A watch makes a thoughtful graduation gift for both men and women. Whether you are hunting for a present for a high school or college grad, a watch is a gift that they can use for years. Here are five of our favorite watches and smartwatches for new grads. Looking for other gift ideas? Check out our gift guide section for more ideas, or visit our post on the best gifts for women.
1. Gucci SYNC XXL YA137101 Black Watch
Whether the student in question is graduating from high school, college, or even a graduate program, they have achieved a monumental goal in their life. To honor their success, you should consider a gift that’s truly special. This black watch from Gucci is a stunning gift that they will cherish for decades. The design is modern, but not so on-trend that it will look out of date in a few years. The watch contains a Swiss quartz movement, and it’s water-resistant up to 50 meters.
2. Escada Women’s IWW-E2930022 Florence Gold-Tone Watch with Wraparound White Leather Strap
Watches with a wraparound band are really hot right now, and the female grad in your life will definitely appreciate a gift that’s on-trend. This elegant timepiece is made from stainless steel, and boasts a Swiss quartz movement. This watch is even water-resistant to 50 meters, so it won’t get ruined if worn in the shower or while swimming. It’s also available in black.
Price: $385 (30 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Escada Women’s IWW-E2930022 Florence Gold-Tone Watch with Wraparound White Leather Strap here.
3. Motorola Moto 360 Smart Watch
While a quality watch may be a traditional graduation gift, many of today’s graduates would prefer a smartwatch to a regular watch. The Moto 360 is compatible with Android smartphones, and is arguably one of the most attractive smartwatches on the market today. This watch can send you notifications about calls, messages, flights, or appointment reminders. This round-faced watch offers a traditional watch look, but with all the conveniences of a modern smartwatch.
Price: $179 (28 percent off MSRP)
4. Pebble Steel Smartwatch
Pebble was one of the most successful Kickstarter projects of all time, and one of the first “true” smart watches to hit the open market. The original Pebble is still a solid option, especially for those on a budget. That being said, the build quality of the Pebble Steel is just so much nicer. Both men and women love the Pebble’s elegant lines and customizable faces. Plus, the Pebble syncs with a ton of apps your grad probably already uses. The battery can last up to a week between charges. The Pebble makes a gift because it strides the line between fashion and functionality.
Price: $99.99 for the Pebble, $220 for the Pebble Steel
5. Samsung Gear S Smartwatch
The problem with most smartwatches is that they need to be constantly paired with a mobile device over Bluetooth. The Gear S is unique because of its larger form factor, as well as its ability work without a smartphone nearby. The Gear S has a huge screen, which is great for people who want to have a larger area for notifications, news, and information. That being said, the large screen may be uncomfortable and overwhelming on the wrist of a small-boned person.
If you want a smartwatch that can “go solo,” then the Gear S is a great gift choice for your favorite grad. This smartwatch has 4GB of storage, so there’s plenty of room for crucial apps. This smartwatch also acts as an activity tracker.
Price: $149.99 on-contract, $299.99 with no annual contract
Interested in the Apple Watch? Check out all our Apple Watch coverage to learn about this cool and controversial smart watch. Please note, the Apple Watch has been in extremely limited supply, so it may not be possible to give it as a graduation gift in 2015. That’s why we did not include it on our list. You can purchase the Apple Watch from other retailers, such as Amazon. Note that these watches are being sold by third-party retailers via Amazon, so they are more expensive than what you’d pay at Apple. However, these retailers may be able to justify a higher price tag because new Apple Watch orders made from Apple’s website will take weeks to ship. The third-party resellers can often ship a watch out in a matter of days.