A rugged watch will certainly stick by you through thick and thin, staying in one piece and performing faultlessly for months between charges – even in the most extreme elements.
Here are five features you should look for when shopping for a rugged watch.
Firstly, think about the situations you intend to find yourself in that you’ll be exposing your watch to. You need a watch that will be made in the best quality materials. A watch you can rely on being as tough as you are. You can’t get on with your missions if you’re worried about breaking your watch.
If you’ve got more to spend, opt for a watch that is made of either stainless steel, titanium or perhaps resin. However, if your adventures take you to scorching climes, ceramic is a great option as it’s incredibly heat-resistant. Currently, the Apple Watch Series 5 offers a ceramic version. If, on the other hand, you’re going to the opposite extreme, look for an anti-frost function to ensure your screen won’t crack in sub-zero climates.
Furthermore, you’ll probably want to choose a watch with glow in the dark or backlight features, for ease of use in low lighting.
There is great variance in the waterproof ratings of rugged watches. Some will withstand water pressures of 30m, some closer to 50. Some you can go scuba diving in and they’ll happily offer you 200-300m of water pressure resistance.
Remember, the higher the ATM rating, the better equipped your watch is to withstand sudden pressure changes caused by things like torrential rain, sudden waves of water, and the force of diving in. Ideally, you’ll get it tested annually to ensure it’s still watertight.
Consistent power source
No matter how many features are packed in, your watch will be useless if it runs out of battery power. The best option is a solar-powered watch that can recharge in sunlight so you can carry on knowing your watch won’t die. Some of the very expensive models can even charge when there’s no apparent sunlight (though you’re looking at thousands, rather than hundreds).
Remember some features drain your battery more than others, like GPS. The more features your device offers, the quicker it’ll run out of battery if you’re using them simultaneously. Think about how you charge it, and how easily you’ll have access to a charger.
If you intend to put your watch through some impact or vibrations, you need it to be shock-resistant. ISO 1413-certified watches have the minimum acceptable requirement for shock-resistance and involves the device falling one meter onto a solid surface.
A typical test involves two kinds of shock. One directly onto the face and one on the side, at the 9 o’clock position (where you’d expect most bumps). This is done using a plastic hammer set up on a pendulum and smacking the watch. There’s some clever number crunching done to estimate the velocity and impact. The time accuracy of the watch is monitored over the course of these tests to see how it performs. At the end of it, the manufacturers know how shock-resistant the device is.
Scratch-resistant or scratch-proof glass will typically be made of sapphire or mineral crystal. A watch that is scratch-resistant will be better able to withstand a certain amount of rough and tumble without getting ruined.
You might see titanium or ceramic editions of your rugged watch. These materials do not react with corrosive substances and can withstand extreme temperatures, but they are more expensive.
A rugged watch should be with your every step of the way on your adventure. Be it underwater, in the air, in the dirt, or across long distances, day or night. There are some superb timepieces that will monitor your every move and heartbeat. Opt for a solar-powered timepiece where possible. Make sure it’s made of something strong.
Rugged watches mostly aren’t the most feature-packed smartwatches, but if you want lots of functionality, you can get it for a price. Likewise, they don’t tend to ooze style and sophistication because the focus is on functionality, not fashion. All in all, it will be a loyal companion.