Not Another Watch: Our Anything But Watches Summer Gift Guide
As people begin to come together again, make sure you don’t show up empty-handed.
Watches make great gifts for everything from wedding anniversaries to graduations. But they can be a little over-the-top in some situations, like a hostess or engagement gift.
And with all the trials and tribulations of the last year, people are taking a different approach to giving. The reality of pandemic living has taught many about the impact of personal actions, so now that there is mingling again, people are looking for presents with more bearing on the world around us – tokens that are environmentally sustainable, ethically produced, and practical.
Keeping this in mind, Watchonista has assembled a guide to some thoughtful, non-horological gifts.
David Yurman x Jill Magid Limited Edition Amulet
Are you celebrating an anniversary this summer? Consider matching jewelry. From Oscar-nominated actors Timothée Chalamet and Lakeith Stanfield to influencers Gigi Hadid and Hailey Bieber, chain necklaces hung with protective talismans are in again.
Appropriately, David Yurman has partnered with American conceptual artist Jill Magid to create limited-edition 18K rose gold amulets inspired by Magid’s acclaimed public art project, Tender. This work circulated 120,000 newly minted 2020 pennies into the US economy, the edges of which are engraved with the phrase, “THE BODY WAS ALREADY SO FRAGILE.” The artwork created an enduring dialogue on the COVID-19 pandemic’s human and economic costs. The pennies are expected to remain in circulation for approximately 40 years.
This jewelry-meets-art piece is a powerful way to say, “Penny for your thoughts?” and to signify that you made it through a very challenging time together. One hundred percent of the net profits from sales of these pendants (priced between $1,650 and $3,900) will also benefit River Fund’s efforts in addressing hunger and poverty in NYC.
Victorinox Swiss Champ XXL
When you need a birthday gift for the friend or family member who has everything, why not give them a gift that is everything?
The compact and practical Swiss Champ XXL multitool from Victorinox comes with 73 functions to suit the post-grad, studio apartment lifestyle, including standard blades (for the daily intern tasks, like opening envelopes and Amazon packages) to hex drivers (for assembling Ikea furniture).
This pocketknife appeals to every demographic because it’s built to last. For example, even if a teen doesn’t need a fish scaler or a pharmaceutical spatula now, who knows when the urge to go fishing or mix powders will overtake them later in life. The Swiss Champ XXL is also a future collector’s piece, comes housed in an elegant case, and is priced at $315.99.
Omega NATO Straps
Just because this is an everything-but-watches gift guide, nobody said we couldn’t include timepiece-adjacent accessories. If you want the perfect thank-you gift for a fellow watch enthusiast, you can’t go wrong with a lovely NATO strap from Omega.
NATO straps are great because they slip on and off easily so that you can use one to accessorize a variety of timepieces. The buckles also feature the iconic Omega logo. And because the brand offers a variety of Polyamide or leather straps in a wide range of colors and patterns, you can also buy a bunch of styles to swap up the look of your favorite Omega for any season.
These straps are only available through Omega’s website or at Omega boutiques. Prices start at $160.
Of course, the ultimate wine tasting experience is visiting a winery in person. If you are celebrating a major life event, the gift of travel provides memories that will last a lifetime. Handwritten Wines, founded in 2009, is a small production winery in Napa Valley that runs daily tastings where you can savor beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon in the quaint wine country town of Yountville.
But what if you can’t make the trip to California? Handwritten also offers elevated epicurean events like the “The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World,” a virtual dinner party with real-life meals and wines sent to your home. And, of course, you can also purchase single bottles – starting at $45 – of their limited edition vintages from their wine shop.
Louis Vuitton Charlie Sneaker
If you still haven’t given your favorite youth a grad gift yet, first of all, you’re super late to the game. And second, have you considered some teenage kicks?
Louis Vuitton has just launched Charlie, a gender-neutral, eco-friendly sneaker that suits every wardrobe and lifestyle. Fashionistas will love the timeless look of the low and high-top versions because they are Louis Vuitton. Plus, like watches, cars, and baseball cards, resellers have been treating shoes as investment vehicles, making them a good bet for future bankers.
Moreover, anyone trying to be more aware of their consumption during the climate crisis will like the investment Louis Vuitton is making in sustainability.
Charlie, for instance, is made from 90 percent recycled and bio-sourced materials. The sole – which accounts for 50 percent of the sneaker’s weight – was designed to be made of at least 94 percent recycled rubber. The laces and tongue patch are made with recyclable ECONYL (a material derived from nylon waste). Most importantly, these LVs are built to last – a stark contrast to the fast fashion that ends up in a landfill after one season.
Although announced by the brand in mid-July, the Charlie won’t be available for purchase until November 12, 2021. The sneakers, priced at $1,080 for the low-top and $1,130 for the high-top, will be available in 34 to 47 in Euro sizes (3 to 13 in US sizes).
And since you’ve already waited this long, you can always send them a congratulations card with an IOU for these rockin’ sneakers.
(Watchonista photography by Liam O'Donnell, other photography provided by the brands)