As any potential watch hunter knows, the offer out there is overwhelming, with millions of watches touting themselves as perfect gift ideas for men at very tempting entry prices, but without the backing of a reputable brand. A good tip when investing in a watch is to stick to the well-known brands. Not only will the shopping experience be more pleasant, but you will leave with a timeless gift and all the after-sales services only an established brand can offer.
Braving depths of up to 300 metres is the mission of the IWC Aquatimer Automatic watch. The basic model of the professional Aquatimer family is a serious diver's watch with just three hands and without the usual clutter on the dial (£4,250). The comfortably sized 42 mm stainless steel case features the innovative SafeDive system on both the external and interior bezels. The vital dive displays are coated with green SuperLumiNova and the black rubber strap can be easily changed thanks to IWC's quick-change system.
As sponsor of the legendary Grand Prix de Monaco Historique race, in which historical F1 cars tear around hairpin bends, Chopard has designed the GPMH collection, which includes this sporty Chopard GPMH Automatic watch (£3,600). The large titanium case, racy yellow details on the dial and 1970s inspired strap will transport petrol heads directly to the race track. The powerful engine, a self-winding Chopard movement that has been certified by COSC as a chronometer, is water-resistant to 100 metres. Price £3,600
Bremont likes to flaunt that its watches are "tested beyond endurance". Case in point is the Bremont MBIII aviation watch (£3,945), which was developed with Britain's leading ejection seat company, Martin-Baker (hence its name). The MBIII was subjected to the same rigorous testing as the ejector seats themselves: vibration, extreme temperature fluctuations and being ejected at stratospheric heights. This 43mm ultra-rugged pilot's watch is a COSC-certified chronometer, has a convenient 24-hour GMT hand and protects its Swiss movement in an anti-magnetic Faraday case.
The innovative German brand from Glashütte, Nomos, is gaining cult status. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nomos started making watches with a minimalist Bauhaus aesthetic. The dial of this Nomos Metro watch (£2,390), with its date window, power reserve and small seconds counter, incorporates touches of colour to great effect, which reminds me of a Mondrian painting. What is even more attractive to serious watch lovers is the patented Swing System movement on the inside, produced entirely by Nomos.
Montblanc has been the talk of the watch world since it released its Meisterstück Heritage Collection to rave reviews at the SIHH in January this year. Its range of classically styled timepieces, fitted with prestige movements and excellent value for money, includes this elegant Montblanc Heritage Moonphase watch in stainless steel (£2,695). Integrated in the date counter, the phases of the Moon complete their cycle thanks to the impeccable Montblanc self-winding calibre, which can be viewed through the sapphire crystal.
It's also been a year marked by the return of Tudor watches to the British Isles with some powerful models that will make great Christmas gift ideas for men with a strong sense of style. The Tudor Heritage Chrono watch (£3,010) pays homage to its 1970s ancestor adding touches of colour and funky-shaped chronograph counters. Inside is a self-winding movement that is water-resistant to 150 metres. The model presented on the stripey black, grey and orange fabric strap is particularly racy.