When the Mercury program started putting men in orbit, American astronauts largely chose their own watches to wear. John Glenn strapped a Heuer stopwatch to his wrist and Scott Carpenter wore a specially-modified Breitling known as the Cosmonaute. But by the 1960s, NASA saw a need to qualify every piece of vital equipment in the capsule, and the wristwatch was one of them. Wally Schirra had already worn his own OMEGA Speedmaster on his Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in 1962, and it was included in a quiver of chronographs selected by NASA for rigorous testing. Subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations, violent shocks, vibrations, vacuum and humidity, the Speedmaster outperformed watches from the likes of Rolex, Wittnauer and Longines to be named NASA’s approved timepiece. It was March 1st, 1965.
When Bremont offered to send their newest dive watch, the Supermarine 2000 ($5,900), for a review, I wanted to give this timepiece a fittingly rigorous program. After all, the company’s tagline is “Tested Beyond Endurance”, and some of its watches had accompanied adventurers on polar expeditions and round-the-world motorcycle journeys.
The Supermarine 2000 is arguably Bremont’s most rugged and capable watch to date. Its chronometer-certified movement is surrounded with a patented floating carrier, making it highly resistant to the effects of shock and vibration, a technology proven out in the company’s Martin-Baker watches, which have been tested on equipment used to test fighter jet ejection seat components. The movement is also encased inside an anti-magnetic Faraday cage which protects it against harmful magnetic influence. And while Bremont’s Supermarine 500 already boasted an impressive water resistance of 500 meters, the newest diver is rated to four times as deep. Of course, for a dive watch, all these features, while impressive on paper, are worthless if the watch doesn’t perform well underwater. So it was time to take it diving.
We Don't See Nothin' Wrong With a Little Bump and Grind
You like the line at your favorite coffee shop? Ok, besides the cute barista, you can do better: start by grinding your own beans, then check back with Gear Patrol for other suggestions for stepping up to the big leagues. The journey from coffee hack to ambrosia connoisseur begins with freshly ground java in your French press, drip, or espresso machine. A quick primer first, and then on to our top 10 picks.
Putting the polish on chrome
If the new breed of “convertible” Windows 8 laptops hasn’t left you more confused than a barber with Troy Polamalu in his seat, then Google’s latest venture into the hardware world should do the trick. The Google Chromebook Pixel ($1,299) is a high-end laptop running Google’s own Chrome OS. Not familiar with the software? It’s a browser on steroids, optimized for web content along with a growing number of browser-based applications — and that’s about it.
Bursting Your Bubble
SodaStream teams up with the Korean electronics giant to integrate their automatic sparkling water dispenser inside the Samsung RF31FMESBSR 36-inch Four-Door Refrigerator.
Believe I'm sinkin' down
A stack of money might not get you a jam session with Mr. Clapton, but it can buy an incredible replica of one of his guitars, or a stunning signature series acoustic. Hell, maybe you could just sell your soul to the devil. In any case, the Eric Clapton Crossroads Collection is a gorgeous set of blues beauty. The set consists of handmade replicas of both his Fender “Brownie” Stratocaster and the Gibson Harrison-Clapton “Lucy” Les Paul, along with three unbelievable signature series Crossroads Martin acoustics.
Frozen in time
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 (~$2,900) is the first watch designed entirely by the company.
Sick paddlin, brah
Northeast dwellers currently whimpering through this nasty cold snap may take solace in dreams of Three Brothers Paddle Boards ($1,200+). How can anyone not feel warm and fuzzy while imagining a calming upright cruise through warm coastal waters? Based out of Daytona Beach, Florida, Three Brothers hand shapes some of the best paddle boards —…
Originally designed to play music on only their own products, Apple’s AirPlay technology now allows users to stream multimedia from iPhones, iPads and computers to any enabled HDTV or speaker system via wi-fi. Because Apple now allows third parties to use their tech, myriad standalone speaker systems designed specifically for AirPlay are on the market: some are better than others, and they all span the price and design spectra. Here are our 10 picks for some of the best AirPlay speakers available.
Your view, starting at $1000
Entertaining fantastical pipe dreams has always been a fun diversion for us, like that time we thought it would be cool to go to law school because, “I don’t know what else to do with my life” (which is apparently what educational sadomasochists are apt to say). Or thinking we might one day have stacks…
Former J. Crew creative director Todd Snyder has used his synonymous line to push into a luxurious realm few other American men’s fashion brands dare to enter. But it’s not simply about throwing a higher price tag on the clothes you already own. Case in point, the Todd Snyder Fox Fur Marschcoat ($1,350) is crafted from top-of-the-line materials like 100% Italian Wool and features a removable contrast 100% Japanese quilted nylon lining along with a genuine Finnish Silver-Fox Fur Lined Hood (and we’re not talking about good-looking retirees.) In short, it’s in a different Parka league compared to the three figure look-a-likes crowding the department store racks. If the blaze orange isn’t your color, there’s also an option with navy blue lining.
Look nice for twice the price
The Symbol Audio Tabletop Hi-fi ($1,800) speaker is positioned as an attractive and space-saving solution for discerning listeners in search of better home audio. The console includes two 4-inch full-range drivers, which boast titanium cones, paired with a down-firing 1/4-inch sub, and is powered by a 2.1 channel class D amp; this is capable of pushing 8 watts to the stereo drivers and 15.5 to the sub.
An Oris with an orifice
When diving, it is as important to know your depth as it is your time. For most divers nowadays, this means using a digital dive computer that puts all the data on your wrist. But for those who prefer to dive old school, or who subscribe to the “two is one, one is none” philosophy of having backups, using a dive watch and a separate depth gauge is required.
Get off the pipe
Leaving first tracks through three feet of fresh stuff on an uncharted backcountry run can be a spiritual experience — especially for snowboarders struggling to get off the pipe. It’s tough to be sure, as most lift tickets lead away from the Promised Land and deliver only crunchy corduroy runways back to the beast. To help powder seekers find salvation, Austrian manufacturer Splitsticks (~$1,800) has developed a complete splitboard package that conquers the mountain.
The Sinn 140 A Space Chronograph ($4,930) is a Limited Edition update of the 140 S that German physicist/astronaut Reinhard Furrer wore on his voyage to SpaceLab in 1985. Furrer’s 140 S was reputed to be the first automatic chronograph to be worn in space (the Seiko 6139 may have beaten it though), proving once again that a self-winding watch would work just fine without gravity.
Set your stage right
Luxo DJ furniture maker Hoerboard has announced their latest shrine for decks and mixers, and like their previous works, you’ll need a record deal in hand to afford it. Hoerboard Spin Age Dj Stand (~$2,952) flaunts a laser-cut metal frame made from two equal parts and includes three inlaid compartments.
Don't spill on this coffee table
Remember those clunky “car phones” in the late ’80s and early ’90s? It seems we’ve reached that stage in computer/tablet hybrids. Essentially a tweaked, larger version of the Sony Vaio Tap 20, the Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC ($1,699+) might not be the most graceful computer at the ball, but it does pique our interest…
Your home or office may not be a hazardous environment, but that shouldn’t stop you from hanging a vintage explosion-proof clock ($1,200) from the Crouse-Hinds Company on your wall. Designed with heavily insulated components to make it safe for use in volatile environments such as mines, paint factories, and grain processing plants, this 40-pound clock…
Onward and upward... and outward... and sideways...
The latest member of the ThinkPad family isn’t just a tablet dragging along a keyboard for faster emailing and double the battery power — though its companion QWERTY is certainly good for both of those things. The real kicker? Attaching the 11.6-inch Windows 8 touchscreen device to the keyboard activates a special cooling system in…
S marks the shot
Tacking an “S” to the end of a product implies an incremental update in the minds of the Apple-obsessed, but Fujifilm’s successor to the X100 deserves more credit than that. The X100s ($1,300)‘s new autofocus system, augmented with phase detection, is touted as the worlds’ fastest at 0.08 seconds (we’re guessing that’s compared to other…
Stop cutting corners
With over 300 patents and almost ninety years of experience under their belts, the toolmakers at Festool have a reputation for Über-engineered innovations for the discerning craftsman. The Festool CMS Router Table ($1,200+) is their latest piece of all-aluminum handiwork for cabinetmakers looking to soften some edges without cutting any corners. Seamless integration of either…
Billy Reid’s Heirloom collection is a new made-in-the-USA luxury line distinguished by high-end wools and cashmeres from the booming southern-style diplomat. The tailored collection currently features eight suits, all of which have their merits — but the Campbell Patch Suit in black red is our pick for expanding your suiting palette beyond the staples of…
More dignified than a Zipcar
If the tumble off the fiscal cliff should ever occur, you can blame it for everything from your thin wallet to your kid’s meager college savings account. Another unwelcomed consequence of our current financial disrepair? Motorcycle riding isn’t purely for fun anymore — more and more people are opting for two wheels to save some coin at the pump. The 2013 Honda NC700X is evidence of that change — but in this case, it’s change we can get behind.
Big bass, little package
Home theater buffs and audiophiles alike know that to achieve harmonic balance a quality low range is essential. For those who also seek balance in all things feng and shui, that usually means burying oversized towers under foliage of some sort or trying to stuff a subwoofer under a settee. To quell the dissonance, Seattle-based…
What's old is new
We’ve never heard of a 1970s vintage dive watch that still carries a factory warranty, but hey, there’s a first time for everything. Aquadive’s NOS Model 77 ($990+) takes “new old stock” cases and bezels that were manufactured in the 1970’s but never used and fits them with newly produced hands, dials, crystals and gaskets….
The War of the Brews
Whether the result of sipping the caffeine-laden mixture it produces or simply seeing its form in your periphery, the CB Industries Jules Espresso Maker ($~1390) will surely open bleary morning eyes. This limited edition espresso maker, created by Swiss artist and Designer Carlo Borer, features a beautifully polished stainless-steel orb perched upon a tripod of…
Most people are perfectly content to store and experience their music collection on a computer (we do it everyday at the office). The convenience of accessing massive amounts of music and rich metadata on a whim with just a click or a search is simply unparalleled. For audiophiles, though, this ease of use comes at…
Classic Looks, Vespa Prices
If you love motorcycling but happen to be on a budget and you also don’t plan on doing any “serious” riding, the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 B5 ($5,495) might be just the bike for you. A once popular UK bike manufacturer in the 1950s, the brand took a major hit due to the glut of…
Whole latte love
Yes, it’s adorned with enough chromed steel to outshine a Kansas City bound Freightliner. Yes, it’s breathtakingly expensive. But for the truly dedicated, the Rocket Espresso Giotto Evoluzione ($2,100) is the closest thing to espresso nirvana we’ve ever had the chance to pull a shot from. Less white-gloved show pony and more workhorse, the Evoluzione…