Christmas gift guide Our Christmas gift guide for 2014 brings together a selection of watches chosen by different themes by our international contributors, suggested by the CEOs of the brands themselves and completed with valuable tips on buying watches provided by the world's leading watch retailers.
21 December 2014 Watches make the perfect gift
18 December 2014 Watchmaking books to go under the tree
17 December 2014 Painfree complications
16 December 2014 The ultimate Christmas gift for any watch lover
11 December 2014 3 gem-set watches as the perfect lavish gift
4 December 2014 A different kind of Christmas
3 December 2014 Buying tips (2): Where to buy
29 November 2014 Dreaming of a blue Christmas
28 November 2014 Christmas without breaking the bank
27 November 2014 Like a picture
25 November 2014 Buying tips (1) : Knowing what to buy
20 November 2014 The CEO’s choice
12 November 2014 Watches in evening dress
5 November 2014 Christmas for women struggling to make up their minds
Christmas gifts Buying tips (1) : Knowing what to buy
In the first part of a two-part series, Keith Strandberg asked watch retailers around the world for advice on buying a watch as a Christmas gift.
3 things to keep in mind
Alon Ben Joseph, Co-CEO of Ace Jewelers (Amsterdam):
“A watch is more than a material object - it is a thoughtful reminder of precious time spent with loved ones. Whatever watch you give during the holidays, it will symbolize the wonderful memories and feelings of that particular year and season together. Hence, you never stop at one watch.
“Here are three things to keep in mind when buying a gift: what brand identity suits the receiver's identity? Does the gifted want a leather or metal bracelet? And does the lucky one appreciate a mechanical movement or quartz? This can really help you make a good decision.”
Need to know
Korosh Soltani, David Orgell (Beverly Hills, CA, USA):
“I think there are a few key pieces of information the customers need to give us. What is the style they are looking for, for example Dressy or Sporty? Is it their first watch? Or is it adding to a collection of a handful or a collection of 20? Before they make a purchase I have to know many things, for example, what kind of watch do they want to buy, what is this watch for, and so on.
“I love the interaction between the client and myself, I totally enjoy the process of finding the ONE watch that is perfect. Knowing that wherever in the world the client is, and whatever he is doing with the watch, I am actually a part of it because I helped him with the purchase.
“We are not here to sell a watch and forget about them. We engage with our clients continually after the sale - we alert them to new product information, special events, and we even communicate on Facebook and Twitter. We are very engaged with the charities that our clientele supports.”
Know who you are buying for
Michael Gordon, Tourneau Time Machine store general manager (New York, NY, USA):
“Knowing how the person you are giving the watch to will use the watch to fit his/her personal style and taste, and an idea of the functions he/she is looking for the watch to perform (e.g. day/date, dual time, stopwatch, etc.), is important. You need to be ready to speak about the recipient's personal style and taste. Is this person conservative? Artsy? Is he/she an active/outdoor person? Does he/she work in an office? Knowing the lifestyle and taste of the person the gift is intended for will help in choosing the perfect watch for his/her lifestyle.
“Buying a fine timepiece is an experience to enjoy, and it shouldn't be rushed, so take your time. Look closely at the watches presented, try them on, compare them to the others and then make your decision. Your loved ones will know just how much effort you put into the buying experience. A great retailer can really make buying your timepiece fun.”
President & CEO, Thomas A. Andruskevich, Birks & Mayors (Miami, Florida, USA):
“To help someone find the perfect watch for them will be a question of personal style and taste, but lifestyle is also an important factor. To help a customer select a watch I'd want to find out when they will be wearing the watch (is it at the office, while playing sports, traveling, etc.); if they are interested in special features or complications on their timepiece like a chronograph, moon phase, tourbillion, perpetual calendar, or minute repeater for example; and finally have an idea of their budget. Ultimately it doesn't matter if you're planning on spending $500 or $50,000, you want to make sure you are getting the right timepiece for your needs. And remember, buying a watch is an investment and it can pay off over time.
“Timepieces are the ultimate style statement for men, and an important accessory complementing a woman's jewelry collection - watches for women have always been fashionable objects; a watch defines a lady's personality, her lifestyle and a particular fashion taste. To help someone find the right watch shows that you've connected with them and have taken the time to find out more about their personality and lifestyle. It's also great to know someone will cherish that watch for many years and hopefully pass it on to their children or grandchildren.”
Keep the surprise (and make sure you can get a refund!)
Ruediger Albers, president, Wempe New York:
“A watch will always bring back special memories and can accompany the recipient for decades to come. In addition, from a practical point of view, oftentimes we celebrate holidays together with our loved ones but not necessarily in our own home. A watch can easily be carried without the significant other being aware, hence saving the element of surprise for when gifts are actually exchanged. Larger gifts like handbags or a sports car pose different challenges. And remember, gifts for the house don't count, at least not for my wife.
“You want to buy it where you have the freedom to return the watch and exchange if for a different one in case you didn't hit the mark the first time. If the store has a limited selection, be sure to establish (in writing) that you can receive a full refund before making the purchase.”