Fine whiskey and expensive watches are two things that go together — both are pricey luxury items that cater to a very specific and overly affluent demographic, and are, for better or worse, associated with the advertising-built image of the so-called "modern gentlemen." If you picture a wrist with a fancy watch, it’s easy to see a smokey glass of scotch in the attached hand (and vice versa).
That pairing might explain the existence of "The Gentleman’s Kit," a collaboration between whiskey company Jim Beam and watch maker Original Grain. The $499 (also available in $44 monthly payments) wooden watch is built using reclaimed wood from Jim Beam bourbon barrels, and features a 21 jewel automatic 8215 Miyota movement (which is, in all fairness, a decent Japanese automatic movement). The case is made of a combination of stainless steel and the aforementioned Jim Beam barrel wood, and features a glass face instead of the clearer and more durable sapphire crystal found on most high-end watches. Each of the 500 individually numbered sets also comes with a spare leather band, link and band tools, and a Jim Beam-branded flask.
if you can afford a $500 watch, why are you drinking $20 bourbon?
At the end of the day, it’s still a $500 wooden watch with the Jim Beam logo. It’s a bad watch for the price, that’s also serves as a wearable advertisement for poor bourbon. As my editor, Paul Miller, commented when he saw it, "Would you fly in a wooden airplane?" I'm just perplexed. Why would you want this? And if you can afford a $500 watch, why are you drinking $20 bourbon?
So to help you out, I’ve put together a few pairings of better watches with better whiskey that you could spend your $500 on instead:
Tissot Powermantic 80 (Stainless steel case, sapphire crystal face, automatic Swiss movement with 80 hour power reserve, $428.00) and Redbreast 12-Year-Old Cask Strength (12-year-old single pot still Irish whiskey, ~$65)
Mondaine Stop2go (Stainless steel case and sapphire crystal, unique Mondaine stop / go quartz movement, $299.99) and Yellow Spot (12-year-old single pot still Irish whiskey, ~$100)
Instrmnt 01 (Steel case, sapphire crystal face, Italian leather band, Swiss quartz movement, Verge editor Dan Seifert approved, $280) and Glenmorangie 18 (18-year-old single malt Scotch whisky, ~$100)
Fossil Modern Machine Sport (Stainless steel case, automatic Japanese movement, $255) and Johnnie Walker Blue (blended Scotch whisky, ~$200)
Hamilton Khaki Field (Stainless steel case and sapphire crystal, automatic Swiss movement, $362) and Black Maple Hill 16 Year (16-year-old small batch bourbon, ~$126)
Eone Bradley Mesh (Titanium case, uses magnetized ball bearings as physical hands, $315) and Garrison Brothers Single Barrel Bourbon (single barrel bourbon, ~$110)