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10 Best Vehicles for Winter
Road beasts for the snow, ice and grime.
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6 Best Facial Moisturizers
Protect that bearded face.
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Espresso Machine Buying Guide
10 different ways to drip out high-grade buzz.
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10 Best Snow Tires
Get wheels that don't need chains.
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Deep and Deeper

Want This, Get This: IWC Aquatimer or Steinhart Ocean Two

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. With IWC’s Aquatimer due for a refresh at January’s SIHH, we bid it farewell alongside a lookalike, the Steinhart Ocean Two, which costs a tenth of the price.

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If you're between a soft and a hard case...

Shell Out: The Best Hard-Shell & Hard-Side Suitcases

In the good old days of train travel a gentleman would have a cavalcade of steamer trunks in tow, housing all manner of wardrobe, knick knacks, accoutrement and what-have-yous. These days, a guy’s lucky if his rolling carry-on isn’t checked at the gate. Thankfully, weary traveler, technology is on your side. We’re pleased to introduce to you the best hard shell suitcases we would find, each a convergence of all the necessary requirements for travel, each unique in its own way.

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(Half) The World on Your Wrist

Time on Our Hands: Montblanc Timewalker Hemispheres

On the more affordable end of the scale, Montblanc is best known for its Timewalker collection, a set of modern sports watches that features chronographs, time-only pieces and GMTs. This year saw the introduction of the Timewalker Hemispheres ($4,900), a world time watch that was instantly one of our surprise favorites in Geneva. We recently got our hands on one for a spin around the world.

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The clock is ticking

Gift Guide: The Horologist

In staff meetings, he’s the one who always volunteers to be the timekeeper. On road trips, he insists on navigating with a sextant and chronometer. He wears a watch to bed and wakes his wife up at 2 a.m. to show off the SuperLuminova. You know this guy. He’s got a different watch for every day of the week. What could you possibly get him that he doesn’t already have? We’ve got you covered with the 12 gifts for the horologist in your life.

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Chocks away!

Face Value: 6B MK1

If you’re a watch nerd, you might recognize the name Carl Evans. He’s the brains (and hands) behind British boutique watch strap brand GasGasBones. Like watch obsessives everywhere, Carl has dreamt for years of creating his own brand of watches. This year he’s finally done something about it. Informed by his 24 years of service in the Royal Air Force, Evans’s first release is a convincing pilot’s chronograph, the 6B MK1 ($2575).

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The right tools for any of his many jobs

12 Guys of Christmas: The Do-It-Yourselfer

Handyman, craftsman, mister-fix-it, Dad. Call him what you like, but the Do-It-Yourselfer on your list gives his all for you, no matter the task. Be honest: that beautiful new deck that causes envy in the eyes of all your friends would’ve been a creaking pile of splinters were it not for him, and you’d probably be sharing space with Fido out in the yard — in the K9 condo he designed and built no less — had he not stepped in to save your recent en suite experiment. Like most men of his ilk, your handyman rarely receives anything more than a hot coffee to start his day and a cold brew to finish it, which is fine by him. Isn’t it about time you gave him something more? Here are a few gift ideas that should ensure your calls for help continue to get answered.

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Worth far better than third place

Of a Different Age: 8 Great Bronze Watches

Bronze has been around almost as long as horology: finding form in weaponry and decorations at the same time water clocks first appeared (4000 BCE), it’s mankind’s oldest alloy. Concocted in varying combinations of copper and tin, bronze can pack a Vickers hardness rating higher than that of wrought iron and stainless steel combined, and is also anti-magnetic and resistant to the corrosion caused by seawater.These characteristics, along with its ability to stand out in the seas of stainless-steel wristwear, make it an ideal alloy for your wrist.

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Time immemorial

Timekeeping Icon: Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Clock

We like to think our self-winding watches can run forever. But they will stop eventually, and before then their accuracy will degrade. Friction, viscosity, air resistance, not to mention entropy buildup — the Second Law of Thermodynamics and all that — conspire against the mechanical timepiece. The sad fact is, perpetual motion is physically impossible. But with a little maintenance here and there, it’s almost achievable. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos clock, invented in the 1920s, is “living” proof. How does it do it? The key is something that’s constantly changing, even though we often can’t tell: temperature.

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10 Top-Notch Watches that Won't Break the Bank

Wound for Success: Watches for the Budding Collector

When building anything, one must begin with strong foundation. A watch collection is no different. While anyone, given the choice, would undoubtedly begin and end with only finest examples of haute horological hardware, we can’t all justify blowing junior’s college and post-grad funds on something small and shiny. A conservative budget should not dissuade wide-eyed complication connoisseurs however: there are many excellent mechanical options available for the budding collector. We’ve selected ten rock solid options, both vintage and new, that would proudly produce any one-percenter’s tan line. So get started. Junior will thank you — it’s his heirloom, anyhow.

Presented-by-lexus-logoThis month's features are presented by Lexus. The pursuit of perfection.
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MISSION WATCH

Face Value: Tutima M2 Chronograph

If you need a rugged, no-nonsense chronograph as part of your next mission kit, the new Tutima M2 (~$8000), to be released in early 2014, is it. The M2 is an update of Tutima’s venerable NATO Military Chronograph; the previous generation watch, called the NATO because it was standard issue for all NATO pilots, was outfitted with Lémania’s legendary but discontinued Caliber 5100. Tutima has preserved the 5100’s distinguishing feature, an easily legible sweep chronograph minutes hand, in their new Caliber 321.

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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.