Wristwatches have long been essential tools for all sorts of outdoorsmen, on sea, land or in the air. Most of us today may not venture too far from our desks, but that doesn’t stop these totems of adventure from appealing to our inner explorer.
IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN Big Pilot Big Date Spitfire Limited Edition
With its super-clear display, outsized crown and olive dial, this special IWC Big Pilot shouts ‘active duty’ all the way. But, with its more haute horological large date, manual wind movement and whopping eight-day power reserve, it was actually designed to mark the record-breaking 43,000km journey of the ‘Silver Spitfire’ that IWC helped restore.
Ulysse Nardin Blast Automatic
The only thing flying about Ulysse Nardin’s Blast is its tourbillon, but that’s not the most avant-garde aspect of this thoroughly unorthodox outsized watch, featuring a rectangular upper bridge and silicium balance wheel and escapement. Its faceted hold and titanium case make the watch look like it’s been hewn from rock.
Cartier Santos-Dumont Hand-Wound 33.9mm
With its elegant rounded square case and Roman numerals, Cartier’s Santos-Dumont might not look like an aviator’s watch, but arguably it was the first, considering it’s Louis Cartier’s creation after having been commissioned by Brazilian flyer Alberti Santos-Dumont to design a practical alternative to the pocket watch. Some 116 years later, it’s still here, in curvier, sportier form.
Panerai Submersible Automatic 47mm
The hefty Panerai Submersible originates from some real-world application, notably with the Italian Navy. These days the company considers this type of professional watch a ‘survival instrument’ – and a survivor it is. Its automatic movement is housed in a case made from shock-, corrosion- and magnetic field-resistant wonder material BMG-TECH.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Huracán
This special edition of the 45mm skeletonised Excalibur borrows some of its tech and a lot of its look from the motoring world, specifically the struts, polygonal build and even the angle of the engine block in Lamborghini’s Huracán Spyder. While that car goes 0-60 in just 2.7 seconds, this watch’s proprietary calibre keeps much more regular time.
Montblanc 1858 24H Automatic
The watch may not look action packed but, rest assured, the 1858 24H sure holds its own. For starters, the watch has a winning retro style, with a bronze alloy bezel and golden brown tones. The looks belie its real usefulness because the striking red hand displays the time over a full 24 hours, and thanks to the chapter ring markings, you can also use the watch as a compass.
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