Peerless casualwear, cut crystal tumblers, one of the suavest calendar watches on the market — fret not sons and daughters, our annual Father’s Day Gift Guide once again returns to save the day.
Every year without fail, I’m obliged to put together a neat little edit of Father’s Day gift ideas; and every year, I struggle to craft a suitably compelling psychological profile for the kind of paterfamilias who wants both a 5-figure bottle of whisky and a zany casual shirt inspired by the intersection between art, music, and skate culture. Then again, in 2021, that feels a lot like the modern experience of being a dad: it’s a journey full of contradictions, intriguing mishmashes, and ever-surprising choices. That’s a big part of why this Father’s Day guide was written without a specific male archetype in mind. We believe nothing ought to preclude men with offspring from being as excited about haute horlogerie are they are, say, superlative books on China’s culinary traditions; or a nylon holdall (chockful of extra baby wipes perhaps?) made for roughin’ it at the weekends. I could go on.
Regardless of what ‘type’ of dad yours is — whether he be trad, rad, or even just a little bit of a lad — we’d wager there’s something in this edit that speaks to the transcendent appeal of beautiful, well-crafted objects — the kind that last a lifetime, which one day may well find their way into your possession. Certainly a win-win in our book.
Part of an ongoing collaboration between Vans and Tokyo-based streetwear label Wacko Maria, this capri collar shirt emblazoned with the classic Vans checkerboard motif (HK$3,120) is a fantastic option for all the dads out there who remain, indefatigably, fans of skate and hardcore culture. Cut from viscose, a semi-synthetic rayon analogue, it’s a great layer for the summer: keeping Dad cool and comfortable, no matter whether he’s doing the usual cart noodle run or pulling sweet nollies at the local half-pipe.
An updated version of one of The Armoury’s very first flagship outerwear designs, the ‘Safari II’ (HK$5,500) remains as indispensable and effortlessly handsome as its predecessor. Again manufactured by Hong Kong clothiers Ascot Chang, the II is, to all practical intents, more streamlined: pockets have undergone very slight corrective surgery to better accommodate most fellows’ daily carry (e.g. sunglasses, passport, the odd lanky bit of stationary); while the collar features an all-new angular shape that is wider, lower, and gently dusted with vintage charm.
Part of Phaidon’s best-selling ‘national cuisine series’, China: The Cookbook (approx. HK$198) is an ambitious account of the eponymous nation’s eight major culinary traditions. Assuming Dad’s the ‘try this at home’ type, he’ll find dozens of hours of enjoyment recreating staples like saucey Fujian fried rice or Jiangsu-style drunken chicken. Conversely, seasoned gourmands will appreciate the book’s exhaustively detailed accounts of the origin and influence of certain dishes — written by two of Hong Kong’s leading Chinese food writers, Chan Kei-lum and Diora Fung.
Any bloke, be he father or son, who enjoys a strong hi-quality tipple is bound to have heard the name Baccarat — makers of fine crystal tableware, established in Lorraine in 1764. For roughly a century, the brand has been synonymous with beauteous, cut-crystal tumblers — a regular occurrence in the armoires of leading luxury hotels around the globe. Bring some of that glitz back home to Dad with the ‘Louxor’ (approx. HK$27,000): a collection of six tumblers, plus the signature Baccarat whisky decanter, renowned for its diamond-shaped surfaces and outstanding clarity. Limited to 2,000 sets worldwide.
Purpose-built to accommodate “everything else” that doesn’t fit into its perennially popular ‘Weekender’ line, the Bennett Winch cargo (HK$4,050) is a stylish, hard-wearing option for locales that range from check-in counters to the gravelly ingress of a windswept country estate. A real godsend for all the young dads out there, the cargo incorporates a number of discrete storage solutions that help you stay organised without appearing like you’ve lost the plot: there’s a storm pocket for quick access to your phone and incidentals; and a detachable pocket to store kit that’s been hit with stains and spills. Despite the ample size, it can even be folded completely flat once you reach your destination — one less thing to worry about when you’re vacationing alongside relentless little bundles of sugar-fueled ‘joy’.
As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time thinking and writing about watches, one of the ultimate manifestations of love and filial piety seems to be a thoughtful, beautifully crafted, Swiss timepiece. And when you’re using big, nuclear adjectives like that, you can’t help but turn to Jaeger-LeCoultre. This ‘Tribute Calendar’ (approx. HK$205,385) — part of the JLC’s iconic Reverso collection — is the nec plus ultra of Father’s Day gifting: ideally suited to dads who love classic cars and Art-Deco design, but equally, useful in a myriad of situations most men will encounter in daily life. The complete calendar gives you the day, date, month and current phase of the moon at a moment’s notice, while the Reverso’s signature ‘Duoface’ construction enables the display of two time zones simultaneously.
Broach the subject of Japanese whisky, and you’re all but guaranteed to hear epithets like “overhyped” and “overpriced” thrown around. But the fact of the matter is that we got to this particular, very speculative moment in the history of Japanese whisky precisely because the standard bearers for this stuff are so undeniably impressive. And among those standard bearers, you can’t get much loftier than Yoichi: a cask-strength single malt distilled in Hokkaido, in the ancestral heartland of Nikka Whisky.
The 20-year-old expression (HK$22,000) famously beat out some of the most prestigious names in Scottish malts in 2003; and since then prices have surged more dramatically than animal-inspired cryptocurrency. Getting your mitts on a bottle of the stuff is the ultimate Father’s Day gesture — after all, can you really put a price on the taste of pure joy?
From the brilliant, beautiful, certifiably deranged mind of chef Matty Matheson comes this eponymous 10-inch cast iron pan (approx. HK$1,940). The Just a Dash host and top-shelf Vice collaborator designed it to meet the needs of home cooks working with a variety of his own rustic recipes; and that meant a frying pan that could be used for searing, basting, sauce-making and a variety of other related applications. The ‘killer app’ as it were is the distinctive, curved pan edge — making it easier for dad to make that pan sauce he’s always droning on about with minimal spillage.