A friend recently asked my opinion of a "nice" watch that I could recommend as a college graduation gift to her son. I'm all for celebrating life's accomplishments with a gift that truly celebrates the accomplishment, but the one thing that I prefaced was that a few important considerations should be given before splurging on that watch gift? Otherwise, your thoughtful gift could wind up just collecting dust on top of a chest-of-drawers.
The first consideration, does your scholar even like to wear watches, and is there a true appreciation for horology? Many kids today get the time from their phone and probably don't wear anything on the wrist, other than the occasional fitness tracker. So you'll definitely want to make sure your gift is something that is actually wanted and will be appreciated.
Price is the other obvious consideration. If the intent is to mark the grand occasion with a grand purchase, my suggestion would be start small to moderate, and not to break the bank. There are many excellent watch brands available at moderate price points, that would make an excellent graduation present; a two to three hundred dollar timepiece, will probably garner the same level of satisfaction to your scholar, as a multi-thousand dollar "luxury" timepiece. And if the timepiece ends up being a paperweight, you won't have too much heartburn over it.
Save the higher-end luxury timepiece to mark a future life event. College graduation is a significant achievement, but hopefully that is just the start of greater accomplishments to come for your young scholar. Reserve that "luxury" watch gift purchase for your scholar after he or she obtains a continuing education graduate degree, lands that dream job, or perhaps as a marriage gift. For my friend, I suggested she go with a nice moderately priced Bulova, Citizen, or Seiko dress watch. A versatile, quality timepiece that will perform and stand the test-of-time for many years, and be a possible bridge to that next level timepiece.
There will be plenty of future opportunities to gift that grail piece to your scholar. And with a little more of life's experiences under your scholar's belt, they will hopefully appreciate that grail gift all the more, later down the line.