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10 Best Daypacks of 2014
Baggage to carry a laptop or hiking equipment.
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6 Best Hard-Shell Suitcases
Great for tough travel.
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5 Best Road Bike Pedals
Upgrade clipping in.
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Guide to a Well Appointed Bathroom
Ten products to master the bathroom.
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Bauhaus and In-house

Want This, Get This: NOMOS Tangente or Stowa Antea KS

If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, and your desires remain unfulfilled. Gear Patrol’s series “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. This week, we’re celebrating German reunification and the Bauhaus design movement with two Teutonic tickers: the NOMOS Tangente and the Stowa Antea KS.

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Bullish

Face Value: OMEGA Seamaster Bullhead Chronograph

In 1969 Omega released a handwound chrono in a strange shield-shaped case that had the pushers and crown on top of the watch. This so-called “bullhead” style was originally developed earlier for race car drivers, who wanted easier activation of the chronograph and minimal pusher interference. OMEGA, never one to shy away from a historical reference, has just released a limited re-edition of the Seamaster Bullhead Chronograph ($9,600) — albeit one updated with modern features.

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Dr. Jekyll's timepiece

Face Value: Hamilton Jazzmaster Face 2 Face

Just in case your budget is a bit thin for a pair of new timepieces or your multiple personalities can’t agree on which watch to wear, Hamilton has just the answer. One side of the new Jazzmaster Face 2 Face ($6,195) is a chronograph to match your high-performing, detail-oriented style while the reverse is an elegant time-only timepiece suitable for more understated affairs.

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Hope you don't have a fixed income

Prime Time: 5 Best Fixed-Lens Cameras

There was a time when photographers didn’t carry nine different lenses with their camera, a time when one wide-angle lens was enough to get an adroit photographer through the day because he realized that sometimes the best way to zoom in was to damn well walk closer to his subject. While most of us like having a versatile zoom lens, there’s something to be said for having only one focal length: when you shoot with a fixed focal length camera, you don’t take pictures, you take photographs. We’ve rounded up the top six “fixies” to get you started on your path towards being an artisan.

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Ringing our bell

Time on Our Hands: Bell & Ross BR 126 Sport

The BR 126 Sport ($4,500) is one of the most recent versions of Bell & Ross’s Vintage chronograph family. We put this timepiece — a study in how to do a retro sports chronograph right — on our wrist for a week.

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BRITISH ELEGANCE

Face Value: Pinion Axis

The British are coming — again. It seems that the new frontier for the Empire is in watchmaking, given the renaissance of timepieces from the island nation. Incorporating both English and Swiss parts, the English-made Pinion Axis ($2,825) will debut at Salon QP, the UK’s big watch exhibition, in November.

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Want This, Get This: Heuer Bundeswehr or Guinand Series 40

If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, and your desires remain unfulfilled. Gear Patrol’s series “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. This week, we’ve found a vintage Cold War-era military chronograph and a modern one that has the same milspec look.

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Skunkworks, indeed

Face Value: Bell & Ross BR 126 Blackbird

The SR-71 “Blackbird” reigns supreme as the highest and fastest-flying plane ever built. And we mean reigns: 32 of these pitch black wonders have patrolled the skies above hot spots for over 40 years. To honor this achievement in aeronautics, Bell & Ross is releasing the limited edition BR 126 Blackbird ($6,700), and it’s a worthy, interesting tribute.

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Gear worth its weight in...

Kit: Fool’s Gold 100

Competing in endurance mountain bike racing requires a significant amount of time on the bike. There are days when you eat your breakfast and lunch on the go, get on your bike before the sun comes up and even get lost in the woods trying to find six hours worth of trails. We all settle into distinct collections of gear to make the bike our home, but for us, this kit offers the perfect blend of performance, durability and comfort.

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Reflecting on the best

More For (Mirror)less: 6 Best Mirrorless Cameras

When in 2004 Epson released the R-D1, the world’s first mirrorless digital camera, photographers weren’t sure what to make of it. Ten years later every major camera company has thrown their proverbial hat into the mirrorless ring. In fact, with digital sensors equal to those found in DSLRs, interchangeable pro-quality lenses, and magnesium-alloy construction, mirrorless cameras are quickly becoming the choice of many professionals looking to downsize their gear. It’s safe to say 2014 will be the year of the mirrorless camera, and we’ve rounded up our favorites to help you prepare.

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CALLING ALL FLYING ACES

Face Value: Longines Avigation Oversize Crown Chronograph

The Longines Avigation Oversize Crown Chronograph ($3,500) was modeled after a watch built for pilots inhabiting a cold, drafty, post-WWI cockpit. Thanks to timeless design and a few key updates, though, it works just as well during the cold, drafty days of this year’s autumn.

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Puzzling Over Professional Micro Four Thirds

Tested: Olympus OM-D EM-1

Olympus’s new OM-D EM-1 ($1,400, body only) is way ahead of its time. Effectively an upgraded version of the already-capable E-M5, the E-M1 is an excellent shooter across the board, albeit one that can’t quite find its place in the market. We say: stay different, E-M1.

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Pure tool

Time on Our Hands: MkII Paradive

A few weeks ago we ran an opinion article about so-called “homage” watches. Amid some attention from readers and experts alike, we heard from MKII, a watch company we had discussed in the article. They offered to send us the MKII Paradive, a watch inspired by Benrus’s iconic (and mysterious) “Type 1″ and “Type 2″ timepieces. We found the Paradive a tool watch worthy of homage, itself.

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Tubeless, aero, go

Tested: Bontrager Aura 5 TLR

As the English proverb ran in the 16th century, “A man can not have his cake and eat his cake,” meaning that one cannot both possess cake and eat cake, simultaneously. The cake paradox may be a source of chagrin across the pond, but here in America we’re able purchase cake, eat cake, and often have abundant leftovers to tuck away in the freezer and unpack for a marathon of The West Wing. This all becomes quite obvious with a ride on the Bontrager Aura 5 TLR wheelset.

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Connect to your bike

Double Click: 10 Best Road Bike Shoes

If you’re riding a bike for exercise or hobby, chances are you’re clipping in and experiencing the pleasure of an efficient ride with optimal power transfer. Though we have three contact points with the bike — pedals, saddle, bars — the connection to the pedals via the shoes is the only one that’s mechanical, so it’s essential that the shoe fits properly. There’s no single good choice — there are a lot of them, at different budgets, with different materials and closures. We’ve picked out 10 road bike shoes that cover the spectrum, letting you become one with the bike. Namaste.

limits-promo-logoThis article is part of a new original series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.
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Essentials for a Smooth Trip

Kit: Frequent Flyer

Travel pros. You’ve seen them. You’ve envied them. They glide through check-in, make the body-scan look like a photo shoot and sightsee like locals. Sure, part of it might be their passport with 200 stamps, but the right kit makes a world of difference, too. Whether you’re embarking on a shuttle flight or a trip around the globe, there are a few pieces of gear that will improve life on the road dramatically. We’ve got ‘em.

Braun-Sponsored-LogoBrought to you by Braun CoolTec, a simply outstanding shaving experience for men with sensitive skin.
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Taming the wake

Tested: 2013 Connelly Prophecy

For me, the reality of waterskiing has always been carving the lakes of Maine on my Dad’s late ’80s LaPoint O’Brien “professional” slalom ski. Then I got the chance to test the Connelly Prophecy ($1,300+), the most advanced ski in Connelly’s tournament series line, and learned just how far waterskiing equipment has advanced since my dad bought his ski.

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Size doesn't matter

Don’t Call Them Small: 6 Great Mid-Size Watches

Big watches still rule the timepiece landscape, but, like dinosaurs and SUVs, their days may be numbered. Much to the relief of small arms (and those who don’t need to compensate with their wristwear), a growing crop of reasonably sized watches are popping up. While 40mm would have been considered gargantuan 40 years ago, nowadays it suits most wrists well and looks appropriate with a variety of apparel. Here are our favorite six watches with diameters at or below 40 millimeters. Big watches, watch out.

timekeeping-promo-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of GP's fresh new face to TIMEKEEPING, a weekly chronicle on the utility, design, tradition and innovation of watches.
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Winter is coming

Time on Our Hands: Michelsen Arctic Explorer

In a bit of ironic timing, the Michelsen Arctic Explorer ($$1,960) arrived on our doorstep on one of the hottest days of summer. Fresh off the plane from Iceland, the watch still seemed to bear the chill of its origins, lending a cooling effect to the dog days of August. Regrettably, we weren’t able to put the watch to the test of an Arctic (a.k.a. Minnesotan) winter. But we still put it through at least some of its paces.

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Board meeting

Surf’s Up: 5 Great All-Around Surfboards

Choosing a surfboard is no simple matter. There are lots of factors to consider, like the shape of the board, the size, rocker and rails, tails and fins. There are eggs and fish — and we’re not talking about breakfast options. The ideal board for beginners is long, wide and thick since it’s stable for both paddling and for taking off on a wave. Here are five that fit that description to a T.

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Sleight of hands

Want This, Get This: URWERK UR-210 or SEVENFRIDAY P1

If you’re like us, you have a long list of gear you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, and your gadget desires remain unfulfilled. Gear Patrol’s series Want This, Get This presents a lust-worthy piece of gear along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. This week, we’ve found an example of übermodern haute horlogerie and an affordable option that gives a similarly avant-garde look.

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Lanyard not included

Time on Our Hands: CT Scuderia Corsa

Racing-inspired timepieces are plentiful these days. While wrist-worn chronographs have done the trick for decades, the more common instrument in the paddocks, pits and grandstands during the golden age of racing were hand-held stopwatches, chunky steel timers with oversized buttons for precise stops, starts and resets that were often worn around the neck on a lanyard. Young Italian brand CT Scuderia chose these track-day tools as inspiration for their timepieces, including the Corsa ($1,295).

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King of the Underworld

Photo Essay: Rolex Explorer II

If the Rolex Submariner was the original sports watch, then the Explorer II was the original extreme sports watch. Introduced in 1971 as a timepiece for cave and polar exploration, the Explorer II remains a favorite of ours thanks to its purpose-built design, intended use and legendary Rolex build quality. Singular in purpose and entirely uncompromising, the Explorer II was a pure tool. We got our hands on a new Explorer II and an ancestor, a rare, straight-handed reference 1655 from 1972.

timekeeping-promo-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of GP's fresh new face to TIMEKEEPING, a weekly chronicle on the utility, design, tradition and innovation of watches.
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Elegant sportiness or sporty elegance?

Time on Our Hands: Maurice Lacroix Pontos S

Despite a recent set of understated accomplishments (and a rather aristocratic-sounding name), Maurice Lacroix has managed to largely escape notice. Then last year’s BaselWorld came around, and the introduction of the diver’s chronograph Pontos S ($4,440) made dive watch fans and industry observers sit up and pay attention. We strapped it on for two weeks of testing.

timekeeping-promo-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of GP's fresh new face to TIMEKEEPING, a weekly chronicle on the utility, design, tradition and innovation of watches.
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Slopes? We'll take our water flat, thanks

Kit: Waterskiing

Sprinkler, fire hydrant, beach or pool: they’re all great ways to cool off when the mercury spikes. Then there’s waterskiing. Often overshadowed by its alpine brother, waterskiing is a heck of a lot of fun and doesn’t require donning a neck warmer. There’s nothing like carving a perfect turn and throwing up a 15-foot wall of spray behind you, all under sunny skies and, preferably, with some bikini-clad babes close by. Here’s the gear you need to get there.

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Gentlemen, we can build it

Tailor-Made: Building a Bike From the Frame Up

For a long time our options for buying a bike were limited to what was at the local shop, which was a roll of the dice in terms of selection and service. But with e-commerce consumers have limitless information available at a mouse click. What does this mean as a bike buyer? You have options.

With the experience of working in a bike shop under my belt and a good idea of what type of bike I wanted, I decided to try the “internet bike build” myself. With a budget of $2,000 I set out to best some of the similarly priced complete bikes for sale at the local shop.

limits-promo-logoThis article is part of a new original series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.
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Star Wars

Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute Blacksteel

While OMEGA may have beaten Breitling to the punch with a “noir” astronaut’s watch (trendspotter alert!) this year with their Dark Side of the Moon Speedmaster, let’s not forget which chronograph was first in space.

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39 HOURS IN A DAY

Breakdown: Seiko Astron GPS Solar

The Seiko Astron ($2,115) is billed as a World’s First: a watch that recognizes all 39 current world time zones by tapping into the global network of GPS satellites for location and time. It also does so while remaining remarkably uncluttered. We break it down.

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You've never seen anything like this

LG Hecto 100-inch Laser Smart TV

Laser beams. Why aren’t laser beams everywhere? It’s 2013 — we’re supposed to be living in yesteryear’s science fiction by now, right? Leave it to the not-so-mad scientists at LG to second that notion. This 100-inch Smart TV (but one of many Smart TVs from LG) has a laser diode-based light source, which means more displayable colors with richer saturation, and since lasers are, well, lasers, the picture is fast enough to practically eliminate motion blur.

LG-Sponsor-Logo This post is presented by LG.
Life’s Good.
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Just add water

Kit: Diving the Bahamas

While we love diving for its ability to transport us to an alien world, defy gravity and commune with nature, we also love it for the gear. Diving may be the most gear-intensive sport out there, with the possible exception of mountain climbing. Without your mask, you don’t see, without your tank and regulator, you don’t breathe, without your dive computer, you risk a nasty case of the bends. For our recent trip to the Bahamas, we packed along our favorite warm water diving kit, a collection of necessities, safety backups and just a little bit of style.

limits-promo-logoThis article is part of a new original series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.