From menswear to watches and grooming, here’s what to get Mr. Fancy Pants this Christmas.
Few could argue the all-too-obvious point that, now more than ever, we’re in dire need of some Christmas cheer. To compensate for a tempestuous year — full of travel bans, deferred plans and a general air of uncertainty — we’ve put together a wishlist that throws moderation to the wind. Fret not: chances are, the boys in your life are just as keen to make a splash upon exiting 2020. Good riddance.
From decadent skincare to the highest of horological marvels, here are 10 gift ideas bound to cheer up any gent this Christmas. Failing that, there’s always mulled wine.
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.
This new 41mm reference combines the renowned design of the Royal Oak in ceramic with an openworked, double-balance-wheel movement — a first for the manufacture at Audemars Piguet. The look is instantly striking, making for a subtle twist on the familiar matte-versus-polished aesthetic most of us recognise from steel watchmaking. Thoughtful use of colour and scale make the dial impressively legible: a good thing indeed, given the chronometric precision of the movement whirring away below. Breathtaking from every angle, the timing of this release makes it all the more impressive — in the final days of a year that has proven devastating for all but the most resilient of watchmakers.
As a matter of course, every men’s gift guide benefits from the inclusion of one or two grooming essentials. This Christmas, that conventional wisdom still holds true, albeit for different reasons. Your harried visage mightn’t be the trophy of one too many holly-jolly holiday mixers — the more likely explanation will have something to do with pandemic-induced rage — but fortunately, quality skincare remains useful whatever your underlying concern. Sisley Paris’ provitamin-rich ‘Black Rose’ is a formidable solution in the ageing category, improving facial moisture, brightness and complexion in 15 minutes. Just think of how many martinis you can batch in that time.
Reportedly designed by Anglo-Italian co-founder Jake Grantham as “a nod to our former lives,” this flannel ‘dressing gown’ is an insouciant reimagining of cold-weather tailoring — intended to be worn in the proverbial drawing room (to the sounds of Rodgers & Hart) but more than capable of keeping out the cold on your impromptu grocery runs. Fun fact: it’s even cut from the same fabric the brand uses for its suits and jackets, a rustic mid-weight woollen decorated in glen plaid that has been enriched with a very muted blue overcheck.
Sure, VaporWaffles are cool and all, but if you’re serious about broadcasting your passion for #fashun (alongside a well-timed dose of sustainability) Piola is a brand that’s adept at scratching both itches. Its ‘ICA’ is a great entry-point for the serial hiker/aspiring outdoorsmen crowd: fusing a carabiner-style lacing system together with sustainable orthopaedics and a colour palette that nods to Piola’s Parisian origins. As with any sneaker, the outsole is of paramount importance; and the brand has gone the extra mile by choosing to make theirs with at least 20 percent natural Amazonian rubber. Combating deforestation has seldom been so comfortable.
While we can’t say enough good things about the emotional satisfaction that accompanies ownership of a finely crafted timepiece, we’d certainly concede that in a year brimming with financial crises and social injustice now mightn’t be the optimal moment to unload ‘piles of cash’ on an ostentatious wrist-flex. For something a little more understated (yet still very much in the vein of horology) A Collected Man makes these dashing oval-shaped watch rolls — perfect for storing two timepieces of your choice at home or on the road (whenever that may be). Made in Tuscany using European calf leathers and alcantara, each roll is named for a metropolitan locale beloved by the ACM team. In the case of the ‘Tokyo,’ the look is “inspired by Japanese minimalist design,” produced using a water- and scratch-resistant scotchgrain that’s muted in the best of ways.
For over a decade, LA-based Chester Mox has been making some of the nicest leather goods you’ll find anywhere around the globe — co-founder Bellanie Salcedo even apprenticed under an ex-Hermès craftsperson — with an emphasis on value and raw leather quality. In a society that’s well on its way to becoming cashless, we appreciate designs like the ‘56P’ — a bite-sized card case (roughly measuring 10cm x 7cm) that offers considerate gift givers a wealth of customisation options. All of the pockets can be made up in a selection of 20 vegetable-tanned chèvre — a kind of highly desirable goatskin leather that’s mostly the preserve of certain, well-known luxury brands.
In many ways, the story of modern parfumerie can be distilled into two camps: the fragrance that is ‘ingredient-led’ (often peddled by the latest ‘flavour of the month’ celebrity) and that which, with varying degrees of success, attempts to capture a specific moment in time. Margiela’s Replica line falls squarely into the latter, concerned as it is with the olfactory recreation of suitably stylish settings. ‘Jazz Club’ pivots around three conceits that will be familiar to most gents: wood, booze, and tobacco. A few minutes in, heady notes of bay rum and vetiver narrow into a fairly convincing impression of various earthen notes, finishing on an energetic Iso E note that gives this appeal with boys (and girls) of all ages.
It’d be all too easy to venture down memory lane and revisit any of 2020’s most hype-fuelled releases (Rolex, Lange, Richard Mille — take your pick) but for the purposes of this guide, we thought it only fair to raise our glasses to Chopard — the lauded, yet criminally underrated Swiss marque behind the Alpine Eagle. Initially launched in 2019, the eponymous collection of ave-inspired sports watches was joined this October by the ‘XL Chronograph’: a muscular new three-register chronograph, built on the foundation of Chopard’s latest steel sports watch. Value is a notion ‘luxury brands’ are often keen to avoid, but in the case of this release it adds a feel-good dimension to something that was already desirable on merit. As with all Alpine Eagles, the XL is made with Chopard’s recycled A223 alloy; the movement features a ‘jumping minute’ function which transforms it into an honest-to-God racing watch; and, to get deeply nerdy for a moment, even sports the same square-ended markers you’ll find in a certain ‘Paul Newman’ wristwatch.
Relaxed, toasty and full of easygoing Christmas verve, this tweed sportcoat (by Osakan tailoring firm Ring Jacket) is the perfect fit for Hong Kong’s recent spat of chilly weather. Cut in what the brand has dubbed the ‘Model 184’ fit, it’s a versatile piece which combines Japanese attention to detail with fabric from a storied British mill. The spongy houndstooth fabric is woven by Yorkshire-based Abraham Moon — a go-to supplier for capital-F fashion houses like AMI and Alexander McQueen. And because we know you’re extra thoughtful, don’t forget to let the lucky recipient know about the basted sleeves (they can be altered to whatever his preferred length is).
Named for a bucolic lochan in the Scottish Highlands, Anordain is a collective of designers and engineers who craft small-batch timepieces from a studio in Glasgow. Their specialty is vitreous enamel — a decorative element usually reserved for watches at 10 times the price. At Anordain, each enamel dial is a true labour of love: overseen by a single enameller from start to finish in a multi-step process that takes 12 hours to complete. The subtle colour variations in this ‘Iron Cream’ model, caused by mixing metal oxides together with powdered glass before firing, are impossible to fully capture on camera, and a real joy to experience in the metal. For an added touch of intimacy, consider a custom engraving on the watch’s caseback. Powered by an automatic, Swiss-made SW-200 movement.