Elliot Brown Holton Automatic | The Perfect Watch For The Modern Day Adventurer? - Outdoors Magic

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Elliot Brown Holton Automatic | The Perfect Watch For The Modern Day Adventurer?

Our deep dive on the ultra tough and ultra reliable Holton Automatic from British brand, Elliot Brown

Smartwatches are on-trend. Head out on any adventure in Britain and you’re sure to see numerous wrists proudly emblazoned with chunky, brightly-coloured timepieces. They vibrate, buzz and beep with Instagram messages and Strava notifications. Runners obsessively glance down at them, checking with an OCD-like vigour any minuscule changes to their heart rate or average pace, while hikers tap frantically at their touchscreens to load up routes or breadcrumb trail maps. It’s the tech-centric, internet-savvy, gadget-loving way of things these days. But some would argue it’s a dystopian form of enjoying the great outdoors. Whatever happened to the simple escapism and back-to-basics freedom of good old fashioned adventure?

“The first new military issue watch to be created by a British watch company in more than ten years.”

There is another way. Elliot Brown watches – a Dorset-based firm run by friends Ian Elliot and Alex Brown – believe in a radically different approach. Their watches have a timeless, classic look combined with military grade toughness. The result? Extraordinarily capable watches that are wearable, stylish, well-executed and rugged – or, in other words, the perfect choice for the discerning modern day adventurer.

The 101 A12 N10 (left), the 101 A11 R01 (centre) and the 101 A10 R06 (right)

These aren’t smartwatches. No garish lime green colourways or glaring touchscreens in sight; no Spotify integration, step counting or health monitoring is included. And that’s a good thing. Instead Elliot Brown pride themselves on creating the “most wearable, affordable and toughest watches on the planet”, with a “mix of style, quality and everyday utility that’s effortless to wear for any occasion or activity”. They are simple, classic and designed for the outdoors.

Related: The Elliot Brown Broadstone Adventurer Reviewed

Based out of a working boat yard on Poole Harbour, Ian and Alex – who met when they both worked on surfing brand Animal’s watch range – live a coastal, outdoorsy lifestyle. When they’re not meticulously planning and engineering their latest timepiece, they love to hit their local mountain bike trails or catch some waves when the swell is good. This passion for the outdoors infiltrates everything the brand does.

And this is nowhere more obvious than in Elliot Brown’s Holton Professional range. Designed in collaboration with a specialist branch of the British armed forces, the Holton is the first new military issue watch to be created by a British watch company in more than ten years and each 101-001 model therefore comes with a NATO stock number.

This military approval comes from Elliot Brown’s focus on durability. In fact, one of their watches travelled around the world for a whole year mounted to a yacht (yes, really), using nothing more than its standard strap pins. 365 days later and, bar a few scars, it was working perfectly, kept exact time throughout and had survived hurricanes, freezing icebergs and non-stop salt water exposure.

Taking its name from Holton Heath in Dorset, the location of a wartime cordite factory, the Holton Professional range includes seven models. They all have under-stated style and premium performance, ensuring each timepiece is “unapologetically fit for purpose and perfect for daily duty no matter how harsh the conditions”. The high-grip steel bezel is knurled, with ultra-clear markings and bold dial indexes, and the face is a 2mm anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Solid screw-in strap bars mean that changing straps is super easy while the high-grip, screw down crown is triple sealed and recessed out of harm’s way.

“The best looking watch we have ever put our names to”

Four of the Holton Professional range retail at £425-£450, but three premium options have a £650 price-tag. These high-end timepieces are automatic watches (or self-winding watches), meaning the natural motion of the wearer provides energy to wind the mainspring. No manual winding is necessary and no batteries are required, so these watches are well-suited to long expeditions where unfaltering reliability is key. If you’ve ever used a smartwatch, you’ll know that they’re notoriously prone to dying on you (the battery can randomly plummet at any moment) – but there’s no such issue with the Holton Automatic 101-A12-N10, Holton Automatic 101-A11-R01 or Holton Automatic 101-A10-R06.

The differences between the three Holton Automatics are relatively minimal, but our favourite is probably the Holton Automatic 101-A11-R01. It has hard-earned military stripes (it’s rugged, durable and strong), but with a slightly toned back look that’s ideal for everyday use as well as adventurous exploits. It’s extremely easy on the eye – the matt bead-blasted grey steel case complementing the grey-green luminosity and matt black dial perfectly – and the technical specs are top-notch too. The human-powered automatic movement is tailormade for off-grid adventures (there’s also a 40 hour power reserve just in case of any down time) and we particularly like the 120 click, uni-directional bezel. The sapphire crystal is 2mm thick and you get excellent night-time performance too courtesy of the ultra-bright Superluminova dial and bezel.

Elliot Brown call it “the best looking watch we have ever put our names to” and “a genuine best of both worlds watch you never need take off”. So, if you’re an outdoor adventurer who doesn’t like the ethos behind tech-centric smartwatches, you’d be wise to look to the Holton Professional collection.

For more information on Elliot Brown Watches, visit elliotbrownwatches.com

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