Looking for a watch that’s as ambitious as your latest adventure plans? Look no further – we’ve got the best on the market covered in our exclusive buyer’s guide.
1. Best for Toughness
Nite NATO NA4-24 watch
British built, with Swiss technology, Nite build exceptionally tough and stylish sports watches for a variety of careers, activities and environments. Made for military use with civilians in mind Nite’s ProTactical NATO is one of the most reliable watches you could wear.
One of six highly tactical watches, this particular NATO model features a 24-hour dial with a 12-hour bezel, allowing you to set two time zones, critical and accurate elapsed time and deadlines.
The solid weight (116gms) reflects its high build quality, with the NATO’s true strengths in construction proven amongst military personnel in the field – so much so, they have become popular in the extreme pastimes of the adventurer. They even sponsored the Royal Marines on their epic expedition.
An ultra-thick triple-coated sapphire crystal face reduces glare and is exceptionally tough (20 times harder than acrylic) and scratch resistant. The case and bezel, as with all Nite’s watches, has been constructed from aviation-grade 316 stainless steel with a Swiss movement from one of the world’s leading movement manufacturers.
The multiple bezel system means you can customize your watch, with 13 options overall to find your perfect time keeping solution. Gaseous Tritium Light Source, as used in advanced military hardware, produces a continuous cold light source that is safe in all hazardous environments.
Reliably waterproof to 300m with a double seal, there is no chance of condensation and the extremely hard-wearing polymer strap with twin buckle system completes the security in the field.
The case diameter is 42mm, the dial 28mm with a depth of 14.8mm.
Nite’s collection for 2011 is remarkable, consisting of some great looking models like the ProMarine watch Aqua and the Pro Adventurer watch Alpha.
This wristwatch is as tough as they come and elegantly designed making it a desirable timepiece for any adventurer. The unique GTLS technology and lithium battery means you will not have to change the battery for 10 years – which says it all. Of course the simplicity of this watch may not be for everyone with the lack of alarm but as you can see from the gallery, the range is superb and there is something for everyone. It’s simply the toughest watch around, embracing the true spirit of adventure. Made right here in Britain, some of these watches are even issued to the Special Forces.
2: Best for Features
Suunto Core Watch
Suunto is a leading designer and manufacturer of sports precision instruments for diving, training, mountaineering, hiking, skiing and sailing. The Core manages to cover most of these activities in its three simple modes – time, alti/baro and compass. But it also does so much more. ?? You don’t just get the time, you get dual times, the date, alarm and even sunrise and sunset for over 400 locations – perfect for keeping an eye on daylight hours and planning ahead for any activity. ??Switch to the altimeter and barometer, you get altitude logs, your difference in heights, weather trend indication including an easy glance graph, digital thermometer, even a storm alarm when the pressure suddenly drops. Fancy a snorkel? The core turns into a depth meter to 10 metres and is accurate to 9,000 metres above sea level. ?? The compass even tells you to turn left or right to get you back on a selected bearing, has declination options to adjust for magnetic north and lets you know when it needs calibrating. ??This particular model sports the trademark black face; they look good but can be difficult to glance at in varying outdoor conditions. Other high contrasting faces are also available.
With lots of these functions becoming the norm, the thing that makes the core stand out is the automatic alti/baro: no longer do I have to remember to switch them over before I hit the hay, and again before I’m climbing. Having lived with an Observer for a few years now, the core has also become more intuitive in its function use, offering clear on screen symbols next to the buttons. The button lock is another trick usually missed: more often than not my Observer would show me the pressure or compass when I simply wanted to glance at the time – thankfully phased out with the core. With several models and styles to choose from, a large face, light feel and tough construction all make for a watch at the heart of any outdoor activity.
3. Best for Reliability
Casio Pro Trek PRW-5000-1ER Watch
Unaffected by a baptism in the Indus River during our in-depth review, this lightweight yet pleasingly substantial watch served as a compass, barometer, thermometer and altimeter during a week of intense water rescue in the Pakistan floods. The watch withstood temperatures of over 47C, humidity of 100% and plenty of knocks but thanks to its ‘Wave Ceptor’ technology, which automatically updates the watches time, and scratch resistant mineral glass, it remained remarkably accurate and completely unscratched.
The watches chronograph appearance means it looks great when you’re off duty but its digital functionality ensures it works as hard as you do outdoors. Behind the slick facade is an impressive array of functions including three sensors that monitor changes in the Earth’s magnetism, atmospheric pressure and temperature, five alarms and a solar power rechargeable cell. Pressing one of three buttons brings up data and graphics on the digital display screen and, if you haven’t got a hand free to press the light on, turning your wrist by 40 degrees activates a small light at the bottom of the face.
This watch emerged unscathed from a week in extreme conditions of temperature and humidity. In daylight, the altimeter, barometer and compass readings were easy to take and accurate. But in the dark, the watches light neither stayed on for long enough nor illuminated enough of the face to make taking measurements easy.