Get Your Grad a Watch to Wear in the Real World

The Collector’s guide to the perfect graduation watch

One of the key objects that signals the transition from childhood to adulthood is a timepiece. While still in school, it’s easy to get by using the time on your computer or on your phone. But, once you join the real world, that’s not going to cut it.

You are going to need a watch.

That’s why a watch is such a popular graduation gift. The selection here each offers value and strength. Key components not just in a watch but in life. We hope there is something here to inspire you.

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1. Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique

The Reverso turns 85 years old this year, and not many watches with a history as long as that are still in any watch company’s line. The Reverso was initially designed for polo players, so they could turn the watch dial over to protect it while playing. Now, the reverse side is the perfect place to engrave a graduation sentiment.

Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the Grande Maisons of Swiss watchmaking, and entrée into the fold at $8,850 for the Reverso Classic Large is remarkably reasonable. Jaeger-lecoultre.com

OYSTER PERPETUAL EXPLORER II

2. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II

You can’t go wrong with a Rolex, especially for a first watch. The Explorer II is a rugged yet very attractive watch that is perfect for a do-it-all watch, equally at home on the diving board as it is in the board room. Retailing for $8,100, it won’t break the bank and, if properly cared for, it will hold its value. Rolex.com

3. Bulgari Octo Ultranero Solotempo

Bulgari is a well-known Italian high-fashion brand, but it should be equally well-known for its watchmaking acumen. The Octo line is the iconic Bulgari, with its signature eight-sided case, and the 41mm automatic Solotempo in steel with black Diamond Like Carbon coating is elegant, subtle, yet still makes a statement. $7,400, Bulgari.com

4. Shinola Canfield Chrono

Shinola is one of the true success stories of recent years in the watch industry. Established in Detroit, Shinola assembles watches there, adorning each case with “Built in Detroit.” It’s a great story and the watches are extremely well made and include a lifetime—you read that right—warranty. The 43mm Shinola Canfield Chronograph on a dark cognac strap with a midnight blue dial retails for $900. Shinola.com

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5. Oris Artelier Date

Oris is a Swiss watch company with a long history of focusing solely on mechanical watches. The Oris Atelier Date is a great first fine watch, sober, yet with fine craftsmanship details like raised indices, patterned dial and the contoured and very comfortable 40mm stainless steel case. The price of the Oris Artelier Date on leather strap pictured here is $1,650. Oris.ch

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6. Christopher Ward C65 Trident Vintage

The new C65 Trident Vintage is elegant and understated at the same time, in a slightly smaller 38mm brushed and polished stainless steel case. A nice vintage touch on this automatic timepiece is the use of an “old Radium” color on the indices and hands, meant to evoke watches from the ’60s and ’70s that used radioactive radium for luminescence. $750 on leather strap, $820 on bracelet, christopherward.com  Get Your Grad a Watch to Wear in the Real World