Source: Oris

These Watches Make the Best Graduation Gifts

Whether they’re wrapping up kindergarten or a business law degree from the London School of Economics.
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It’s a time-honored tradition to give recent graduates a present that honors time. Not merely a symbol of accomplishment, the grad-gift wristwatch is also an object that inspires quiet reflection from the young scholar. It offers an opportunity to reflect on a past devoted to long hours of loving study and a future overwhelmed by decades of student-loan debt. Here are some choice Class of 2017 timepieces for the cap-and-gown set, however old they may be. 

For the University Bound

From left: Nomos Glashuette Club Campus, Club 38 Campus, and Club 38 Campus Nacht.

Source: Nomos Glashuette

How can you resist procuring one of these Nomos Glashuette Club Campus series watches for the college-bound person in your life? They’ve got the word campus right there in the name. Their fresh faces are bookish but relaxed, and the arrangement of Roman and Arabic numerals provides a lively spin on the traditional California Dial. It’s a great accessory for procrastinating outside the library on a sunny day. The Club Campus (left) is 36 millimeters in diameter; the Club 38 Campus and Club 38 Campus Nacht are 38.5mm. It is free to engrave a message on the back, such as “Call Your Mother.” $1,500–$1,650


For the Intern Making an Impression


Rolex Lady Datejust 28 (left) and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41.

Source: Rolex

Ideally, a watch given to reward a college graduation meets certain criteria. It should be classic in style. It should be versatile in its uses. It should be nice—but not so very nice as to annoy the graduate’s immediate superiors in the work force. While allowing that Rolex does not always succeed on the third count, we nonetheless commend these new Rolex Datejust releases for their deftness in handling the other two: the Lady Datejust 28, in steel, and the Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41, in a combination of steel and white gold, with an 18-carat, white-gold, fluted bezel. $6,300 and $9,350, respectively


For the Business Grad

Cartier Drive Extra Flat.

Source: Cartier

Though made in Switzerland by a French company, the Cartier Drive Extra Flat somehow gives off a male, British vibe. It seems spot-on for a fellow emerging into his future from such finishing schools as SBS or LSE. It is discreetly distinctive: The cushion-shaped case speaks softly, and the simple, silvered dial lets the Roman numerals lend their serifed gravitas in peace. Also, it is very slender so that, bearing in mind our don’t-show-up-your-boss rule, you can tuck it under your cuff. $15,600


For the Athlete

From left: Shinola's 47mm Runwell, 34mm Birdy, and 41mm Runwell.

Source: Shinola

Each of Shinola’s gift-wrapable packages of watches comes with three straps. The Detroit brand’s 34mm Birdy offers a pair of double-wrap leather straps and a stainless steel bracelet. The 41mm Runwell arrives with two cowhide straps and one made of alligator. Any person still in the process of developing her or his identity will appreciate the opportunity to explore these different styles. An extremely small demographic should take special note of a further option, the 47mm Runwell. The moonphase complication of this third watch occupies a huge case, meaning that between its great size and its view of the skies, it is well-suited for Division I football players proceeding to Ph.D. studies in astrophysics. $650–$800


For the Aspiring Musician

Oris Dexter Gordon Limited Edition

Source: Oris

The latest of this company’s tributes to jazz legends, the Oris Dexter Gordon Limited Edition, honors the tenor sax player nicknamed Long Tall Dex. Get if for a Juilliard grad or a Berklee drop-out—you get the idea. It’s a 40mm automatic notable for its chocolate-brown dial and the subtlety with which it expresses its theme. Can you even tell that the 12 o'clock index mimics the shape of a saxophone reed? $1,900


For the All-Hours Creative

Longines Flagship Heritage, in rose gold (left) and steel.

Source: Longines

This Longines Flagship Heritage mechanical watch—seen here with its 38.5mm case rendered in limited-edition steel and very limited-edition rose gold—is the image of grown-up respectability. The dressy design makes adulthood looks positively snazzy. On the other hand, the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal will withstand the rigors of young-adult life, such as doing God-knows-what until all hours. $1,675 in steel, approximately $8,500 in rose gold


For the Kindergarten Colorist

Brightly colored Timex Kids Analogs.

Source: Timex

This is the brightest option when you need to bring a present to a kindergarten "stepping up" ceremony, especially if you cannot lay hands on a Pokémon Pikachu light-up timepiece. These Timex Kids Analog watches are basically pee-wee Weekenders, with all the classic charm and not-too-cute cuteness the phrase implies. But be aware that it's water-resistant only to 30 meters, and therefore will be useless to six-year-olds who are hardcore into scuba. $25

For the Aspiring Marine Biologist

The new Tag Heuer Autavia in aged leather strap (left) and on a beads-of-rice bracelet.

Source: Tag Heuer

The 2017 TAG Heuer Autavia, based on a chronograph originally designed in 1966, was revived this year after fans voted for it as a favorite vintage model. This 42mm update is bigger than the 39mm original, and its white-subdial-on-black-dial reverse panda face looks sharp with old-school style. It’s a diving watch, so it will be especially appropriate for graduates of top oceanography and marine biology programs. As a fashion statement, it will go over exceedingly well in the fraternity community. $5,150–$5,300

For the Future World Leader

A. Lange & Soehne Tourbograph Perpetual "Pour Le Mérite."

Source: A. Lange & Sohne

I can think of no better way to celebrate a loved one’s graduation from Institut Le Rosey, the most famous boarding school in Switzerland and the most expensive in the world, than to give this exquisite tourbillon. The A. Lange & Soehne Tourbograph Perpetual "Pour Le Mérite" packs a couple dozen marvels of design into a 43mm platinum case, and it sells at a price equivalent to a mere three semesters of school. 450,000 euros ($490,151)


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