Best Adventure Watches of 2013

The Richard Mille  Johan Blake.
The Richard Mille
Johan Blake.

Today’s tool watches are the ultimate timekeeping machines. They can do everything from time your dive to warn you of an approaching snow storm as you climb Kilimanjaro. In order to get the job done, the modern adventure watch must be engineered using the toughest materials – to withstand everything from a killer golf swing to an encounter with a rock face – and it has to function with ultimate precision. Above all though, an adventure watch should look the part, designed to project your inner Edmund Hillary even when you are at ease. These watches are appropriate for any of life’s adventures, something Wikipedia describes thus: “any enterprise that is potentially fraught with physical, financial or psychological risk, such as a business venture, a love affair, or other major life undertakings.”

Richard Mille RM- 59-01 Tourbillon Johan Blake, with dramatic bridges made of lightweight aluminum Pb109, an alloy of magnesium, silicon and lead, designed to evoke the claws of “The Beast,” Olympic sprinter Yohan Blake’s nickname. They are oxidized and painted green and yellow for the flag of Jamaica, Johan’s home country. The case, constructed of carbon nanotubes, tapers between 2 and 6 o’clock to make it more wearable. The watch is a manual wound, with a titanium base plate, also contributing to its lightness and wearability.

Zenith El Primero Striking 10th Lightweight.
Zenith El Primero Striking 10th Lightweight.

Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th Lightweight. This racing version of the Striking 10th has an El Primero 3019 PHC movement, the brand’s legendary integrated chronograph caliber that beats at 36,000 vph. This special edition of the movement features a chronograph wheel and escape wheel made of silicon, which is three and a half times lighter than classic alloys. The result is a movement that weights just 15.45g compared with 21.10g for a similar classic movement. The case is made of ultra-light carbon and an alloy of aluminum.

Urwerk 210 AlTiN.

Urwerk 210 AlTiN, with a case made of industrial alloy AlTiN, a hard coating consisting of aluminum, titanium and nitride that is extremely resistant to scratches, shocks, oxidation and even acids.The watch has a unique complication that indicates winding efficiency over the past two hours. The watch also features the brand’s signature satellite complication with retrograde minutes – the hand of which flies back in 1/10th of a second, despite its size. The cage holding the satellite mechanism is made of lightweight aluminum.

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Racer.
IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Racer.

The IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Racer marks IWC’s partnership with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.  It features materials typically used in motorsport, including carbon fiber, ceramic and titanium. The metal bracelet of the Ingenieur Chronograph Racer is equipped with a special micro-adjustment clasp that enables the wearer to make minor modifications to the length of the strap. The watch records periods of time up to 12 hours, times pit stops, and calculates the average speed attained over a reference distance of 1,000 meters. An engraving of a Formula One race car is on the caseback.

Breitling Emergency II.
Breitling Emergency II.

Breitling Emergency II. The Emergency was first launched in 1995 and is the only watch with an antenna, sending messages through an international satellite alert system to search and rescue stations. So far, the watch has been instrumental in saving at least 20 lives, according to Breitling.The Emergency II sends messages on two frequencies (the second, new frequency offering more comprehensive data) rather than one, making it the world’s first wristwatch with a dual frequency locator beacon (Personal Locator Beacon, or PLB). The idea is an extension of the brand’s pilots watches, enabling the location of pilots or passengers following a plane crash.

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