So December is drawing inexorably near and you’re looking for a gift for a watch enthusiast and don’t have hundreds or thousands to spend. You can lurch resignedly towards the nearest gift card or avoid your watch friends altogether until mid-January, but in the event that you are looking for some affordable suggestions that do not involve winders, travel cases or watch movement cufflinks, here are some suggestions from Horologium, in our inaugural ‘top ten’ end-of-year gift guide.
Some of these fall into the category of ‘cheap and cheerful” gift fillers or party favours and others are a bit more substantial, but we hope that you will find something to your liking. Obviously, these may also be useful if you want to give someone a hint about a gift that you may wish to receive in those cases where a bespoke ‘indie’ watch seems a remote likelihood at best.
They are listed by ascending price.
“You’re late” tattoos
Starting at the rock bottom price of $5 for two or $15 for a set of eight (shipping inclusive in the U.S.), these temporary tattoos come in a variety of colours including black, orange, lime and white, and are perfect for those watch lovers who somehow still manage to be consistently late to GTGs.
NASA velcro Speedmaster strap
Yes I’ve blogged about this strap before, but it has completely changed how much I wear my Speedy. I love it, and it makes an excellent gift for anyone with a Speedmaster. They start from $20 upwards, so just punch in “NASA Velcro strap” into your search engine or ebay, and you’ll find a selection from which to choose.
Construct a clock
Intended as an educational toy to teach kids how a pendulum, gears, bells etc inside a clock work, the packaging says that this plastic clock should take six to ten year olds 10 minutes to build with the aid of the colour-coded instructions, but it has proven to be a hit with all the distinctly adult watch people I’ve shown it to, with one of them even taking up the challenge of putting it together and having it filmed.
Once wound up, it should run for about 8 hours, according to the manufacturer. Its dimensions, assembled, are 21cm tall, 19.5cm wide, 3cm deep. The cheapest place I can find in Australia sells it for AUD22.99, followed by two other retailers selling it for AUD 24.95. In the U.S. it can be had for USD16 here and in the U.K. you can get a similar one for £9 at Schylling and one like the one in the video post above for £12 at ToyDay.
Eschenbach Mobilent 7x
Looking for a good quality sturdy magnifier to examine the guilloché or engraved mainplate on your watches? Then go to a world leader in the manufacture of vision aids and magnification devices, of course. The Eschenbach Optik GmbH Mobilent 7x is a great small magnifier. It’s lightweight, sleek and discreet, and the bi-aspheric lens, which is protected by the built-in case, is a good 35mm size, which means less squinting. There is also a hidden eyelet in the case for the accompanying carry cord. You can buy the Mobilent 7x from AUD 39, about €20, or £17 from U.K. retailers. There are too many retailers to list, so just put “Eschenbac Mobilent 7x” into your preferred search engine.
Watch toolkit set
One of these landed in my general vicinity, which is how I discovered them. This kit, from Jura Watches, is definitely one for the watch geeks. The list of tools, as provided by Jura’s website :
1. ‘Push-Type’ bracelet adjustment tool – designed to push out pins holding bracelet links together
2. Steel pin hammer – use with individual pin [ushers
3 . X2 strap removal tools – double-ended tool with two different sized prongs, designed to aid removal of a bracelet/strap from watch case
4. Adjustment block – for stabilising a wrist watch whilst making adjustments
5. Caseback knife – watchmaker’s knife used to open ‘flip-up’ style casebacks
6. Interchangeable heads for caseback opening tool – sssorted sizes of adjustment heads to match caseback
7. Caseback opening tool – for removing ‘screw-down’ style casebacks from watches
8. X3 Screwdrivers – useful for removing screws from bracelets and cases
9. X3 Individual pin pushers – for use with pin hammer to remove links from a watch bracelet.
They cost £25 and you can order them here.
The ‘Art’ of George Daniels
If you didn’t win one of the three copies of George Daniels’ ‘The Art of Breguet’ which were privately bound for him by renowned bindery Zaehnsdorf at the recent auction, you can buy a rather less glamorous copy of this book by Daniels starting at just over AUD 60 at Book Depository U.K. or U.S.
The other ‘Art of Breguet’
As well as George Daniels’ Breguet books that you probably didn’t win at auction there is, of course, the Habsburg auction catalogue from Geneva 1991. A mammoth 479 pages, it is a Breguet resource in its own right, and you can buy one costing anywhere from about USD 64 up to just under USD 200 depending on condition and whether they have the results insert included. Leave a comment below if you are interested and need help getting one.
NOMOS sundial pendant
One of the ‘timepieces’ I wear most frequently is this wearable sundial from NOMOS. To read more about it click here. You can buy it directly from Nomos for 118 Euros or from your local NOMOS authorised dealer. In Australia, they can be purchased from Master Watchmaking.
Nixie Tube clock
Nixe Tubes for the retro-tastic watch enthusiast. Need I say more? You can buy them as a kit for assembly, or already completed for you. Their prices start at about $130. One source is TubeClock.com
Kinekt gear ring
I learned about these from a friend in Melbourne, who has one. They aren’t strictly watch related, but after seeing the interest it garnered amongst a group of watch enthusiasts, I felt it belonged on my list. It is matte stainless steel and features micro-precision gears that turn in unison when the outer rims are spun. It costs USD165 and can be purchased directly from their website, where you can also watch a video of it ‘spinning’.