When we went looking for the toughest adventure watches out there, British watch brand Elliot Brown was one of the first places we turned. To be honest, we could have picked out almost anything in their range, from the ‘go anywhere, do anything’ Tyneham to the versatile Canford (already adopted by RNLI lifeboat crews and Mountain Rescue teams alike). Then there was what seemed in many ways the obvious choice: the military-issued Holton Professional – tough enough to get its own NATO stock number.
What turned up though, was Elliot Brown’s latest offering: the Bloxworth 3-Hand Diver, or 3HD for short. Available in a range of colours and finishes, it’s undoubtedly handsome. Our vibrant orange test sample was particularly striking: a head-turner, no doubt. In fact, was it too pretty to be an adventure watch? “Oh no”, the chaps at Elliot Brown assured us. “Every ounce of it is engineered to excel in the harshest environments.” Or as they put it, this watch’s EB weapons grade DNA is “fully intact”.
Who is the Elliot Brown Bloxworth 3HD Watch For?
This is a dive watch inspired by classic sports watches from the 1950s and ‘60s. It’s smaller in size and simpler in function than the standard Bloxworth ‘tech-diver’ chronograph, but with the same robust build quality and meticulous finishing that we’ve come to expect from Elliot Brown.
So, you get an all-steel case, a ceramic bezel, a sapphire crystal, screw down crown, shock-resistant movement and a genuine 200m/660ft of water resistance. Unlike the vast majority of watch manufacturers, every single Elliot Brown watch is pressure tested in water before they are deemed fit for use. If that sort of dedication to small details appeals, this is the watch – and the watch brand – for you.
The Bloxworth 3HD is tough enough to be a genuine, fit-for-purpose workhorse, whilst retaining some eye-catching stylistic traits. The 316L marine-grade stainless steel case is one example, which employs mostly brushed finishing with just a couple of polished surfaces to catch a little glint in the sun.
This continues onto the bolt-down steel caseback, which also utilises different finishes including recessed ‘basket weave’ detailing alongside an engraved Elliot Brown shield-crest. The brand says the bolted caseback, incidentally, ensures a perfect compression of the inner seal without the risk of it tearing or folding due to the torsional stresses associated when tightening. And it has the added benefit that the case back itself is always 100% aligned with the rest of the watch. It’s that dedication to detail at work once again.
A 120-click unidirectional coin-edged steel bezel with a non-scratch ceramic insert adds genuine dive watch timing performance. The bezel edges fractionally overhang the case and the machined splines ensure it is easy to grip, even with a gloved hand. It turns easily with satisfying clicks and very little back-play.
A box profile, toughened, anti-reflective sapphire crystal mixes vintage dive inspirations with modern scratch-resistance. It also ensures good dial readability, even when viewed from acute angles.
Drilled lugs featured Elliot Brown’s signature screw-in steel strap bars, which are far more solid than the flimsy spring-bars used in most watches. It does mean you need a special tool for strap changes, but this comes with the watch, and enables fuss-free strapping options with no risk of scratching the lugs.
The steel crown is placed unobtrusively out of the way at 4 o’clock and partly recessed into the case, with a nice cut-out case detail to make it easier to turn. It screws down, is fitted with triple seals, and the domed tip is signed with the EB crest.
We’ve tested a few different Elliot Brown watches here at Outdoors Magic over the past few years, but we have to say that the Bloxworth 3HD is the most wearable of the lot. With a 40mm case and a slightly overhanging bezel lip that measures 41mm in diameter, it wears smaller than the Bloxworth Chrono, the Canford, the Holton and even the relatively compact Tyneham. That makes it well suited to a wide range of wrist sizes. The watch measures 50mm from lug-to-lug, with downturned shoulders and a beautifully integrated, wrist-hugging rubber tropic divers strap, which fastens with a split buckle deployant closure.
The bright orange ‘sandwich’ dial has a clear minute track and large markers and indices for precision timekeeping and easy legibility. There’s plenty of texture and depth to the dial, which has a clearly discernible black handset with in-filled lume and a lollipop seconds hand. Other than the Elliot Brown wordmark and crest, the dial is free of any other extraneous details, putting the emphasis on function and clarity.
The dial looks just as good in low light. High contrast SuperLuminova numerals are coloured in a bespoke hue that the brand calls Purbeck stone, a nod to their South Coast origins. The same lume is applied to the hands and batons, as well as the bezel. It glows a bright green at night, and with the exception of the tritium-powered Luminox Survival Master, it was the brightest and longest lasting of all the watches we tested.
The watch is powered by a Swiss made Ronda 713 quartz movement, with NIHS 91-10 shock-resistance augmented by Elliot Brown’s own internal movement shock protection system. It’s accurate to within -10/+20 seconds per month. And unlike a lot of cheaper quartz watches, we were pleased to see that the seconds hand hits the markers on the dial very precisely – there’s that trademark attention to detail once again.
Whether your adventures tend to take place inland or on the coast, the Elliot Brown Bloxworth 3HD is well worthy of a spot on your wrist. It’s reassuringly chunky yet very wearable, with a bit of vintage mid-century diver style and some gorgeous details that elevate this above most tool watches.
The build quality and specs are first rate too, ensuring it doesn’t just look like a dive watch – it is a dive watch. Bloxworth-wearing wild swimmers can happily plunge into mountain lakes and surfers can crash into serious swells without fear.
The shock-resistant quartz movement also ensures accuracy and reliability (without the servicing costs of a mechanical watch), while the sapphire crystal, stainless steel case and ceramic bezel are all hallmarks of a truly tough timepiece. The Bloxworth 3HD is priced at £575 and comes with a five year warranty.
Price £575 / Brushed stainless steel case with high polished elements | 120-clock unidirectional steel timing bezel with ceramic insert | Domed ‘Box’ anti-reflective sapphire crystal | Bolt down steel case back | Swiss made Ronda 713 quartz movement | 200m/660ft water resistance | Signed, knurled crown | Double folding deployant buckle on bespoke Tropic style divers rubber strap.