Throwback Sunday: Six Watch Recommendations for a Graduation Gift, from Our Archives

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

It is the time of the year again, when college and university students are finally graduating. This is certainly a significant milestone for many, as it means that these individual will be embarking on the next stage of their lives. We reckon that a graduation gift is an apt way to signify this transition, and what would be a better way than to purchase a timepiece for this important occasion?

However, the question lies: What is the watch to get? There are so many watches out there, each with a different design, philosophy, and price point. There are also other things to consider as well, such as the type of watches, as well as the frequently in which the person will be wearing the watch. Work environment also plays a part, as a dress watch is more appropriate for someone who is embarking on a career in the corporate world.

In today’s article, we have narrowed down to six choices. These watches are some of the more popular pieces amongst graduates, each with a different price point and characteristics that will hopefully fit the bill perfectly. What have we selected? Let’s find out!


Seiko Presage Cocktail Time


The new Seiko Presage SJE073/SARA015. Some dubbed it the “Baby Snowflake”, all thanks to the nicely executed dial that resembles its Grand Seiko counterpart.


We begin the article with a timepiece that offers an excellent value proposition: Seiko Presage Cocktail Time.

The Presage line is Seiko’s dress watch collection. The Japanese watch manufacturer is known to produce great watches at reasonable price points, and the Presage is no exception either. The 40mm watch comes with a clean and simple design, with an additional date indicator at the 3 o’clock position for practicality. On top of that, the watch is fitted with Seiko’s workhorse Calibre 6L35 movement. The self-winding movement is adequately finished, but its reliability and price point more than make up for the lack of haute horlogerie decorations.

The Seiko Presage Cocktail Time is a timepiece for someone who prefers form and functionality over branding. The base model is priced at US$425 (approximately S$580), and upwards to €2,200 (approximately S$3,481) for the new SJE073 model with the special “Snowflake” dial. It is a no-frills timepiece, but one that looks good and performs reliably when it is being called upon.


Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim


The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim. A simple, yet elegant dress watch fit for the corporate world.


In recent years, Montblanc had totally changed our perception when it comes to their watch manufacturing maison. The brand, which is known for their leather products, have been producing magnificent watches over the last few years. The Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim is one of such pieces that had caught our attention.

The watch – launched in SIHH 2015 – is Montblanc’s attempt to shake up the entry-level category with a well-design ultra slim dress watch. Measuring at 38mm wide and 5.8mm thick, the Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim is sized nicely for collectors in the corporate world. It is fitted with a manual-winding Calibre MB 23.01, which allows the watch to keep its slim profile. It boasts a power reserve of around 40 hours, and the finishing is acceptable for a wristwatch of such price range.

For someone who is looking to enter the corporate world upon graduation, this Montblanc is a compelling option. It is understated, well-priced, and extremely elegant on the wrist. The wristwatch retails at US$2,260 (approximately S$3,087).


NOMOS Aqua Ahoi Datum



Ahoi Datum Atlantik. An interesting choice of colour scheme, which adds a great touch to the watch.


NOMOS might not have come across to many as a well-known watch brand, but that does not mean that they should be ruled out. The Glashütte-based watch manufacturer is one of the up-and-coming brands in the horological world, and their products are certainly something that is worth a double take on.

Collectors favour NOMOS for two main reasons. The first one encompasses the fact that it features a simple and minimalist Bauhaus-inspired design. The other, notably, is due to its reputation for being an in-house manufacturer. The new Ahoi Datum is something that we reckon works perfectly, especially for someone who has yet to own a luxury timepiece. The price point is pretty reasonable, and its simple design is something that is palatable for many. The well-made in-house Calibre DUW5101 – which is a self-winding movement – is an additional plus point as well.

The Ahoi Datum is available in a variety of dial options. The silver dial variant is priced at €3,500 (approximately S$5,538), while the Atlantik (baby blue) and Signalblau (dark blue) versions are priced at €3,620 (approximately S$5,728). The NOMOS is a great timepiece, and it is certainly a nice piece to commemorate one’s milestone in life.


Omega Speedmaster Professional


The Omega Speedmaster Professional, otherwise also known as the “Moonwatch”.


When it comes to a timepiece with an interesting provenance, the Omega Speedmaster Professional – also affectionately known as the “Moonwatch” – is probably one of the few watches that have set the benchmark.

The Moonwatch, to begin with, is a very handsome timepiece. The design is simply iconic, and the sub-dial layout is something that is instantly recognisable amongst watch fanatics. But the Speedmaster is more than that. This is one of the few watches that can boast that it has went to the moon, but more importantly, the Speedmaster was the first watch to have done so. This timepiece certainly had some important significance in human history, and Omega is certainly proud to let the whole world know about this. In fact, there is an inscription on the caseback to remind the owners of the watch’s endeavours in outer space.

This is one of the few watches that is currently fitted with a manual-winding movement, and we think that it certainly adds a nice touch to the timepiece. The watch is priced at S$6,850, and we feel that it is well-priced for a timepiece that is of such quality and calibre.


Rolex Submariner


The venerable Rolex Submariner, in its latest iteration.


As the adage goes, owning a Rolex signifies that a person has achieved a certain level of success. For an occasion that is significant, we reckon that a Rolex might just work out to be a perfect graduation gift.

The Rolex that we have chosen is the Submariner. The Submariner is a timepiece that was first introduced in 1954, and the latest variant still largely retains the DNA of the original iteration. What we particularly like about the Submariner is its robustness and versatility. Not to mention, the watch is very timeless in terms of its aesthetics as well.

Priced at S$10,030, the Rolex Submariner is probably one of the best tool watches that money can get. There are many variants of the Submariner as well, although our choice would be the base model (Reference 114060). We feel that the lack of a date indicator (as well as the magnifying cyclops) provides a nice symmetry to the watch, as well as the fact that it pays homage to the original version where it is only available with the “no date” option.


Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso


Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso 1948

The Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso 1948 Ultra-Thin, with its iconic reversible case.


Finally, we round the article up with another icon. Cue the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso.

The Reverso first debuted in the 1930s, for an interesting reason. Back then, the Polo players requested César de Trey to produce a timepiece that can withstand the knocks from polo mallets. This gave César the idea to create a timepiece with a reversible case, and hence the Reverso was born.

Over the years, Jaeger LeCoultre had produced many iterations of the Reverso. As a graduation gift, we believe that the base model – which is a time-only watch – fits the bill perfectly. It is simple, yet so sophisticated on its own right. In addition, the empty caseback can be used for engraving purposes (and it is especially apt in this occasion, to commemorate such an important milestone). The base model with a manual-winding movement is priced at US$5,300 (approximately S$7,240), and a nicely engraved Reverso with a meaningful message is the perfect graduation gift in our opinion.


Concluding Thoughts


Today’s article serves only as a basic reference point for a watch-related graduation gift. The reason why the industry thrives is due to the fact that people have a variety of tastes and preferences, and it is the main reason why it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what a person likes or dislikes. The list, however, covers a decent variety of pieces, and these watches are specially selected based on the feedback and comments that we have received over the last few years from friends and readers alike.

The choices tend to gravitate towards the dressier watches for two reasons. First, the author – being in the financial sector – is slightly bias towards watches are more appropriate in the corporate world, and hence the watches are mostly on the dressier side. Second, we reckon that for such an important watch, it will only be worn on special occasions. Therefore, the choices are leaning towards dress watches since one would dress up more formally during such occasions.

What are your thoughts on our choices? What are some of the watches that you have received or bought upon graduation? Let us know in the comments section below.


About Author

1 Comment

  1. Paolo Donadoni on

    Last week, for my son’s graduetion, I bought a Tudor Black Bay Fifthy Eifht 39 mm.
    He was realtà happy.