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Five timepieces to buy for the watch fanatic in your life

James Marks from Phillips Perpetual writes his letter to Santa with the ultimate horological Christmas wish list

Patek Philippe 5712 GR-001

Many Swiss watch brands have built multi-generational marketing campaigns along the lines of ‘a watch is for life and not just for Christmas’.

But thankfully for them, and for myself, a new release or a vintage opportunity means that the temptation of parting with an old friend for something shiny and new is often too great to resist.

Ahead of the holidays – during a year when frankly just the mere ability of walking into a retail environment is something of a luxury – it seemed like a good idea to remind everyone what incredible offerings can be found across the price spectrum of the watch world.

From steel to gold, time only to grand complications, I hope this gift guide offers a reason to head to the high streets for those in need of some festive horological happiness.

We've gone for a range of price options – all reserved for those on the 'very nice' list…

Sub £10k

Among a negative backdrop of a global pandemic, Rolex unleashed a new generation of Oyster Perpetuals in an array of vivid colours.

From Tiffany blue for Bond Street to Brewster Green for Porsche lovers, Rolex bought a spotlight on its forgotten entry-level range that highlighted what incredible design and quality can be purchased at a relatively affordable price in the realms of Swiss watchmaking.

I believe it is fair to say that there may not be a better combination of brand, precision and style offered that holds such a superb residual and has such huge appeal.

An instant classic not only for this Christmas but for many more to come.

For more information, see rolex.com

The vibrant green fumé dial of this Moser Pioneer has a perfect sunburst degrade finish that recalls some of the great vintage dials of the 1960s and 1970s.

In perfect, unworn condition, the large 42.8mm sports watch houses the hand-finished automatic HMC200 calibre movement and guarantees water resistance to 120m.

It comes complete with original box and original papers.

For more information, see phillips.com

Sub £20k

I have to admit that I am a huge fan of A Lange and Sohne products, whose design language is unique, but whose quality is truly a cut above.

The 1815 pink gold features a dial crafted from solid silver with blued steel hands that combine to produce a watch that not only looks perfect during the Christmas festivities, but sophisticated and classical during the summer vacation.

Introduced in 2014, it has become a cornerstone of the brand’s offering and a gateway for many collectors to the brand’s complications and limited editions. It is the very definition of elegance.

For more information, see alange-soehne.com


Sourced from a VIP client and found in outstanding condition, this Patek Philippe 5712GR is complete with the original polished wooden box, booklets and certificates.

Much rarer to find in 18ct white gold and warm rose gold than the standard, highly sought-after, steel version, this elegant two-tone Nautilus is also probably the most 'under the radar' Nautilus Patek have ever made.

Initially just produced for the Asian market, before demand pushed it to a wider launch in 2012, this rare sports watch was discontinued in 2016 after only a few short years.

For more information, see phillips.com

What if you could only live with one watch for life at any price? It would be tempting to choose a Patek Philippe grand complication or a space-age Richard Mille.

But I don’t believe that a better reference exists than the stainless-steel Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar from Audemars Piguet.

This is probably the greatest contemporary all-rounder. The combination of the practicality of a steel bracelet watch combined with a gorgeous blue Grande Tapisserie dial with white gold hands, powered by perhaps the most useful complication in high end wristwatches produces an often overlooked, but stealth classic.

Offered now in many guises, this contemporary masterpiece resides on the wrist of some of the world’s greatest collectors and those who simply ‘know’.

For more information, see audemarspiguet.com