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GearTools & Tech

I need a watch for smokejumping. Can you help?

I've looked for a year now to find a sturdy watch for my smokejumper. Money isn't the object. I'm looking for simplicity in functions: time, waterproofness, stopwatch (and, made in this decade!). A date display is OK, too. Sounds easier to find than it is, so I come to you. Kary Boise, Idaho

A: Not as difficult as you think. My first recommendation: The St. Moritz SLK ti ( It's a super-rugged digital watch that sports all the basic functions—day/date, alarm, countdown alarm, illuminated dial (push-button). It has a titanium case that is essentially indestructible, a very tough mineral glass crystal face, and is available with a sturdy Kevlar band. It's also waterproof to 300-plus feet. I've had its predecessor watch for years, and have been unable to put a dent in it despite all kinds of abuse. Only $100 with the Kevlar band.

Skyhawk Eco-Drive

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Or, for something more stylish, take a look at the Citizen Skyhawk Eco-Drive ( It's got a traditional analog face—very handsome—then uses digital features and subsidiary analog dials for a stopwatch, countdown timer, and more. It recharges in sunlight so will never need a battery. Waterproof, too. Comes in a stainless-steel cast ($450) or titanium ($500) and is available at places such as for hundreds less than the list price.

Lastly, Seiko's Coutura Alarm Chronograph ( is, like the Citizen, a stylish take on the "chrono" style of watch, popular with aviators and the like. Similar in basic functions to the Citizen, but cheaper—$395 retail but a street price not far above $200. Waterproof, stainless-steel case, tough crystal. A very fine-looking piece, indeed.

The watches of the year unveiled in Outside's February 2005 issue in "Steel Time".

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Filed To: Watches
Lead Photo: courtesy, Citizen