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ROLEX BLOG

The Best Gift Watches for the Holidays

December 1, 2021

BY Paul Altieri

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The holidays are right around the corner and a luxury watch always makes the perfect gift! 

This year’s hottest new tech gadgets will already be outdated by the time summer arrives, but a high-quality timepiece is built to last a lifetime. Fantastic luxury watches exist at nearly every possible price point, and regardless of whether your budget is under a grand or tens of thousands of dollars, you will still be able to get a great timepiece for that special person this holiday season.

Watches are often viewed as extensions of our personalities and the type of wristwatch that a person chooses to wear can often tell you a lot about them. Unless you know the person incredibly well (and are also familiar with the other watches they have their collection), it is generally best to play it safe and give them a timepiece that you know will effortlessly find a place in their daily life and wardrobe. While these models are often not the most colorful or unusual, they are timeless classics that will always have a meaningful place in a person’s collection, regardless of their personal style or where their watch collecting journey may take them.

Below are some of our top picks for luxury watches to give as gifts this holiday season, and we have an option at every possible price point, from under $1,000 to well into the five-figure range. We have also reached out to some of our industry friends to offer their suggestions for the best watches to give as holiday gifts.

@watch.gringa – The Best Holiday Gift Watches

@watch.gringa Holiday Gift Watches

@watch.gringa’s Holiday Watch Gift Recommendations:

December is here, and it is time to get Christmas shopping! Just a couple of weeks ago, I made a video of my holiday watch choice for the Bob’s Watches Youtube channel. In that video, I tried to include a variety of price points, because hey, we are all at different places financially. I have Rolex tastes on a Casio budget. Here is an updated version from some of my current favs on the Bob’s Watches website!

Rolex Day-Date President 18238

Gold Rolex Day-Date President 18238

This one is just opulent! I’ve got such a thing for precious metal watches right now, and now that I am working in the office more again, I find I am favouring those dressy numbers again. The Day-Date is famously known as the go-to watch for many U.S. presidents and is quite the versatile, classy piece. This one I’ve chosen is housed in a 36mm 18k yellow gold case, fluted bezel, and has an automatic 3155 movement. I know it isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely caught my eye!

Rolex Day-Date President 18238

Tudor Black Bay 36

Tudor Black Bay 36 Blue Dial

If you know me, you know I am a fan of a good, versatile watch! A go anywhere, do anything kind of watch. And this is exactly what the Tudor Heritage Black Bay is. A versatile, timeless case shape and size at 36mm. You can dress it up or dress it down. I always describe this watch as very sporty but with a dressy edge. I think Tudor is serving us some of the best tool watches – fairly priced, great specs, and you are getting a lot of watch for your money! 150m water resistance, stainless steel case, and 36mm size. This watch does it all.

Tudor Black Bay

Oris Chronis

Oris Chronis Date

Now, this is one that was actually in my video, but I had to edit it out because the video was much too long, hee hee! So I NEEDED to add it here! This watch has vintage vibes, bold colour pops, and incredibly modern specs. A good, reliable movement with the automatic Oris 733 (base SW 200-1) and a perfect size at 39mm, with a generous amount of Super-LumiNova. But it is the design that captures me with this one! Anything vintage and racing-inspired, sign me up!

Oris Chronis

Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR

Rolex GMT-Master II Batman 126710BLNR

Can I just say: I am convinced that the GMT is the most useful type of watch! Out of all the different complications and watch styles – dive watches, pilot watches, chronographs, no function gets used more for me than the dual time. And yes, I went for the Jubilee bracelet, and I feel no regret! I absolutely love the Jubilee, it is one of the most comfortable bracelets EVER! And I think it really elevates this watch. The BLNR can be dressed up, dressed down, and worn anywhere! She is housed in a 40mm case, with a bidirectional bezel, 100m water resistance, and 70 hours power reserve. This is the next watch I’d like to add to my collection!

Rolex GMT-Master II 126710

@spikeferesten – Spike Feresten’s Holiday Gift Watches

Best Holiday Gift Watches Spike Feresten

Spike Feresten’s Holiday Watch Gift Recommendations:

Spike’s luxury watch recommendations for gifts this holiday season include an 18k white gold Rolex Daytona 116509 with a blue and red dial, its yellow gold sibling (the Rolex Daytona 116508 fitted with green and red dial), an ultra-rare vintage Rolex Daytona 6262 with a black dial and white “reverse panda” dial, and a classic Steve McQueen Rolex Explorer II reference 1655.

The Smoking Tire Holiday Gift Watches

@thesmokingtire – Matt Farah’s Holiday Gift Watches

Best Holiday Gift Watches Matt Farah

@thesmokingtire’s Holiday Watch Gift Recommendations:

Matt Farah’s luxury watch recommendations for gifts this holiday season include a Rolex Sky-Dweller ref. 326934 with a black dial, a Breitling Aviator 8 Unitime, a “Pepsi” Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 16710, and a classic Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch. As a bonus, you can also opt for the same watch that he actually owns and wears for himself: a stainless steel and platinum Rolex Yacht-Master 40 ref. 126622 with a dark rhodium dial.

The Smoking Tire Holiday Gift Watches

@omegaladiesclub – Vintage Omega Ladymatic

Best Holiday Gift Watches Vintage Omega Ladymatic Cocktail Watch

@omegaladiesclub’s Holiday Watch Gift Recommendation:

Vintage Omega Watches

Christmas is coming and while there are so many watches to choose from, if you do a little treasure hunt, you’ll come across cocktail watches that surprisingly could work well regardless of the occasion. So if you think a watch is not a hard gift to give or you love the idea of getting something for yourself, it never hurts to consider a jewelry wristlet.

I definitely have a soft spot for very feminine pieces and a vintage Ladymatic is one of them. As we slowly transition to a party season, Ladymatic’s dazzling spirit is perfect for those who wish to make a statement or for those who love to add a more sophisticated spin to any look.

@rolexlover – Casio F105W or Baltic MR01

Best Holiday Gift Watches Casio F105W

@rolexlover’s Holiday Watch Gift Recommendations:

The Casio F105W makes a great gift for the watch newbie, at around $20 it won’t break the bank and will be very appreciated by any true watch aficionado, a perfect everyday or gym watch that can resist anything you throw at it, It features a calendar, chronometer, 100m water resistance, alarm and a backlight that is actually useful unlike the one on the F91W. You can also include a 18mm NATO strap to complete the gift.

My second gift suggestion is the Baltic MR01, a piece that has a lot to offer for $625. It’s currently out of stock but there are more batches on the way so keep an eye out. The case size comes at 36mm but wears more like a 38mm. The dial features a seconds counter at 7 o’clock and applied Breguet numerals that contrast nicely with the granulated finishing of the dial. It comes in three colors: salmon, silver or blue. Turn the watch over and you’ll be greeted by a micro-rotor movement made by Hangzhou decorated for Baltic. The finishing is good enough for the price with nice contrasting colors thanks to the blue screws, golden gears, and red rubies. All this is visible through the transparent caseback. A great gift for the seasoned watch enthusiast.

@lorihirshleifer – Rolex Oyster Perpetual

Best Holiday Gift Watches Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 Coral Red Dial 124300

@lorihirshleifer’s Holiday Watch Gift Recommendation:

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

Lori Hirshleifer’s pick for this holiday season is the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 fitted with a ‘Coral Red’ dial. This is the 41mm model from the latest generation of a stainless steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches that was unveiled in September 2020.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot – Under $1,000

Best Holiday Gift Watches Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date

Oris ProPilot Big Date Key Features:

  • Reference Number: 01 751 7697 4065-07 1 20 72FC
  • Case Size: 41mm
  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Date Display
  • Dial: Blue w/ Luminous Hour Markers
  • Bezel: Fixed, Stainless Steel, Gear-Turned Style
  • Crystal: Sapphire (Domed)
  • Movement: Oris Caliber 751 (Automatic)
  • Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet
  • Strap/Bracelet: Leather Strap w/ Folding Clasp

Oris Big Crown ProPilot

Oris is often the first name that comes to mind whenever discussing budget-friendly, Swiss-made luxury watches, and the company has a rich history that dates all the way back to 1904. The brand’s two dive watch collections (the Divers Sixty-Five and Aquis) are usually the go-to recommendations for those that are new to the brand; however, if you are shopping for a gift this year, we think you should consider a watch from the Big Crown ProPilot series due to their ultra-versatile styling and clean, classic design.

Dive watches are incredibly popular among watch enthusiasts (regardless of whether or not they actually scuba dive with them), but their purpose-built nature and additional features can sometimes be a bit alienating to those that are just getting into watches. A classic aviation timepiece like the Oris Big Crown ProPilot still offers a highly functional and intentional design but in a significantly more traditional and familiar overall package. Plus, if you are shopping for a watch enthusiast this holiday season, there is a pretty good chance that they may already have a couple of other dive watches in their collection.

The Oris ProPilot series is full of a wide variety of different models that offer an assortment of different sizes, materials, colors, and complications. However, if the goal here is to give someone a watch that is sure to find a natural place on their wrist, our pick would be the 41mm ProPilot Big Date. Its middle-of-the-road case size means that it will wear easily on most wrists, and its striking blue dial, white luminous numerals, and brown leather strap offer a modern and highly versatile take on the brand’s classic pilot’s watch.

Tudor Black Bay – $1,000 to $3,000

Best Holiday Gift Watches Tudor Black Bay

Tudor Black Bay Key Features:

  • Reference Number: M79230N-0008
  • Case Size: 41mm
  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds
  • Dial: Black w/ Luminous Hour Markers
  • Bezel: Unidirectional, Black Aluminum Insert w/ 60-Minute Scale
  • Crystal: Sapphire (Domed)
  • Movement: Tudor Caliber MT5602 (Automatic)
  • Water Resistance: 200 Meters / 660 Feet
  • Strap/Bracelet: Leather Strap w/ Folding Clasp

Tudor Black Bay

As Rolex’s more affordable sibling company, Tudor is no stranger to making high-end timepieces that seriously deliver at their relatively modest price point. Despite the brand’s notoriety, a budget of just a few thousand dollars is all that is required to grant you access to many of its most famous models when shopping on the pre-owned market, and it should come as no surprise to see a Tudor Black Bay make an appearance on this year’s holiday gift guide.

Since its initial appearance in 2012, the Black Bay collection has been the runaway success of Tudor’s modern catalog and the series now spans a surprisingly diverse assortment of models. The classic 41mm diver from the lineup represents Tudor’s original vision for its Black Bay diver and it constantly ranks among the brand’s most popular watches. While it is available in three different colorways (red, blue, and black), our choice when shopping for someone else would be the classic black version, due to its timeless nature and versatile appearance.

Although it may draw its aesthetic inspiration from vintage Tudor models with features such as “gilt” dial markings and a red-triangle bezel insert, the Tudor Black Bay is still a modern professional dive watch. As such, it features contemporary technologies such as a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a chronometer-certified movement with a 70-hour power reserve. On the pre-owned market, you can sometimes find the leather or fabric strap versions for just under the $3k price point, which represents a tremendous value for one of the most recognizable dive watches in the entire world.

Omega Speedmaster – $3,000 to $5,000

Best Holiday Gift Watches Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Key Features:

  • Reference Number: 311.30.42.30.01.005
  • Case Size: 42mm
  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, 12-Hour Chronograph
  • Dial: Black w/ Luminous Hour Markers
  • Bezel: Fixed, Black Aluminum Insert w/ Tachymeter Scale
  • Crystal: Hesalite (Domed)
  • Movement: Omega Caliber 1861 (Manual)
  • Water Resistance: 50 Meters / 167 Feet
  • Strap/Bracelet: Stainless Steel Bracelet

Omega Speedmaster

From sponsoring the Olympics to being the official timepiece of James Bond, Omega is easily one of the world’s most famous luxury watch manufacturers and it has a history of producing excellent watches that dates all the way back to 1848. Omega’s catalog is vast, and there is truly a bit of something for everyone to be found within it. However, the single watch that comes to most people’s minds wherever discussing the brand is the classic Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch.

The Speedmaster is one of the undisputed icons of horology, and this is a position that is well-deserved. Given that it is the official flight-certified watch of NASA and the first watch worn on the moon, it is a bit surprising that you can still find a pre-owned Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch for less than $5k. Additionally, due to how celebrated its timeless design is among members of the collecting community, the appearance of the Speedmaster has hardly changed over the last fifty years, and the current-production models are aesthetically near-identical to those that first went to the moon more than half a century ago.

Although Omega did release an all-new generation of the Speedmaster Moonwatch at the beginning of 2021, our choice would actually be to go with a model from the previous generation. Visually, the two watches are incredibly similar and although the older version lacks Omega’s latest Co-Axial movement, it can also be found for a significant savings on the pre-owned market. Plus, for all of those interested in the Speedmaster due to its history of being used for space travel, the older models are mechanically more similar to the ones that were first used during the early days of space exploration.

Rolex Submariner – $5,000 to $10,000

Best Holiday Gift Watches Rolex Submariner 14060

Rolex Submariner 14060 Key Features:

  • Reference Number: 14060
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds
  • Dial: Black w/ Luminous Hour Markers
  • Bezel: Unidirectional, Black Aluminum Insert w/ 60-Minute Scale
  • Crystal: Sapphire (Flat)
  • Movement: Rolex Caliber 3000 (Automatic)
  • Water Resistance: 300 Meters / 1,000 Feet
  • Strap/Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet (Stainless Steel)

Rolex Submariner

Rolex is easily the world’s most famous luxury watch brand and arguably one of the most famous companies that has ever existed. The incredible popularity of Rolex’s various stainless steel sports watches have resulted in them becoming impossible to purchase at a retail level, and available examples now trade hands on the pre-owned market for values that are in excess of twice or even three times their original brand-new retail price. With that in mind, probably the single most famous sports watch of all time is the Rolex Submariner, and it is an obligatory addition to any watch-themed holiday gift guide.

The Rolex Submariner was one of the world’s very first dive watches, and it has inspired (in one way or another) virtually every other underwater timepiece that has ever been created. Despite being originally designed specifically for scuba divers, the Submariner’s versatile styling and rock-solid reliability have allowed it to transcend its purpose-built tool watch roots, and it is now worn by everyone from explorers and military personnel to professional athletes and famous Hollywood actors.

The prices for Rolex Submariner watches keep going up each year, but you can still find examples of older references for just under $10k on the pre-owned market. An excellent example is the classic Submariner 14060, which was the last no-date model before the introduction of ceramic bezel inserts and an updated case design on the following generation. Many collectors consider this series to be the final expression of Rolex’s original vision for its dive watch, and if you are willing to stretch your budget just a little bit, you will even be able to find date-displaying models, such as the reference 16800 and Submariner 16610.

Rolex Day-Date President – More than $10,000

Best Holiday Gift Watches Rolex Day-Date President 18238

Rolex President 18238 Key Features:

  • Reference Number: 18238
  • Case Size: 36mm
  • Materials: 18k Yellow Gold
  • Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Date Display, Day Display
  • Dial: Multiple Options Available
  • Bezel: Fixed, 18k Yellow Gold, Fluted Style
  • Crystal: Sapphire (Flat w/ Cyclops Lens)
  • Movement: Rolex Caliber 3155 (Automatic)
  • Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet
  • Strap/Bracelet: President Bracelet (18k Yellow Gold)

Rolex President

If Rolex is the world’s most famous watch manufacturer, then the Day-Date President is easily the world’s most famous gold watch. Launched in 1956 and only ever crafted from either solid gold or platinum, the Rolex President has become an internationally-recognized status symbol that is synonymous with exclusivity and success. If you’re spending five figures on a luxury watch for that special person in your life this holiday season, then you want to give them something that is timeless, inherently special, and built to last a lifetime – and our top pick would be a classic yellow gold Rolex Day-Date President.

The core design of the Rolex President has hardly changed in more than sixty years, and despite its undeniably resplendent appearance, it remains the definition of a refined and timeless luxury watch. Additionally, the classic 36mm Day-Date wears well on virtually every possible wrist size and there is something slightly magical about the design of Rolex’s President bracelet that allows the watch paired with it to effortlessly be dressed either up or down in a manner that is far easier than you would otherwise expect from a solid 18k yellow gold luxury wristwatch.

Rolex produces the Day-Date President in all three colors of gold, but it is the classic 18k yellow gold version that gets our pick as the one you should give as a gift this year. A gold watch is something that a lot of people aspire to own throughout their lives, and if you are going to give someone a gold watch this holiday season (especially one from the world’s most famous luxury watch manufacturer) go ahead and give them a model that really leans into the aesthetic. Prices for classic Rolex President watches, such as the ref. 18238, start out at less than $20k on the pre-owned market, which is surprisingly reasonable considering that we are talking about the flagship model from the world’s most famous luxury manufacturer, crafted from solid 18k gold and built to last a lifetime.

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