The Gold Retirement Watch

So where did the gold “retirement watch” really start?  As far as we can tell in the United States the tradition of giving gold watches originated back in the 1940s with Pepsi Co. It was a symbol of “you gave us your time, now we are giving you ours”. Back then, the watches were traditionally 18kt gold. There were different versions of the watches given, depending on position and status within the company.

Over the decades that time honored tradition has evolved because of our changed career patterns in a world where people can work for as many as eight or more employers over a lifetime, says Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology at Lancaster University. “The issue of loyalty is incredibly important. To reward workers for long service in a short-term world is a very nice thing to do.”

We have seen this in practice at Presentation Watch Company with most of our business clients giving employee gift watches with as little as 5 years or less of service both as a reward and as the employee moves on to another employment opportunity.

Cottrills, a supplier of “reward solutions” to 550 blue-chip clients in England. Mr. Porter is the CEO of Cottrills and says that when Cottrills started 17 years ago, the primary level for long-service awards was 20 to 25 years. Now the first tier can start at five.  As for the gifts’ popularity, Cottrills reports that the most popular employee gift has been the gift of a watch. goes further to point out the real value in giving the right gift for the employee and preferably personalized.  The offer this as advice to HR departments around the country when it comes to employee gifts: “It’s kind of like giving someone in your personal life a gift. If you wanted to get someone a gift, but could not rely on throwing cash at them, what would you do?  You would actually have to take the time to get to know them (at least a little bit) to see what would interest them. How about a personalized watch. You can match the style with the personality of the employee and give them something that won’t lay in the closet and can be a daily reminder of the recognition of their work by your company.  See the difference a little thoughtfulness can make?” lists the Bulova 98B203 as one of the 10 best retirement gifts you can give.


We sell this watch for $349 which includes a personalized engraving on the back of the watch, a hardwood mahogany presentation box with a brass or nickle engraved plaque on it and free shipping.  You can give a thoughtful, beautiful and lifetime lasting award to one of your employees for only $349!  Many of our clients report that the employee is sometimes in tears when they receive one of our gifts and the effect spreads beyond the person being recognized

Max S. Beschloss is a 72-year-old former vice president for advertising at watch maker Wittnauer International.  When Mr. Beschloss retired from Wittnauer after 25 years he was given a solid-gold Lifetime Plus watch, guaranteed to be repaired free until the death of a designated heir, which he figured would be his 40-year-old middle son, Adam. Watches passe as a gift!? ”Most jewelers would disagree,” Mr. Beschloss said. ”It’s something you see every day of your life, a reminder of the company’s gratitude.”

DIXI Le Locle Holding is a Swiss based maker of high-precision machine tools with operations in the United States. The company offers cash or a gold watch to its retiring employees at its home base. But, Mr. Castella boasted “that 90 percent of them take the watch. It’s something that they can look at everyday to remind them of the work they have done for us with pride and a sense of satisfaction.”

When colleagues or coworkers are retiring, a brilliant way to mark the occasion is with great retirement gifts. It’s not considered mandatory, but is a good way to celebrate a person’s working life. The best retirement gifts don’t need to be elaborate, extravagant or expensive. But they should convey your feelings of appreciation, and express how much you’ve enjoyed working with them, however long it’s been. When it’s a friend or family member that’s retiring, giving retirement gifts is a good way to show how proud you are of all the retiree has done. Adding a touch of personalization is a great way to make even the most common of gifts more special. Most retirement gifts lend themselves well to personalization, adding a name, the date of their retirement, or a message that says thanks for all her hard work will make a gift truly unique.




The $1,625,000 Watch

I love it when watch enthusiasts on a budget have excellent options produced with their needs in mind. The Bulova Moon Watch is an Omega Speedmaster for millennials or anyone who wants a cool historic-looking tool watch but can’t afford several thousand dollars for a serious mechanical timepiece. Better yet, the Bulova Moon Watch isn’t just trying to be a fashion statement inspired by watches that went to the moon, it is, in fact, directly inspired by an actual Bulova watch that did go to the moon.


News of the Bulova Moon Watch came to me late in 2015, but I wanted to wait and see the timepiece hands-on before making any conclusions about this good-looking monochromatic tool-style timepiece. In fact, if the Bulova Moon Watch were made today as a novel model, it would serve equally well as a tool-timepiece for those who needed a high-legibility, high-accuracy instrument.


The story of the Bulova Moon Watch began with a specially designed one-of-a-kind Bulova gifted to NASA Apollo Mission astronaut Dave Scott in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Dave Scott took the unique Bulova watch gifted to him by the brand with him on the 1971 Apollo 15 mission to the Moon. At the time, astronauts had government-issued Omega Speedmaster watches. The mere fact that astronauts had Omega Speedmaster watches was not without controversy, as Omega was a Swiss watch brand and certain people in the US believed that the astronauts should be wearing an American watch (at the time, Bulova was a fully American company).


As the story goes, Dave Scott’s Speedmaster became damaged and the front crystal popped off, which necessitated he wear his back-up Bulova. Colonel Scott went on to walk on the Moon’s surface and was the first person to operate a lunar rover vehicle. One his wrist at the time was reportedly the Bulova watch. After the Apollo 15 mission, the Bulova watch – as it was Scott’s personal property – remained his personal possession for many years. In 2015, Scott himself decided to auction off the Bulova watch, along with a few other items he had on the Apollo 15 mission with him. The price achieved for Dave Scott’s “Bulova moon watch” was a staggering $1,625,000 in late 2015.

Dave Scott's Original Moon Watch

Dave Scott’s Original Bulova Moon Watch

Bulova then took the opportunity to recreate this timepiece as a production model for modern audiences. Larger than the original and using a high-precision quartz movement, the Bulova Moon Watch of 2016 isn’t really a “re-issue” of the late-1960s watch as has been reported, but rather a modern timepiece inspired by the classic design. In a roughly 44mm-wide steel case, the Bulova Moon Watch is very attractive in person with a gracefully curved case and distinctive, easy-to-operate chronograph pushers. If the Bulova Moon Watch looks a lot like a Speedmaster, then all you need to do is look at the original and realize that Bulova was really just building the original watch off the specs NASA had indicated for watches meant to travel in space with astronauts.


The 2016 Bulova Moon Watch is a faithful recreation of the style of the original, but in modern materials. The watch also has an AR-coated sapphire crystal and a case that is water resistant to 50 meters (though 100 meters of water resistance would have been nice). The watch also wears a bit smaller than you’d expect given the size and wide lug structure. What I really like is the totally monochromatic dial which is rare to find on watches today at this price point. Most watches of this type, in this price range, try to offer a lot of funky modern design elements for an audience that brands feel value style over substance much of the time. Brand’s often assume that buyer tastes will mature as their income increases. Finally, with the Bulova Moon Watch, tool watch-loving enthusiasts with just a few hundred dollars to spend have something very appealing to get.



Inside the Bulova Moon Watch is the proprietary Bulova “High-Performance” 262 kHz quartz chronograph movement. This family of movements was previously known as “UHF” (ultra-high frequency), and has since been renamed, according to Bulova (with that said, “UHF” and “Ultra-High Frequency” terms are on the watch in at least two places). Originally, these movements debuted in the very well-regarded
What makes these movements special compared to most other quartz movements is that they are several times more accurate, deviating by no more than about 10 seconds or so per year (as opposed to 10-15 seconds per month). The movements have a battery life of about 2 years and the chronograph (which has a nice sweeping hand) measures down to 1/10th of a second. The watch offers the time, date, and of course chronograph complication. In person and on the wrist, the Bulova Moon Watch watch looks great, offering the look of a traditional tool watch with a very reasonable price and excellent performance.
Bulova will offer two versions of the Bulova Moon Watch. One version comes in a handsome steel three-link metal bracelet that looks excellent. The second is with a textured (to look like fabric weave) leather strap. This strap version also comes with a velcro-style “hook and loop” black fabric strap with thick metal hardware and a brown leather patch which has the 262 kHz speed of the quartz movement along with the original Apollo 15 mission date. I’m really quite happy that the Bulova Moon Watch came out so well, and hope to see more sober-looking and timeless modern tool watches such as this come from the brand (the cool backstory doesn’t hurt either). Prices for the Bulova Moon Watch are $550 on the strap and $675 on the steel bracelet.



Tudor’s New Heritage Black Bay Watch

It might be the year of the Monkey, but it might as well be the year of the Tudor Black Bay. Sure, we’re only five months on the heels of the introduction of the Black Bay Black, but with three fresh updates and three brand-new additions to the line (five of which house Tudor’s in-house movement), there’s now almost something for every type of collector, without ever having to leave the ‘Bay. Those options include a surprising 36mm dress-diver, a stealthy PVD-coated edition, and an all-new case and design hewn from bronze – the latter of which has dominated much of the Baselworld buzz (no thanks in part to a timely catalog “leak” on Instagram 48 hours prior to its unveiling). However, the original three Tudor Heritage Black Bays – Red, Blue, and Black, all take on the new Tudor in-house caliber and a few other subtle updates, making the Tudor Heritage Black Bay, once again, the dive watch to own this summer.


The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is one of those rare watches that hasn’t just been accumulating accolades since its release in 2012, it’s a watch that has also won a proud slot in the rotation of an unusually wide variety of collections – as a top-end piece for budget-minded collectors, and as a classic, everyday wearable in the collections of guys who otherwise only bother to chase the super-rare. Why? Well, for starters, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay comes from a good lineage – the 7922 launched in 1954, to be precise. It’s also handsome, colorful (but not overly so), neatly proportioned, detail-rich, and exceptionally well-built. Case in point: the bezel that’s been rumored to have been finely tuned to mimic the tactile feel of opening the combination lock on a certain Swiss bank vault. However, whether it’s true or not is secondary to the fact that the details will always matter, and it’s through these details that Tudor has eclipsed the wildly popular retro trend and turned the Heritage collection into an annual clinic on modern watch design.


With the tool diver Pelagos getting the in-house upgrade for Basel last year, it was inevitable that the Tudor Heritage Black Bay get the same treatment. And as if on cue, the entire Tudor Heritage Black Bay line (with the exception of the 36mm) this year gets Tudor’s in-house MT5602 movement – a 4Hz (28,000vph), COSC-certified automatic caliber with a bi-directional winding system and around 70 hours of power reserve. Naturally, the added chronometer accuracy certification and the anti-magnetic silicon hairspring are both welcome additions, but it’s the 70-hour reserve that most will find particularly useful, especially compared to the typical 40 found in a comparable ETA movement. With the new Tudor movements, you can set the watch down on Friday afternoon, and pick it up Monday morning without missing a beat. To wit: the original two-line Pelagos with its ETA 2824 gets around 38 hours, meaning if it’s not fully wound when set it down Friday night, it might not be running by the time Sunday brunch rolls around.


The Tudor Heritage Black Bay’s movement upgrade came accompanied by a few other subtleties which genuinely improve the dial layout and presentation. Gone is the curved text at 6:00 and the vintage rose at 12:00 in place of three straightened lines of text and the Tudor shield. Both are details that quietly modernize the dial, eliminating those last few shades of retro-kitsch to bring it more closely in-line with a modern collection of classically inspired dive watches.

However, one of the coolest additions to the Tudor Heritage Black Bay package is its new riveted bracelet, which, at first glance, doesn’t appear dramatically different from the outgoing version. And yet, it’s a neat homage to the pioneering era of dive watches whose bracelets were designed around a stepped construction for comfort and durability, and held together by riveted screws, which you can see on the 9:00 case side of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay’s new bracelet. It’s a very cool detail that doesn’t add any performance or comfort benefit to the watch overall, but one that just illustrates Tudor’s commitment to paying homage to the era that bore the watch.


As before, those who opt out of the bracelet can get the Tudor Heritage Black Bay on a distressed leather strap with a deployant clasp – a look that very few dive watches can pull off, but one that the Tudor Heritage Black Bay’s satin-polished case, warm, gilt dial tones, and colorful accents are able to manage with aplomb. However, if neither leather nor steel is the look you’re chasing, Tudor supplies each variant with an extra fabric strap that’s been color-matched to the watch. Obviously, being from Tudor’s detail-rich Heritage collection, these straps are a story in and of themselves – particularly how each impressively well-made strap is jacquard-woven on looms by a century-old family business in the St-Etienne region of France.

The new straight-line Tudor Heritage Black Bay doesn’t wear any differently than its predecessors, and that’s probably a good thing – especially since our very own James Stacey suggested its design and dimensions yielded “one of the most appealing watches on the market today.” The 41mm case is probably best suited for a flatter wrist profile, but it’s otherwise very nicely proportioned. That said, it is worth noting that on some wrists, the watch can wear a touch large, given its tall 12mm silhouette, and long 50mm lug-to-lug length. There’s also not a great deal of taper from the 9:00 and 3:00 edges of the case to the lugs – and while this speaks more to the vintage-inspired case design, it also lends the watch a semi-rectangular shape that can take a little getting used to.

How Important is the Watch that You Wear to You and Others?

One of the most difficult things for any watch lover to admit is the desire for other people to notice, and in many instances recognize, the watch he or she is wearing. The notion comes eerily close to unadulterated vanity and pride, which is a sentiment few people want to readily admit to. The more noble stance people suggest for their choice of watch is much more personal, and oftentimes you’ll hear reasons such as “I wear watches that I like because I personally see value in them.” That is rarely entirely untrue, but it would be naive to remove the “status” element of status symbols.
As much as it pains me to say so, I agree that today “nobody needs wrist watches.” It is true, we don’t. Needing a wrist watch implies that the wearer relies upon the functionality it delivers from a utilitarian standpoint (i.e., to know the time). We live in a society filled with clocks and the time everywhere. Whereas people once relied on their personal wrist watches to tell the time, between their other devices and the world around them, few people need a watch to know the time today. So then why do people wear a watch today?

This is a larger topic that I can’t fully cover in a few statements, but most people agree it is both to communicate something about the wearer and to make the wearer feel something. In many instances that can be as simple as the wearer appreciates the design and construction of the watch, and wearing it makes the wearer feel as though it communicates both taste and success. Thus watches are things we want to wear, not something we need to wear.

Going back to the discussion of brand identification, the question is how important it is for you that people recognize the watch brand you are wearing. Rolex is perhaps the golden example of this because the notion around the world is that if someone sees a Rolex on wrist it communicates a certain level of wealth and achieved success in life. This is especially true among people who are familiar with luxury brands but not necessary watch brands.

So, as a watch lover, why do you prefer to wear one brand over another? There are some watch collectors who focus exclusively on design without even a minor consideration of brand. This, I propose, represents a minority of people who exist on one extreme side of the spectrum. On the opposite side of that spectrum are people who are exclusively interested in being associated with a brand. These people are almost totally concerned with wearing a particular brand, and the technical or design merits of a watch aren’t important to them (so long as the right brand name is present). This, of course, represents the other side of the “I care about brands” spectrum. So where along the spectrum do you lay?

Considering how important a watch brand is to you is a good exercise in understanding your own tastes and preferences. I will admit that I am sensitive to brand, but only secondary to design. I would say that brand awareness is perhaps the 5th or 6th item on a list of things I look for, but it is certainly a point of consideration. In fact, in my unique experience being a part of the watch industry media, I often consider that, “based on what I know about this brand and how well we get along, do I want to wear their product?” True enough, as attractive as brands can be, sometimes a negative experience with a brand will cause the brand name to be a “rejection factor,” meaning that a consumer will sometimes not wear a watch simply because of a prior negative experience with that brand.

The question you need to ask yourself is how important it is that onlookers recognize the watch brand you are wearing. Of course, not everyone is going to be familiar with watch brands (given how niche so many of them are), but the query here is how much you subjectively want them to notice or be curious about the brands you are wearing. Knowing this will help you as a watch lover understand more about the choices you make, as well as what you want your watch’s relationship to be with the world around you.