May is around the corner, which means one thing: it's graduation season. Figuring out the perfect thing to give or receive isn't actually hard (hint: it's a watch), and we've decided to make that whole process easy for you. If you're a newly minted adult, here's what to ask for. If you're a parent, rich uncle, or behind-the-scenes benefactor, here's a guide to choosing a fine horological masterpiece to commemorate their last day before the grind.
Protip: If you're buying, it never hurts to check with your graduate or make sure you have a receipt before any engraving occurs. Some of these prices are too high to get the wrong thing, which can happen, even with this guide. That being said, you should feel safe and confident making these purchases; each of the watches below links to our buddies at Tourneau — it's where watch guys have been going for 114 years.
The Statement Maker If you're going into the shark-like world of finance, your watch should be as aggressive as you are. The Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days (~$9,000) is one bulldog of a watch, with an insane power reserve capable of holding out for three days without winding. Enough said.
The Mad Scientist While many Rolexes were created for outdoorsmen, divers, mountaineers, and aviators, there's one that was created for the scientists. The Rolex Milgauss ($7,500) is capable of withstanding intense magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss, and is the watch worn by the physicists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
The McQueen It takes one cool motherf***er to pull off a square watch (your grandfather, exhibit 1), and if you're that motherf***er, there's nothing like the Tag Heuer Monaco Automatic Chronograph ($6,300), Steve McQueen's weapon of choice in Le Mans.
The Double Major Whether it was a case of "couldn't decide" or "I need to do both," the Double Major will appreciate the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso ($8,650) for its flip-flopping nature. Wear it front-ways and you've got a gorgeous rectangular masterpiece. But if you're doing something intense and want to protect the sapphire — polo was the danger in mind originally — you can flip it around without taking it off and wear it caseback-up.
The Business Major The IWC Portofino Stainless ($4,500) watch does not scream business — it assertively declares it in a convincing and measured tone. Tastefully sized and designed, this automatic beautifully straddles the line between dress watch and business watch.
The Pre-Med The Ball Watch Trainmaster Pulsemeter COSC ($3,199) is a certified chronometer, meaning it's appallingly accurate, just like you were on those MCATs, kid. Additionally, it's got a pulsemeter, which gives you an easy calculation for montioring patients' heart rates. And once you're a doctor, you can use this to count each second of your 100 hour work week.
The Latin Major Obviously, Roman numerals are in order. The Raymond Well Maestro ($1,395) has them and other little flourishes, like the small seconds-hand dial and an automatic movement.
The Classics Major Classics majors can do it all, since all their old masters were polymaths and wrote about everything. The automatic Longines Master Automatic Choronograph ($2,525) is just as versatile, dressy when it has to be, and able to time laps at Daytona as well with its dual pushers.
The Oceanography Major Oceanography majors may not be as hands-on in the water as a marine biologists, but the option to dive deep occasionally never hurts. The Longines Legend Diver ($2,300) is water resistant up to 300 meters, and sports a synthetic strap so you won't ruin any leather in the brine.
The Accounting Major Good looking, but not gaudy, the Tissot Couturier ($675) automatic day and date watch is a safe and tasteful choice, and should reassure anyone that you're responsible with cash.
The ROTC Recruit Respect to you for joining up, sir. Obviously, if we're talking about watches and the military, we're talking about a Swiss Army watch. The Victorinox Maverick GS Chrono ($650) is one of our favorites, complete with a tachymeter, black rubber strap, and a red rotating bezel.
The "Kiteboarder" You like to keep it a little rad? Well, the Skywatch Chrono ($395) might be a good choice. It's got a striking design, with poppy red and bright Super LumiNova touches to make it stand out.
The Environmental Science Major Why would you spend thousands on irrelevant mechanical precision when you can have a watch that reads barometric pressure? That's a legitimate question, and if you can't answer it, then the Suunto Vector ($299) is your move. Though, you'll be interested to know that Sir Edmund Hillary's wrist carried a Rolex 29,029 feet up.