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By Roberta Naas | March 20 2020
With more and more people looking for active experiences and adventures in life, watch brands are keeping pace by creating timepieces designed to go the distance, whether your adventure of choice is diving, flying or exploring. Some brands look to their rich heritage supporting explorers to create watches with a vintage look, while others highlight their technological advancements with modern design. All use the most state-of-the-art materials available and have movements designed to handle the most challenging environments.
If you love scuba diving — or just the look — Omega, with its long history of dive watches, should be top of mind. Its partnership with GoodPlanet Foundation led to the award-winning documentary, Planet Ocean, designed to raise awareness of the critical need to protect the sea. Recently, Omega partnered with the Five Deeps Expedition to reach the deepest points of the Earth’s five oceans. This 44mm Seamaster Diver 300M watch houses the brand’s self-winding Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 9900 movement, which attests to its chronometric precision. It is equipped with a chronograph and features a black ceramic diving-scale bezel, and the hands and indices on the black ceramic dial are filled with white Super-LumiNova for easy underwater readability. Approved by METAS and water resistant to 300 meters, the watch also blocks magnetic fields.
$26,000 in 18K Sedna gold, Omega in New York, +1 212 207 3333, omegawatches.com
Blancpain has created dive watches for professionals since the early 1950s, and now it supports causes that raise awareness of the fragility of our oceans as part of its Ocean Commitment program. The brand regularly backs preservation efforts, supports scientific expeditions around the world and sponsors underwater photography to inspire the public to support ocean conservation. The Fifty Fathoms collection features its iconic dive watch, designed for deep-water dives. This automatic version is fitted with the brand’s caliber 1315 that has a silicon balance spring. It offers date, a central seconds hand and a unidirectional sapphire bezel with a diving scale. The markers and hands on the ceramic dial are all coated in Super-LumiNova so they glow in dark waters. Measuring 45mm in diameter, the watch is water resistant to 300 meters and offers 120 hours of power reserve.
$35,800 in 18K rose gold, Blancpain in New York, +1 212 396 1735, blancpain.com
Breitling has a reputation as the instrument of choice for professionals, and it has long ties to pilots and aviation — it also produces onboard clocks and equipment for planes. Now under fairly new ownership, Breitling is redesigning certain key lines and organizing ‘squads’ of brand ambassadors to represent those lines. Breitling’s Aviation Pioneers Squad (with three pilots from different aerial disciplines) aligns with the new Avenger watches. This Breitling Avenger Chronograph is fitted with a self-winding column-wheel chronograph that measures intervals up to 12 hours and is a COSC-certified chronometer. The 43mm watch is water resistant to 300 meters and features a unidirectional-ratcheted bezel and anti-reflective sapphire crystal. The hands and indices are coated with Super- LumiNova for night reading.
$5,200 in stainless steel, Breitling in New York, +1 855 999 1884, breitling.com
Since its founding in England in 2002, British brand Bremont has focused on becoming a top maker of chronometers by creating military watches as well as consumer instrument watches. About 10 years ago, the brand teamed with Martin-Baker, the British aviation company that supplies more than 70 percent of the western world’s air forces with fighter-ejection seats. The watches created in tandem between these two brands are built to endure extremes, and are even strapped to an actual ejection seat for testing. The newest MBIII 10th Anniversary watch that celebrates this alliance is a GMT chronometer made in a limited number of 310 pieces. The 43mm Trip-Tick case is constructed using a Faraday cage and anti-shock mechanism to protect the movement. The BE 93-AE automatic chronometer caliber offers 42 hours of power reserve and is water resistant to 100 meters.
$5,595 in stainless steel, Bremont in New York, +1 212 321 0012, bremont.com
For decades, Rolex has accompanied the finest explorers in the world on their adventures — it was the watch of choice for Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953 when they became the first to summit Mount Everest. In honor of that summit, Rolex officially launched the Explorer collection in 1953. Ever since, Rolex has supported pioneering explorers, and it also created the Perpetual Planet campaign, dedicated to protecting the environment. The Rolex Explorer II is designed to handle the most hostile conditions and places on Earth. It offers a 24-hour display, Chromalight hour markers and hands that glow blue in the dark, and is a certified Superlative Chronometer. The self-winding Caliber 3187 is equipped with state-of-the-art materials, including a Parachrom hairspring, and has been tested by Rolex to meet its in-house criteria, which is more stringent than industry-standard COSC guidelines. The watch’s Oysterlock safety clasp is patented and designed to prevent accidental opening.
$8,100 in Oystersteel, Rolex in New York, +1 212 759 8278, rolex.com
While Ulysse Nardin might be best-known for its rich maritime history, it has recently expanded to focus on exploring not just the ocean’s depths, but some of Earth’s most extreme locations, through its Xploration campaign. In addition to creating dedicated timepieces, Ulysse Nardin has a new roster of ambassadors, among them explorer and photographer Sebastian Copeland, known for his record- setting treks across Antarctica and the North Pole (read more on p68). The new Diver X Antarctica pays tribute to Copeland and his expeditions, and is certainly able to handle the harshest circumstances. The 44mm watch is powered by an in-house movement with high-tech silicium and DiamonSil technology that offers 60 hours of power reserve, and it is water resistant to 300 meters. It has a white rubberized and inverted, unidirectional rotating bezel and a date window with forward/backward date corrector.
$8,900 in titanium, Ulysse Nardin in New York, +1 212 257 5015, ulysse-nardin.com