Watches That Make Great Graduation Gifts

From high school and university college to culinary school and law degrees, a lot of hard-earned diplomas are going out to graduates this spring. You’re going to want to commemorate the milestone moment with a gift that the graduate will hold dear for generations. Watches are an excellent choice when it comes to graduation gifts. It’s a sign of welcoming them to the real world! You can give them the gift of time to help them keep track of theirs. Here are a few ways to go when considering a luxury watch as a graduation gift.

Occasion: Looking to College Life

For many, high school graduation is less about high school reminiscing and more about what lies ahead: college. The high-school graduation watch you’re bestowing is really an off-to-college gift. And so it needs to feel fresh and alive with all of life’s opportunities. Think modern, a minimalist blank slate of possibilities but with a design that says you’ll look good on the ascent. Consider stainless steel and monochrome for high school graduates.

NOMOS Glashütte Club Campus

Esteemed German watchmakers NOMOS Glashütte even crafted a watch for this specific niche. Their Club Campus series radiates promise with the casual coolness exemplified by its modified California Dial. The back of the stainless steel case just begs for a touching engraving to personalize the gift. 

Made for the put-together everyman, the rounded steel case and deep brown Italian leather strap offer an optimistic view with easy charm. Or consider a Tissot Chronograph. The JPT CC38 manages to capture both a modern forward-looking feel with polished steel and the laid-back West Coast vibe that’s a hallmark of the California watchmakers. And it’s a bit of a conversation starter as the numbers are offset to place the zero in the ten o’clock position!

Occasion: The End of University

For many, this is the big one. Graduation from college marks a seismic shift in the lives of longtime students. It’s often seen as a marker from late-adolescence to adulthood and the watch you give should reflect this new stage of life. So you will want to go to the traditional choices first. Then maybe explore around to suit a graduate who enjoys stepping outside the norm. You drive right into the heart of classic town with a Rolex.

Rolex Submariner

It’s hard to go wrong here with watches that seem purpose-built for elegant commemoration. Start with the Submariner Date, the iconic James Bond watch with a refined Oyster case and much-recognized dial. Take a look at new additions to the Rolex Datejust family, such as the steel Lady Datejust 28 and Oyster Perpetual in steel and white gold. These watches all say “up-and-comer and doing it in style” and are sure to get noticed in the new workplace.  

Personality: Do You Know a Creative Genius?

Of course, a Rolex might not be for everyone. Consider a watch for the creative types. Inspired by classical music and launched nearly a decade ago, the Raymone Weil Maestro collection now features dozens of models that run from quirky skeleton watches to minimalist pieces in deep tones that would feel at home in a ritzy cigar bar. Speaking of music-inspired horology, Oris pens a love letter to a jazz great with the Dexter Gordon Limited Edition. One of the founding fathers of bebop, Gordon (or “Long Tall Dex”) is lauded with a rich cholocate-hued beauty with a subtle saxophone reed sitting at the twelve o’clock index.

Oris Dexter Gordon
oris.ch

Creative minds love modern mechanical watches that retain vintage vibes. These graduates are up for project meet-ups at coffee houses and pitching to Hollywood studios. The Longines Flagship Heritage matches them nicely with a slim dress watch that brings back a design from 1957. While that classic watch was at home in the executive two-martini lunch days, the current versions feel like they have their eyes firmly set on 21st century possibilities.

Personality: For the Explorer

Some walk out of a school with a diploma and no path set in stone. They’ll travel for a while and seek new opportunities in unexplored lands. They’ll scour their surroundings for the unique and promising. For this graduate, you want something for an active lifestyle and yet stylish enough for dress up. This watch needs to be as versatile as the myriad of situations our graduate will navigate.

Hamilton Jazzmaster

Whether you’re preparing reports in your new office or waiting to hop a redeye train, a Hamilton Classic Jazzmaster Traveler GMT is a great companion that captures the essence of the frontier-busting American spirit. Few things are as tuned to an adventure as a pilot watch. Consider something from Alpina Aviation’s stunning line of chronographs that beg to be by your side on this exciting new phase of life.    

Goals: It’s All About the Business

Then we have your laser-focused grads. They studied business and mean to do some serious business out in the world. These diploma-holders need timepieces that straddle the spaces of business and dress watches. You want to keep it simple and elegant and go with the ever-classic design of a white face with a black leather strap.

IWC Portofino

The IWC Portofino Stainless Steel fits the bill nicely in polished steel with a black alligator strap. But don’t limit things to monochrome as a nice timepiece with earth tones can be nearly as versatile. 

True, we’re coloring inside the lines a bit here. We’re grouping graduates according to our perceptions and today’s generation of grads are reaching out to the world in ways never before conceived. Armed with newly-acquired knowledge, they’re tasked with finding solutions to challenges as equally unthought of just a few generations ago. So you may go steampunk or eye-blinding bling or bestow the latest smartwatch.

However you choose, the gift will mark a momentous yet fleeting moment that can be commemorated for a lifetime.

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