Shopping: You are what you wear on your wrist

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Indy Lifestyle Online
YOUR WATCH says more about your wealth than your clothes ever will. In the first of a series giving you the low-down on what every man wants in his Christmas stocking, here are five to consider asking Santa for...

Name: Nike Triax 250

Price: pounds 95 (0800 0561640 for stockists)

Description: All the rage in the style press at the end of last year, and its appeal has yet to wane. Like the Mercurial football boot, Nike makes an asset of the inherent plastic nature of its products: the snug- fitting polyurethane strap is sold on its resistance to cracking, the ergonomically angled face has brazen Janet & John-sized digits and an Electrolite which glows aquamarine in the dark. And despite five buttons, it is remarkably straightforward (eg green for start lap- counter, red for stop). Love or hate it, people will always have an opinion about it.

Water resistance: 100m

Functions: Time (two zones), date, alarm (up to seven/day), timer, data storage (for previous runs) and repeat timer (for interval training).

Label hipness: After dominating the Nineties, the Nike label seems to be suffering pre-millennial angst. Profits are down and PR took a caning over "Ronaldogate" in the wake of the World Cup final. Plus even your dad probably owns something made by Nike now. Tread gingerly.

Style rating: HHHH

Suitable for: The bloke who says "brilliant" on The Fast Show. And his girlfriend.

Others in the range worth considering: If you're planning to do a marathon, the Triax 26 (pounds 65) is tailor-made for you.

Name: cK Calvin Klein Tech K217

Price: pounds 170 (01703 646800 for stockists)

Description: The discreet cK logo is almost unnecessary. The design of this stainless steel Swiss-made watch silently screams Calvin Klein, exuding that tell-tale minimalist style. The strap clasp, however, leaves something to be desired.

Water resistance: 50m

Functions: Standard chronograph stopwatch function.

Label hipness: It may be good branding but Calvin Klein's sexual ambivalence occasionally seems to verge on the characterless. There is still a certain cachet to the name Calvin Klein but how many more product extensions can it withstand?

Style rating: HHH

Suitable for: Men who like simple pleasures - Gap T-shirts, combat trousers and One2One adverts featuring Kate Moss.

Others in the range worth considering: White-faced cK Calvin Klein Dress K4111 (pounds 150) for your partner - if you're going down the cK route, there is no point doing it by halves.

Name: Breitling B-One

Price: pounds 1,595 (0171-636 5200 for stockists)

Description: The B-One' s rear casing is modelled on an aeroplane's turbine and is the epitome of class. The front is a sensory overload: gold wings, loads of technical-looking numbers for doing things professional pilots do, and a digital 24-hour clock, for when you give up trying to find the precise location of the minute hand. If a watch's worth were measured by its weight in gold, this Swiss-made monster would require a chunk of Fort Knox to house it. Comes with a leather, sharkskin or chunky stainless steel strap.

Water resistance: 50m

Functions: Time (two zones), glare-proof glass, chronograph split and add functions, alarm, NVG-compatible backlighting, alarms (one per time zone) and an "overdrive pinion mechanism which operates the slide rule disk by rotating bezel".

Label hipness: If you number Second World War pilots among your friends, you will be the proverbial Snoopy's testicles.

Style rating: HHHH

Suitable for: Rich flyboy wannabes with big mits.

Others in the range worth considering: If you want something smaller and simpler, and plan to go searching for shipwrecked treasure, then opt for the Breitling SuperOcean Automatic, which is brighter (a bright orange face; more tasteful than it sounds) and goes deeper (1,000m) at less expense (pounds 980).

Name: Omega Speedmaster Professional

Price: pounds 1,475 (01703 646800 for stockists)

Description: As chronograph watches go this is a classic. Comprising a crisp black face with no extraneous Arabic numerals to clutter up its functions, the Speedmaster Professional has the distinction of being the watch which Neil Armstrong was wearing when he stepped on the moon.

Water resistance: Forget the moon. The Omega is built to survive an intergalactic battering and operates in temperatures from -18C to 93C (so it will work if you fall into a freezer but will go pear-shaped if you attempt to remove chips from vats of boiling fat with your bare hands).

Functions: Standard chronograph functions and a tachometer, which was used to time Scott and Irwin's moon-buggy race in the lunar rover.

Label hipness: If approval from Nasa's rocket scientists fails to impress you, then I doubt endorsements from Cindy Crawford, Field Marshal Montgomery and James Bond are going to impress upon you the importance of the brand.

Style rating: HHHHH

Suitable for: Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Buzz Lightyear.

Others in the range worth considering: If you want something more contemporary, the Speedmaster Professional X-33 (pounds 1,575) is the watch Omega is touting as the timepiece that will make it to Mars (the journey there seems to have been literally interpreted since one option is a gaudy red strap). The watch itself has a circular digital centrepiece, programmable to show elapsed mission time and a countdown facility - essential for those touchdowns on the dark side of Safeways.

Name: Tag Heuer Kirium Chronograph

Price: pounds 1,325 (Mappin & Webb, 0171-734 3801)

Description: For those who like the curvaceous, streamlined advances of Nineties auto technology, then look no further than the Tag Heuer Kirium Chronograph. The tasteful hue of its face even manages to rescue the colour burgundy from the wilderness (where it has been languishing since being identified as the preferred trouser colour of Tetley beer drinkers over a decade ago).

Water resistance: 200m

Functions: Chronograph, tachometer and an "unidirectional turning bezel" to measure lengths of dives (blind us with science, why don't you?).

Label hipness: Well, that depends on whether or not you think Damon Hill is cool (hell, at least he likes leftfield boho American rockers Cake, unlike David Coulthard, Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher, who all like Phil Collins).

Style rating: HHHH

Suitable for: Formula One fans who drive spotless Ford Pumas. And Alan Partridge.

Others in the range worth considering: The 2000 Collection and the Steve McQueen Monaco (pounds 1,595), based on the watch the actor wore in Le Mans.

Shaun Phillips Deputy Editor, ZM Magazine

The phone number for last week's Zero Haliburton case is 0181 208 3080