Still looking for a gift for the thrill seekers in your life? Ensure they have a trail mate hardy enough to keep up with them on their next adventure. All outdoor enthusiasts understand the importance of proper gear, like protective layers, durable shoes and an adequate supply of sunscreen and water. A capable watch makes for an often-overlooked yet essential part of the arsenal.
“If you’re taking your watch on adventures, factors such as superior water resistance, robust materials and long-lasting luminescence are important to look for,” said Eugene Tutunikov, CEO of SwissWatchExpo, an Atlanta-based pre-owned luxury watch retailer. “To get the most out of your investment, you’d also want to look for an outdoor watch that’s stylish and comfortable enough to wear every day.”
With that, we’ve come up with a list of outdoor-friendly watches for every type of adventure and the best destinations to put them to the test.
For the scuba diver: Omega Seamaster 300M Diver Master Chronometer
“The Omega Seamaster Diver is a staple in many watch collections for its reliable 300m water resistance and classic design. The updated Master Chronometer models have even better features,” Tutunikov said. “The bezels are now made of scratch-resistant ceramic and brighter white enamel, the dials are clearer with laser-engraved waves and Master Chronometer movements provide extraordinarily high levels of precision and magnetic resistance.”
“The Rolex Seadweller Deepsea was especially designed by Rolex for saturation dives. It’s water resistant to an impressive depth of 12,800 feet, and thanks to its patented case architecture, it remains wearable at 44mm,” Tutunikov said.
“The D-Blue edition of the Rolex Seadweller Deepsea has a gradient blue-to-black dial that not only makes it easy to read but also looks good with both casual and formal attire.”
For the hiker: Breitling Chronospace Military
If you’re going off the grid in the mountains, Tutunikov recommends Breitling Professional watches, particularly the Chronospace. “This watch was built for extreme conditions. It comes in a PVD black-coated steel case, easy-grip bezel and a military strap that can handle wear and tear.”
“The hybrid analog-digital dial packs a lot of features, including a chronograph, alarm, countdown timer, second time zone and world time.”
For the skier: Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M
“The Omega Planet Ocean is well-equipped for high-pressure moments. It comes with 600m water resistance, a hard-wearing ceramic bezel and a bright color range for low-light situations,” Tutunikov said.
“Current editions of the Planet Ocean are also certified Master Chronometer, which means they were tested for greater levels of precision, shock resistance, water resistance and anti-magnetism. Opt for the titanium model for lighter but still durable wear.”
Where to wear it: Madeline Hotel and Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection in Telluride
For the sailor: Rolex Yacht-Master II
“Rolex is famous for creating tool watches for specific needs, and the Yacht-Master II was made with sailing enthusiasts in mind. In addition to telling the time, it also has a programmable regatta flyback timer, which allows you to set a countdown interval from one to 10 minutes,” he said.
“The robust 44mm case water resistant to 100m is an invaluable watch for sailing and yachting, regardless of if you’re competing or just leisurely exploring the seas.”
For the spelunker: Rolex Explorer II
“The Rolex Explorer II was first introduced in 1971, and Rolex made it especially for cave explorers and spelunkers,” Tutunikov said.
“The fixed bezel has a 24-hour display, which works together with the bright orange hand and luminous hour markers to help the wearer distinguish between daytime and nighttime hours. The extremely resistant Oystersteel case is also waterproof to 330 feet, making it an ideal companion if you’re venturing into moist and dark environments.”
Where to wear it: Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler
If you get your adrenaline rush from the racetrack, look no further than an El Primero-powered timepiece. “The Zenith El Primero was the first automatic chronograph movement in the world, and it remains impressive with its 1/10th-of-a-second jumps,” Tutunikov said.
“The Zenith Chronomaster Sport revives the tri-color dial of original El Primero chronographs and equips it with a modern, scratch-resistant ceramic bezel. This will look stylish on the track, on casual days out and even under the cuff.”
Where to wear it: Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo
For the dabbler: Omega Speedmaster Professional
“If you’re frequently on the go and are the type to wear just one watch, the Omega Speedmaster can’t be beat,” he said.
“The stainless-steel construction offers robust wear, while the classic black dial and tachymeter bezel goes with just about anything. The Speedy was built in the ’60s to meet NASA’s incredibly tough standards, and with modern editions’ increased magnetic and shock resistance, it’s still as reliable as ever. Pair it with a NATO strap for a sportier look and feel.”
For the on-the-water adventurer: TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300
“As its name suggests, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer was made for the deep. Crafted in stainless steel or titanium, the modern generation of Aquaracer watches feature robust and highly legible ceramic bezels, long-lasting SuperLuminova markers, and versatile rubber straps to aid its 300m water resistance,” Tutunikov said.
“Priced at well under $5,000, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck with this timepiece.”