The 2016 VCH Holiday Gift Guide
It’s that time of year again—the holidays are fast approaching and with them the need for gifts and gift giving and yes, gift guides like this.
Trust us, the vintage-cool-obsessed guy on your list doesn’t want another bath robe (unless maybe it’s a vintage Beacon Blanket robe) or yet more boring underwear and socks.
If you’re one of those guys and you’re reading this, you know we’re right. If you are buying for a style conscious, vintage-inspired gent, read on…time is growing short.
Blue & Lonesome by The Rolling Stones —$13-37
Keith Richards and Mick Jagger grew up in the same suburb of London and knew each other and played together as small kids before Richards’ family moved away. Years later, the two found themselves meeting up again in a train station in that suburb town of Dartford and struck up a conversation about rock and roll and the blues, largely due to the two records Jagger had under his arm: a Chuck Berry record and a Best of Muddy Waters blues album.
Their shared love of the blues helped rekindle a friendship, and eventually to launch The Rolling Stones (named after one of the songs on the Waters album Mick was carrying that day at the station). This new album of blues standards, their first studio album in a decade, was recorded almost like a live album, and the resulting performances are mesmerizing and prove the Stones can still play the blues with the best of them. Highly recommended. (Find it here)
Men and Style: Essays, Interviews, and Considerations by David Coggins—$27
This is not your average book about clothes and style-related man stuff. What’s different about it is the way Coggins gets us to think about the process of developing a personal style, and more importantly, about life and what it means for a life to be well lived. But he doesn’t stray too far into the realm of philosophy—there’s still enough killer stories about things like bespoke shoes made of leather salvaged from 150 year-old shipwrecks to remind us why we bought the book in the first place. An unconventional look at men’s style and culture and the thinking man’s style book of the year. (Find it Here)
One of the best watch books extant about one of the most iconic watches ever, we’ve seen copies on eBay sell for upwards of $500, but the prices seem to be coming back down to Earth again. This is an amazingly detailed look at the first watch worn on the moon in 1969, still flight qualified by NASA and still used for space walks today at the International Space Station. (Find it here)
Vintage Rolex Submariner—$7000 to $15000+
One of the all-time iconic watch designs, right up there with the Omega Speedmaster and Cartier Tank. The first brand new Rolex you buy is a stone cold thrill, but many collectors eventually move on to appreciating and collecting vintage Rolexes. Vintage Submariners remind us what a genuine tool watch looked like when they cost a few hundred bucks and were actually meant to work — before they became luxury items with white gold surrounds on the dial and ceramic bezels that will never age or show patina, or heaven forbid, scratches.
Designer Billy Reid has one watch and it’s a vintage Sub he wears on an old cloth strap. Hint: one can learn much from that Southern gent’s impeccable sense of style. (Find it here)
Sterling Silver Hip Flask—$1995
(This is a repeat from last year’s list…because a sterling flask is always on our short list of classic gift ideas.)
Sterling silver has long been the preferred metal for a top quality flask. Pewter can taint your precious whisky, and stainless steel is okay…if a bit lacking in the vintage verve department. That’s why these are perhaps best acquired as vintage pieces—we love the Great War sterling silver examples you see on eBay that have killer presentation inscriptions like, “To Major Nigel B. Dillingham, from the Officer’s Mess of the King’s Own 21st Reg’t, East African Light Horse— December 25, 1916.” If you can’t find one of those to your liking, the brand new made in England example from Sir Jack’s is awfully nice. (Find it here)
Flask Addendum for 2016
Want a decent, usable flask that doesn’t cost a small fortune? This inexpensive stainless model from Colonel Conk is very affordable, but still has a little panache thanks to the diamond pattern and place for your initials to be engraved. I have one, and it's not bad at all for less than $22. (Find it here)