Graduation watches: how, where and what to buy in 2022

ANDREW SHEAR’S SON is in kindergarten, but the 36-year-old father has already bought his child’s graduation gift: a Rolex Daytona from 2017, the year his son was born. Remember, Mr. Shear is a vintage watch dealer through his company Sheartime, so he’s professionally bound to believe that mechanical watches will still be coveted in 2040. Tradition is on his side: Watches are gifts. highlights that have been appreciated for at least a century. A 1928 Elgin watch advertises glasses in shillings between $15 and $1,500 states: “This solves the graduation gift problem.


What watch did you give or receive as a graduation gift? Join the conversation below.

With a fondness for vintage, today’s graduates, who grew up with the internet at their fingertips (and on their wrists), are obsessed with the mechanical workings and supreme style of old-fashioned watches. “Young customers come in after spending the night studying on YouTube,” said Ruediger Albers, US president of watch retailer Wempe. According to Ira Melnitsky, US President and CEO of Tourneau | Bucherer, which has seen a surge in sales of graduate watches over the past three years, young people “appreciate a mechanical item that is not disposable.”

Nolan Daniel White, 20, a savvy TikTok star, has 142,000 followers who cling to his every recommendation. Gen Zers want analog gear for “the same reason people still drive a 1967 Mustang despite the fact that you can buy a Tesla Model 3 that will charge for $3 entirely,” he said. They have “character” and “soul”. Even so, graduates won’t like just any old watch. Here, an introduction to buying worthy watches for the class of 2022.

Timely advice from experts

The idea of ​​buying your graduate a watch that dates to their year of birth, as Mr. Shear did, is an approach recommended by many dealers, executives and collectors. Not only is such a watch sweetly sentimental, but it can pay off even if you don’t plan ahead. Prices for new watches have been steadily rising over the past decade, and a used watch from 2000 or 2001, when many college graduates of that year were born, will likely cost less than a new watch. .

WATCH ME NOW Christopher Walken authoritatively explains the story of a gold watch in “Pulp Fiction.”



Whether it’s new or vintage, Steve Kivel, president of Grand Central Watch, a New York store that sells new and used watches, recommends capping your spending at $500 for high school graduates. However, he advocates being less conservative when it comes to shopping for college graduates who hopefully have learned a thing or two about responsibility. He prefers micro-brands like Davosa or Baltic to big names like Tissot, explaining that these companies offer a high-quality, often Swiss-made, timepiece at a lower cost. “A Davosa has the same weight and looks as a Rolex for a fraction of the price,” he said.

If you’re going vintage, “make sure you’re buying from a seller who is knowledgeable and stands behind their product,” Shear said. He has a soft spot for old and new Rolexes because, he said, they tend to hold their value better than watches from many other brands.

If novelty is a must, consider a Tudor, said Italian watch collector Auro Montanari. It’s a brand with a long history, now owned by Rolex and selling watches of comparable design. If money isn’t an issue, Montanari suggests buying an Omega Speedmaster, the watch worn by Apollo 11 astronauts on the 1969 moon landing. But with a starting price of around $6 $000, it may be better suited to the offspring who, say, graduated summa cum laude or received an early job offer from NASA to become a proper astronaut.

Mr. Albers added that anyone looking for a more delicate watch should get Cartier’s classic Tank. “In stainless steel, it’s entry-level price and looks fantastic,” he said. “It never goes out of style.”

Let’s face it: your graduate could lose the watch



Errata Carmona

When Steve Kivel, president of Grand Central Watch, entered college in the 1980s, he saved up to buy a Movado watch. Three days into his freshman year, sophomores swept him out of his office. “I couldn’t tell my dad, but the lesson was learned,” he said. His advice to parents when selling a graduation watch? Give the gift in tandem with a disclaimer of responsibility.

But talking is cheap, watches are expensive, and kids rarely listen, so if you’re considering buying a serious watch (especially one over $3,000), Mr. Albers de Wempe suggests include in your home insurance. For watch-specific coverage, consider plans from Jewelers Mutual, Zillion, or Chubb.

Six watches to suit all kinds of senior graduates, regardless of major

1. For history buffs

If she enjoys researching obscure artifacts, she’ll love reading up on this renowned brand. Vintage Universal Geneva watch, $850,

2. For engineering aces

He will appreciate the reliability of the Swiss movement with automatic winding of this ticker. Aquascaphe GMT watch, $1,055,

3. For classics specialists

This elegant option tracks the hours while being timeless, if not as timeless as “The Iliad”. The tank must monitor, $2,610,

4. For oceanography majors

Your submersible scientist will be delighted that this stainless steel specimen is waterproof to 200 meters. Tudor Black Bay watch, $3,900,

5. For students of minimalist art

You don’t have to be Agnes Martin to appreciate the clean aesthetic of this unassuming style. Club Campus 38 watch, $1,650,

6. For economic wonders

The cost-benefit analysis of this practical and inexpensive wristwatch will not take time at all. Vintage diving watch, $379,

What grads want: Four future graduates divulge their watch wishes

A 1948 print advertisement for the Hamilton watch brand proclaims that a watch is the ultimate gift for any graduate.



“I would love a Rolex. I want to be a nurse and I want a timeless, durable watch that I could wear to the hospital, to the beach, or to a nice dinner. — Sofie Burstein, 18, Oak Park, CA High School Class of 2022

“I’m a huge Fossil fan. I want one with a two-tone strap and the wriggly nautical thing. »—Noah Kahn, 22, class of 2022 from the University of Kansas

“I love dress watches from the 1940s and 1950s. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso is my favorite, it’s the perfect size. —Simon Goldman, 21, Pratt Institute Class of 2023

“I once pulled the trigger on a vintage 1977 Cartier Tortue.”—Nolan Daniel White, 20, class of 2022 from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario)

Notable recipients remember

“I received a Rolex GMT-Master II when I graduated. It’s steel with a black dial. My mother wanted it to go with everything. I still wear it every day.”— Dominic Chu, Senior Markets Correspondent, CNBC

“My brother bought me a gold and stainless steel Rolex Datejust for my college graduation. I kept it for about 10 years and then sold it to buy an Oyster Perpetual.”—Matthew Harris, jewelry designer, Mateo

“I got a Michele watch with a mother-of-pearl dial and crocodile strap after college. I had coveted it for years, so it was a huge deal when I got one. made me feel very adult.Hannah Fidell, director

The Wall Street Journal is not compensated by retailers listed in its articles as outlets for products. Listed retailers are often not the only retail outlets.

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About Robert L. Thomas

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