The best men’s watches to gift this Christmas

From a limited-edition collab between MR PORTER and IWC to a revamped Patek Philippe classic, these are the finest timepieces for your shortlist...

There never seems to be enough time at Christmas. From decking your halls to trimming your tree, there are so many festive tasks and chores to complete during December that the hours, minutes and seconds always get away from us.

Thankfully, a good timepiece will help solve this seasonal problem. And, although watch enthusiasts are a notoriously hard-to-please bunch, we’ve sorted through the best marques and models to ensure you’re gifting the right designs come the big day… 

Grand Seiko ‘Skyflake’

Taking its design cues from the white birch forests and almost poetic blue skies near its studio in Shizukuishi, Japan, and evoking the cold month we now find ourselves in, Grand Seiko’s ‘Skyflake’ forms part of the label’s ‘Elegance Collection’, which revolves around timepieces that are used for both everyday wear and special occasions. We could rattle on all day about the Spring Drive calibre and the 72-hour preserve – but it’s the superb mix of pale blue, navy, and silver that says it all. 

The best men’s watches to gift this Christmas

Grand Seiko ‘Skyflake’

£5,250.00

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MR PORTER x IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 ‘MR PORTER EDITION 1’

The latest take on a horological classic, this collab timepiece is limited to only 500 units worldwide and is defined by a smaller-than-traditional case. Done out in bronze, the watch is further strengthened by iron and aluminium, and its outer coating takes on a majestic patina over time. Enthusiasts of clean design will appreciate the pared-down black dial, and the Alcantara strap is durable enough to take on years of wear. 

The best men’s watches to gift this Christmas

MR PORTER x IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 ‘MR PORTER EDITION 1’

£9,150.00

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Rolex 2022 ‘Air-King’

Perhaps the best-value option in Rolex’s steep, deep lineup, the 2022 ‘Air-King’ is the newest take on the house’s purest creation, with a gentle expansion from 39mm to 40mm; a widening of the central bracelet links; and, perhaps most importantly, the 3230 calibre, introduced two years ago, is now housed inside with a ‘weekend-proof’ 70-hour power reserve. Enthusiasts will be happy that order has been restored, too, due to the addition of a ‘0’ to the previously lone ‘5’ on the minutes scale.

Tudor ‘Black Bay GMT S&G’

Named so for its steel-and-gold makeup, Tudor has given its ‘Black Bay’ a regal, less poppy feel with its choice of materials and root-beer colourway, but has retained the lines and proportions of the standard 41mm steel model. Behind the facade lies a manufacture calibre MT5652 that’s served the platform for four years; it also features a decent 70-hour power reserve and silicon balance spring. 

The best men’s watches to gift this Christmas

Tudor ‘Black Bay GMT S&G’

£4,420.00

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Rado ‘True Square Over The Abyss’

This sporty, blocky design is a result of Rado’s mashup with New Delhi multimedia-artists Thukral and Tagra, who aim to bring collectors together through a product “that is universal, unique, smooth, comfortable and durable,” which is to say a matte, midnight-blue watch in titanium and ceramic. The punchy, vibrant display shows the local time of the wearer, as well as several other time zones, which are represented by 37 hands painted in a gradation of colours ranging from glossy pink to mint green. Meanwhile, the back showcases a futuristic graphic from the duo’s ‘Dominus Aeries’ series.

The best men’s watches to gift this Christmas

Rado ‘True Square Over The Abyss’

£2,585.00

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Panerai ‘Submersible QuarantaQuattro ESteel Blu Profondo’

We’ve taken a particular liking to Panerai’s latest bit of wrist armour, not only for the brand’s innovative use of eSteel, which aims to replicate the properties of the conventional metal, and is formed from recycled materials, but also for its crown-protector mechanism, which offers a hardy line of defence for adventurers who frequently take to the ocean. There’s also a strong appreciation for its colour gradient that gets darker towards the bottom, reminiscent of the deep waters. At £9,700, it’s an investment worth diving into the Amex for. 

The best men’s watches to gift this Christmas

Panerai ‘Submersible QuarantaQuattro ESteel Blu Profondo’

£9,700.00

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Patek Philippe ‘Nautilus Ref. 5811’

In one of the biggest moves in the watch world this year, Patek Philippe subtly launched a suite of eight timepieces, three of which were a lovely edit of ‘Nautilus’ models, including the ‘Ref. 5811’, the successor to the cult-hit ‘Ref. 5711’, which was discontinued in 2021. Key features include an upgrade from stainless steel to white gold (a break from a near half-century tradition within the Swiss house), a size increase from 40mm to 41 mm, and a sapphire-crystal case back that rounds off the look.

The best men’s watches to gift this Christmas

Patek Phillipe ‘Nautilus Ref. 5811’

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Want more watches? This is why Grand Seiko is a brand for all seasons…

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