It’s a tale as old as time: No matter what the occasion might be, it’s next to impossible to find a meaningful gift for a man.
Women, on one hand, put too much pressure on themselves to find that perfect something. Men, on the other, just go out and buy for themselves whatever they want.
Women of Augusta don’t have to throw their hands up in the air, hit the mall and buy the first thing they come across just yet, however. The professionals at Windsor, Friedman’s and Southeastern Armory have a few ideas that could just save the day.
According to Rick Wortley, there are three things most men like.
“I’m not saying that all of them do, but it’s usually cars, guns and watches,” the jewelry division manager at Friedman’s laughed. “It’s pretty easy stuff.”
That third one on this list is the one piece of “jewelry” that Wortley says a woman can generally be pretty safe buying as a gift for a man.
“I heard a woman once say that a watch is a man’s engagement ring,” he said. “Not all men, of course. They certainly have different tastes, but men generally do like watches.”
Fortunately, Friedman’s is home to a great many of a variety of styles and price ranges, which makes it the perfect place to find that perfect gift. One brand in particular, he says, holds a lot of appeal to men.
“Luminox watches are endorsed by the Navy Seals, so there’s that military coolness about them,” he said. “They’re very efficient, they’re not costly — they are between $300-$1,000, which is right in the wheelhouse of what watches cost anyhow — and they have neoprene bands, they are chronograph, and they’re just nice, rugged sports watches that are comfortable and indestructible.”
Luminox not his style? Wortley says not to worry. There’s a lot more to choose from.
“We also have Seiko, Bulova, Movado, Citizen, and we also have pre-owned Rolexes and pre-owned Tag Heuers,” he said. “Sometimes if you want to buy a Mustang, a ’68 Mustang is the way to go. A new steel and gold Rolex is probably $13,000-$14,000. You can buy a pre-owned one for $5,000 or $6,000.”
Watches and jewelry aren’t the only items Friedman’s has that may appeal to men, though. If a guy you know likes unique, this is certainly the place. Airplanes and ships made by Authentic Models line the walls, as do traditional German beer steins. Globes, Yeti products and college football items can be found in a vast space that could feel overwhelming to someone who’s fresh out of idea. But Wortley says he and his colleagues are there to help.
“We will walk through it all with you,” he said, explaining that they talk to customers about their loved one’s likes and dislikes before they ever get around to selling. “We truly believe that we sell by showing. This is probably the most unique building in the nation, and very few stores fall across that broad range of spectrum of gifts for guys.”
And when a customer does find that perfect something, Wortley can almost guarantee the giftee will love it.
“Guys cherish different things that their loved ones give them and women don’t see that,” he said. “It’s the little things that we cherish that are given to us by the women we love.”
If Friedman’s Jewelers covers the third item on the list of the three things that men love (watches), the Southeastern Armory definitely is the place to go for firearms, the second item on the list.
However, Jason Hawes doesn’t often recommend buying a handgun as a gift.
“They’re so personalized and you can’t bring them back,” the general manager of Southeastern Armory explained. “They’re like shoes. You have to fit them to the person. So I always promote the gift cards, so they can come in and get what they want. Ladies usually think that’s tacky, but guys like it. Guys like to get what they want.”
Just because someone shouldn’t buy the man in their life a gun doesn’t mean that they’ll walk away from Southeastern Armory empty-handed. The relatively small space in Friedman’s Jewelers is jam packed with everything the outdoorsman in your life has to have, even if he doesn’t know it yet.
And it’s not just accessories like holsters, scopes and ammunition we’re talking about, either, although Hawes says ammunition makes a great stocking stuffer.
“There’s all sorts of fancy ammunition out there, so a lot of times people will get a box or two or three of the specialty stuff and put it in the stocking,” he said. “It allows them to try something new and maybe they’ll find something they like. And, at $25 a box, it’s not breaking the bank.”
If the guy you’re buying for has a sporting rifle, Hawes says they’re almost like Legos in terms of what you can buy for them.
“You can buy accessories forever,” he laughed. “You can buy colored pieces and all kinds of gadgets for them.”
Gun safes, specialty knives, Wise emergency foods, sunglasses that look good but also function as safety goggles and a selection of Yeti products are just a few of the other items in Southeastern Armory, as is Nexbelt.
“Those belts are just about the neatest thing you’ve ever seen,” Hawes said. “They’re customizable. They come in one long length and you cut it to fit yourself, and the latching mechanism is really easy to operate. They make tactical belts and dress belts. They make really nice dress belts, too.”
The sheer quantity of products Southeastern Armory carries, as well as the specialized nature of those products, can be intimidating to those who may not be familiar with them. Hawes, however, says the staff is there to make the buying experience a little easier.
“The main thing is to figure out what folks are into. We try to have a conversation, figure out what they do, what they like to do and then we guide them that way,” he explained. “It can be intimidating, but we’re all professional, friendly, down-to-earth people who just try to help people figure it out. We just talk to them. It’s all about communication.”
When it comes to Windsor Jewelers, everyone seems to know what’s on the first floor showroom. For men, that includes Rolex and other high-end watches, as well as William Henry pocket knives and jewelry.
Many shoppers have no idea that there is another showroom on the second floor filled with treasures for both men and women.
“I think Pandora was one of the anchors for the second floor that brought a lot of people up here for the first time,” said Windsor’s Shane Thompson. “I think there are a lot of people who don’t know there’s a second showroom upstairs. They think it’s office suites.”
It’s not, and the second floor is filled with a variety of items including Arthur Court silver tableware, continuations of designer lines featured on the first floor, sterling silver, freshwater pearls, charms, porcelain, estate jewelry and entry price level goods.
“The thing we try and stay away from is people thinking that the upstairs is only inexpensive stuff, because it’s not,” he said. “Yes, there’s a lot of sterling silver, but there are other things as well.”
And while prices may rival those of other stores, Windsor has one thing that other stores could never hope to have.
“You can go to the mall and visit the jewelry section at different places and find a price point if that’s what you’re hunting for, but what you don’t find when you go other places is our staff,” he explained. “Some of the people up here in this section have 30 years of jewelry experience where, in the mall, it’s their first or second job, they haven’t been there that long and they don’t know the difference between this type of cultured pearl and that type or the freshwater pearl difference. These ladies know it all, so if you’re trying to get an idea, stick to a budget, find out where the best value is in the lower price range, they can tell you. They know it all and they know the quality of the pieces and the construction of the pieces. What we have is the talent of the people who are showing these things to you.”
And the second floor houses unique products that the man in your life can surely appreciate.
One such item is the M-Clip, made by a company based in Savannah. Yes, it’s a money clip, but it’s a money clip that won’t bend or break because of a design that includes a special feature.
“It’s two pieces, so you can put your money or cards in there and then slide these levers down to lock everything in place,” he explained. “It’s so much better than other money clips.”
And remember the three things Rick Wortley from Friedman’s said every man loves? Well, Windsor may not carry cars, but they do carry pens made by Porsche.
“These are all modeled off of Porsche vehicles,” Thompson said, pointing to a case of gleaming writing instruments. “They’re actually made from pieces of the cars.”
So if you can’t afford a Porsche, this is certainly the next best thing. And best of all? It comes in a little green box.