Sunday night football. Campfires. The weather is crisp and the leaves are crunchy. There’s a mysterious allure to the autumnal air. It’s an atmosphere that provokes impromptu outdoor adventures. Go climb a 14er. Find a new fishing hole. Take an off-road detour. Lose yourself in the moment. Pack up your gear and throw on your watch. Wherever you end up, the objects you carry with you will play a fundamental role in your experience. Welcome to The Great Outdoors. We’ve gathered a selection of adventure-ready watches you won’t find elsewhere, so you can focus on what matters most this season.
Rolex released the Explorer II ref. 1655 in 1971, and it was designed with polar surveyors, spelunkers, and adventurers in mind. One of the defining features of this reference is the orange 24-hour hand. That first Explorer II is often referred to as the “Steve McQueen,” although the validity of the nickname is often debated, as the actor was more often photographed wearing a Submariner. The third generation Rolex Explorer II hit the catalog in 1989 under the reference number of 16570 and settled in for a 22-year run until 2011, when the brand introduced the last generation of the collection in the ref. 216570. It’s the 216570 which we have featured here, at its launch introduced with both black and white “polar” dial options.
Though it feels like it’s been a part of Tudor’s lineup for ages, the Pelagos only marked a revamp of the brand’s dive-watch collection in 2012. While the model is thoroughly modern, it feels effortlessly timeless with the perfect mix of clean lines and true tool watch durability, including up to 500 meters of water resistance. One of the most notable features is the titanium construction as opposed to traditional stainless steel. This gives the Pelagos the handsome and crisp look of a classic diver with the added bonus of a lightweight, sturdy, and hypoallergenic build. In addition to the more practical advantages of titanium, Tudor has given it a nice matte finish with beveled edges that really make the Pelagos look sharp, particularly for a tool watch.
Breitling’s Aerospace line might just be home to the ultimate tool watches. Cased in lightweight titanium and powered by Breitling’s Calibre 79 SuperQuartz movement, the Aerospace pairs analog and digital time displays with additional complications, such as an alarm, a chronograph, a countdown timer, a GMT, and a minute repeater. We love how Breitling retained the classic rider tabs on the bezel.
Few watches maintain as much cultural recognition as the IWC Pilot Mark XVI design. Drawing its foremost design influences from World War II-era aviation designs, the modern IWC Pilot’s Watch collection, and the Mark XVI in particular, have come to define the quintessential pilot watch aesthetic.
A watch that was born in the spirit of conquering mountaintops, the Explorer became the most minimalist sport watch Rolex offered through the years of the original ref. 1016 and even through the five-digit era. As the first Rolex Explorer to be housed in a 39mm case, the ref. 214270 is a new breed in a long line of watches that are all relatively similar in aesthetic. As a result, the 2010s generation of the Explorer offers the same design language as its predecessors but with a truly modern Rolex movement in the caliber 3130.
Explore the complete Great Outdoors Collection.