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10 Best Luxury Watches for 2012

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What happened to the art of telling time?

Have you noticed? Everything in this noisy digital age seems to tell time: the phone. The car. The stove. Each proffers up a cheesy, numeric rubric that does nothing but cheapen the seconds it counts.

But even these time-worn eyes are seeing a glimmer of hope for time staging a comeback. Better watches, mostly with analog faces and old-school mechanical movements, are finding new customers. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, last year broke records for watch exports.

"Leaving aside 2010, which followed a major downturn," said the report, "growth surpassed anything seen in the past 20 years."

Which makes this holiday season the perfect time to celebrate the return of watches. So I offer my top timepieces for 2012. Put any of these on your wrist, or on the wrist of those you love, and you will give the greatest gift of all: not merely telling time, but exquisitely keeping it:

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