All watches don’t function the same in winter weather. Over prolong periods, batteries drain more rapidly when exposed to low temperatures, making smartwatches not the brightest of ideas to take on a cold-weather trip. Traditional mechanical watches fare better, but many use oils that freeze in cold conditions. While we know you’re probably not heading on an Arctic expedition anytime soon, here are some watches for extreme weather!
1: Sinn Pilot Chronograph
Founded in Frankfurt in 1961, the German watchmaker Sinn has steadily built a reputation for making some of the toughest watches in the world. Used by the German military, special police forces and firefighters, Sinn’s timepieces owe their success to innovations with oils. Special lubricants function at extreme temperatures, while anchor escapements and many of the main bearings function without any oil. So, there’s nearly no possibility of oil freezing at extremely low temperatures! Pieces like the Pilot Chronograph EZM function at a temperature range of -49° to +176° Fahrenheit.
2: Tudor’s North Flag
Drawing inspiration from a British expedition to a frozen expanse of Greenland in 1952, Tudor’s North Flag was built to withstand extreme cold. Tudor held an event in which they froze a North Flag in a block of ice for 72 hours. The result? The watch only lost one second of time! While the durability harkens to the 50s, the tool-watch design takes cues from timepieces of the 70s. The North Flag has a minimalistic look with a flat sapphire crystal and case with a fine brushed finish. The watch line also marks the first time that the Rolex sister company has used its own in-house movements.
3: Engineer Hydrocarbon by Ball
Far from its foundation in Cleveland, Ohio in 1891, the Ball Watch Company is now based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. They specialize in crafting super-tough timepieces designed for deep water and extreme cold. Another pioneer in the use of specially-blended oils, Ball makes watches that function in the -40° to +140° Fahrenheit range. Their Engineer Hydrocarbon watches can take beatings with a trademark crown-guard system and there’s arguably no better watch to have on those dark winter nights. Ball’s signature tritium gas tubes create a stunning show of illumination in low light.
4: Bremont U-2 Chronometer
When shopping for watches for extreme weather, you should highly consider a Bremont. Mercilessly tested for endurance on a United States Air Force base, Bremont’s U-2 Chronometer offers military-grade durability at high altitudes and low temperatures. The Bremont U-2, named after a famous spy plane (not the rock band!), was put to the test by the esteemed Spy Plane Squadron at California’s Beale Air Force Base. Watches were subjected to temperatures down to -40° Fahrenheit and intense pressure at 100,000 feet in the air. Bremont’s rubberized anti-shock movements were also put through stress tests that included an ejection seat!
5: Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean
Durability during deep dives comes to mind when you mention the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. The tough timepiece is water resistant to 600 meters and has a helium-escape valve. But the watch is also a wonder in cold weather. While many watch lubricants can freeze at a temperature of -22° F, Omega uses specialty oil that allows movements to function all the way down to -67° F. Farther than that, the OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Master Chronometer survived a laboratory test that took it to -94° F!
6: Casio G-Shock Mudmaster
As you might have guessed by its name, the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster can survive some seriously muddy situations. A series of gaskets for buttons and shafts keep dirt and moisture out. Also, in its name, the G-Shock is one of the most shock-resistant watches on the market, almost immune to electric shocks, vibrations and gravity resistance. But they’re also built to withstand the shock of extremely cold weather, tested to function at -80° F.
7: Jaeger LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2
Jaeger LeCoultre carved out a spot in durable-watch history with the 1952 debut of its tough timepiece the Chronometer Geophysic. In a nod to that famed watch, the Jaeger LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2 continues the tradition. As a unique lubricant-free watch, the timepiece is even sturdier than some of the best extreme-weather watches on the market. The luxury Extreme Lab 2 is crafted to function at temperatures down to a stunning -100° F and work in searing heat of up to 140° F.
So, plan that ice-fishing trip or cross-country skiing expedition. Enjoy a long winter hike and take your time when building that snowman. With the right watch to withstand cold weather, there’s no need to worry about damage to the treasured timepiece you wear on your wrist.