If you're lucky, you've got a substantial timepiece that you're going to pass on to your boy – something that was passed down to you or given as an anniversary present. That watch is more than a watch and needs to be kept safe, which is a strong argument in favor of buying a good-looking, easygoing backup you don't have to worry about when you're climbing or hiking or – for that matter – grilling. This pinch-hitting chronograph should look good, but shouldn't be a splurge. Think in terms of purchasing a tool rather than shopping around for jewelry.

The Military Watch Company's (MWC) Vietnam watch fits the bill in terms of looks and toughness. The Vietnam is an icon of the Sixties and Seventies, when the military shifted from expensive (and costly to repair) watches available only to officers to replaceable models issued to all soldiers. The watch's current iteration retains the perfectly utilitarian design of the original, but adds an upgraded all-metal – rather than plastic – composition. The MWC is still in the business of making watches for pilots, miners, and anti-terrorism forces, which means the Vietnam may end up getting passed down from generation to generation as well.[$56; stagaustin.com]