17 Gifts for Watch Lovers (That Aren’t Watches)

Finding a gift for a watch lover is likely to sound challenging to an outsider. Obviously getting them a watch poses ample challenges, unless they’ve been incessantly speaking of something they’d like to own that’s actually available from a retailer and not astronomically expensive. Stepping outside the sphere of watches themselves, you’re left with quite a few options, both big and small. Do they have proper storage for their watches, whether when at home or on the road? Do they have space in the home for tastefully crafted artwork? Are they the tinkering type that likes to swap straps or even work on “project watches” from time to time. Are they extremely loyal to a particular brand, or type of watch? In answering these questions, you’ll find several suitable gift options in our selections below.

Berd Vay’e Watch Parts Sculptures

Berd Vaye Horosphere watch parts sculpture
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Berd Vay’e appeared in the market some six or so years ago, rapidly becoming a watch industry favorite when it comes to horological sculpture. These clear cast resin pieces use a plethora of vintage watch parts, and are offered in several different shapes and sizes. Aside from the Horosphere seen here, there are also skulls, chess pieces, and even flat panels that can be hung on the wall. For those wanting to get extra nerdy, it is possible to commission a piece that only uses parts from a specific watch brand — expect to pay a premium for that. (from $3,500 USD)

Wolf Axis Triple Watch Winder

wolf triple axis watch winder
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Technically, the jury is still out on the absolute necessity for a watch winder — whether the wear of keeping a movement running is less problematic than a movement resting stagnant — but as a general rule having a winder for those automatic watches that don’t see the light of day often is a good thing. Wolf is a legacy brand in the space, and one that delivers quality winders housed in beautiful display units. ($1,719 USD)

Custom Watch Straps by Combat Straps

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I’m always floored by how often some watch lovers remain blissfully unaware of the plethora of high quality custom watch strap makers are in the market, let alone right here in Canada. Aaron Pimentel’s workshop — flying under the banner of Combat Straps — is a fantastic resource for all watch lovers. Have a material you love? A particular aesthetic you’d like to emulate? Aaron and his team can turn that into reality without skipping a beat, delivering a custom made (and custom fitted) watch strap that easily rivals if not beats any good strap from the industry’s biggest and best. ($165 – $285 depending on materials)

Döttling Legends Antique Safe

dottling watch safe
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This is the point at which we pull out all the stops. There are many makers of beautiful watch safes, but no one can really rival Döttling when it comes to their Legends series — a collection of antique bank safes that can be retrofitted as watch storage, humidors, or just about anything your heart desires. These statement pieces are entirely custom, so the sky is the limit so log as your pocketbook can handle it. (price upon request)

MB&F Clocks

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Desk and table clocks are anything but common these days, but few brands have mastered the executions better than the likes of MB&F. Often partnering with L’Epée 1839, the brand applies its outlandish vision of timekeeping to the designs, layering in varying degrees of retro and modern sci-fi elements, to keep things interesting. While not inexpensive (often coming in somewhere between 10,000 and 45,000 Swiss Francs), these clocks are a bargain when compared to the entry point for any of the brand’s watches. (prices vary)

Watch Art by Julie Kraulis

Julie Kraulis watch art
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Another local connection, Julie Kraulis has rapidly gained fame in horological circles with her incredibly detailed graphite drawings of some of the world’s most legendary watches. At present, her work can be acquired by commissioning originals, as well as by ordering prints of a select batch of work. It’s worth noting that she’s currently running a 20% off sale on prints for the holidays. (from $300)

Sea Time Book

sea time book
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While we opted to highlight Sea Time — a compendium of watches tied to ocean faring ventures — the book is actually a part of Aaron Sigmond’s trilogy, which includes Drive Time, as well as Air Time. All three books chart the histories of the relationship between watchmaking and these three categories, all while highlighting both past and contemporary references along the way. (from $105)

Seiko Alarm Clocks

seiko diver alarm clocks
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Not all watch gifts need to be exorbitantly expensive, and for those with a soft spot for dive watches, these little Seiko alarm clocks will make for a great gift. The simple battery-powered units are reminiscent of the brand’s well-known “Tuna” dive watches, and are available in an assortment of colours at a modest sticker price. They can be tough to track down in Canada, so best to snag one when available. ($55)

Watch Repair Kit

watchmaking tool kit
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Much like doing surgery on yourself, undertaking DIY repairs on a fine timepiece (or even just opening it up to take a look inside) is rarely a good idea. That said, for those with an adventurous spirit – and hopefully a cheap watch to practice on – these Italian-made tools will get you started in fine form. ($1,105)

HSNY Watchmaking School

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On the topic of tinkering, if the person you’re shopping for has expressed an interest but has yet to learn any of the skills, then perhaps the perfect gift would be the Horological Society of New York’s Virtual Horological Tutoring, available in the form of small group theory classes and one-on-one tutoring. Students will learn the theoretical side of watchmaking in their award-winning classes from the comfort of their own home with 60-90 minute sessions, where a team of professional watchmakers walks through the disassembly and reassembly of a complete mechanical movement on live video. The first lesson comes free with an annual HSNY membership, and subsequent classes of increasing difficulty can be purchased thereafter. ($100 USD)

Panthère de Cartier Throw Blanket

cartier panthere blanket

You may not always feel like wearing your Tank or Santos around the house, but true Cartier fans will appreciate the timeless look of this cashmere and merino wool blanket draped across the back of a sofa.
$1,560 CAD

EBW Watch Roll

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The good folks at EBW are passionate about watches and spent years testing out the best watch rolls in the world before putting their accumulated wisdom into this Italian leather travel case. Made out of Italian leather and lined in suede, with a secure snap closure, this discreet case will keep your watches safe wherever your travels take you. ($249 USD)

Batmobile Desk Clock

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For anyone who was into cars and/or superheroes in the late 1980s, there was nothing cooler than the Batmobile from 1989’s Batman. Driven by Michael Keaton in the Tim Burton-directed film, it featured an afterburner and a couple of machine guns that pop out of the hood. This one doesn’t have any of that stuff, but what it does have is a mechanical Swiss clock movement with a 30-day power reserve and a “bat signal” winding key. ($29,900 USD)

Buben & Zorweg for Bugatti Grande Illusion Chiron Multifunction Safe

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Part sculpture, part safe, part clock, this spectacular piece is designed to appease the world’s most serious collectors, whether used for watches, supercar keys, or both. Weighing 215 kg, it unlocks using a biometric fingerprint sensor or transponder chip, which causes the safe and its contents to elegantly slide upwards. (Price on request)

A Man and His Watch by Matt Hranek

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Every watch tells a story, and this coffee table-worthy tome collects some of the best of them. Featuring interviews from race car drivers, chefs, artists and other men from all walks of life, Matt Hranek and photographer Stephen Lewis have assembled a stunning tribute to the love of horology. ($44)

Jaeger-LeCoultre x Marc Newson Atmos 568 Desk Clock

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A collaboration between one of the world’s most prestigious watch brands and one of the world’s most revered industrial designers, this work of horological art is powered by a virtually perpetual mechanical movement. Housed in a shapely Baccarat crystal case, this is a desk clock deserving of its own desk. ($36,900)

Patek Philippe Cufflinks

patek philippe cufflinks
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It’s become quite obvious that getting your hands on a Patek Philippe Nautilus is entirely out of the question unless you want to pay an exuberant premium on the secondary market. While there are other less common and less hyped references out there, you can always settle for these stately yellow gold cufflinks for the time being. Hell, they’d even match well with one of the many elegant yellow gold Calatrava references available in the open market. ($4,900)