Well, it’s most certainly that time of year again – the time for so many people to consider what to buy for their loved ones or friends for the holiday season. We’ve taken a different approach with our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide – and it’s massive! For sure, there are watches on our list at various price levels, but we’ve included tools and things that have absolutely nothing to do with watches. We hope you enjoy – and – for those celebrating, Happy Holidays!
First up in our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide is Balazs – he’s a man of many interests as you’ll soon see. Fly kicks, kraftig coffee, and rugged watches are just some of the things you’ll see.
If you are looking for a watch with plenty of vintage charm and an affordable price tag (695 Euros) look no further. The Certina DS PH200M was one of the most loved watches coming out of Basel World 2018 and for a reason. Certina did not only put their resurrected DS system in them they also stayed very close to the original 1960’s model when initially designed the new DS PH200M. A cool beach watch for 2019. The official site is here.
Since Pierce Brosnan debuted the predecessor of the watch on the silver screen in Golden Eye (1995) the Omega Seamaster 300M has been a favorite for fans worldwide. The Seamaster 300M became the ultimate Omega diver watch of the era even after the Planet Ocean was introduced. This year Omega released the latest version of the line and I’m a huge fan them regardless of the color or the material of the bracelet/strap. Here’s an official look at the lineup.
Some associate Adidas Stan Smith’s with hipsters wearing them with vintage suits, others see them s universal fashion icons. I tend to agree with the latter. However, I’m sure many of its “fans” know nothing about the godfather of the Adidas Stan Smith. A new book, Stan Smith: Some People Think I’m A Shoe, written by the man himself, is a must-have for the die-hard fans as well as the rookies of the sneaker game. I, for one, hope to find one under my Christmas tree.
The art of espresso (well, coffee) making is a rabbit hole I do not wish to go down. However, as a fan of the craft I read and explore the latest and greatest from time to time. It was during one of these encounters that I came across Kamira, an affordable little equipment that uses the basics of coffee brewing to bring some excitement to your boring morning routine. Besides, they’re made in Italy so they must be good, right?
You are not fashion-conscious if you don’t own at least a pair of socks from a trendy Scandinavian fashion brand. If you want to right this wrong, you have to check out Norse Project. The Danish brand offers a bunch of cool stuff, such as gloves, for great prices. I’m not a Stammkunde (German for frequent buyer) but every once in a while, I put an order through. Their gloves are pretty cool.
Our trigger man and resident BBQ specialist, Bert, is next up with his picks for our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide. He went rogue – which is normal and we like it – with his picks. Enjoy!
Apart from all the mechanical watches, I regularly enjoy my Casio G-Shock GW9400 Rangeman. It comes packed with a bunch of nifty features and although it’s quite large, due to it’s low weight (just over 90 grams) you will hardly notice it on your wrist. Whereas my JDM (Japanese domestic market) version might be hard to find, the regular versions are widely available and make a great gift on a modest watch budget (under $200). No worries about power reserve as it charges up in the sun. And the triple sensor will let you keep track of height, baromatic pressure, temperature and even directional readings. Besides that, it’s built to last.
With all the travelling you quickly learn that a good bag or trolley will make a difference. Recently Balasz did a write-up on our beloved Rimowa suitcases and I also bought myself a Tumi bag. Although they do not come cheap I enjoyed it ever since I bought one. They are very well made, incredibly functional and I cannot see myself travelling without one anymore. Make sure to check out the Tumi Alpha 2 Expandable Organizer Laptop Brief. This bag offers everything I need on short trips as it holds clothing, camera, laptop and some essential electronics easily.
Another must-have for those quiet moments in a busy life is the Bose Quietcomfort 35 II. Whether you travel a lot or like to get away from daily life, the Bose makes a great accessory to switch off. With its noise-cancelling function these headphones turn nearly any location into a relaxing place where you can enjoy some tunes without all the background noise. These have been part of my standard travel kit for a long time and I wouldn’t travel without them. They’re very comfortable to wear for longer periods and easy to operate ($265).
After reading our 10 tips for better watch photography you want to start taking macro images but don’t want to spend a fortune on a macro lens. Have a look at a set of extension tubes for your specific camera brand. You can easily pick up a set for under 100 USD/Euro. You use them in-between your camera and standard lens which significantly shortens the minimum focus distance allowing you to take macro shots. Fun to play around with and they give great results.
R-J, the founder with a name that no one gets right (he has the one Dutch name I can sorta pronounce!), is here with his ideas for our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide. He’s got some ideas to help you fix things, but if your watch is kaput, he’ll help you choose a new one.
If you find yourself swapping straps or resizing bracelets often, or even change a battery or two for your quartz pieces, you can’t do without a proper set of tools. Bergeon is the way to go in my opinion, and they offer this Quick Service Set Reference 7812 for these type of tasks for under 250 Euros. Especially resizing bracelets can be bothersome, so you need a proper screwdriver for that, or a pin-remover. This case also includes a pocket knife to open snap backs and a tool to open screw-down casebacks. It also includes the famous pushpin tool 6767.
If you only need the pushpin tool to swap a strap or bracelet, there’s the Bergeon 6767 for under 20 Euros. Don’t go for anything less. Bergeon certainly doesn’t come cheap, but it is the brand that supplies all the professional watchmakers with tools. As my dad always said: Cheap tools damage your expensive equipment (or whatever).
Some people are lucky and can gift a watch as a Christmas gift. This Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical at 420 Euro is really a no-brainer if you want to gift something that will be appreciated by someone who started out collecting, but also by someone who has a proper collection already. A great piece that received a lot of positive feedback last year, one of my favourite sub 500 Euro watches for 2018 for sure.
You can buy all the Montblancs or Omas pens you want, but the one used by astronauts during the Apollo missions was the (then) cheap Fisher AG7. You can write upside down with it as well (useful in zero gravity) and that was the main excuse. The Russians were a bit smarter and used an even cheaper pencil that basically does the same thing. But anyway, the AG7 is the one to get from the Fisher collection and costs under 50 Euros. Word is that Fisher isn’t doing very well these days, so you might have to hurry up. You can buy the standard AG7 but you will also find some pretty nicely engraved Apollo XI specials.
Stretching the Christmas budget a bit perhaps, but if you have something to spend, this Seiko Prospex SPB077J1 is simply ‘Hammer’, as they say in Germany. An awesome diver with the typical Seiko goodness: inhouse movement, professional divers specifications, bracelet, sapphire crystal etc. The design is inspired by the vintage Seiko reference 6159 that in the end became the Marinemaster 300, which is still available today (retails for approx 3000 Euro). This SPB077J1 has a friendlier price tag compared to the Marinemaster 300, and has to do without the Grand Seiko based movement, but it is still a lot of bang for the buck. 1100 Euro to spend on a watch? This would be my pick for sure. Head to anywhere from Amazon (link above) to Seiko’s home page for ordering.
And then there’s Gerard, aka G2, with his picks for our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide. I think you’ll find his choices to be the least bank-breaking, but rather eclectic. Enjoy!
Let’s start with an accessory, a Valet Tray. Although pocket money in coins is getting scarcer these days, we love to empty our pockets when coming home. There are still keys-chains, A Valet Tray is a good place to keep your house tidy and find your stuff easily when you’re leaving again.
To keep Santa Claus happy I’d like to suggest a watch which looks good, gives a smile, and doesn’t break the bank. The Timex Marlin Snoopy. A 40mm stainless steel watch on a black leather strap. Ticking inside is a tried and true 21 jewel automatic movement. Snoopy as Flying Ace is featured on the dial. Currently sold out, but they’ll hopefully pop-up again.. (Editor’s note, Gerard is gloating slightly as I was able to score one of these for him while I was in the USA – lucky dog!)
Then I’ve heard that there will be a Fratello Watches full metal Parker Jotter ballpoint available sometime soon. I have no idea how to get one, but this would be a perfect gift for any watchnerd. Santa, show us your influence and connections!
Last but not least. Who doesn’t want to have an Omega Speedmaster Moonlander as screensaver on his or her mobile phone? Not sure how Santa effectively should this as a present. But hey! Find it at Watches & Pencils through the following link.
We’re a watch site, so I have to offer up a few watches for the holidays for our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide, but I’ll add a few of my other favorite things.
One of the questions I receive frequently – “hey, my significant other likes watches, but I only have xx to spend. What do you recommend?” For the well-heeled spender, I’d go for the Tudor Black Bay 58. This piece, for me, was the first Tudor since the brand’s renaissance began over 8 years ago that has true star power. For sure, the other Black Bays, the Heritage Chronographs, and the Pelagos (ok, that’s a real winner too) have been nice, but the 58 is an epic watch. I said it when I wrote up the watch after Baselworld 2018 that it absolutely contains the feel of a pre-2012 Submariner. It’s slim, relatively light, perfectly sized, and – for what it is – well-priced. At 3,330 Euros on bracelet, this is a real winner – here’s the official site.
The other watch that I fell in love with at Baselworld 2018 was the Oris Divers Sixty-Five with Bronze Bezel. Available in both 36 and 40mm versions, the subtle add of a bronze bezel along with a lovely dial with similarly-hued highlights made this a real head-turner. In fact, I ordered the 40mm on the spot for my wife and she loves it. I’ve swiped it a few times and worn it as well and it’s amazingly comfortable. Oris has loads of variations on the Sixty-Five theme, but this is my favorite. At under 2,100 Euros, this might not be the most obvious choice, but it’s a lovely one. Here’s the official site.
For my third watch, I was going to choose the Hamilton Field Khaki Manual, but RJ beat me to the punch. Then, I was going to suggest any vintage Seiko, but that’s pretty nebulous and potentially fraught with risk (still, you should buy one – any well maintained one). So, let’s settle on a consistent favorite in the Seiko SKX007. It’s now officially-officially-officially discontinued (Seiko told us – although it was in Dutch, so who knows what was really said), so go buy one. No, this isn’t going to pay for your child’s education one day and it isn’t a Submariner for a fraction of the price, but it’s a legend. Amazon has them for $245 on bracelet and $220 on strap. Amazon Germany has them for 299 Euros on bracelet (why is Europe so expensive?). They’re still available, but they won’t be forever. You’re staring at what is widely considered the best deal in all of watchdom and you can still buy one new. Do it. And if you end up not liking it, throw it in a drawer and cry for exactly 5 seconds for blowing the same amount of money on a Seiko as you would have for a nice dinner at a French restaurant – one that would have likely left you hungry.
Gerard beat me to this one, but I don’t care. I own several nice pens (Montblancs, a Parker Duofold Big Red, and others) as I appreciate them for their looks and, briefly, for their performance. But – when it comes down to it, I travel a lot and need a pen for actual use. I need one that can take some wear and tear, writes well, looks less arbitrary than the crappy pen swiped from the Doubletree, and can kinda sorta afford to get left behind. That pen, ladies and gents, is the Parker Jotter. I was so bored with the Jotter growing up because my Dad used one consistently for 30+ years (he wore out many of them when the click cap stopped functioning), but I now appreciate its magic. It’s sleek, nice in hand, isn’t too showy in a meeting, doesn’t leak, and writes so nicely. On that last point, I go with a medium black refill and I’ve found that parker did something to make their refills better. So smooth! For $20 on the Parker site and possibly less on Amazon, you get a full stainless model (my favorite) that exudes mid-century modern styling. As a plus, the Jotter is a great accompaniment to watches in pictures.
Bags are a big thing, but they’re also a really personal thing. This year, I wanted to up my bag game and after way too much YouTube studying, I bought an Incase DSLR Pro Pack. It was something under $200 and it’s not incredibly small, but I’ve found it to be well made, handy and protective of my gear. It’s got a great design and it’s one, with its completely configurable camera compartment, can fulfill a lot of needs. I know this because I brought it on a recent 4-week trip that saw me head from Europe to Asia and then to 4 different time zones within the USA. I combined work with pleasure and that meant my work laptop came along with my camera gear. The Incase kicked ass. It fit everything inside in places where I could easily remember (and access), allowed me to buy and add more crap while on my journey and was sleek enough to jam into overhead compartments of about every type of plane imaginable.
We also like shoes here on Fratello Watches. Some of us dig our dress shoes and we’re fiercely loyal to those brands, but let’s talk casual kicks. Balazs is probably the grandmaster of the group, but this is my section. I’m a Nike guy when it comes to comfy kicks and I became hooked when my first pair of Flyknit Racers entered my world. Odd fact: I run religiously in Mizuno Wave Riders, but I love Nike running shoes for casual wear. Currently, my favorites are the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo. They’re not the Flyknit version, but they’re lightweight and super comfortable – perfect for standing all day on hard surfaces. And – they look badass and not in a goofy Yeezy way (yep, it’s on!). 180 bones will bring these babies home.
Another handy gift is a loupe. There are many out there to choose from, but I am partial to Zeiss. I carry a small 10x folding loupe and once you’re comfortable with using it, it’s like a friend. My Dad carries his around – he has an old school one cased in metal – to antique shows, flea markets, and jewelry shops. They’re practical, small to keep in one’s pocket, and not overly expensive. The D40 I own is $99.99 on Amazon – just make sure you don’t forget about it and lose it in all the gift wrapping on Christmas morning.
Finally, and this is really a geeky choice, but I recommend that everyone own a pair of hemostats. These are the locking clamp-like tools used by surgeons from everything to help knot stitches to locking down on an organ. That may sound grim, but I found myself doing all sorts of watch bracelet surgery and a good pair of hemostats is invaluable. They’re much more tactile than pliers and super easy to use. Plus, at under $10, they’re cheap! Better yet, if you’ve got a medical friend, ask them for some as hospitals generally dispose of them after one use. Just make sure they’re thrown in the autoclave. As a bonus, once you use them, you’ll find yourself employing your hemostats everywhere from within the house to out in the garage.
We hope you enjoyed our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide. Whatever you choose, we wish you a fantastic holiday season. Cheers!