Watch the Watch: Aron Solomon’s Watch World, May 2016

This month we’re going to talk about watches as gifts. Why? Because it’s my birthday this month. W00T!

This is pretty much what the watch looked like that started my crazy passion for watches. It was my Bar Mitzvah gift way back when I was turning 13.

Seiko Speed Timer. Loved that watch and wore it for years. Still a classic, a NOS (New Old Stock) condition one from that era (late 70s) would be very much in demand today.

While I love watches as gifts (yes, I’ve sold a couple of watches recently from my small collection, hence a birthday watch is now en route to me :) not all cultures do.

Thai culture, for example, doesn’t embrace watch gifting. It’s seen as a symbol of the relationship potentially being over, “like the clock (on it) stops ticking.”

Similarly, in Cantonese, giving a watch or clock is traditionally a no-go. The symbol “to give” is 送, while “clock” is 钟. Taken together, it translates to running a wake, so it’s bad luck because of the sounds.

Conversely, in the world of Harry Potter (yes, I broke out some Harry Potter, people!) a watch was a wonderful and traditional gift for a wizard when he came of age, which was 17.

And, of course, watch brands think it’s absolutely fabulous to give a watch as a birthday gift. Some, such as Baume et Mercier, have a handy gift finder for you.

Of course, one of the first things we think about when watch giving is mentioned is the tradition of watches as retirement gifts. Forbes tells us that this tradition is rapidly disappearing, even though it dates back to the 1940s. This may be a good thing, as some of the most shudder-worthy watch images seared into my consciousness are corporate gifts such as this:

To me, there are a ton of reasons why I think giving (and receiving) a birthday watch is just lovely. It’s kind of the inverse of the Thai notion, in that I think giving a watch as a gift measures time in the most positive way. It’s a way of saying to someone that they matter and, from this point forward, as you receive and wear my gift in good health and spirit, you think not only of our time spent together, but the time we’ll spend together moving forward. I think it honors the relationship.

With that in mind, I think the best gift watches are those that are, in some way, unique. They don’t have to be expensive (great watches never need to be expensive, as I’ve stated here again and again) but the more unique they are, the more one remembers the giver and the occasion.

So, all that said, if you accept my thesis here and are considering getting someone a birthday watch, what would fit my unique and memorable definition?

  1. An ultra-precise new Accutron

2. A Junkers Bauhaus

3. A LIP Big TV

4. A Triwa Nevil Petroleum

5. The Shinola Runwell

Wow. That Shinola is STUNNING and at 47mm, just a big beauty.

That’s all for May, friends. Remember, as always, to watch the watch!

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.