5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle
5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle

5 Rugged Watches That Will Stand Up to Your Extreme Lifestyle

Words by Candace Longfellow | 7.21.16
When it comes to selecting a timepiece, our choices are often informed by the prestige of the brand or simply the aesthetics, but a greater testament to a watch’s worth is its impressive list of previous wearers. If you’re an adventurer by trade or even just a weekend warrior, you’ll want a watch that does a lot more than tell the time, and that can withstand even the most desperate situations. To that end, we’ve rounded up five superior watch models that have been tested and approved by some of the most intrepid risk-takers in history.
Paul Newman | Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle
Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward at Lime Rock race track (1983). Photo by SNAP/REX/Shutterstock
Paul Newman may be best known as an Oscar-winning leading man (or celebrated salad dressing-maker), but his acting career was nearly sidelined by his love of car racing. Newman began his love affair with racing during the making of his 1969 film Winning, in which he played a struggling race car driver. The actor and his co-star Robert Wagner attended the Bob Bondurant school of racing and from then on, Newman was hooked.
5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, $19,995
 A huge draw at the box office, Newman was able to ask studios to reschedule shoots around his racing calendar. In 1972 Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward, gifted him a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, a timepiece crafted with race car drivers in mind. The Daytona’s chronograph and tachymeter bezel allow drivers and enthusiasts to measure up to 400 mph precisely to one-eighth of a second, and the contrasting dials and subdials make for optimal readability. The reference number that Newman wore, 6239, is now one of the most coveted (and most expensive) versions of the iconic watch, and widely known as the Paul Newman Dial.
Jacques Cousteau | Rolex Submariner
5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle
Jacques Cousteau aboard the Calypso (1992). Photo by AGENCIA KEYSTONE/REX/Shutterstock
The Submariner, perhaps Rolex’s most iconic model, emerged as a result of a mutually beneficial relationship between oceanographer/author/filmmaker Jacques Cousteau and Rene-Paul Jeanneret, a member of Rolex’s board of directors during the 1950s.
5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Submariner, $7,895
At the time, Rolex was just beginning to manufacture tool watches and enlisted Cousteau to test several prototypes for Rolex’s first diving watch until finally crafting a model that could reach a depth of 330 feet, complementing Cousteau’s own invention, the Aqualung — an underwater breathing apparatus. The first watch to feature a helium escape valve, the first Sub allowed divers to travel deeper than 250 feet for an extended period of time without the risk of pressure damage or the crystal popping off during decompression. It also included a knurled uni-directional rotating bezel which allows the wearer to grip easily even without gloves and to time their dive without the risk of miscalculation.
James Bond | Omega Planet Ocean Co-Axial 600m
5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall (2012). Photo by Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock
James Bond may be as fickle with his watches as he is with his women. Throughout the franchise’s history, the secret agent has had almost as many watches as he has his so-called Bond girls, from Sean Connery’s classic Rolex Submariner to Roger Moore’s digital Seiko. But ever since Pierce Brosnan’s reign, 007 has strictly been an Omega man.
5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle
Omega Planet Ocean Co-Axial 600m, $3,650
Exploring the darker, more brutal side of the British hero in the age of Jason Bourne and Christian Bale’s Batman, Daniel Craig switched up the hardware to match. The Omega Planet Ocean Co-Axial 600m is a hefty model with a 45.5mm dial, two subdials, and three pushers. Its indexes emit a blue light while the minute hand lights up green for matchless legibility. As a certified master chronometer, the Planet Ocean has passed the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology’s eight rigorous tests to prove its merit, including resistance to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss  — perfect for the man whose extreme lifestyle includes fighting on top of train cars or hanging from helicopters.
Sir Edmund Hillary | Rolex Oyster Perpetual
5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle
Sir Edmund Hillary On British Everest Expedition (1953). Photo by Ralph Izzard/ANL/REX/Shutterstock
In 1953, Rolex helped sponsor a British mountaineering expedition to climb Mount Everest. It was the ninth attempt to conquer the peak, and the first successful one. After over a month of trekking through unrelenting snow and devastating winds, Sir Edmund Hillary reached the summit on May 29, 1953, with a Rolex Oyster Perpetual on his wrist.
5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle
Rolex 18K Oyster Perpetual, $4,995
The timepiece was a trailblazer in its own right as the first self-winding mechanical watch, equipped with Rolex’s signature Perpetual motor. The timepiece also featured the first hermetically sealed case, Rolex’s trademark Oyster, for optimal water resistance. His particular model was never commercially released, but was on loan to Hillary, to be returned after the expedition for further trials. The Oyster Perpetual was the precursor to the Explorer model, which was released the same year as the expedition, as the result of the rare and invaluable information gleaned from Hillary’s experience.
NASA Astronauts | Omega Speedmaster
5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle
Astronaut Alan Bean, Apollo 12. If you look closely, you can see an Omega Seamaster strapped to his wrist (1969). Photo by NASA/REX/Shutterstock
Nicknamed the Moonwatch, the Omega Speedmaster has been worn by astronauts on every lunar mission since 1965. NASA tested the watch against other models from Longines-Wittnauer and Rolex as well as other Omega styles. The Speedmaster was the only model to survive all trials, including tests of extreme temperatures, humidity and shock. It was the first watch to go to the moon in 1968, but two years later, during Apollo 13, the watch played a pivotal role that no one could have foreseen.
5 rugged watches that will stand up to your extreme lifestyle
Omega Speedmaster, $1,995
The short version is that an in-flight explosion destroyed the spacecraft’s oxygen tank, triggering even more obstacles for the astronauts that eventually set them off course by about 70 nautical miles.To reserve energy in the lunar module, the ground crew requested that all nonessential functions be powered down, including the clock. John Swigert relied on his Omega Speedmaster to accurately time a 14-second maneuver that would allow the lunar module to safely reenter the earth’s atmosphere. As a show of gratitude, NASA awarded Omega the Silver Snoopy Award, an honor awarded to NASA employees and contractors for successful missions and accomplishments in flight safety.

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