From the Mailbag: The “lifetime” $700 – $800 graduation gift
I am about to graduate from law school this coming May. For graduation, my extremely generous parents want to buy me a graduation gift and wish to spend around $700-$800. This is a very significant amount of money, and will likely qualify as the largest gift I have ever received. The one caveat is that my parents do not want to purchase something remotely perishable (i.e. clothes, suits, vacations, etc.), and would rather give me more of a “lifetime” gift, such as a watch, briefcase, furniture, etc. I have no idea what to ask for. Suggestions?
First, huge congrats to Ryan. There’s a group of us who got our one additional post-high-school diploma, and the very thought of going back to further pursue higher education gives us nightmares*. Law school, Med school, grad school of any kind, or going back to get an additional degree takes levels of commitment and a patience-for-payoff that many just don’t have. And that’s great that his parents want to give him something that’ll continue to remind him of the achievement. Let’s spend some of Ryan’s parents money. Your suggestions should go in the comments.
Never understood those big, special occasion gifts, that were so fancy people were either afraid or rarely had the occasion to use them. So in this case, the watch picks should be able to be worn just as easily with a sportcoat and jeans as with a suit. No quartz here fellas, certainly not at this price, but know that there’s a lack of watchmakers producing autos in this price range. They’re either Seiko/Orient price under $500, or real high end stuff above a grand. Tissot is one of the few watchmakers who can fall in this range. Both of these automatics have light dials (silver on the left, white on the right) which will work just as well with brown or black straps. Gotta love the semi-square case shape on the 40mm diameter T-Lord. (Want something more dressed up? Try this or this.)
Originally an American brand founded in Pennsylvania, Hamilton is now owned by Swatch, and is also one of the few watchmakers to produce in Ryan’s price range. Hamilton can lean a little more rugged, and the Khaki King is tremendous. Like the Tissot watches, both of these designs can be found online at a lower price, but you’re taking a big risk by buying a watch at this level from someone who might not back up any kind of warranty. Even if it’s sold direct by Amazon and comes with a warranty, it might not be the manufacture’s warranty. So be warned.
Lifetime? Quite possibly. Made in the USA from Horween Shell Cordovan. It’s a 6 month process just to go from hide to the leather that’ll be used on the shoes. It’s insane. And the end result is a pair of shoes or boots, that along with decent care and the available Allen Edmonds recrafting process, you could very well be wearing for decades.
As sexy as a get-around-town bike gets. Not fat like a cruiser, not out of place like a roadbike, and not limited to a single speed. There’s 5-speeds on this thing, and it’s still streamlined thanks to the internal gear system. Sure she won’t be able to ride on the back of it like a motorcycle, but man will it strike up some conversations. Stunning transportation you’ll want to use for life. Also available in a three or single speed.
Made in the USA from bridle leather. Filson claims it takes “about 10 years to break in” so feel free to chuck it around at will. One of those leather pieces that looks better with a few dings on the hide.
Professionally framed print/piece of art – $350 – $800
Framing costs a ton. Prints can be relatively inexpensive, but by the time you get the frame, matte, museum quality glass, and all the other stuff loaded around it to protect the art, it can get spendy fast. Having a work by a favorite artist or photographer hanging on your wall in a frame that is top of the line can make a real statement.
It’s a little above the price range, but maybe Ryan would be willing the chip in the last hundred or so. Available in small, medium, and large. 100 year warranty, cushioned pigskin interior. Waterproof full grain boot leather. Be prepared to be stopped by curious onlookers, often, while walking through airports. It’s something else. See a size comparison and have all your questions answered in the video from Saddleback seen below:
I mean, come the hell on. Forget law school. My new life’s goal is to one day own one of those things. Good to know that you’d have to overload it pretty hard to get to 50 lbs. More on Saddleback’s rep for quality over here.
Your suggestions for Ryan are welcome in the comments. Congrats again to him. Top Photo Credit: Yovany Alas.
*No joke. I don’t know how some of you do it. College has become distant enough in my own personal rear view mirror that it feels like someone else’s life. I do remember walking out of my last final exam (Western Civ. elective. Something about Merovingian kings) and thinking: “not doing this again.” Have had a reoccuring dream ever since, in which I’ve somehow forgotten to attend a class for an entire semester, it’s required to graduate, and I can’t find the class room on exam day. I’m sure someone with a grad degree could tell me what that means, if anything.