“A man who has it all” is usually not interested in “things”. He is interested in a great story, uniqueness and rarity. That’s why unique, one-off pieces fetch millions at auctions. But, since one-off is not an option for most of us, let me tell you how to find the unique things with great stories to tell instead.

Unique gifts require some digging and thought. But as long as you know something about the person, you should be able to find a gift with an interesting story to tell. Everyone is so different, hence you might find it challenging to find a list of gift ideas that will fit your specific situation. Instead, I suggest the following seven different ways to think when thinking about what gift to buy for a man that has it all.

Scottish tartan
Relate to nationality and heritage
A lot of people can trace their heritage to other countries. Many of them are proud or at least intrigued on where they or their family has come from. Hence anything physical, useful or unusual that is coming from that country automatically becomes a point fascination. Just think about it, everyone knows that most consumer goods are made in China these days. So even the usual everyday item suddenly becomes so much more interesting and important purely on a basis of where it comes from.

To buy a tartan related gift you do not need to go for a kilt. These days tartan is used to make iPhone covers, ties, hats, cufflinks and etc. Furthermore, it is quite fascinating that each clan had their own unique pattern. For example here are tartan patterns and colours for the astronaut Armstrong and Mikey Mouse voice MacDonald. To run your search visit this site.

Designer Glass Light from ItalyItalian glass Murano chandelierItalian Murano glass selectionItalian Murano Glass lampItalian sunglasses

Link it to history
Especially fascinating for people who like history or politics. It could be linked to events like wars, or immigration which eventually leads to something positive.

For example, the Fourth Crusade in 1204 caused Byzantine glassmakers to leave Constantinopolis (today’s Istanbul) and resettle in Venice. Here they used their skills to invent and develop the concept of Venetian or Murano glass.

Glassmakers produce a surprising variety of products suitable for unique gifts. There are some impressive chandalliers, lamps, furniture pieces, colourful glasses, striking decoration pieces and even furniture handles.

Today you can still find three brands that are making true Murano glass in the same workshops. See our What is Made in Italy Guide for more inspiration.

colourful linen bedding
Re-discover good and natural from the past
With the world constantly changing we tend to change how we do things, and what we use on a daily basis. Sometimes going back “in time” to re-discover how things were done in the past can bring surprising results.

For example, the most common textile used today is cotton. But the very first textile humans started using actually was a linen, made from woven fibres of the flax plant. It can be traced back to Georgian caves in 36 000 Before Present.

From European perspective linen centres opened up in 16th and 17th centuries in Ireland, UK, Lithuania etc. Linen is now regaining its popularity due to many benefits over cotton: quicker absorbs and releases water, considered more hygienic due to a lower rate of bacterial growth, and different appearance.

Luxury high-quality cotton is grown and produced in many European countries, China and US.

wine opener
Get an everyday item that is different
Just because we use it every day, it does not mean it has to be plain and boring. And the plus side, this means it does not have to be very expensive either.

For this example, I will take my personal favourite – a wine opener. In addition to the usual corkscrew, there is another technique to open your wine bottles. Although it is not necessarily easier to use, it is fascinating due to being different and unusual.

It also has a great story. French sommeliers used these wine openers in the mid 20th century. Since it does not damage the cork in the process, they would sip off the wine and close it again before selling it to restaurant customers.

Here is a link to a quick video review, to see this unusual wine opener in action.

Scandinavian map

Relate to where it is made
Heritage is probably the most powerful story for most of the things we own. Since this website is all about European heritage and uniqueness let me take this example just a notch further.

I love the story of a Karesuando knives. They make Scandinavian looking knives suitable for outdoors or funky kitchen. Kareusando is a village located on reindeer-herding grounds, 250 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

Essentiallly the design of the knives was perfected by reindeer husbandry, harsh environment and presence of frequent Northern Lights.

Wooden cup

Dig out something unusual and very unique –
only used in some specific region or country

Every country has a region specialising in something due to unique natural resources available or specific climate conditions.

France has Limoges enamel due to exceptionally high-quality white clay with allows a production of exceptional kitchenware.

Germany has Solingen area famous for premium grade blades: swords, knives, scissors due to local steel and steel making skills dating back to over 2000 years.

In Sweden for example, people use wooden cups carved from a solid lump of tree burl, called Kasa. If you are after even more crafty gift, they also come with a reindeer antler inlays.

A potential gift to offer a natural replacement to boring outdoor plastic cups or as a nice original feature in a contemporary kitchen.

two unique watches
Tell a story on how it is made
This applies to any industry or product, but let me give some great examples from European watchmaking.

Watchmaking is very complex and exciting subject. But sometimes, if you want to know what sets one watch apart from the other, it can be very technical and daunting. So, in this example, let me skip the horological craftsmanship and highlight another potentially interesting story instead.

Sinn diving watches are made from German submarine metal – an ultimate “made in Germany” gift for watch (or submarine) enthusiast.

Rado, on the other hand, chose to skip metal making outer shells, and use ceramic instead. The one they use has been officially tested and proved to be the hardest material on earth.

I hope this blog post gave you the tools and ideas on what different approaces you can take when looking for those unique gift ideas for men who have it all. For more inspiration and specific lists of unique gifts from Europe, then see our instagram feed and these gift guides:

Link to unique European gift suggestions for menLink to European unique gift suggestions for under 100

When buying a watch people usually make their choice based on the looks, or the brand. But there is also another way – why not go for the one that matches your lifestyle the best.

Each watch company represents individual sets of values and ideals through their investment in innovation, features to help you do what you do, their history and even a location. So, can you match it to your life, values, admiration to engineering or a place that potentially means a lot to you?

If you had to think for a moment, what are the most important things to you in your life, at the moment? What group of people do you want to ‘hang out’ with, in your ideal life? What does your personality say about you? Here are some examples to get you going:

… an outdoor adventurer who likes high tech?
How about Suunto, a company founded by an engineer Suunto watch outdoorswho enjoyed orienteering in his spare time. To help him with the navigation through the forests he invented the first liquid filled compass.

Since then (1936), the company has been innovating all sorts of useful ‘outdoorsy’ technologies for wristwatches. And it paid off, many explorers and adventurers from all around the world have been using these for decades now. There are simply too many features to list, but, for me, the most jaw-dropping abilities include storm warning (can life-saving when climbing mountains), ability to track an extensive list of sports activities and a GPS tracker which shows your way back to the pre-set point.

It seems that the location of the company also matters. Scandinavians love outdoors, so you can be sure that those Finland-based engineers are personally testing their innovations on those frequent trekking and sports trips across the wild mountains and forests.

Another plus is that this part of the world is a leader in nature preservation and recycling. In turn, this is reflecting their manufacturing processes, material selection and ease of access to the repair service, instead of just throwing away and replacing.

See our Suunto Ambit 3 review for full list of features and capabilities.

… a tech geek who just like everything that is the latest?
There is no other company in the world with a more compelling story as Apple. Steve Jobs’s embedded innovation and passion in the company’s current story. Most high-tech lovers do and will love iWatch for years to come. Get one, and you are part of the latest trend, part of the massive movement that gets lots of new features to test and (let’s be honest) brag about, with every new release.

Mind you there are also other technological discoveries made by other watch companies. You can see more and more smartwatches coming to the market. Including the ones that are being issued by the traditional watchmaking companies. So don’t stop discovering, there will be (or potentially is?) a time when the iWatch is still the most popular, but not “the latest” any longer.

To find alternative ‘Smart Watches’ out there, you might like my list of ‘Guide to European Smart Watches’ as a starting point.

… a business-minded creative individual who likes to exercise?
It fits too well; I just have to give an example of my fiancee, Lucie. She is a creative professional who runs a successful digital business. So here is a story on how her watch matches her life:

It supports her pursuit of an active lifestyle
Lucie likes to remain active no matter how busy she gets with her business. She set herself a walking distance target, and the watch tracks her progress towards it throughout the day. For the sports side, it also tracks her bi-weekly runs and occasional swim on the weekend.

Despite functionality, it fits her personal style
Since Activité watch looks quite minimalistic, it is formal for the business environment and yet stylish for her own creative side.
The analogue design avoids the chunky sports watch image and yet displays all the relevant tracking information on its screen.

It helps to adapt to different activities on same day
She likes colours in her life, the watch has an interchangeable leather strap for the day in the office, and additional three colourful plastic straps for sports and weekends. This morning she was with the client and used a leather strap, in the afternoon we went surfing, and she already had the watch with a sporty red strap on it.

The watch one owns, can represent multiple values. Each of these points has a meaning, story and a purpose in Lucie’s life. If I had to, I would find it difficult to replace her current Activité with something else. It just fits too well.

… a rebel against society and everything that is considered to be a norm?
Who said that the watch has to be a circle? Why does it have to display numbers around the face? Surely you would not want any liquid inside it? It is so wrong and amazingly challenging on so many different levels. There are quite a few strange watches out there, but name one, for me, the ultimate rebels in the watch world would be Urkwerk – mind blowing display and engineering and HYT – watches that are actually powered by liquid.

… a beach hipster that likes to play Volleyball and just have fun, without being too serious just yet?
Let’s admit it. To look ‘cool’ Volleyball watchesyou don’t necessarily need an expensive ‘stuff’. It just needs to be ‘funky’, maybe different, or maybe just say ‘I don’t care what you think’. There is one company that is trying very hard to push the boundaries without being pretentious about it.

So if you are playful, you can get yourself a bunch of playfully colourful Swatch watches, without spending a fortune. You can even match it to a Volleyball player with a well known Swatch Touch Zero One, for example. In addition to looking ‘beachy,’ it does the tracking, so you know your performance and even number of claps when just supporting the game. It is not just a coincidence that Swatch is the main sponsor of the Beach Volleyball Major Series 2017. Undeniably, they are part of the beach volleyball brotherhood now.

… a well-off socialite who usually thrives in finer establishments
In that case, you are spoiled for choice, probably more than anyone else. There are many luxury watch companies with fantastic watches to offer. Mind you, the people in such environments do have an eye for detail. They will probably know how the brand and much your watch costs in a glance. If you are part of that crowd, it shouldn’t be a problem. But, if you are trying to bluff your way in, they will figure you out in no time. So you might want to skip on that temptation of getting an expensive looking fake watch or go for a cheaper range from a very expensive watch company instead.
In this world, knowing about your brand is good. Looking stylish is even better. But you should also go an extra mile and potentially learn an interesting fact or two about the piece you wearing. This always helps during those networking evenings when you run out of a small talk and looking for another neutral but yet interesting topic to chat about.
Here is one of my favourite stories. It is about Hublot, an official F1 watch company. Of course, a well known Bernie Eccleston, the CEO of Formula 1, wears one too. So it happened, that Bernie was actually mugged and had his watch taken away once. Not to let the situation turn negative, Hublot actually put out adverts with pictures of beaten up Barnie Eccleston with a tagline: “See what people will do for a Hublot”.

There are more than a hundred of Swiss watchmakers out there; I tried my best to create an easy to follow Guide on Swiss Watches on what sets them apart and on what you get for your budget.

… an individual who is proud of his heritage?
Why not get yourself a watch made in the English watch country where your parents or grandparents come from. There are many great watches made in UK, France, Italy, Spain and even Finland, to name a few. A lot of them will proudly say “made in ” on its face – a nice reminder every time you check for the time.
It also a great conversation starter, such story tells itself when someone sees your watch. You will not only get questions about it, but you will potentially find something in common with people you would have not even talked to before.

… the one that likes to take life slowly, appreciating every moment you have?
I have to admit; this one is my personal favourite. If you live slow, you rarely need to know the exact time. But, unless you live in a forest, you probably still need to use a watch here then. So that’s where single-hand watches come in handy. It just screams “I don’t have to be anywhere I don’t want to right now”.

There are quite a few companies that make them these. But you can make it even more special by getting one from the guy who actually invented the concept. Klaus Botta, a German industrial design student, came up with this new way of looking at the time in 1986. This idea is becoming more and more popular today.

What’s your story? Tell us!

Discovering new things is one of the joys of travelling. To my surprise, while stopping for petrol on my latest trip, I saw this tiny shop. The more I looked around, the more I learned about it, the more if felt like entering a treasure trove.

It is located in the middle of nowhere, in a sleepy Minglanilla village surrounded by hot and sandy Spanish countryside. About half way between Alicante and Madrid and you would never think of stopping here for any other reason than filling up your tank. But having spent the last few years discovering passionate makers in Europe, I was immediately attracted by the looks of this solitary shop. It felt that it is not influenced by the global trend currents, but rather setting its own local personality, hiding under fading letters in a quiet sandy summer day.

With not a soul in sight, I stepped into the shop thinking that it somehow reminds me of those Western movies, where you simply do not know what to expect next. Only to discover a very cute little shop dedicated to the sole purpose of showcasing knives. It has any type I can imagine with few standing out the most – the Samurai swords and dedicated knives for mushroom picking. Based on my past experiences I did not want to put my hopes up too much just yet and asked the shop keeper (Julian Navarro) to point out which one’s were made in Spain. And to my surprise, almost offended, he confirmed that every single knife in the shop is made by himself, in a workshop behind the counter. What a surprise! Handmade knives, made by the guy who spent all his life thinking and breathing knife craft, in the middle of nowhere, in this cute tiny shop away from any major city.


Considering that Spain is has a long-standing history of eating meat in different shapes and sizes (from steaks to smoked ham etc.), they do use their knives a lot. Julian Navarro has built his expertise and business around that timeless need for cutting tools in the country. Based on that, I am assuming that there is little danger of getting a low-quality tool that is not going to last.

Since I am not attending many battles, these days I decided to skip on a Samurai sword and went for the mushroom picking knife instead. Two quality, handmade knives for less than 30 Euros, does feel like a bargain, especially when there is such an amazing story attached to it.


Scotish tartan colours made in ScotlandFor this point I would love to be from Scotland. Seriously. As far as stating your heritage goes there is no more mystique and romantic way than using your long family’s tartan colours. Just to explain, each Scottish surname represents a clan and each clan had their own unique pattern of tartan colours. Now, even if you are completely not fussed about tartan, there are so many products out there that
a) made in Scotland, but also
b) can be custom made to represent the colours and patterns of your long standing past.
Just some ideas for my Scottish readers: tartan, scarf, rug, tie, ‘iThing’ cover, flat cap, wool tam, wallet, bow tie, satchel bag, cufflinks and list goes on. And surely, if you buy Scottish tartan it just has to be made there too.

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