Father’s Day Gift Guide: Colorful Watches, Japanese Toolboxes and More

June 6, 2024
Dining & Wine
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Falling as it does in mid-June, Father’s Day coincides with an upswing in outdoor excursions. Whether your dad is into backpacking, fishing or forest bathing, he could probably use a few upgrades for his campfire cooking. Replace his worn-out plastic cooler with one from Oyster, a Norwegian company that launched its gleaming aluminum, vacuum-insulated version last year. The Japanese gear maker Snow Peak has a titanium cup and pot set with thoughtful details: The two items nestle together to save space in a backpack, and the pot’s lid has a silicone tab that won’t get hot, eliminating the need for an oven mitt. (Every ounce counts when you’re carrying your kitchen up a mountain.) To ease his mind around meal planning, gift him a few vegan camp meals from Poe & Co. Folk Foods, founded last year by the California-based chef couple Jamie and Jayson Poe. (She cooked at New York’s Gramercy Tavern, he at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara.) Their offerings include a black garlic ramen bowl and coconut chickpea stew — all you have to do is pour in a bit of boiling water.

Western Wares

Even if your dad isn’t a Beyoncé fan, he might have noticed — and rejoiced in — the renewed fascination with the American West that’s sweeping the country. Stoke the enthusiasm with gifts fit for a modern cowboy. For his book “Eight Seconds: Black Rodeo Culture,” the photojournalist Ivan McClellan spent a decade traveling to places like the nation’s longest-running Black rodeo in Oklahoma and the Compton Cowboys’ Los Angeles ranch. The resulting body of work, published by Damiani Books, is a nuanced look at a classic American archetype. A music fan would enjoy the new album by the Ecuadorean Swiss brothers Hermanos Gutiérrez, whose instrumental guitarscapes sound like a psychedelic spaghetti western. “Sonido Cosmico” is available for pre-order and ships the week of June 14. For a proper game of Texas hold ’em, check out the artist Matt McCormick’s deck of playing cards illustrated with lasso-wielding cowpunchers. And whether your dad’s style skews city or country, a great pair of vintage Levis is always a safe bet. Meg Young of the online retailer Jean Genie Vintage sources denim that’s no less than 20 years old and lists detailed measurements for each pair to ensure a perfect fit.

My husband’s dream of taking piano lessons is probably on hold for as long as we’re raising a small child. But for the time being, I bought him a pocket synthesizer to mess around with. First released in 1968, the Stylophone — an electronic instrument played by touching a small metal keyboard with an attached stylus — was the first synthesizer produced for the mass market and has been used by musicians and bands including David Bowie, who briefly plays one on 1969’s “Space Oddity,” and Kraftwerk (1981’s “Pocket Calculator” ends with a Stylophone solo). Like everything in our apartment, the synthesizer now also belongs to our son. But it works surprisingly well as a child’s toy: It’s tough (musicians, like toddlers, aren’t known for handling objects with care) and its sound is strangely soothing — undulating and richer than its compact size might suggest.

Décor Tour

The British artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman’s garden on the coast of Kent, England, is the picture of abundance. Cultivated by Jarman from 1986, when he was diagnosed with AIDS, until his death in 1994, its unfenced shrubs and wildflowers have been well documented by photographers both professional and amateur. But the interior of Prospect Cottage, the black tar-painted former fishing hut that served as Jarman’s second home and an anchor for the garden, was shielded from the public by a set of net curtains hung by Keith Collins, Jarman’s live-in companion, following Jarman’s death. Collins preserved the property until his own sudden death in 2018. That year, the photographer Gilbert McCarragher, Collins’s longtime Kent neighbor, set about visually documenting the property as it was during the pair’s life together. The results are compiled in “Prospect Cottage: Derek Jarman’s House,” a new book that presents more than 160 of McCarragher’s intimate photographs alongside his insights and musings. Fans of the filmmaker are, for the first time, given an opportunity to explore Jarman’s idiosyncratic interior décor, much of which reflects the cottage’s setting on the shore of the English Channel: There are sea-glass engravings, driftwood sculptures and garlands made of beach pebbles. Though film buffs will have plenty to be excited about (one image includes a clapboard from Jarman’s 1979 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” another shows a prop helmet from Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1982 film “Querelle”), your father needn’t be a cinephile to appreciate the home that Jarman made on the windswept seaside.

Retro Fit

Ronny Fieg, the founder of the American fashion brand Kith, is an avid collector of watches. The timepiece that ignited his interest was a 28-mm Tag Heuer Formula One, given to him around age 12 by his mother, who at the time worked as a salesperson at a Torneau boutique in New York. Introduced in 1986, the watches were the first to bear the name Tag Heuer, a year after the Luxembourgian holding company Techniques d’Avant Garde bought the Swiss watchmaker Heuer. Both companies sponsored auto racing teams (Ferrari and Williams, respectively), which inspired the Formula One’s name. Its dial featured quartz movements and a fiberglass case, while its plastic strap was rendered in an array of bright contrasting colors, making it an appealing and relatively inexpensive option for young watch lovers. Now, Fieg has come full circle and Kith is teaming up with Tag Heuer to relaunch the Formula One series. Like the originals, the 10 new styles come in a vivid Piet Mondrian-esque palette of primary colors (as well as black and white). To preserve the watches’ character, Tag Heuer employed the 1986 edition’s original case maker, who used the same mold. There are, however, some updates for 2024. The plastic crystal of the original has been upgraded to sapphire, and the plastic straps changed out for rubber. (Stainless steel bracelets are also on offer.) Most conspicuously, Tag Heuer’s pentagonal logo has been edited for the first time: on each watch’s pinstriped dial, it reads “Kith Heuer.”

The brooch has made a comeback in a way that feels anything but old-fashioned. The actor Simu Liu wore a De Beers diamond brooch to the Oscars, while the actor and musician Donald Glover sported a Cartier panther pin at the Met Gala, showcasing the accessory’s potential for punching up a suit. But these pieces also make a fun addition to a winter coat or even, if small enough, a ball cap. Jil Sander’s Alexander Calder-esque enamel pin makes a statement with its size, but its flat shape and neutral color won’t draw too much attention if pinned on a knit. The English designer Grace Wales Bonner’s colorful Compass Brooch uses hand-painted recycled beads from Ghana and looks quite cool hung near a suit pocket. Dolce & Gabbana’s crystal-embellished Daisy would be at home on a tuxedo, while Thom Browne’s preppy Lobster Tie Bar could easily clip onto a hat or lapel. To find something vintage or in line with your father’s interests, like an Edwardian wishbone or Victorian tennis brooch, try perusing 1stDibs or eBay.

Quick Fix

For the dad who delights in a tidy home, the Hoto Compressed Air Capsule falls under the category of “didn’t know I needed but now can’t live without.” It vacuums, blows, inflates and vacuum seals, making it a useful tool for detailing car interiors, dusting laptop keyboards and saving space with airtight storage. At about 6.5 inches long, it’s easy to tuck into a toolbox. But which one? Get him the Toyo Steel Toolbox, made from a single sheet of steel sourced in Osaka, Japan. It comes in an array of hues — from a light coral to deep moss green or classic titanium — and sizes. The petite mountain-shaped toolbox Y-350 doubles as an art supply case or lunchbox for the dad who’s always on the go, while the heavy-duty Toyo Cantilever Toolbox ST-350 would be a durable token of appreciation for the personal handyman in your life.

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