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.
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.
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.