Timepieces have been the go-to graduation gift for generations, in part because they also offer a touch of sophistication for those entering the work force.
But the real reason that gifting a college student a wristwatch is a time-honored tradition, is that a timepiece is the perfect way to remind your budding alum about the value of time.
While a Swiss watch may sound like a big splurge—and, indeed, often is—plenty of brands have recently introduced more accessibly priced models aimed at youthful buyers, be they fans of sports watches, dress styles, or stylish combinations of the two.
Marking an achievement with a Rolex is virtually a cliché for a very good reason: The brand is universally acknowledged as one of the Swiss watch industry’s stalwarts. Known for its tendency to favor evolution over revolution, Rolex generally maintains a light touch when updating its collection of iconic timepieces. The new Oyster Perpetual ($5,700) in a 39 mm case is a perfect example. Featuring a brand new white dial (also available in a black dial version), the entry-level men’s piece is the perfect distillation of sporty elegance.
When it was unveiled in 2004, the Aquaracer from TAG Heuer already had an impressive legacy. Derived from the Heuer Diver Professional, which became a sleeper hit as soon as it was introduced in 1979, the Aquaracer has become a collection mainstay. The stealthy-looking “Night Diver” edition ($2,500), available since March, comes in a 43 mm steel case with a black dial on a black rubber strap and an automatic movement, water resistant to 300 meters.
Watch fans with a penchant for vintage styling will gravitate to the new Ton Up Black ($7,100), the latest addition to Zenith’s popular Pilot Type 20 Chronograph series. But its aviation-inspired design—including its bulky 45 mm case and oversized onion-type crown (designed for easy use, even with gloves)—shares another equally important inspiration: The watch owes its minimalist styling—note the clutter-free dial—to its association with vintage café racer motorcycles, referring to bikes that have been stripped of all superfluous weight and parts to gain speed. Fast times, indeed!
Introduced in March, the L.U.C Quattro ($25,800) from Chopard is the ultimate gentleman’s watch. Not only does it boast a “Poinçon de Genève” and COSC-certified manufacture movement with a nine-day power reserve—in other words, plenty to impress a watch geek—it’s also undeniably handsome, with a silver-toned and vertical satin-brushed dial, blued hands and blue calfskin leather strap, all encased in 18k rose gold.
It’s not often that a storied brand anoints a collection “a new pillar,” but that’s precisely what Jaeger-LeCoultre did earlier this year when it debuted the Polaris collection, which revisits its iconic Memovox Polaris, a 1968 dive watch with a cult following among collectors. The 41 mm automatic model ($7,550) seen here on a new three-link bracelet features two crowns, one to set the time and one on the inner rotating bezel to simplify the act of tracking elapsed time (a reference to the model’s diving roots). It’s an ideal choice for aspiring marine biologists and weekend sailors alike.
Images from Robb Report