Grails for Males

The Five Things Every Man of Style Aspires to Own.

Recently we got to talking about the five things that every man of style aspires to own at some point in his life. While most will never get near assembling the full collection, in some way many of us will come close to obtaining items that are at least in the same sphere; a Rolex Submariner is better than no Rolex at all, and even a modern Porsche 911 has panache. By definition, though these things are more precious than a pair of Persols or a Ghurka bag; our starting five are more like lifelong achievements and as such come with considerable price tags. This isn’t a mandate, but if you had the means, this is the direction we think you should beheaded.

You don’t have to have lots of money to have style, naturally, but it certainly comes in handy when acquiring all the right stuff. Of course, the really resourceful man can always come up with stylish alternatives that cost less. Guys who are not only really into the classics but also have the means to collect these truly iconic items however all have their own take on The List, and some may have other ideas altogether; which is why we’re also inaugurating 5 Icons as a new ACL feature, starting with our man Matt Jacobson below. Check out the five holy grails we’ve gathered together and let us know what you think we’re missing:

1. Vintage Porsche 911


The exact year doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s from the first generation, 1965–1989, and the older the better. We like all our stuff with its original patina but a lot of hardcore collectors prefer cars in near-concours condition.

2. Paul Newman Rolex Daytona



There are only six references that make the grade from the ’60s and ’70s, and all of them are now expensive as hell. Buyer beware as even early Daytonas from the same year as Newmans don’t qualify without the quirky dials. Hodinkee breaks it down here.

3. Leica Camera


Potentially the easiest acquisition price-wise, though as with anything else once you start getting into the fine points costs rise. A bit of research should net you an older film version comparatively cheaply, while high megapixel digital models fetch a premium.

4. Land Rover Defender


N.A.S. (North American Spec) Defenders were only sold in the U.S. from 1993–1997. You could buy an earlier model or import a more modern one at insane cost, but as with the 911 older is always cooler in any case.

5. Bespoke Savile Row Suit


Except to the highly trained eye, this is one item that doesn’t really proclaim its label to everyone you meet, which of course makes it all the more rewarding to own. Having a suit custom made is a rite of passage for any man of style, making it to Savile Row is sheer nirvana.


(photo: Hodinkee)

Matt Jacobson is a watch and car collector, as well as the gent behind Grown Man Style and several entrepreneurial enterprises. Here’s his take:


1. “1973 Porsche 911S. Last year of the small bumpers. Alternatively, the 1955 VW Beetle. Last year of semaphore turn signals on an Oval VW. Also, my VW passion has been vindicated by the prices at Amelia Island this weekend.”


2. “Maybe an early early [Daytona] or Sea–Dweller is more iconic. When you see a guy wearing one with a suit, you really know something about him – surfer, sailor – whereas you don’t with the Paul Newman.”


3. “Leica Monochrom. The true essence of Leica photography is black and white. Think Jim Marshall and Henri Cartier-Bresson.”


4. “1997 Defender 90 SW (hard top wagon), the only North American year with A/C and automatic transmission. Also, the last year imported to the U.S.”



5. “An Anderson & Sheppard suit or a pair of Alden for Brooks Brothers shell cordovan penny loafers. Those shoes are completely iconic, one of a kind, only available unlined (more comfortable) from Brooks.”


Comments on “Grails for Males

    Senor Toad on March 17, 2016 12:46 PM:

    What kind of sad little pussy drives an automatic Land Rover?

    Antipodean on March 17, 2016 4:27 PM:

    ……….with air conditioning?

    Carl on March 18, 2016 8:17 PM:

    If you have any passion for sports cars you should not own a steel Daytona unless you won it.

    Chad on March 18, 2016 9:58 PM:

    Nice list of stylish stuff … might get the camera soon!

    Gregg Ushiroda on March 20, 2016 3:17 PM:

    Can you spell, “pretentious?”

    PASTA on March 20, 2016 10:53 PM:

    Someone else’s taste.

    Richard Williams on March 21, 2016 8:46 AM:

    3 and 4 (manual transmission though). yes. The rest, not so much.

    Steven Sal Debus on March 21, 2016 1:42 PM:

    You nailed the Porsche..harkening back to the The Big Chill and that burnt orange Porsche that William Hurt drove…and hid his weed in the engine. Awesome!

    Ryan on March 21, 2016 3:53 PM:

    “You could buy an earlier model or import a more modern one at insane cost” is just plain wrong. It’s illegal to import a newer defender due to the 25 year import ban; the Feds have crushed several defenders brought over illegally. Importing an older defender is actually not very expensive with import costs running under $2k plus the cost of the vehicle. Since you have a lot more options in defenders overseas you can get a much cooler defender than US spec and pretty inexpensively too.

    BeefSupreme on March 21, 2016 4:08 PM:

    @ Senor Toad – A man who will never drive it offroad, and is totally fine with paying 50K+ on a less reliable Landcruiser.

    Roman on March 23, 2016 9:53 AM:

    …gents all over the world love the same things…by this list of products – fair enough!

    Lawrence DeVore on March 23, 2016 9:18 PM:

    Nailed it.

    Scaley on March 30, 2016 12:46 PM:

    Nice post (thank you), but for my two cents, a pre-paid for college education for one’s kids so they graduate debt free, and a house (or two, etc.) in a great urban residential growth (PNW) post code that appreciates many, many, many times in equity from initial purchase price, that one can leave to one’s kids so that they have a house in their future is (to me) a far more sound investment. I did not purchase an FJ, or a Rolex (then), as I wanted to, as a younger man, but instead took my money and purchased a house (my first) twenty five years ago. That (first, and still owned) house did appreciate 6x in that time frame, and leveraged me into a bigger, quicker appreciating in value second house (appreciated 3x in 15 years). The FJ?, still worth what it was then. Toys are fun to play with, and drive, and to look at, but a house makes much more sense and provides way more positive memories and return on investment (if done properly).

    mike baronne on March 31, 2016 6:32 AM:

    I have a friend (ordinary guy with no sense of fashion or style) who loves his Rolex Daytona watches…but only because he knows he can “brag” about it to others who think it is any good (myself not included), and even better in that it has resale value for whenever it may fall out of fashion.

    Nem on April 1, 2016 3:18 PM:

    Nick’s Porsche Targa in The Big Chill was a very faded charcoal…

    Jeffrey on April 5, 2016 1:54 AM:

    Air cooled 911? Actually. I couldn’t care less.

    Chris on April 11, 2016 8:48 AM:

    Get a Leica by all means, but for Chrissakes learn to use the damn thing. Having any of these things but not actually know how to use them are a true measure of douchbaggery.

Comments are closed.