The Test of Time

Summer's best timepieces play hard, no matter what you throw at them.

These watches are probably tougher than you are.     Photo: Inga Hendrickson

From the $100 surf-ready Mariner Tide to the $1,750 super-powered Astron, these are the season's most exciting new watches. They're ready for anything nature throws at them. Are you? 

Nixon Tangent ($500)

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

The Tangent is made from the same burly material used in the fins of big-wave surfboards. It comes with a simple tide dial, and Nixon smartly moved the crown to the nine o’clock position to reduce wrist bite while paddling out.


Seiko Astron ($1,750)

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

This titanium-body watch uses GPS to calibrate the exact time, zone, and daylight-savings status. And because it doesn’t use atomic clocks, it can also set itself—precise to one second every 100,000 years— at any point on earth. The only caveat: it uses solar power to take a daily reading, so you do need to be outside at least once in a while.


Freestyle Mariner Tide ($100)

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

This easy-to-read watch takes Freestyle’s Mariner sailing model, turns it into a great tool for surfers, and still keeps the price within reach. Programmed with tidal direction, time, and height for 150 beaches worldwide, the Mariner Tide does the thinking for you, so you can watch for the next swell.


Luminox SXC 5127 ($795)

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

When the first clients of Space Expedition Corporation launch into orbit, they’ll all be wearing one of these. Basically a spruced-up aviation watch, it can handle G-forces and has a GMT hand, in case you splash down in another time zone.


Reactor Gryphon ($350)

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

For the optimal balance of tough-as-nails and light-as-feathers, the survivalist-minded Reactor houses a stainless-steel body inside a frame made of weapons-grade Nitromid polymer. Even the K1 hardened, high-ceramic glass crystal is more impact-resistant than most watches. Its slim profile minimizes the chance of breakage, and it stays illuminated all night.


Suunto Ambit2 R ($249)

  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

Running watches just keep getting better. The Ambit2 R takes readings for speed, distance, and heart rate and features interval timers and a Backtrack function that’ll guide you on unfamiliar trails.

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