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  • Writer's pictureGaz

Lets Take an Adventure

Following on from one of my last posts about how fantastic the G-Shock is, I spent some time this week thinking, pondering and debating about some of the other watch brands and offerings that are available if you’re a bit of an outdoorsy kind of person but don’t necessarily want or need a G-Shock. Sure, the G-Shock is the ultimate, hard-as-nails companion you want on your wrist during a rough trek or when you’re getting dirty. But, for a cheeky Sunday hike around Malham (it’s an easy one) where the risk of physical injury or strain is minimal, what else is out there? If you still want to rock something a little classy while doing something adventurous which watch should you consider?

When it comes to getting out there and having a little adventure there are plenty of offerings from so many brands, even luxury brands. And while we can get specific and debate whether there’s an ideal watch for swimming, one for hiking, one for camping, it’s my personal opinion that you’d be best looking for  good all-rounder. A watch that suits most of your needs. For me, I want something that I can wear every day, something comfortable that’ll go with most outfits. But, in the event someone suggests driving to Wales in the work van to climb Moel Famau while the rest of the team is doing manual handling training (Yes… Oddly specific), then I want a watch I can leave on without worrying, and there’s many which fit the bill!

Straight away a field watch springs to mind - and with good reason. The Hamilton Khaki Field fits the above requirements  perfectly. It’s a decent size and weight, looks great on a steel bracelet, leather or a Straps of Manhattan NATO (Shameless plug). It has a sapphire face so you rest easy knowing it can take a knock and you can wear it with anything. It looks great if you are work rocking a shirt or driving a van through Wales in jeans and a polo. Also, at around £350 you can’t go wrong. It’s such a good watch and you do get a lot for your money in my opinion.

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Alternatively, you could go with a Seiko 5. It’s an absolute gem of a watch that’s made to be outside. I personally like the Sports Automatic (ref: SRPD51K2) or the (ref: SRPD85K1) or the Seiko 5 Military (ref: SNK809). And that’s what great about the Seiko, there’s so many to choose from. Additionally, they are so interchangeable depending on what you are doing.

Need a diver? Fine. Want a clear, easy to read hiking companion? Done. Something for work? Easy. Or pick one and just change the straps. They look great on anything and best of all, they’re cheap. The Seiko 5 Military can be found for less than £100 and for a mechanical watch that’s fantastic! Even if you’re out and do have an accident while wearing the watch, it’s not the end of the world.

But what if you want to increase the budget, don’t mind getting a little dirt on your luxury piece? Well, contrary to what I said in  a previous post, the Omega Seamaster 300m would be up for there for me. And yes, I did say I wouldn’t be swimming with it in the sea (even though that’s exactly what it was designed for) but it’s more the thought of losing it rather than damaging it. At £4000 that’s gonna be a hard pill to swallow if you stroll out of the sea in full ‘Bond’ fashion, look down and see a bare wrist. Same for the Rolex Submariner. It’s a fantastic watch, arguably one of the best but at almost £9000 I just wouldn’t chance it.

But set aside the fear of losing it and just consider wearing it on a hike, even a rough hike with some scrambling and I have no doubt those watches would perform. Both watches have ceramic bezels, superb water resistance levels, the bracelets are solid and, while you may scratch them up, they should be able to take knock. Additionally, when the watches are made they go through some of the most rigorous testing on the planet. Thousands of drop tests, pressure tests, rotation tests and vibration tests. They are stress tested way beyond any limits the average consumer would ever put them through; It’s actually quite funny that we handle and treat them with so much care. Nevertheless, I think at that price point it comes down to the confidence of the wearer and how you’d handle a £4000 - £9000 loss.

But sticking with Rolex, there is an offering which cannot be overlooked. A watch that has graced the writs of one of the world’s greatest adventurers and made it to the peak of Mount Everest. With an amazing story and so much history under its belt, we have to talk about the Rolex Explorer.

I absolutely love the Explorer and can’t wait to have one in my collection. In fact, the only reason I don’t have it in my collection is because I know my other watches wouldn’t get a look in. The size is just right, it’s relatively thin and has a nice clear, easy to read dial. If you go back Rolex haven’t changed it that much either. The watch got an upgrade in 2016 giving it longer hands and a much better lume but keeping the reference 214270. The watch itself has maintained the same form and design for years with Rolex making only subtle changes. It’s just screams “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” and you can see Rolex have created something fantastic and don’t really need to mess about with it.

And when it comes to everyday use I honestly can’t think of a better watch. In my opinion it’s the perfect daily driver and can be worn with anything. It’s the Khaki Field of luxury…. Or the Hamilton is the Explorer of affordability?! Either way you can wear the Explorer with a 3-piece suit or at the pool in shorts. It one of those watches that looks great on the bracelet but turns into a completely different watch on a leather or NATO strap.

A small side-step away from Rolex and you’ve got Tudor. What was once the little brother standing in the shadow is now a fully-fledged brand on its own and has some fantastic offerings if you like an adventure. Obviously, we have to mention the Blackbay 58. It’s a gorgeous all-rounder and rugged enough to go almost anywhere. Smaller and thinner than the original Blackbay but a watch I would most definitely take swimming without hesitation.

Yeh, I’d be gutted if I lost one but there’s something about the Blackbay’s ‘personality’ where, even if I lost it, I know it’d be ok. Whereas the Submariner feels like something I need to take care of. But the Blackbay, I almost want to see what I can put it through and how much it can take. For me it’s a watch that doesn’t look that bad with a few scars and it’s the type of watch enthusiasts would look at and say, “Wow, that’s seen some action”. Whereas if it was a Sub they’d be like, “Oh no, what happened?!?!”

Alternatively, if you didn’t mind the larger variant, the Blackbay GMT is a dream of a watch. It’s another Tudor offering that looks like it’s just ready to go. It doesn’t care where, it just wants to travel with you. The only reason I don’t have one is because I’m saving myself for a GMT Master II (Batman). It’s one of my grails. But if you see yourself as an adventurer then you can’t go wrong with Tudor.

Another watch brand which I’d consider when looking for an ‘adventure piece’ is Montblanc. Full disclosure, I haven’t actually had a chance to get hands-on with this next watch. I have seen it in the boutique but didn’t get the chance to try it on or spend any time with it so I may have fell into the trap of believing the hype and marketing. That being said, I do eventually want this in my collection (in blue), The Montblanc Geosphere.

Regardless of the marketing hype, I do actually really like the look of this watch. The dial is stunning and I love dial complications. It features a world timer with both hemispheres so, with some squinting, you can know the time anywhere in the world. Perfect for the seasoned traveller. I think the watch looks great and at first glance, I immediately associate it with being a piece for the outdoors, especially in bronze with the Khaki green dial (But that is a limited edition piece). The watch looks like it was made for adventure and wouldn’t look out of place on a mountain. Again, I may have fallen victim to the marketing but for me, it’d definitely make my short list.  few months ago Montblanc announced it in blue so I added it to the list. The only gripe I have is that the watch runs off a Sellita movement and at £4700, it’s a little annoying.

Finally, I want to talk about Breitling. Breitling has so many offerings that it’s hard to choose. There’s the iconic Navitimer, the Colt, Superocean and Avenger range. Sure, on a bracelet or leather strap they can look a little dressy and yes, Breitling watches are usually bigger and weigh more. If you have a fragile wrist then I’d say shop elsewhere. But if you don’t mind a larger watch, Breitling have some fantastic offerings for the adventurer.

If you follow SOM on Instagram you’ll know I have an Avenger II and let me tell you, it has been everywhere with me. It’s seen the top of most mountains in the UK, plenty of smaller hills, it’s accompanied me though waterfalls, hikes and holidays. It continues to perform and is a solid watch overall. I do love it which makes me a little biased but, I wanted to give you something that I’d personally tried and tested.

In summary, there plenty of watches you can choose to accompany you on a hike, outing or adventure. In my opinion, most watches will stand up to the challenge and may even surprise you. Just because a Swiss watch costs in the £1000’s doesn’t mean it’s a fragile piece that needs to be wrapped in bubble wrap and stored away, quite the opposite.

The quality and craftsmanship of these watches mean they’ll probably stand the test of time, regardless of what you throw at them. However, it’s because of that same quality and craftsmanship why we don’t put our watches through it. They become something to look after, maintain and value.

Additionally, it’s a bitter pill to swallow if you lose a £4000 watch on a hike or you damage it while climbing through a cave. A luxury Swiss watch is never going to be on par with a G-Shock but that’s likely due to our own shift in attitude when we have. a G-Shock on our wrist. We can take more risk and perhaps proceed with a little less caution. And while our luxury counterparts may be able to endure similar stresses, it actually comes down to our own ‘comfortable limits’.

Overall, I think it comes down to what you’re doing, when you’re doing it and the experience you have. If you see yourself as confident adventurer then there’s no reason your favourite timepiece shouldn’t come with. Take it as far as you feel comfortable and when you get there, tag us in a photo! We'd love to see where you and your watch end up. Also, there are so many more brands and watches out there that I didn't discuss. Honourable mentions should include Tag Heuer, Panerai, Bremont and Oris. While I didn't talk about them here they are definitely worth a look if you want a great all rounder.

Thanks for your time! See you in the next one!

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Additionally, you can check out our NATO straps at the store. They are available in 20mm & 22mm. Postage within the UK is free as well as all orders over £50.

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