Yes, it’s that time of year yet again. We couldn’t let 2017 slip by without the usual VCH holiday gift guide.
So...right. You are buying for a style conscious, vintage-inspired gent, and yeah, we get it. The clock is ticking...your time is growing short. So let’s get right down to it.
A Man & His Watch by Matt Hranek—$32
This book is amazing. It’s the watch book I always wanted to write. Unfortunately, Matt Hranek beat me to it. Damn him.
But, I must say reading it is an incredible experience. Too many watch books tell you—too much—about the watch collector stuff, the minutiae, and not enough about how that relates to or affects the people who collect or even, um, wear the watches. This book doesn’t fall into that trap. It’s all about the stories. Ralph Lauren describes a favorite watch that once belonged to Andy Warhol. One of Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytonas is artfully photographed and described, the one his daughter still wears everyday while working in the garden. JFK’s Omega is pulled out of Omega’s vaults for a photo shoot. Sly Stallone tells us why he still loves his yellow gold Rolex Submariner from the mid-seventies and who inspired him to buy it. If you love watches, you must own this book. I don't think I have ever said that before on VCH, but it applies in this case. Buy it. (Find it here)
This is kind of a big deal. Timex hasn’t sold a mechanical watch since 1982. This new reissue with an economical Chinese movement may be humble, but it has elicited favorable reviews from Hodinkee and we here at VCH think it’s possibly the coolest (sort of) vintage item we’ve seen all year. The new Timex Marlin is a hot item that has already sold out at least twice since being launched in November. Yeah, it's that hot. For a retail of around 200 bucks, you can’t really go wrong with this tasteful re-creation of a classic 60s Timex. Plus, did we mention it’s a manual wind and only 34mm in diameter? Blasphemy! How dare a modern dress watch be that appropriately sized and still manage to give watch lovers the tactile pleasure of manual winding! Read the Hodinkee review for more details. (Find it here)
Parker “51” Fountain Pen—$100
We have posted before about our love affair with this pen. We won’t beat a dead horse here, (but do read our longer post on the Parker “51”), but this little ol’ fountain pen looked downright futuristic when General Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower used one to sign the surrender treaty with Germany in 1945. If you are shopping for someone who appreciates fountain pens and classic design in general, you can't really go wrong with one. The Parker “51” is one of the great examples of mid-century design, and you could do much worse than to check out parker51.com for your Parker “51” needs. Their expertise in restorations and customer service is top notch. Tell them VCH sent you. (Find it here)
Persol 714 Sunglasses—$200 to $400
Ever since Steve McQueen wore these (multiple pairs) in the 1967 movie The Thomas Crown Affair, the Persol 714 has been considered among the most stylish and elegant sunglasses a gent can wear. Persol designed them to fold up so you could stow them in your pocket when not in use. Guys love gadgets, and this is one of the coolest style-related gadgets we've ever played with. McQueen wore them in his personal life, too, as many photos will attest. And why not? They have a unique look, and they look good. Today, you will see a lot of stars like Daniel Craig and Leonardo DiCaprio still sporting 714s. Get the larger 54mm lenses if you have a big mug, otherwise the 52mm should be fine. Bonus tip: the original non-folding 649 model is also quite nice in its own right. They were first seen by millions in 1961, when Marcello Mastroianni wore them in Divorce, Italian Style. Ciao bella! (Find it here)
Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Clock—$500 to $1500
It has become a tradition here at VCH to recycle one item on our gift guide from years past. This year we have a classic re-tread from our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide, the Atmos clock. Still one of the coolest vintage items you can readily obtain. It is highly recommended.
One of the all-time great designs, up there with the Eames Lounge Chair and the Graves Tea Kettle. Looks killer on your desk, and has graced the mantles and desks of the rich, famous, and rest of us for over half a century. A timeless design from one of the great Swiss watch manufactures, what’s not to like? (Find it here)