The Rise of the All-Terrain Adventure Watch

Many really Iconic feats of exploration and adventure have been accomplished without the need for dedicated explorer watches. For example, when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Everest in 1953, their expedition was outfitted by Rolex with the famous Oyster Perpetuals watches. (Crown’s legendary Explorer 1 was launched later that year to celebrate the climb.) The Francis Chichester yacht completed its historic 226-day solo circumnavigation in 1967 also wearing it. a simple Rolex Oyster Perpetual; mid-Atlantic, he put on a dinner jacket to celebrate his birthday with a glass of Champagne.

This year, adventure watches are having a moment that revives questions about what exactly it is and what it could be. Alex Ghotbi, head of Europe and Middle East watches at Phillips, explains: “The adventure watch is not just an accessory, it is not just a wristwatch, it tells a story. . “The story of a man who went to space, to the sea, to the jungle, or to the Sahara. From being just a watch, they become an element of adventure and collectors love it because it allows them to live vicariously through their watch. “

As we speak this summer, Breitling CEO Georges Kern is on his way to Wheels and Waves in Biarritz, a Burning Man – lite event on the French coast for surfers and cyclists, to preface his latest vision of adventure watches, the striking new Breitling Superocean. “Superocean goes beyond recreational diving or surfing,” Kern told me. “Kelly Slater wouldn’t have named him if it wasn’t quite ready for adventure.” The compact design features a squared-off minute hand (for maximum legibility while you’re on the waves) and all models are water resistant to 300 meters. Vocabulary wristwatch late 60’s, early 70’s: bright colors like acid; chunky “extensive” lume load index; and hi-vis sign, adventure-tech increasingly popular, snowflake hand.

Within days of the Superocean debut, Tudor also launched an adventure watch: the 39 mm Tudor Ranger. It’s a predictably great value proposition with a chronometer-grade Kenissi movement and a robust yet functionally sober styling. This watch’s exploratory credentials have been bolstered by its launch coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the British North Greenland expedition, which was made available for the automatic and anti-rust watch. Tudor’s first waterproof, Oyster Prince. Again, it is interesting to note that the watch offered for the expedition was not an expedition-specific model — it appeared in the 1960s in the shape of the original Ranger, already introduces the design vocabulary of modern adventure watches (black dial, large lume- loaded hour hand). And by 1970, the Ranger was being marketed as an excellent accessory for men, like a tool such as a chainsaw.

One of the most refined of these new explorer watches is the Rolex Explorer I 36mm in steel and yellow-gold (Reference 124273), due out in 2021. It marks an extremely important point in the constant evolution of adventure watches. Since the first version appeared after Everest’s successful climb nearly 70 years ago, the minimalist Explorer I has been made of steel, but the arrival of a two-color model signals its growing appeal. extend.


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