Where better to design a wristwatch for the extremes of polar exploration than Iceland? After all, the northern tip of this island nation is above the Arctic Circle, and its people are notoriously hearty. Michelsen Watchmakers of Reykjavik dates back to 1909, and to celebrate their centenary a few years back, they began to release their own branded watches. The Arctic Explorer (~$1,900) is the first watch designed entirely by the company.
The Arctic Explorer is built in Switzerland and houses an ETA 2893-A2 movement with special lubricants safe to -58°F (it’s also waterproof down to 100 meters in case you want to go for a polar bear paddle). The Explorer makes a highly capable travel watch with a 24-hour hand, date function and rotating bezel. If you’re planning extreme travel, then the fact that its mettle was tested by Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir, an Icelandic woman who trekked across the South Pole alone for 60 days with the Arctic Explorer strapped to her wrist (outside her glove, we’re told) should pique your interest. Needless to say, it will also hold up while you’re out shoveling your driveway. It also makes for an interesting watch that you won’t see on every Tom, Dick and Harry’s wrist, unless they’re actually Tómas, Dýri and Hörður.