Depending on your activities of preference, winter is either your joyous playground or whitewashed personal hell. No matter what, staying warm is critical. Down jackets have been a preferred winter option for many years, and for good reason — they’re super warm (when dry), wick moisture away from your body, are packable down to small sizes for travel and have yet to be matched by any synthetic fibers. Here are our five favorite goose-based options to beat the winter freeze.
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.
A Real Guitar Hero
It may not house the firepower needed to take down a Mexican drug lord, but the Mono Vertigo Top Loading Guitar Case ($205) will keep any mariachi’s six-
shooter string safe, sound and ready to rock. Unlike other soft-shells, which fold faster than a limp bizkit without an axe on board, the Vertigo was built to stand up (literally) to something all strummers do: grabbing that baby by the neck and getting onstage in a hurry.
There’s nothing novel about the A.P.C. Leather and Canvas Holdall ($370) in terms of shape or size. It’s the versatile combination of black washed leather and brown canvas detailing that caught our eye. The 18″ (W) x 10″ (H) x 10″ (D) bag features an internal pocket, detachable shoulder strap and has more than enough room for gym clothes or even an overnight stay, granted you don’t pack like Kanye. An included luggage tag should keep confused (envious) travelers from “mistakenly” grabbing it.
Toting around an über-expensive camera and loads requisite gear can be stressful — rain cares about your $7,000 DSLR about as much as it cares that you didn’t pack an umbrella. Hope is not lost. Chrome’s Niko Camera Pack ($180) is made of weatherproof nylon and is a multi-tasking, multi-pocketed beast.
It Was the Best of Times
Nothing helps shake off the doldrums of mid-winter like a visit to Geneva for the annual Salon International Haute Horlogerie. For the uninformed, SIHH is the watch trade show put on by the watch brands under the Richemont Group umbrella and some of their friends. Familiar names like IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Panerai set up shop next to lesser known watchmakers like Parmigiani and Gruebel-Forsey in the grand confines of the Palexpo convention center. We asked Gear Patrol’s Timekeeping writers to weigh in on what impressed them the most from this year’s crop of timepieces. Their picks vary from the classic to the outrageous (see the Tourbillon Yohan Blake, below), and together they represent a great range of SIHH 2013.
The M-65 waterproof fishtail parka was first used by the U.S. Army in the Korean War as a lightweight shell to keep soldiers dry. The design allowed soldiers to wrap the back of the coat around their upper legs for ease of movement and more waterproof surface. Recently the “hope I’m cool enough to stay here” Ace Hotel teamed up with Alpha Industries — known for military-inspired casual wear — to revive the storied coat. Retaining the classic M-65 style while updating it with a washed nylon shell, stay-dry seams and modern lines means you can throw this on and hike through unknown forest and muddy embankments before strolling directly into the board room, unscathed. Don’t whine to us if the muddy boots give you away, though.
It's what's underneath that counts
“Daily wear” is right; we’re not promoters of commando in the least. Mack Weldon socks, underwear and undershirts ($13-$32) hit the nail on the skivvies head. They’re simple, reasonably priced and comfortable as hell.
We like our astronaut watches, and one’s just hit us out of the wild blue yonder — the Halda Space Discovery (~$13,200), a beautiful piece of technology that hides its dual personality a hell of a lot better than Dr. Jekyll. The watch features interchangeable timekeeping modules: the Space Module (electronic) and the Mechanical Module (well… mechanical). Both are integrated into the bracelet so well that it’s difficult to tell they’re swappable pieces.
Riding your vintage hipster fixie might be cool. The tattered velcro handlebar bag that looks like you stole it from your sister when you were eight? Not cool. Detroit Cargo bails out ill-fitted cyclists with their Jefferson Handlebar Bag ($84). More English saddlebag than beats by Dre, the bag can hold tools, phones or even…
S.N.S. Herning has been in the fisherman sweater biz since 1930 — long before workwear and Deadliest Catch inspired a new era of blue-collar cool. Founder Søren Nielsen Skyt’s “bubble” knit construction provided extra warmth and durability for life on the sea, and the company still follows the same techniques today in their Herning, Denmark facility. End the cable-knit monopoly with this 74% ELS cotton, 24% Merino woolTrope sweater, and maybe you’ll start hooking mermaids instead of cold fish.
They're not fat, they're just big-boned
We’re not all in on the skinny tie phenomenon. But they’re absolutely a part of your style arsenal and happen to be in big time right now — besides, those extra-bloated wide-os make you look like your fat uncle. Brooklyn-based Skinny Fatties has the simple, cost-effective and good-looks-inducing solution: for $30 bucks, they’ll Jenny-Craig your…
Tire, shoulder, what's the difference?
The daily commute biker in you wants a pannier, but your stylish professional side yearns for a good-looking courier bag. Property Of… (yes, the ellipsis is included in their name) says you can have your bag and ride with it, too. Their wax-treated canvas Tommy Pannier bag ($339) looks perfectly comfortable carried by its heavy…
Know the course like the back of your hand
Golfers looking to escape the winter weather and start working on gloved tan lines will be all too happy to let the Garmin Approach S2 Golf Watch ($250) remove a stripe of sun from their arms and a few strokes from their scorecards. Much like the S3 Approach, the S2 comes preloaded with maps to…
A Locals Bar
We’d like to regale you with stories of the good old days, when men would go down to the local soapmaker’s shop to refill their scuttle with something fresh and handmade and honest. But we’ll do you one better: Get ye to New York’s Hudson Valley — or at least to the Hudson Made website…
Wax on, wax off
We rarely come across a dive watch with a moonphase complication, let alone a moonphase complication that piques our interest, but the Linde Werdelin Oktopus II Moon ($29,400) has managed to do just that. Why does a dive watch need a moonphase display, you ask? Perhaps it’s to track the tide or plan a night…
Ties disappeared from the office faster than fax machines once the silicon valley teens-turned-CEOs labeled them as “fun workplace” enemy number one. But if Etro’s combination of classic American colors and Italian knit work doesn’t add pop to your typical uniform of oxfords and jeans, nothing will. Combine the strong stripes with a solid shirt in lighter colors and be the one uomo in a room full of boys.
“Smooth and supple” may not make you think of an iPhone case. Snap out of your depraved daydream, sicko, and feast your eyes on the Apogee Folded iPhone Case ($45). That’s one sweet, sweet piece of stone-oiled leather; no stitches here, just folds and tucks. Beating it up just creates a personalized patina. The case is handmade in Vancouver and fits both the iPhone 4S and 5. For this price, you should probably get it in both black and umber.
The folks at MR. PORTER know a fair thing or two about living the good life. Subsequently, adding The MR. PORTER Manual For a Stylish Life Volume 1 ($35) to your ever-evolving style library is an easy recommendation. The new paperback is compiled by the site’s editor-in-chief, Jeremy Langmead, and provides detailed analysis of timeless…
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.
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.
While we love a good baseball cap, we don’t always want to be advertising our favorite sports teams. Maybe it’s that we’re getting a little older and a little more refined, or maybe our team is just bottom of the barrel this year (if you ask us which one it is, you’re as likely to get a straight answer from Manti Te’o). That said, one of our favorite places for minimally branded ball caps, Fair Ends, just launched some additions to their already stellar range. The new set is offered in both camp (5-panel) and ball cap configurations, in either waxed cotton or flannel. Waxed cotton will shed the worst winter can throw at it, just like your favorite Barbour; flannel will help keep that dome a little warmer. The choice is up to you. We know which one is our favorite…
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.
A bold standout
There is a certain ragtag group of watch aficionados who regularly meet in a Manhattan bar to do some horological horse-trading, share their latest acquisitions and shoot the shit on industry gossip. When Girard-Perregaux’s New York boutique invited them to preview their new 2013 models, the revamped Sea Hawk dive watch ($11,350) was the biggest…
East Coast, meet West Coast
East meets West — Coast, that is — with Gorjana & Griffin. Offering wares for men on the move (women too) that speak to a bi-coastal lifestyle, Griffin & Gorjana strikes a balance between city and beach, polished and casual, offering up iPad cases, handsome weekenders and everything in between. Spearheaded by husband and wife pair Gorjana and Jason Griffin Reidel, Gorjana & Griffin designs and hand produces offerings entirely in their 6,000-square foot studio based in Laguna Beach, California. Further evidence of good intentions? Gorjana & Griffin backs its social commitment with a charitable foundation to aid a variety of causes, including Southern California’s first Food Truck Festival, which benefits children with cancer. Now that’s something we can get behind — and wear.
British elegance and a seafaring tradition
Even a gear guy puts on a tux once in a while. The new HMS1 ($15,165) from Arnold & Son is just the watch for the occasion. It’s sleek and elegant in 18K rose gold, with an anthracite dial and hand-stitched alligator strap. The HMS1′s classic nautical styling is steeped in the 249-year history of…
The watch company that came in from the cold
Gear Patrol’s Jason Heaton travels to Saxony, home of A. Lange & Söhne, to explore the region, experience the watchmaker and learn its storied history. Read on for our short film, photo essay and his story — filled with snowy drives, German culture, precision watchmaking and an incredible company that came out of the cold.
Pheromones are not enough
“Backpacker’s Cologne” sounds more like a euphemism for “smells like you haven’t showered in a while” than a natural fragrance made using pre-industrial perfume techniques — but that’s just what it is, camper. Juniper Ridge harvests wild plants from seven locations in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California and the Desert Southwest, extracting the essential oils…
Right on time
If you’ve been to Switzerland — or just watched The Eiger Sanction or The Bourne Identity — you may have seen the clocks of the venerable Schweizerische Bundes Bahnen (SBB), or Swiss Federal Railway service. The clock design, created in 1944 by then-SBB employee Hans Hilfiker, is instantly recognizable. Black points stand starkly against a…
Phone? What phone?
Let’s face it. As convenient as smartphones are, sometimes it’s just not convenient (or tasteful) to break it out. The Casio G-Shock Bluetooth Low Energy Smart Watch ($180) helps you stay in touch without looking like a complete ignoramus at your friend’s birthday dinner. Utilizing Bluetooth v4.0 (Bluetooth low energy technology), the watch connects with…