Game Faces: Survival Watches

Eight watches that do much more than just give you the time of day.

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That shiny new watch your wife got you for Christmas might add a certain panache to your everyday appearance, but what good does it do you on the bass pond or in your deer stand other than let you know when to head in for dinner? The watches on these two pages, made specifically for outdoorsmen, provide everything from GPS navigation to ballistics data.
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Highgear Axio Max Steel The latest in the Axio series, the Max Steel features a rugged, albeit heavy, stainless-steel casing around the scratch-resistant mineral glass lens. Goat and sheep hunters will appreciate a log that, thanks to an air pressure sensor, stores starting, accumulated and max altitude data. Other useful functions include a compass and 12-hour weather forecasting. [ $210; highgear.com ]
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Suunto X10 Suunto calls this a “wrist-top computer,” and who are we to argue with that classification? The X10 is equipped with GPS capabilities, which, while a far cry from a modern handheld GPS, can certainly be counted on to get you from point A to B and back to A again. In fact, it can store up to 50 routes and 500 waypoints, and the wa…sorry, wrist-top computer, comes with software that allows you to sync your journeys to Google Earth. The device boasts a barometer, altimeter and compass as well. [ $549; suunto.com ]
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Timex Expedition WS4 The WS4’s wide-screen display differs from traditional round faces in that it allows for a lot of info to be presented at once, without having to cycle through all the various modes. Weather data, compass headings, barometric trends and altitude readings are never more than a quick glance away. [ $200; timexexpedition.com ]
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5.11 Field Ops Originally designed for snipers, the Field Ops is an ideal tool for hunters and shooters, too. The built-in SureShot ballistics calculator allows you to input variables like temperature, wind speed and direction, the bullet’s ballistic coefficient and muzzle velocity, and your inclination angle and zero range. Then it spits back windage and elevation data for the perfect hold on your target. A digital compass, a chronograph and an extended band for wearing over sleeves or gloves round out the package. [ $240; 511tactical.com ]
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Wenger Nomad This watch might not boast the array of outdoors-specific tools that the others here do (it does have a hyper-responsive compass), but the Nomad ratchets up the cool factor with its unique LED display. Whereas with most LEDs you get some “ghost markings” when the LED markers are not illuminated, with this watch the markers completely dissolve into the black watch face when not lit. You’ll like the comfortable silicon strap, too. [ $375; wengerna.com ]
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TRUGLO Formex Utilizing the illumination properties of tritium (the same technology used in Truglo’s bow and gun sights), the new Formex watch doesn’t require a battery or light source for low-light viewing. The watch body is suspended within the heavy-duty stainless-steel frame via a shock-absorption system, allowing it to flex when stressed. This ostensibly lengthens the watch’s life span, which is comforting, given the robust price tag. [ $1,250; truglowatch.com ]
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Origo Hunting Pro This watch is a heavyweight, both literally (at 4.5 ounces) and figuratively–it’s loaded with hunter-friendly functions. It can store ballistics data for up to three rifles; provides sunrise and sunset times; and tells you the best time to hunt each day. Plus, it has a compass, a barometer and an altimeter. [ $240; origowatch.com ]
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Casio Pathfinder PAW2000 This intelligent device uses multi-band atomic timekeeping, which calibrates radio signals to ensure accurate displayed time. And it’s solar-powered, so you won’t have to worry about the battery dying in the backcountry. Other useful tools include sunset/sunrise data, a barometer, a thermometer and a compass. [ $380; casio.com ]

Eight watches that do much more than just give you the time of day.