Back in 1983, the first Swatch quartz watch had 51 components. For a 30th anniversary celebratory piece, Swatch took up the challenge to make a mechanical watch with the same number of parts. This is the Swatch Sistem51, a revolution in mechanical watches that hasn’t yet come to American shores. We recently got our hands on one.
SET IT AND FORGET IT
Up or Down, it's high art
The LM1 Xia Hang, which gains its surname from Xia Hang, a Chinese artist known for his “comma men”, is a high-art version of an already high-art watch: the MB&F LM1, a beautiful timepiece that takes classic pocket watch characteristics and adds 21st century — hell, even 22nd century — twists.
The award-winning De Bethune DB28 has seen over a dozen variations added to its family tree — and this year at Basel, the DB28 Digitale will be yet another. It’s essentially the ultimate combination of minimalist appearance and jam-packed innovation.
Eight Small Steps for Timekeeping
A space watch is more than just branding. Torture tested to excel in the most inhospitable of environments, these timepieces are designed to survive instantaneous 200 degree shifts in temperature, acidic humidity and extreme g-forces (shocks up to 40 Gs). Much like the explorers who don them, there are but a lucky few that have earned special recognition. These are our eight picks of the best space watches (or their modern reinterpretation) available for the rest of you dreamers out there.
We Have All the Time in the World
From the Archives: In a wristwatch, any function beyond merely telling the time of day is called a “complication”. This term encompasses simple functions such as the date, poetic ones like the phases of the moon or even something as esoteric as sidereal time. But perhaps the most useful watch complication is the ability to tell the time in more than one time zone. Since the advent of the traveler’s watch, we’ve seen every conceivable variation of the traveler’s watch — for pilots, divers, businesspeople — but all still live up to their raisons d’êtres: keeping track of the world’s times at a glance, no matter the complication style. Here are five of the best out there (yes, we said best, so gird your wallets) that are ready to take flight.
Dive watches are more popular than ever, despite most divers choosing not to wear them. Never mind. We’re all for getting our watches wet. Here’s a selection of our favorite dive watches and some adventures we’ve had with them.
A watch by any other name
While the popularity of yellow gold watches has been on the decline in recent years, the use of rose gold is on the rise. Rose offers darker tones and a more masculine demeanor; paired with the right watch — say, any of these five great examples — a rose gold timepiece could be a great addition to your collection. But be prepared to shell out for one.
The Time of Your Life
There are worse ways to spend your hard-earned money than on those pinnacles of the mechanical art. But there’s something to be said for wearing one watch all the the time. Buy one watch, wear it through thick and thin and create your own patina rather than purchasing someone else’s. Here’s how to do it.
Come on, Eilean!
If you’ve yet to install navigational instruments on your restored 1930s luxe sailboat, Officine Panerai has you covered. Inspired by the Eilean, a beautiful restored 22-meter Bermudian ketch owned by Panerai, the watch brand has developed a set of sleek, robust and beautiful navigation instruments that includes a clock, thermometer, barometer, and hygrometer.
Schweddy's They'll Sweat
Fact: shorts make far more sense as workout gear than sweatpants. Those heavy cotton sheaths for your legs have a place, and that place is buried ass-deep in a poofy couch cushion, dusted lightly with Cheetos residue. But new materials, improved elastic, zipper, button and drawstring placement, deeper and more various pockets, modern cuts, and a general aesthetic that doesn’t beg the question “Dad, can you lend me some money?” are pushing some of our favorite sweatpants to the next level of style and utility. Here are our favorites.
The perfectly sized and properly priced duffel can be elusive (hell, brands can’t even decide one way to spell it). When the occasion calls for light packing in something that’ll easily fit in the back seat or sling comfortably over your shoulder there are myriad options, but how many of them can be considered worth a buy? What follows are 40 of the best duffel bags to fit every budget. We’ve stripped out old options and introduced 25 new bags across a wide range of prices. Get packin’.
An empire once again?
The 1700s really were the halcyon days of horological innovation and most of it was happening in the British Isles. In 1800, some reports say that Britain made half the world’s watches, around 200,000 a year. By 1900 however, production numbers had fallen to roughly 100,000, though worldwide consumption was by then in the millions. So what happened? And where does British timekeeping stand today?
Showdown at High Tea
The modern pilot’s watch resembles those of the 1940s and ’50s as little as an F22 Raptor resembles a P-51 Mustang. Nowadays, it’s all about materials, ruggedness and functionality. Modern pilot’s watches are also getting as stealthy as the planes they’re modeled after, all blacked out for night maneuvers and flying under the radar. Today we look at two stealth fighters from England, both high flyers, but one that won’t dive bomb your budget.
The Battle of Britain
The three watch companies at the vanguard of the British timekeeping renaissance — Bremont, Christopher Ward and Schofield — represent very different approaches, price points and designs. Yet they share one thing: a distinctively British take on the wristwatch. We spent some time with each to establish a solid cross section of timepieces from across the pond. Put the kettle on and settle in for our impressions.
Founder of Schofield Watch Company
Giles Ellis is a man obsessed with details. Though his pet project, Schofield Watch Company, has won high praise from watch connoisseurs, Ellis is still wary of being pigeonholed. Quirky hard goods and a premium line of straps prove it: Schofield is an adventurous brand driven by design yet still rooted in the traditions of watchmaking and a distinctive British pride. So what makes the man behind it all tick?
Beg for mercy, prep mercilessly
What’s that bright thing in the sky? Is that…is that the sun? We’re not done with winter’s worst yet, but a look back at some of our cold-weather pieces should help you fill out your much-needed wintry gear set. Only a few more weeks, folks. We’re almost there.
Steal that storm's thunder
An umbrella paired with classic, temperature-appropriate outerwear is and always will be the best way to stay dry and fly. With that in mind, we picked five excellent umbrellas that run the gamut from compact to full-sized.
Duds for fitness studs
There are a lot of great menswear companies making high quality clothes to fit most guys and most budgets. Perhaps unexpectedly, one guy who has been overlooked is the athlete. Most clothes off the rack are either made for the average American male (i.e., skinny shoulders and an expanding waistline) or the “in-shape” guy (essentially his waist is not larger than his chest). These ten brands make excellent clothing that flatters and athletic build, and we’ve picked out some staples for your wardrobe.
Cool games, hot watches
OMEGA has long commemorated their connection to the Olympics by producing special edition pieces in honor of the games and their host city. Often serving as snapshots for a piece OMEGA’s lineup at the time of the games, these Olympic editions incorporate special coloring, dial and case back designs — and there have been plenty of great ones, including this year’s.
Ready, set, go
Olympic timing is serious business these days and nothing is left to watches that need winding: it’s all lasers and photocells and transponders. Every two years when an Olympic Games rolls around, OMEGA comes out with some new technology that improves timekeepers’ abilities to be more accurate and avoid controversies. Two years ago, we looked at the Summer Games in London. Now let’s see what’s happening in Sochi.
To Russia We Fly
Packing for a trip to Russia for the Sochi Olympics is no small feat. There’s weather, international travel, technology and a desire to stay light on our feet to consider. Gear needs to be tough, functional, lightweight and understated. Here’s a sampling of what we’re packing to use on a normal day in Sochi.
Alexander the Great told his soldiers to be clean shaven so that the enemy couldn’t pull on their beards in battle. And how did ol’ Alex and his boys do it? With a straight razor. You’ve seen the straight razor in your barbershop, and you’ve felt your barber use it on the back of your neck. Now you’re ready to give it a try — on your face.
The Straightforward Essentials
Face it: you need a change in the shaving department. We’re here to tell you that a straight razor shave is a good shave, especially if you’re willing to take a little extra time every morning and you appreciate history and a good deal of custom. You don’t need to go nuts purchasing everything you see on the newest hipster shaving website, but you also can’t just buy a straight razor and call it a day. We’ve got your essentials.
Make Mr. Todd Proud
There’s something to be said for the simplicity of a straight razor shave. In spite of all the shaving gadgets available to the millennial man, the straight razor market is stronger now than it’s ever been. It may involve a little bit of blood at first and a few extra minutes of work, but using a straight razor makes for a close shave and involves a routine that feels timeless and empowering. If you’re ready to step up your shave game, here are the top five straight blades you ought to consider.
A Collection of Vintage Straight Razors
For many, shaving is a daily nuisance. Not so for everyone, we recently learned when GP writer Mike Henson shared his love of the straight razor shave. We asked him to catalogue his antique collection and got more than we bargained for in passion, history, and a set of beautiful tools.
Adventure-ready multifunction watches
Mechanical diver’s and pilot’s watches may have been indispensable instruments for explorers in decades past, but nowadays, state-of-the-art wristwatches have shifted toward lightweight, battery-powered and largely digital pieces. These are wrist-top computers, designed for wear during mountaineering, skiing, sailing, surfing and flying. We rounded up six of the best for your next adventures.
Time to Go?
For years and years, mechanical watches served not only as everyday timekeepers but also legitimate tools: a diver’s underwater timing mechanism, a doctor’s pulsometer, a driver’s tachymeter. The list goes on. But what about today? Has the advent of digital devices made mechanical watches irrelevant as tools? Two watch experts debate.
NOT YOUR FATHER’S GMT
Of all the brands of the Richemont luxury group to exhibit at the annual SIHH in Geneva, Greubel Forsey may be the most ambitious and experimental. Their hand-wound Tourbillon GMT has been out a few years — 2011 saw its initial release in pink gold and the white gold version came out a year later — but this year it was released in weighty platinum as a truly fascinating timepiece. We break down the asymmetrical beauty.
DECYPHERING THOSE cool-looking rings
The watch is an instrument for telling time, but it can also be used to time a dive or a racing lap, take a pulse, or calculate remaining fuel or crosswind speed or the distance of thunder or artillery. How, you ask? The answer has little to do with the watch’s movement. It’s all about the bezel, that outer ring of metal (or perhaps, nowadays, ceramic) surrounding your watch’s crystal. How each type of bezel works is not complicated per se, but it is deserving of a quick guide.
Freshen Your Kicks
You’ve finally done it — you beat the living shit out of your beautiful new boots. Yes, it was painful at first (the initial scuff caused a minor breakdown), but in the end it felt fulfilling, like the right thing to do. Now your beautiful babies deserve the proper care. It’s time to clean and treat your boots properly. Here’s how.