bottle 18oz ($30)

As an American who has been in Europe for the last 8 years, I sometimes feel as though I’ve missed a lifetime of trends in the USA.  Well, the whole fancy cooler and insulated thermos/bottle thing had escaped me for awhile.  Then I got a Yeti Rambler Bottle and life became different.  Before you whine at me, I know there are a lot of choices in the premium insulated beverage container market, but I don’t care.  My friends and relatives had Yeti and that’s what I bought and I love it.  I use a stainless Rambler daily and I throw it in the dishwasher almost daily.  I bought a painted version for my wife and a flip-top version for my daughter and they’re awesome.  My coffee is piping hot hours after I get to the office – and later realize why I’m on edge because I didn’t start drinking it right away – and the things take a proper beating.  Plus, I think Yeti makes a nice, clean looking product and they’re now available in Europe!  Check out Yeti for more details.  – Mike


Lego Technic Land Rover Defender 90 (150 EUR)

Does your partner dream about having a classic Land Rover Defender too. Usually, there are three major problems to have the real one. To find money to fund it, actually find a good example and the last one is to find the place where to park it. Until you get it sorted out, you can live with the latest news from LEGO. The bodywork features Land Rover emblems, removable roof rack with storage box, pannier, ladder and traction mats, opening doors, hood, and tailgate, plus a detailed interior. You can turn the rear-mounted spare wheel to open the tailgate or lift the bonnet to see the detailed in-line 6-cylinder engine with moving pistons. A perfect addition to any chronograph, so you can time how long does it take to put it together. I guess, in this particular case,  a chrono with a 12h counter required. -Tomas

Campagnolo Big Corkscrew (171 Euros)

My parents have a knack for finding some really cool gifts for Christmas.  Several years back, I saw a wrapped box that I couldn’t identify (yes, I entered the age long ago where I “signaled” my gifts) and I purposely left it for last.  When I opened it, I was greeted by a bold box saying “Campagnolo”.  I opened it expecting to see brake parts, but instead viewed a massive corkscrew.  Well, it turned out that Campagnolo designed this “Big Corkscrew” back in 1966 and the item has been available ever since.  Made in Vicenza, Italy, the corkscrew has been designed to center itself over the cork and also to ensure that the screw doesn’t go all the way through the cork.  It’s fantastic to use, is always a conversation starter, and is beautifully crafted.  This is an epic gift for the cyclist who loves wine; we just happen to think that a lot of those folks also love watches.  Available in either a bronze or satin finish, this would make a great and useful surprise.  Visit Campagnolo for more details. – Mike

Fanatec CSL Elite F1 Set (700 Euros)

When you love to play racing games on your PC or PS4 especially, this is the wheel set to get. Although I don’t find enough time to enjoy my racing setup regularly, whenever I do it sure is a blast. Whether you stick this wheel to your desk, or to a dedicated sim-rig, the Fanatic CSL Elite wheel is incredibly smooth while giving you detailed force feedback. And the best thing is that you can upgrade it with different parts like brake pedals, an extra handbrake and/or a shifter just to name a few. Their line of steering wheels has greatly expanded in recent years and they are easy to exchange as they have a quick-release adapter. The CSL Elite F1 Set is officially licensed by Formula 1. And it’s also the set that is used in the Formula 1 Esports Series. Many fun hours guaranteed and before you know it you have a collection of different steering wheels to use for various racing games. – Bert