“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: