Toughing It Out
A new year calls for new adventures that promise to take you to unexpected places, through unpredictable conditions. In such situations, your watch also needs to be capable enough to not only survive anything that might be thrown at it, but also perform above and beyond the traditional functions of simply telling time. This need in the market has given rise to a category of rugged watches that have moved past the norm of delicate design and complex machinery, and instead chosen to focus on the cutting edge of technology and construction. Here are a few timepieces that showcase what this segment has to offer.
- Garmin Instinct Tactical Edition
Garmin is a respected name in the field of fitness tracking, and their prowess shines through this tactical edition, which is not only an accurate fitness tracker and GPS device, but also military certified for thermal, shock and water resistance. The system uses a 3-axis GPS, a barometer, and satellite support to provide highly-accurate location data, which can be tracked and shared easily. All the while, the machine is also measuring your heart rate, steps taken and other types of data to keep a complete record of your physical activities. If you don’t like being tracked, there is even a stealth mode, which lets you navigate offline and stop sharing your information with other devices. You can get this smart tough watch for around ₹27,000.
- Suunto Traverse Alpha
While it may look like just another smartwatch, this handmade timepiece has been tested against military standards and passed with flying colour. It comes with a stainless steel bezel and nylon textile strap, along with a backlit digital face that is protected by scratch-resistant sapphire glass. In addition to the traditional smartwatch functionalities, this model also comes with a GPS sensor, and a barometer. Combined, they offer you the option to keep track of your location, the trail you are on and even interesting points on the way. The barometer, combined with other sensors can even possibly provide an advanced storm warning, which can probably save your life in the wilderness. All this takes a toll on the battery though, which usually lasts for a week or two, but with GPS can cut down to around 6-7 hours. Still, that is not bad for a watch that provides so many features at a price of around ₹38,000.
- G-Shock G-Steel Carbon Fibre Edition
G-Shock is one of the most famous names in the segment, and this special edition model lives up to the hype, by combining a stainless steel body with a carbon fibre bezel and strap to provide ultimate shock resistance. The tough sapphire glass comes with a non-reflective coating for outdoor use, along with an LED backlight for night-time visibility. The face itself is designed to be compact but easily readable, with three sub-dials for an hour and minutes, 24-hour, and the day, with the first two dials also supporting dual-time functionality. In addition, you also get Bluetooth connectivity, which enables a host of smart features, such as 300 World Time cities, alarm, timer, home city time swapping, phone finder etc. All of this is solar-powered, so you never run out of battery. You can get this model for a hefty price of around ₹50,000.
- Amazfit GTR Titanium Edition
This model represents the new generation of rugged watches, which combine both durability and functionality, in a form factor that is still relatively traditional. To accomplish this, the watch comes with special materials, including but not limited to the use of titanium for the body, anti-wear rubber for the strap, and Gorilla Glass protected AMOLED display for the watch face. All of this makes for a lightweight construction, that doesn’t look as over-the-top as some other contenders. On the inside, the watch gets state-of-the-art fitness tracking sensors and low-power GPS, which can easily adapt to 12 types of physical activities. You even get an optical heart rate sensor that can also help track your sleep patterns. The cherry on top is the fact that you get the option of choosing between over 100 digital watch faces, making it seem like you have a new watch every day. This makes it a good option to get for an affordable price of around ₹15,000.
- Timex GridShock Digital
In the early years of the digital watch revolution, most models were considered to be part of the tough category since their construction was far more robust and required far less maintenance than more expensive and delicate timepieces. Timex as a brand flourished in this era, and still celebrates the initial rise of the format through their GridShock series. This model comes with a huge 55mm diameter screen that is protected by a relatively average but light acrylic crystal. When combined with the lightweight resin straps, this setup makes the watch feel so light that you almost think that it’s a fake. However, the functioning is still accurate and quite simple, with options for three time zones, alarms and even a triple calendar, in addition to the standard time. You can get this simple piece of retro-rugged tech at just around ₹12,000.
- Tissot T-Race MotoGP Edition
Tissot is generally not a name that you would associate with tough watches, yet they have had several sports watches that match the general criteria. This limited edition model was designed around the MotoGP motorcycles, represented by the textured rubber strap and bezel. Even the watch face features a distinctly sporty look, with two of the three sub-dials highlighting the piston design. Individually, they represent displays of 60 second, 30 minute and 1/10th of a second. There is a Tachymeter etched around the outer boundary of the watch face as well, which separates the rest of the watch face from the stainless steel dial. The watch face is protected by tough sapphire glass that has been given an anti-reflective treatment, with a separate date aperture for ease of view. Even though it doesn’t support any smart features, the quality of construction alone makes this watch a worthy purchase, at around ₹51,000.