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Gear Guy

What's a tough, all-purpose watch for travelling?

I was looking to buy a general, all-purpose, quality, hardwearing watch for travelling, hiking, work etc and was wondering if you could recommend one. I was looking at Suunto watches but unsure of their quality. Can you recommend a watch for me? Brendan Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A: Depends on how many features you want, Brendan. If it's the whole array—altimeter, barometer, watch, alarm, calendar, thermometer, currency exchanger, can opener, single-woman detector, and so on, then you're best off with one of the Suunto watches. I like that company's Altimax ($170) as a user-friendly, multi-featured-but-not-too-much-stuff watch.

On the other hand, maybe you just want a watch. A really, really sturdy watch. Trouble with the Suuntos and others like them is that they aren't that waterproof as they need little openings in the casing for dipsticking temp and barometric pressure, and while they're "water resistant," if you take one diving it will sleep with the fishes.

Here's what I recommend: A St. Moritz Pathfinder Ti Alarm ($120). This is a wonderful watch: Nice-looking analog face; bulletproof titanium case; tough mineral glass bezel; and waterproof to far deeper than you'll want to travel. And, it has an alarm. Not quite as accurate or versatile an alarm as you'll find in a digital watch, but good enough to get you up in the morning. I am wearing a Pathfinder as I write this—it has painted houses, climbed mountains, nailed sheetrock, biked across the Northwest, dug trenches and more, and aside from a new leather band I got four months ago looks as good as the day I bought it. As far as a "general, all-purpose, quality, hard-wearing watch for travelling, hiking, work etc.," goes, this is the one.

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