12 Unique Christmas Gifts

With Christmas almost upon us we thought we’d put together a selection of twelve of our most popular gift ideas.  We’ve tried to make selections from different price areas to cover every gift-giving requirement; many of the items can be personalised with engraving, and each comes in beautiful presentation packaging.  If you’d like to explore other concepts, try using our handy Christmas Gift Selector.  We hope it helps you to find the perfect Christmas gift for any discerning man.

With best wishes for Christmas and the coming New Year,

Neil

Card-Holder-Money-Clips

Since the launch of our first card-holder-money-clip - or “CMC” - almost 20 years ago, we’ve been committed to providing a slimmed-down alternative to the conventional wallet.  Combining two of our core design materials - precision engineered stainless steel, and leather - our card-holder-money-clip designs offer compact, functionally effective alternatives to the classic bill-fold wallet, in a variety of different formats.

blog_cmc_wallet

Credit Card Case & Money Clip / Carbon Fibre

 

The classic Dalvey “CMC” remains our most popular model.  We often have customers getting in touch to say how they swear by the product, and have been enthusiastically using one for years (if any of you Dalvey evangelists are reading this, thanks for getting in touch!)  The CMC is elegant and contemporary; it’s highly compact, surprisingly capacious, and, as with all our money clips, engravable.

I used one myself for many years, before fairly recently switching to the Insignia…

 

blog_cmc_insignia_wallet

Insignia Wallet / Black Carbon Fibre & Orange

 

The Insignia, while being slightly larger than a classic CMC, is much slimmer than a conventional wallet.  It has a gratifying flip-out action, the deployment of which is reminiscent of the nonchalant presentation of those badges of law-enforcing officialdom so often seen in movies.  It’s a fun thing to use, and the sober and exuberant combination of vibrant interiors with richly textured carbon fibre and Caviar leather exteriors exemplifies an approach to design that can be seen in instances across the Dalvey range (take, for instance, suit jackets, which combine dignified suiting fabrics with striking interior linings).

 

blog_cmc_printed_insignia_wallets

 

The Continental is arguably more formal or classic, having something of the jacket wallet about its portrait orientation.  Our initial range combined burgundy, navy and black exteriors, drawing inspiration from the world’s passports (black, incidentally, is reserved for diplomatic passports).  We’ve since added a range of both Continentals and Insignias that feature black Caviar exteriors and vibrantly printed interior leathers.

 

blog_cmc_continental_wallet

 

 

Most compact of all - and perfect for going out - the Nocturna money clip holds notes and a single card in an extremely compact design incorporating mirror-polished stainless steel and carbon fibre leather.

 

blog_cmc_nocturna_wallet

Nocturna Money Clip / Black Carbon Fibre

 

If you’re not a convert to the card-holder-money-clip, I encourage you to try one: I’m sure you won’t regret it. This is an important product area for us, and we always enjoy developing new concepts, so keep an eye out for what comes next.

All the best,

Neil

Introducing the Dalvey Suit

Great suits are all about balance: between drape and fluidity, between geometric structure and naturalistic flow, between formal dignity and expressive exuberance.

When developing the Dalvey range of gentlemen’s suits, two tensions were foremost in the design process: that between the classic formality of the great British suiting tradition and a slimmed-down, contemporary, dynamic aesthetic; and that between sober dignity and vigorous expression in colours, textures and detailing.

 

blog_suits_pick_worsted_charcoal_model

 

Beginning with the fabrics, we developed all of them from 100% Australian Merino worsted wool.  Merino continues to be my favourite fibre.  It’s soft, strong, breathable, and capable of being woven or knitted into fabrics that are superfine while being robust and versatile – ideal for the modern gentleman.  It was very important for us to get the right weight in our fabrics: many suits on the market today are flimsy and insubstantial, given them a slightly sleazy impression.  We wanted medium-heavyweight fabrics with a fluid drape that would frame and sculpt, and worked hard to achieve exactly the right handle (or feel) across the range.

 

 

Of greatest importance was the fit, which is dictated not only by the cutting but also by the internal structure of the suit. In keeping with Dalvey’s emphases on tailored, masculine silhouettes, we wanted a jacket that would have enough structure to present a formal, confident, professional impression, but that wouldn’t be so architectonic as to be a boxy carapace. We needed flex, with close tailoring through the body and arms. We needed a chest and shoulders balanced with just the right blend of Italian-style structural emphasis and American-style softness and relaxed informality. Double-venting allows for a closer fit and more dynamic fluidity while the jacket retains its precision-tailoring.

 

blog_suits_twill_worsted_navy_model

 

I’ve always felt that a suit looks best when it sits precisely between something that follows the contours of the body, and something that’s dictating linear shapes in its own right – in other words, something that’s sort of blending the boundary between describing a man’s actual physique, and confidently shaping a stylised notion it. Formality is only half of the balance: without that organic dynamism you just have a box. That’s why our welted pockets are slanted, and it’s also why we’ve used ticket pockets throughout: the combination of the right-side ticket pocket and the left-side breast pocket (whether ornamented with a pocket square or not) gives a subtle asymmetry that helps to add a kind of idiosyncratic interest to what might otherwise be something too rectilinear and dull.

 

blog_suits_details

 

Detailing was very important, and it’s what gave us the chance to really charge each suit with character. Bold, rich internal linings with matching undercollar melton felts and specially woven silk pocket closures give each suit a daring, exuberant interior – glimpses of which can be caught when the wearer draws the jacket together to button it up.

The range is contemporary but enduring, in keeping with Dalvey’s design philosophy. Though it took many months to develop – and though our tailor’s dummies endured the stabs of hundreds of errant pins – the range was a joy to put together, and of particular personal significance. I’ve been obsessed with great suits for years, and the chance to deploy our approach to design in this area was extremely gratifying. Hope you like the result!

All the best,

Neil

 

Neil Grant

Director

Pocket Watches

With our latest range of pocket watches we wanted to design a collection that would have a real point of difference: refined, and drawing on classic design features, but with a contemporary edge and unique, idiosyncratic characters.

Actually it wasn’t just about creating a great range: it was about reinvigorating this classic gentlemen’s accessory. While it’s been great to see discerning men getting sharper over the last few years, we felt that while more attention’s been paid to tailoring and apparel accessories – such as pocket squares – the pocket watch hasn’t had the kind of contemporary, design-led renaissance that we felt it deserved.

We’ve brought together design elements from our range of wristwatches, as well as from our unique desk and travel clocks: rich colours, stunning mother of pearl faces, textural richness, and meticulous detailing. They’re elegant, but they’re also fun: it was really important for us to make this range exuberant, engaging, and reflective of our wider obsession with making men’s accessories as uplifting as possible.

Blue and black mother of pearl pocket watch dials

details of Blue and Black Mother of Pearl Pocket Watches

 

Two of our Full Hunter styles employ coloured mother-of-pearl: the inky, nacreous “Black”, which, when it catches the light, has a striking polychromatic effect; and the stormy Blue – inspired by our powerful Blue Sedan, Voyager and Cavesson clocks.

blog_pocket_watches_white_grey3a

 

While these two are currently the favourites in the design department (though not by a clear margin, and the battle over which trumps the other still rages on) the Grey with Rose Gold has probably been the most popular with our customers so far. That’s been gratifying, as this style has a very contemporary aesthetic: for designers it’s always great when your statement pieces outperform their “safer” counterparts.

Having said that, even the white faced Full Hunter is strikingly differentiated, with its sunny orange accents, rich texturing, and balanced use of mirror-polished detailing. As a classic style with a contemporary edge, it also seems to have gone down well.

blog_pocket_watches_mechanical_movement2

 

We wanted to craft a style that would be refined but bristling with mechanical detail, and we hope we’ve pulled it off in the Skeletal Half Hunter. The exposed mechanical movement showcases its meticulous engineering and craftsmanship, and is visible through the windowed half-hunter fob case.

blog_pocket_watches_skeletal2circle

 

All of our styles come with beautiful chains, and each can be bought with or without a stand. The stands are great, as they give you the chance to enjoy your watch when it’s not being worn or carried. All of our pocket watches are engraveable, which makes them perfect as gifts.

blog_pocket_watches_stand We hope you like this range. If you’re interested to find out more about Full and Half Hunter cases, and about pocket watches in general, check out the Discover section of this site. As ever, we’d love to hear which are your favourites: write to us at customer-care@dalvey.com.

All the best, Neil

Neil Grant Director

Slim Fit Shirts - Spring 2016

Last year we introduced the White+ range of Slim Fit shirts, which combined a silky white micro-twill with contrast accents in the inner placket, inner collar, and cuff interiors, together with subtle accents such as the coloured stitching of the final placket button. These shirts were great for presenting a crisp, cool aesthetic in the office, which could be transformed by undoing the top button for a seamless transition into the evening.

Our latest collection draws on the success of the layered effect of the White+ range: each shirt combines a formal exterior with contrast details that combine to form a unique character. As ever, we’ve worked to achieve subtle effects, using richly textured fabrics and versatile colours.

One of the great things about designing such a wide variety of accessories and apparel is that we often find that techniques and discoveries derived from one area can be deployed in another. The power of colour combinations, and their capacity to create unique personalities, is something we’ve drawn on many times – from cufflinks to handkerchiefs, and from pocket watches to wallets. Take one of our latest styles: Cullen. A luxuriously silky ice-blue micro-twill gives it a fresh, bright, formal exterior; but the combination of the contemporary navy accents – in a refined, densely woven, more formal interpretation of a classic chambray – gives the shirt a character that’s both tougher and more relaxed.

blog_shirt_cullen3B

Even the addition of a contrast white to a coloured fabric can help to frame the base colour, enhancing its vibrant effect – as is the case in Hudson, in which the pale, cool pink somehow becomes more exuberant with its white contrast and subtle burgundy details.

We’ve included a couple of Winchester styles in this latest collection. We’ve always found that white collars and double cuffs enable us to use more striking base colours or patterns: the white tones down the overall impact, while adding a layered effect that contributes to a powerful overall impression. You can see this in Turner – with its smooth, almost creamy sky-and-white stripes – and in Lawrence, with its bold French blue poplin.

blog_shirt_mood2a

 

As usual, we’ve worked with richly textured fabrics. Texture gives you a point of interest without being overbearing; it’s great for achieving subtle but impactful styles. Some of the most striking textures we’ve used in the current range can be found in the micro-puppytooth of Ross, and the innovative dobby of Fraser – both of which are combined with cool, minimal white poplins.

blog_shirt_fraser

I hope you like this latest range – it’s been satisfying for us to bring it to life, as the process has drawn on years of honed experience across a range of skills: in weave, pattern, fit and detail design. One of the great things about the collection is that it’s as well suited to the office as the evening, and features shirts that can be worn with a suit, a jacket, under knitwear, or simply paired with jeans or chinos. We’d love to hear which styles are your favourites (not least because it would help us settle the arguments that have riven the design department): as ever, write to us at customer-care@dalvey.com.

All the best, Neil

Personalisation

With Valentine’s Day coming up we thought we’d focus on personalisation: a feature of many of our products from across the range.

We love working with mirror-polished stainless steel.  It’s a hard material, and difficult to work with, but you can get a uniquely sharp, crisp, engineered finish and a durable mirror-polish that makes it ideally suited to men’s accessories.  Another great feature of stainless steel is that it can be engraved: perfect for personalising a gift – even one you plan to give to yourself!

Some of our customers ask for initials, others for personal messages: depending on the engraveable surface area of the product, there can be room for up to 40 characters – not quite a tweet, but enough for a personal expression!  We can even do graphics: if you’re interested in having a unique graphic design engraved on something, just write to us at mailorder@dalvey.com.  The team are always happy to help.

We engrave everything in-house, using laser-engraving technology and a set of jigs that we’ve hand-built and accumulated over the years.  The technology’s quite impressive when you watch it in action – as you can see in this video, made by our senior engraver:

In specialising in design-led men’s accessories we’ve always had customers who tell us that we’re really useful when it comes to gift-giving occasions.  It’s true that finding a great gift for a discerning man isn’t always easy, but it’s something that we hope we can really help you with.  Our new site has a comprehensive gift-finder built-in: one of the sections of which focuses purely on personalisation: dalvey.com/gifts/personalised-gifts.  Besides this tool, we’re always happy to hear from you, and to offer our suggestions if you’re really struggling to find the perfect thing for someone who’s not easy to buy for – just write to our Mail Order team at the above email address, or call us on +44 (0)1349 884 111.

The art of giving great gifts isn’t always widely celebrated, but it’s important: to be able to make a gesture, to demonstrate that you’ve thought hard about someone, that you’ve carefully considered what they’d like, and even that you’ve gone so far as to have a gift engraved, is something that will always be appreciated.  The great thing about engraving is that the gesture endures.

For initials to be engraved on items that are used every day, some of the best products in our range are the credit-card-case-&-money-clips or “CMCs”; our understated but elegant Button and Discus Cufflinks; and our engineered business card cases.  For longer messages, the perfect gifts can be found in our iconic flask collection.  There are plenty of options though – check out the personalised-gifts section of the site to have a look for yourself, and as I say, be sure to write or call if you’re looking for advice or have any questions.

All the best, Neil

Neil Grant Director

Ties

Designing ties is a joy. This is partly because you have the opportunity to inject real vibrancy and exuberance into an eventual outfit that, though far from boring, will often be constructed with understatement in mind. While navies and greys predominate suit fabrics, and even shirts are designed with a comparatively limited palette in mind, ties offer a much wider remit for expression in terms of colour. This makes sense: ties have always been the point in a formal outfit in which the most idiosyncratic statements can be made.

It’s a bit surprising then that another reason why designing ties is so fun is that, over time, the brand has developed its own rules – its own language – and to work within these (largely implicit) rules, and to push their boundaries, brings with it the kind of satisfaction you find in working within and at the edges of any rule-bound medium.

So what are the constraints? It’s not initially obvious that there would be any, but the more you work in a particular area of product design, the more you realise what’s in keeping with the overall aesthetic of the brand, and what isn’t. To start with, when designing woven ties we always work with heavy silk for a richer drape, and with high picks-per-inch – which can be thought of as high resolution: this gives you a crisper, sharper, more resilient finish. If you’re working with these two principles in mind, you want designs that are going to take the maximum advantage of the attributes that are already “built-in”, as it were.

For us, this means that texture is key. We love to combine textural features within a pattern to create a really visceral sense of density. You can get a sense of this from looking at our range of stripes: smooth, fluid satin is matched with gravelly granularity in the Natte Stripes; long-form twills are matched with short, reversing twills in the Herringbone Stripes; silky, satin hairlines are combined with oversized herringbone effects and expansive twill grounds in the striking Quiver Stripes.

 

 

We also like to create really strong little characters from colour combinations. In any area of design, as soon as you have two-to-three colours working together you find you get a really original sense of personality that’s somehow a lot more than the sum of its parts. Sometimes the combinations that work best are actually a surprise to us: although we have definite combinations in mind at the point of design, the process involves the weaving of “blankets”, which are a kind of patchwork matrix of different warp and weft colour combinations; this occasionally throws up new designs that leap out of the psychedelia of the overall mass and just demand to be made into ties.

 

You also find that scale’s incredibly important: tweaking the scale of a pattern feature can make the difference between something that’s just wrong, and something that has that amazingly satisfying “Goldilocks” quality: not too big, not too small. You get a similar experience when working with spacing. Our Floral Madders are a great example: in being arranged quite closely together, the geometric-floral motifs become more textural than graphic; this design really draws on the advantages of working with high-density weaving, as well as starkly contrasting colour combinations – the resulting effect is something almost three dimensional: a texture that really “pops out”. Apologies if I get carried away with this stuff: when it’s what you love doing it’s hard to stop!

Woven Tie, Orange Madder

Some of the particular favourites of the design team are those that are doing really interesting things with colour: the Teal Sakura, with its unusual ground and the fresh white and zinging interior of its repeated motif; the Mauve & Pink Herringbone Stripe, with its bruised, dusky character; and the Purple Carnation, which just seems to burst with fruity richness. Having said that, one of my (current) favourites is actually one of the most unassuming: the Navy Hopsack, which lets texture do all the work – combining a shimmering quality with a fluidity of drape. Match it with a crisp white shirt for a simple but effective combination.

blog_ties_selection2 Woven Ties: Mauve&Pink Herringbone Stripe, Purple Carnation, Navy Hopsack, and Teal Sakura

I hope you’ll enjoy the new range! As always, we’d love to hear from you: write to customer-care@dalvey.com to let us know which are your particular favourites.

All the best,

Neil

Neil Grant Director

Accessorising the Modern Gentleman

Gentlemen’s accessories are often overlooked.

It’s been great to see how men over the last few years have increasingly paid attention to aspects of personal style, but while in general we’re becoming more dapper, the finishing touches are often overlooked. Small accents such as distinctive socks and uniquely printed pocket squares can really transform an outfit, while a pair of precision-engineered cufflinks or a striking timepiece can both contribute to an overall look, and be really satisfying in themselves.

This seems important: design should be functional, but it should be something more – it should be pleasurable, and, frankly, fun. Throughout our range you can find pieces – such as our Artisan Razors – that are all about transforming the routine, the everyday, the quotidian, into something uplifting.

Our drive to accessorise the modern gentleman isn’t about frills – it’s not about decoration or ostentation. It’s about saying that life should be enjoyed, and about recognising the pleasures of great design. Consider your wallet: is it slim enough for you, or does it create a bulky, minor irritation (every single day)? Does it give you a small but dependable sense of satisfaction and appreciation when you take it out of your pocket? It ought to: not because you’d be brandishing it for all to see, but because it should be a reliable instance of your appreciation of great design.

blog_cmc2[1]

At the risk of being overly contemplative, it’s actually about equipping yourself with items that you’ve chosen with care – pieces that you can rely on to contribute functionality to your life, and which are, in their own way, talismans: daily instances that are expressive of your own personal taste and aesthetic appreciation.

At Dalvey we’ve always been more interested in “style” than “fashion”. The distinction’s maybe arbitrary, but we use it to refer, respectively, to those things that are modish, transitory – even faddish – and those that have a more enduring appeal. Actually it’s a little more than that: style’s more about aesthetic pleasure, whereas what we’re referring to as fashion is more referential – it’s part of a conversation. In itself the conversation is interesting, valid, and part of cultural life; but it’s not what we focus on: as ever, we’re driven by the desire to equip discerning, independent-minded men.

We’ve had years of experience in designing, crafting, refining and using gentlemen’s accessories. That last one’s important: we use everything we make – we joke about being “walking adverts”, but it’s crucial to really get a sense of what’s great about a design, and what could be improved. We’ve broadened the range as we’ve become impatient to cover more aspects of a complete lifestyle, and we’ve refined it over years of being active in markets all over the world.

 

 

I’d like to invite you to check out the Design section of our site to explore some of the main areas we work in, and to read about some of the motivations and inspirations behind the range.

Lastly: it’s almost Christmas! We’ll be showcasing a few gift-buying guides on the front page of the site, and in our regular newsletters. We’ve tried to curate selections that hang together and suit a range of unique style identities. Hope you enjoy them.

All the best, Neil

Neil Grant Director

Clipper Clocks

Since the launch of the original Dalvey Voyager – almost thirty years ago – clocks have always been an important part of the Dalvey range.  Every season we like to introduce something new in this area; for A|W ’15 it’s been the launch of the Clipper Clocks.

 Over the last couple of years our two most popular styles have been the Voyager and the Sedan – both of which are ornamental, and to some extent quite mature.  We wanted to introduce a range that would be exuberant and light, and that would combine together to make a really expressive collection composed of unique individual characters.

 The Clippers have an elegant simplicity and expansive, richly detailed faces.  I think everyone in the design department has a different favourite…

blog_cavesson The black-with-orange-accents is quite satisfyingly “mean”, and employs the same aesthetic that we’ve found to work so well in many of the new additions to our leather range; the white reversal of this style has an appealing lightness, and is probably the most versatile of the group.

 The rich blue with yellow accents has a maritime aesthetic in keeping with the name of the range; I think this was the first design to be approved by all of us, and drew some of its inspiration from the popular “oily” blue version of the Sedan that we launched last year.

 The grey-and-rose-gold was a slightly unexpected style that we all thought worked really well.  So well in fact that we employed the same combination in one of our new Full Hunter Pocket Watches...

My favourite, though, is the turquoise: it has such a sunny, punchy effectiveness.  We’d always wanted to use a colour a bit like this in a clock design, but had previously thought in terms of duck-egg, or verdigris…  It had always been something retrospectively referential, and as a consequence, never quite seemed right.  The cool, mirror-polished numerals and alarm-hand on this Clipper combine with the super-vibrant turquoise to create an effect that we think is lively and contemporary.

 The range looks great when assembled as a whole, but its constituent parts make great little characters when sitting on their own – dotted about in a house or an office.  We’re pleased to have been able to introduce a model that’s lighter and more accessible than any clock we’ve previously launched.  I hope you like them – please get in touch to let us know which is your favourite: it’s always interesting to see which of a range of styles is winning, and helps to settle the (creative) arguments that rage within the confines of our studio…

All the best,
Neil

Neil Grant
Director

Printed Leather

One of the most exciting and eye-catching launches of this season has been our new printed leather wallets and card-holders.  We worked for a long time to achieve the right printing technique, which gives these products a really striking vibrancy.

We chose these three print designs from what turned out to be a pretty huge cast – when we started conceptualising for the project we found it hard to stop coming up with ideas.  As often happens, there were some difficult sessions in the design department during which we had to say goodbye to some of our “children”.

The “Madder” style is based on the type of geometric-floral prints that characterised the Macclesfield silk industry.  Madder is the name of a plant, and of the dye derived from that plant, which was frequently used in such silk prints.  We’ve worked with this kind of design on some of our woven ties and on one of our printed pocket squares: it’s satisfying to try to create a pattern that somehow gives the impression of exacting judgement, and well-balanced visual weight.

madder02-l_circle Rubia tinctorum L. from A Modern Herbal

The small paisley is an example of a pattern style that we work hard to create: something that seems to “pop” – something that has an almost cell-like, 3D quality, derived from the sharp contrast between the ground and the interior colour.

The geometric red and black style also has shades of visual trickery: when you look at it for a while it seems to describe a three-dimensional structure that has a kind of M.C. Escher feel about it…

There’s a richness to these prints that seemed to suggest their combination with our signature Caviar leather.  The Caviar always looks elegant: it has a granulated uniformity that just seems perfect for gentlemen’s accessories.

printed_leater_wallets Erskine, Gilmour and Lamont Wallets

I think part of what made us so excited about this project was the fact that it involved the employment of a technique that we love: namely, the supercharging of a sober, refined exterior with interior vibrancy.  These wallets, for us, have the same appeal as a bright pocket square or interior jacket lining.  It’s a frequent component of our approach to design, and an articulation of a philosophy of combining understated elegance with flashes and details of exuberance, fun, and joy.

I hope you’re as keen on this season’s leather range as we are.

All the best,
Neil

Neil Grant
director

Load More