Purveyors of fine timepieces Elliot Brown are once again the official timekeepers of the Clipper Round the World Race for 2017-18, and they’re celebrating the deal with the release of this special limited edition Broadstone Adventurer watch.
The Clipper Round the World Race, in case you’re unfamiliar with the world of sailing, is an annual event which sees 12 70-foot yachts racing round the 40,000 nautical mile circumference of the globe in eight stages.
Although the boats are captained by professionals, they’re crewed entirely by amateurs. Anyone can sign up, as long as they’re willing to spend a month at a time at sea in the close company of strangers, and are prepared for conditions that can include gale force winds and “waves the size of houses".
As you might imagine, any timepiece designed for such a race would have to be built tough. Luckily, hard-wearing watches is exactly what Elliot Brown specialise in.
Elliot Brown Broadstone Adventurer: Appearance
To anyone who knows the range, the Broadstone Adventurer is instantly recognisable as an Elliot Brown, so it came as no surprise when we spoke to its designer Alex Brown and he confirmed that it’s based off their popular Canford model.
However there have been a couple of significant design tweaks.The crowns which adjust time and date on the side are more recessed than on the Canford. Apparently (according to Brown) “because a couple of the skippers [in last year’s race] bent them on ropes and things like that".
The watch also features a fourth hand, which points to the 24-hour markings on the bezel, and is designed to be set to a different time zone from the main hands. “We thought it would be useful if the crew could tell the time wherever they were racing in the world and could tell the time in their home port as well," Alex Brown explained. “So if they want to Skype their other half or text them or whatever they could track two time-zones at once."
Another neat little touch is the luminous dots around the dial - a feature of the Canford - which have been coloured red on the left for Port and green on the right for Starboard. It’s a nice nod to the watch’s intended nautical use.
Elliot Brown Broadstone Adventurer: Performance
Of course you don’t have to be a sailor to wear this watch, it will serve you perfectly well on dry land. But we were lucky enough to have the chance to try it out on one of the actual Clipper boats themselves.
Unfortunately on the day we sailed out into the Solent there was very little wind, but what the weather lacked in pushing power it more than made up for with near-constant drizzle. So although neither the boat nor our sailing skills were particularly tested, the waterproofness of the Broadstone Adventurer certainly was, and we’re pleased to say it passed with flying colours. Perhaps unsurprisingly, as it’s waterproof up to 200m, or 20 atmospheres of pressure, so designed to handle much worse.
"We strapped some watches to the masts of the boats for 40,000 miles. They were fine"
The watch was straightforward to set the time and date on and comfortable to wear with an easy-adjusting strap. The material the glass is made of has apparently been changed so the watch is “a lot more scratch resistant" than previous ones, and it survived a day of scrambling around and wrestling with ropes without any visible marks.
A day wearing it obviously wasn’t enough to judge its long-term durability, but based on Elliot Brown’s record that won’t be a problem. Last year’s Clipper special edition watches were worn by the race’s 12 professional skippers “for 40,000 miles," Alex Brown told Outdoors Magic, “and we had some actually strapped to the boats as well".
“We glued a standard production watch to the mast when [the boat] left London, took photographs of it all around the world and took it off when we got back again just to see what happened to it. It looked a little bit worse for wear, but it was fine."
Elliot Brown Broadstone Adventurer: Initial Verdict
Built to survive a hurricane (literally), this is an ideal watch for anyone who’s likely to give their timepiece a battering. While the nautical aesthetics won’t be to everyone’s taste, people who like messing around in boats will love them. Plus that fourth hand is a genuinely useful feature for pretty much anyone who’s into travelling - after all, you don’t have to get on a Clipper to cross time zones.