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hey say good things come in small packages and, if that means finding fine jewellery or a mechanical watch under the tree come Christmas morning, we’re inclined to agree. But, of course, precious stones and Swiss movements don’t come cheap so, if you’re going to splash the cash, make sure you’re investing in pieces they’re guaranteed to love. Here’s our guide to the best watch and jewellery gifts for Christmas 2021.
Jewellery for her
Founded in 2013 by eponymous designer Chupi Sweetman, and inspired by the stories behind her grandmother’s beloved rings, Chupi’s jewellery is all about symbolism, talismans and creating heirlooms for future generations. Handmade in Ireland using 100 per cent recycled gold and diamonds that are either recycled, lab-grown or ethically certified through the Kimberley Process, every piece is presented in a gorgeous velvet box destined to become a dressing table keepsake.
The range is vast but, for Christmas 2021, we recommend gifting versatile pieces that can be worn alone or stacked with existing jewellery box favourites. Take, for example, this North Star diamond necklace and matching signet ring. Both highlight the natural beauty of 14 karat yellow gold through soft, organic shapes, while each also features a stunning round cut diamond complemented by the North star engraving that has become a signature of the Chupi house. Elegant and understated, they are perfect for taking a mix and match approach to jewellery.
For something a little flashier that can still be worn every day, the Crown of Hope ring features a spray of marquise diamonds forming a diadem crown. A piece which looks beautiful in the box but really comes to life when worn, it’s ideal for marking special occasions or even for gifting as a wedding ring for brides looking for something a little bolder than a plain band.
Let us begin by addressing the elephant in the room. Even if you know all they really want for Christmas is glamorous jewellery, not everyone feels comfortable making that decision for someone else. We don’t blame you, it's a big commitment – which is where Covett comes in.
Inspired by the success of fashion rental platforms, Covett was founded by Cynthia Morrow with the aim of changing the way people think about fine jewellery. Instead of saving up for one special piece, Covett’s shared ownership and subscription options give members access to a whole jewellery box bursting with glittering pieces from brands including Cartier, Leo Pizzo, Le Ster and Alice van Cal, to name just a few.
Happily for those looking for the perfect jewellery gift, Covett offers a gift card service that can be pre-loaded with up to £1,000 to spend on either a Covett Vault subscription or a share in one of Covett’s fine jewellery pieces. A thoughtful gift that affords them all the fun of jewellery shopping and the funds to make the perfect selection? Sounds like a win-win to us.
These romantic earrings, the result of a new collaboration between jewellery designer Annoushka Ducas and fashion designer Alice Temperley, may technically be aimed at the bridal market but we’re of the opinion that they’re so beautiful they shouldn’t be saved for just one day. Each a variation on the lovebird theme, every piece in the collection is crafted in 18t gold and finished with freshwater pearls and diamonds.
Inspired by talismanic symbols and the spiritual associations and energies of gemstones, all of Sophie Theakston’s jewellery is made by independent artisans in Jaipur – with the aim of protecting local craftsmanship – using ethically mined stones and gold. While Theakston’s designs appear deceptively simple, the devil is in the details, with unusual stone cuts, intricate engraving and organic shapes pressed into the service of some seriously covetable pieces.
18ct gold marigold garland necklace, £1,200, sophietheakston.com; Moon and Back cuff in 18ct gold with emeralds, £3,800, sophietheakston.com; Moon to my Star 18ct gold and diamond and earrings, £1,100, sophietheakston.com
Jewellery for him
It might never have occurred to you to turn to your favourite jewellery brands for gifts for the men in your life but, invest in the right pieces, and you might find their magpie tendencies are just as strong as yours. Alighieri, with its natural forms and less pristine and polished style, is a brilliant introductory brand for a man who might not be ready for serious bling just yet. With their textured finish and dark stones, these signet-inspired rings show personality without being over the top.
American jewellery brand Foundrae, meanwhile, takes a more personal approach to fine jewellery, presenting its pieces as modern heirlooms designed to transcend trends and be layered and stacked as their wearer invests in the symbols and talismans that resound with them. The designs are subtle, utilising quietly bold materials, such as lapis lazuli and enamel, set in 18 carat yellow gold. Think of this as the upgrade to that St Christopher he’s been wearing since he was a teenager.
If you’re buying for a man who’s more of a traditionalist, cufflinks are always a crowd-pleaser – especially when they’re as unique as Brooski’s Roman coin designs. Inspired by childhood trips to the Natural History Museum, they feature a pair of real ancient copper coins set in hammered 24 carat yellow gold. Absolute show stoppers.
Watches for her
For too long women were underserved when it came to classic mechanical watchmaking, but now female watch aficionados finally have an abundance to choose from – as do those who wish to gift them. And why stop at one timepiece when Patek Philippe has excellent options for all areas of her life?
From Monday to Friday there are few timepieces that are a better companion for any time of day or night quite like the Twenty~4 collection. Powered by a calibre 324 S C self-winding movement, the Twenty~4 Automatic features the collection's first round case, which is set with 160 diamonds. We're rather taken with this versatile version which sports a wardrobe-friendly grey sunburst hue on the dial. For the weekend, meanwhile, the sporty styling of the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, with its oversized indices and vintage brown calfskin strap, will elevate casual looks while remaining playful. Thanks to a dual time zone complication, local and home day/night indicators and a 30-minute counter, it’s a practical option for busy lives too.
Finally, and perhaps most impressively, is the Calatrava Diamond Ribbon Joaillerie. Crafted with a 36.5mm white gold case and dial set with 679 graduated diamonds (plus another 91 adorning the crown, lugs and buckle), this is a truly stunning black tie timepiece. There’s some serious watchmaking underpinning those aesthetics too, with the case housing an ultra-thin self-winding mechanical calibre 240 movement.
Twenty~4 Automatic Ref. 7300/1200A-010 in steel, grey sunburst dial with black gradation, £21,410, wempe.com; Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 7234R-001 in rose gold, brown sunburst dial with a black gradation, £37,350, wempe.com; Diamond Ribbon Joaillerie Ref. 4978/400G-001 in white gold, dial fully set with diamonds, £60,110, wempe.com
Bremont’s latest ladies timepiece was launched earlier this year and is lovingly named for the boat the father of founders Nick and Giles English built for their mother. Paying homage to a woman they describe as ‘artistic and adventurous’, the Solo Lady K also represents the first time Bremont has incorporated diamonds into a core collection, with a diamond-set bezel highlighting either a white or Tahitian mother of pearl dial. Timeless and sophisticated, this is a watch guaranteed to impress women aged 17 to 70.
Net-A-Porter x Watches & Wonders
As part of its ongoing collaboration with the world’s leading fine watch fair, Watches & Wonders, Net-A-Porter is now home to an expansive range of mechanical watches from some of the industry’s leading houses – as well as plenty of expert advice to help you choose the perfect timepiece. For women, the collection spans references from the likes of Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC Schaffhausen, Cartier and more. We’re rather fond of this miniature rose gold and diamond Hermès Faubourg double-strap watch.
Watches for him
Buying for a man who knows his moon phase from his minute repeater? If there is anything guaranteed to impress a true watch aficionado it’s an openworked dial – and Speake-Marin offers them in abundance and as very exclusive limited editions.
So called for the absence of a dial plate, which allows the wearer (and admiring onlookers) the chance to observe the movement up close, combine a openworked dial with a tourbillon complication and you’ve got one of the most coveted pairings in watchmaking. Speake-Marin’s Openworked Tourbillon is also unique for the placement of the flying tourbillon – the brand is the only one to offer it in the prime 1.30 position – making this a truly incredible gift.
Perhaps, however, the style of an openworked dial with the practicality of a dual time function would better cater to his needs? Ideal for frequent flyers who need a watch suitable for everything from important business meetings to black tie events, Speake-Marin’s red gold Openworked Dual Time more than fits the bill. Simpler still, but every bit as impressive, is the Openworked HMS. Standing for Hours Minutes Seconds, this elegant piece from Speake-Marin’s One&Two collection takes its design cues from modern architecture and keep things fuss-free with an openworked dial, blue hour and minutes hands and a small seconds subdial. A brilliant addition to any man’s collection.
If he loves the aesthetics of a mechanical timepiece but can’t bear to go without the high-tech statistics afforded by a smartwatch, the clever folks over at Tag Heuer have created the perfect middle ground. Available in numerous iterations, some practically identical to its chronograph timepieces and others offering a sportier take, the Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch looks the part while still recording health and wellness stats and sports insights for everything from golf and running to swimming and cycling.
Whether it’s to celebrate a promotion, a landmark birthday or just a very special Christmas, there is no gift quite so memorable as a man’s first mechanical watch. And, when it comes to a timepiece guaranteed to stand the test of time, Chopard’s Alpine Eagle is about as classic as they come. With a hard-wearing steel case and clean blue sunburst dial, regardless of whether they wear it every day or save it for special occasions, this is a watch they’ll always be pleased to have in their collection.