For those who yearn to live on the wild side, there are watches that can match your thirst for a life less ordinary.
For the average person, a watch tells time – and it is probably enough. The same cannot be said of those intrepid souls who crave the thrill of adventure though.
For explorers of extreme conditions, their timekeeping device must be able to keep up. They need watches that can not only withstand the rigours of the great outdoors, but also embody the essence of a life well-lived.
From mountaintops and skies to racing tracks, adventure timepieces are not merely accessories.
A good example is Montblanc’s 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000 watches. They honour the history of mountaineering, plus the people brave enough to climb the world’s highest peaks.
There is also Breitling’s latest Avenger B01 Chronograph 44, which comes from a long line of models designed to take on the toughest cockpits.
All that said, you don’t need to be a mountaineer, pilot or race car driver to appreciate (and strap on) such watches. Bold design and next-level functionality are aspects of universal appeal.
So, get ready to embark on a thrilling odyssey through the world of adventure watches –where time is not just measured, but celebrated in every thrilling heartbeat.
The heights of design
It goes without saying that Montblanc is pretty taken in by mountain peaks. After all, the brand’s logo takes the form of a stylised image of Mont Blanc (located within the French Alps) from above.
It is this connection that has led to the new Montblanc 8000 capsule collection.
There are four watches available – 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000, plus a boutique exclusive variation; 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000; and the 1858 Geosphere Automatic Date 0 Oxygen The 8000, which share impressive design elements to do with mountaineering.
First off, there is zero oxygen inside each watch case. This not only eliminates fogging, which can occur with drastic temperature changes at high altitudes but also prevents oxidisation.
The timepieces also showcase a Sfumato dark grey Glacier pattern dial, meticulously replicating the hues of rock and ice at the formidable altitude of 8000 metres. It is a unique feature that gradually intensifies towards the dial’s periphery.
The Sfumato effect is said to be derived from a traditional technique hailing from Italy. At the foundation of this glacial pattern lies the intricate gratté-boisé method, a specialised technique involving more than 20 distinct steps.
This process imparts a sense of depth and luminosity to each timepiece, elevating it to a level of craftsmanship that transcends the ordinary.
Then there is the orange accent on the watch hands and dial. It recalls a specific use of the colour – high-viz orange prominently featured on mountaineering outfits and equipment.
Time in the fast lane
Bell & Ross’ partnership with the Alpine Formula 1 team continues for the 2023 season.
Celebrating it is the BR 05 Chrono, dressed for the first time in a blue colour scheme and with the tricolour of the French Flag making its appearance on the dial.
“What brings the two entities together is the same passion for precision mechanics and high performance,” reads the press statement by Carlos Rosillo, chairman and co-founder of Bell & Ross.
“Through this prestigious partnership, Bell & Ross is pursuing its quest for excellence and innovation.”
Indeed, as the BR 05 Chrono Alpine A523 is powered with a resilient movement: the self-winding mechanical BR-CAL.326 caliber with hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock and date functions.
The square case is both sporty and suave. With a size of 42mm and crafted out of satin-polished steel, it can draw eyes while remaining streamlined and cool.
You can even say that the specifications underscore team Alpine’s race car.
Alpine 523, a single-seater designed to serve the ambitions of the Formula 1 team, boasts an impressive power of over 950 horsepower, all within a lightweight frame tipping the scales at 796kg.
Capable of reaching speeds up to 355km per hour, it stands as a formidable force on the racing circuit.
“In the search for the pinnacle in mechanical performance, the engineers at both maisons aim to achieve maximum lightness while maintaining optimal endurance, using state-of- the-art techniques and avant-garde materials,” Rosillo notes.
“Both partners retain an artisanal approach: like the Alpine racing cars, Bell & Ross timepieces are still largely assembled by hand.”
Watchmaking takes flight
Pairing performance with a sophisticated, modern style, Breitling’s Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 is certainly hard to forget.
The Avenger family of watches has always been one linked with aviation. It was initially positioned as a rugged military-oriented range of pilot’s models – but made to be versatile in function.
The 2023 Breitling Avenger collection maintains a familiar design lineage with its predecessor, but a closer inspection reveals a notable refinement in these latest iterations.
A distinctive feature across the updated collection is the introduction of stepped bevels on the cases, gracefully descending down the lugs. This design choice markedly diminishes the robust presence associated with previous models.
The bezels, crowns and chronograph pushers boast subtle polished accents, while the central cases are uniformly brushed, contributing to an overall more subdued appearance.
Furthermore, despite variations in case sizes – 42mm for standard time-and-date watches and 44mm for GMT models and chronographs – all Breitling Avenger watches in the new collection share 22mm-spaced lugs.
Remarkably, they all offer a consistent water resistance of 300 meters, highlighting a commitment to both style and functionality across the entire lineup.
There is a very striking Night Mission variation too. It presents with two dial options: vibrant yellow with contrasting black chronograph registers or stealthy all-black crafted from forged carbon fibre.