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10 Best Heavy Duty Watches For Tackling The Outdoors

So you fancy yourself an action man? You may not be an international explorer, boldly traversing uncharted territory and ousting indigenous peoples from their native lands.

You may not be Bond, keeping your country safe from dastardly villains via an envy-inducing collection of high-tech gadgets. In fact, your idea of adventure may just be watching Bear Grylls rough it while you lounge on the couch in silk pyjamas.

In any case, we think you deserve to dress like your most adventurous idols, and these outdoor watches are a sure-fire step in the right direction.

*Editor’s Pick*

Panerai Submersible 47mm

The ‘baller’ watch for the tradie or man of ocean adventure. The Panerai Submersible 47mm has been a firm favourite of many Hollywood action heroes as well as athletes and men of adventure. Powered by the house’s calibre P.9010 automatic movement, it has a black dial detailed with luminescent indices that provide excellent legibility beneath water and is bordered by a unidirectional rotating bezel detailed with a 15-minute scale.  It’s a big watch for an even bigger man.

BUY $14,950

Suunto 9 Baro Titanium

“Durable multisport GPS watch with a long battery life and barometric altitude”

Hailing from Finland, the timepiece is inspired by urban settings but equipped with an altimeter and a barometer for any un-urban explorations. It also has GPS to guide your outdoor expeditions (or to the bar where your friends are waiting, because your mobile died and you’re lost without Google Maps). It comes with rubber strap and sapphire crystal face and solid water resistance mean these outdoor watches are ready to follow you anywhere.

BUY $999.99

Breitling Avenger Hurricane

The Breitling Avenger Hurricane has been toughened with composite fibres for extra rigidity, the Breitlight material is six times lighter than steel and even three times lighter than titanium. The 45 mm version of the super-charged Breitling, this selfwinding chronograph houses a high-performance Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01 in an ultra-sturdy, ultra-light case in Breitlight®: an avant-garde alloy used for the first time in the watch industry. A watch that will take a real punishment.

BUY $10,540

Tissot T-Race Touch

Tissot’s budget T-Touch model is perfect for the man who found earlier T-Touch incarnations a bit too pricey. The Tissot T-Race Touch is designed for the sportsman and inspired by motorcycle racing (you may note some visual references to the watch’s motorsports lineage). For something with so many features, the T-Race Touch remains surprisingly uncluttered. Its lengthy list of functions includes two alarms, two timers, a compass, a tide schedule and a lap chronograph which tracks total race time along with the fastest, slowest and average lap times.

BUY AU$700.00

IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Edition

For men of adventure who fancy themselves as men of the sky we would recommend the IWC Pilot’s Chronograph Top Gun. It also happened to be  the watch of choice for Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy. It’s black on black ceramic design is scratch resistant, magnetic resistant and looks amazing. It’s 44mm case diameter will provide a substantial on wrist size for any adventurer or man on the job.

BUY AU$16,400

Casio G-Shock Gravity Master

There are two things that make the Casio G-Shock Gravity Master an ideal choice as an outdoor watch. The first is its Triple G Resist construction, which is designed to withstand the shock of three forces: gravitational dropping forces, centrifugal gravitational force and vibration. The second is the GPS Hybrid Wave Ceptor, which is capable of receiving any one of six time calibration signals around the globe and acquiring position and time information from GPS satellites. And of course, not only is it tough and versatile, it also looks amazing.

BUY $1,000

Garmin Fenix 5

Some watches are designed for one sport specifically, but the Garmin Fenix 5 is a jack of all trades and a master of most of them. It’s built for the man who wants a single watch to track all of his athletic pursuits – or, as Garmin puts it, it’s a “full-featured training watch for multisport athletes.” The Fenix (pronounced like the bird that rises from the ashes) calculates a truly epic number of advanced fitness metrics, from heart rate, to recovery time, to the max volume of oxygen you can consume per minute.

BUY US$649.99

Timex Expedition Rugged

It’s got “expedition” and “rugged” right in the name, so there’s no doubt about what you’re getting with the Timex Expedition Rugged. On the performance side of things, Timex delivers water resistance to 50 metres, an INDIGLO® Night-Light, a QuickDate feature and luminescent hands. On the style side, you’re looking at a 43mm round case in black resin with a black dial and a black synthetic strap. Value-wise, this is as good as it gets. Perfect for someone with the heart of an explorer but the bank account of a skint student.


Nixon Ultra Tide

“An evolution in time and technology, the Ultratide is the product of extensive research, development and an exclusive partnership with Surfline.”

The Ultratide from Nixon is an unexpected combination of fun and functionality. Nixon crammed the Ultratide watch with over fifteen years of tide information for 270 beaches for surfers, boaters, fishermen and anyone else who needs detailed info on the motion of the ocean. Other features include dual time, alarms, countdown and a chronograph.

BUY $429.99

Citizen Promaster Altichron

Take a moment to absorb everything you’re looking at here. The tricked-out Citizen Promaster Altichron is taking watchmaking to impressive new heights (not a pun on “altitude,” we promise). Although time display is of course its main function, the Promaster Altichron also measures height as high as 10,000m and depth as low as 300m below sea level. It’s also packing an electronic compass that measures geomagnetism with a built-in magnetic sensor. Direction can be displayed alongside time and even while measuring altitude.

BUY US$440

Victorinox I.N.O.X

Best Watch Under $500 - Victorinox

The I.N.O.X is said to be the world’s strongest watch and Victorinox have proven this by running it over with a tank and using it’s strap to winch a human to safety in a mock rescue. The I.N.O.X now comes in a range of different colours and for just under $500 you’re getting a hell of a watch that will be resistant to almost any knock you give it.

BUY US$299

Saving the best for last…

Breitling Emergency

We couldn’t conclude a list of outdoor watches for the action man without mentioning the Breitling Emergency. Not only is it chronometer-certified by the COSC, it’s also the world’s first wristwatch with a built-in dual frequency personal locator beacon. The transmitter meets the specifications of the Cospas-Sarsat international satellite system and serves both to issue alerts and to guide search and rescue operations on land, at sea and in the air.

BUY  AU$24,380

Outdoor Watches FAQ

How to choose an outdoor watch?

Outdoor watches should be durable and rugged, with modern features like an altimeter, a thermometer and water resistance. The features you need should depend on the activities you participate in.

What materials are best for outdoor watches?

Outdoor watches are made of incredibly durable materials, like stainless steel or titanium. They are lightweight but tough, making them suitable for the great outdoors. Some can even be scratch and magnetic resistant.

Do I need a GPS watch for hiking?

For guys who love trail running or hiking, a reliable GPS watch is a necessity. It can offer top navigation features, with a long battery life suitable for multi-day activities.