GearTools & Tech
2021 Summer Buyer’s Guide

The Best Watches of 2021

These stylish pieces are ready for adventure

(Photo: Courtesy the Companies)
buyer's guide

Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch HR Latitude Smoke Stainless Steel ($215)

watches
(Photo: Courtesy Fossil)

Few companies have successfully disguised a smartwatch as a stylish analog model. This one tracks your heart rate and workout data, and it connects to your phone notifications, weather, and more. The matte e-ink display reads clearly in daylight and boosts battery life (two weeks on a charge). With a 50-millimeter body, the Latitude takes up a lot of real estate on your wrist, but it’s a perfect office-to-trail companion.

Buy Now


Bell and Ross BR V2-92 Military Green ($2,990)

watches
(Photo: Courtesy Bell & Ross)

Bell and Ross has always produced original designs with exceptional quality. The BR V2-92 field watch continues that tradition, with 100-meter water resistance and ultraprecise automatic movement. Olive can be a drab color, but here designers made it shine, with oversize pale green numerals at three, six, nine, and twelve o’clock, and matching Super-LumiNova markers that glow after dark, all sitting atop a comfy Nato stretch strap.

Buy Now


Vaer Atlantic USA Diver ($549)

watches
(Photo: Courtesy Vaer)

What makes the Atlantic a rare creature? Few 200-meter water-resistant automatic divers are assembled in the states. A sleek design—classic dive-watch bezel, see-through case back, luminous minute markers—put it over the top. We also love the double-domed sapphire crystal, which lends readability from any angle. Those who eschew overbuilt watches will appreciate its downscaled 39-millimeter size.

Buy Now


Nixon 5th Element ($400)

watches
(Photo: Courtesy Nixon)

Nixon’s latest combines hand-some everyday looks, 100-meter water resistance, and Japanese automatic movement at a great price. The 5th Element’s injection-molded stainless-steel case houses a brushed silver dial, which shows nothing but illuminated markers and a subtle date window. Lime-green accents on the hands add pop. But its most distinguishing feature is a hardened-mineral crystal that juts up from the top of the dial, allowing more light in.

Buy Now


Seiko Prospex Built for the Ice Diver ($900)

watches
(Photo: Courtesy Seiko)

A waffle-textured face gives the Prospex a distinctive aesthetic, and a magnified date window makes the daily numeral pop. It’s all powered by Seiko’s precise automatic movement and housed in a heavy-duty stainless-steel case that’s water-resistant to 200 meters. We particularly appreciate that the four o’clock crown placement won’t poke your wrist.

Buy Now


Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter GMT Auto ($1,445)

watches
(Photo: Courtesy Hamilton)

Adventure travelers, meet your watch. In addition to hours, minutes, and seconds, a fourth hand tracks Greenwich Mean Time using a ring of 24-hour markers on the dial, so you can stay on track even when you switch time zones. The slide rule on the bezel—traditionally used by pilots to measure flight speed and fuel consumption—is handy for things like metric-to-imperial conversions. An antireflective, scratch-resistant mineral crystal and 100-meter water resistance round it out.

Buy Now

Filed To: WatchesSmart WatchesSport WatchesWearable TechDesign and TechStyle
Lead Photo: Courtesy the Companies

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. Outside does not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.