6 Watches for the Adventure Traveler

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December 12, 2017
By: Paul Cox

My first adventure-worthy watch was a digital Casio G-Shock, a sturdy plastic brick rated waterproof to a depth of two football fields. I felt tougher as soon as I strapped that thing to my wrist. That timepiece is a relic compared to all the current high-tech backwoods bling and the most recent Apple Watch, but a dependable and sturdy watch still stands out as a valuable adventure travel companion.

Below are several to consider, from traditional-looking analogs to GPS-enabled mini computers with features such as altimeters, heart-rate monitors and maps.

Timex, the maker of the ubiquitous Ironman sports watch series, offers affordable style in the Intelligent Quartz Fly-Back Chronograph with a leather strap. This steel-case watch is rated water resistant to 100 meters and features Timex's INDIGLO light-up dial. $154

I've owned a few Suunto watches, each a worthy partner on outdoor adventures. The Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR is a slim, GPS-enabled sports watch with wrist heart rate measurement. Colors include the usual black, but gold, blue and ocean (a cool green) also are available. It's water resistant to 50 meters. $279

The current G-Shock lineup consists of a solar-powered steel series with a clean, traditional analog look. It's waterproof to 200 meters and shock resistant. $350

The Fenix 5X Sapphire GPS is the latest from Garmin, well known for its handheld and car navigation devices. This is the watch for finding your way in remote areas. Wired magazine lauds the watch's features, particularly its color TOPO maps and run time (up to two weeks in watch mode). The 51-mm-wide display makes reading the maps easier, but it's not a small watch. The Fenix 5s is smaller but doesn't include the mapping feature. It's water resistant to 100 meters. $599.99 - $749.99

The Heritage II Chronograph is a modern redesign of Breitling's Superocean line of adventure watches. It features a self-winding movement and the 46-mm case is water resistant to 200 meters. The steel case with the volcano black dial is priced at $5,415. Looking for some backcountry backup? Then maybe consider the Breitling Emergency, the world's first wristwatch with a built-in dual frequency Personal Locator Beacon.

The Seamaster has been James Bond's watch since appearing in GoldenEye in 1995. It's not fitted with a grappling hook, laser or ticker tape messaging (we laugh now, but The Spy Who Loved Me was released in 1977), but this Omega Seamaster 300 has loads of Bond style. It's rugged and water resistant to 300 meters, and of course, looks great paired with a tuxedo. $6,600 for the steel-on-steel model

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