All posts in “Gear”

How to Remove Scratches from a Stainless Steel Watch Case

It was bound to happen, but the first scratch on your brand-new watch is still the most painful. Battle scars? Character? Screw all that. Maybe you just want your beloved watch to look perfect again. Here’s what you need to know about removing scratches from metal watch cases.

Is Polishing My Watch a Good Idea?

Before diving head-first into a watch-polishing project, there are some important caveats to consider:

For valuable vintage watches, polishing a watch’s case is known to potentially decrease its value: it can noticeably alter the case’s silhouette and will never be quite the same as the original factory finish anyway. It will alter the watch’s character irreversibly (then again, so do scratches, so there’s a tradeoff either way).

If you decide you want your watch polished anyway, know that the finishes on most watches are applied using special equipment and expertise. It’s best trusted to professionals, whether by sending the watch to the brand itself for servicing or having it performed by an experienced jeweler or watchmaker. A watchmaker will be able to disassemble a watch and treat the components properly, whereas there are risks involved in trying it as an amateur.

All that noted, if you’ve got the patience, a generally DIY disposition and are still intent on tackling some minor scratches yourself, then read on.

grand seiko

Grand Seiko

Determine the Finish of the Scratched Surface

Metal can have a range of finishes, from polished to brushed to matte, and each entails different considerations. For example, you wouldn’t want a polished patch on an otherwise brushed surface — and only professionals can treat scratched matte or bead-blasted finishes. The goal is to match the surrounding finish and that of other surfaces as closely as possible.

Removing Scratches from Polished Surfaces

There are, in fact, multiple methods for removing scratches from a watch’s polished surfaces, but a jeweler’s cloth is a good option. It has powder on one side which fills the scratches, while the other side keeps your hand clean and is later used to give the surface a final cleaning. Though you can get a pretty satisfying result this way, traces of the scratches will often remain visible. Start by looking into products like Fabuluster ($9) or Euro Tool Selvyt Cloth ($11) and for deeper scratches try Never-Dull ($18).

Removing Scratches from Brushed Surfaces

Brushed or satin finishes are in fact many uniform scratches on the metal, and treating scratches on theses surfaces means refinishing the metal. Brushed finishes can be fine to coarse and subtle to deep, and the trick is to match the finishing both with the polishing material you use as well as the pressure you apply — or you’ll simply be left with a patch that stands out from the rest.

Jewelers have special instruments and supplies for this, but for DIY jobs gently use a Euro Tool Brush ($13) like an eraser and follow the grain (wear latex gloves to keep the fibreglass from irritating your skin).

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The 8 Best Blue Light Blocking Glasses to Buy

It’s everywhere. At your 9-to-5 job, on the train, in the bathroom, even in your bed as you’re trying to fall asleep. If you’re reading this, it’s right in your face — blue light. Ever since we’ve been able to tap away at a computer screen we’ve been faced with an unnatural amount of blue light.

Not all light is created equal. Blue light signals to our brain that it’s day time. When the sun is out and a clear blue sky is overhead, our brains tell our bodies that we should be awake. The blue light wavelengths have been shown to increase our attention and reaction time while also lifting our moods.

But many of our electronic devices emit this same light. Our laptops, our phones, our tablets all fire lowkey caffeine waves to our eyes via blue light. This can be an issue at night when we’re on our devices because it inhibits our body’s from winding down naturally. We produce less melatonin and end up staying awake longer. Our circadian rhythms get knocked off course and can cause major health problems including increased risk of diabetes, depression and more. On top of that, blue light has been shown to have an even more profound affect on our melatonin secretion compared to other wavelengths of light. So while having your table lamp turned on will affect your circadian rhythm, blue light specifically can shift your circadian rhythm by up to twice as much.

Aside from making sure you put away your electronic devices two to three hours before bed and using more red-tinted lights in your house which has less of an affect on melatonin secretion, a good way to avoid blue light oversaturation is to wear blue light blocking glasses. While red light is helpful, not everyone appreciates its aesthetic. Plus, if you’re like many a modern worker, you likely have to be on your devices frequently. Glasses made specifically to block blue light can help keep your body on track and avoid health issues later on. These are the best blue light glasses to wear.

Warby Parker

blue light glasses

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Just Get This

DTC Warby Parker has been able to deliver stylish frames to the masses for a measly price. They’ve churned out a vault’s worth of designs, so there’s something for everyone.

Buy Now: $95

TIJN Blue Light Blocking Glasses

blue light glasses

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Smart-Spend

Using spring hinges which adapt comfortably to the wearer and UV-protected scratch-resistant lenses, TIJN’s eyewear covers all the bases. Plus, they’re just under twenty bucks. No wonder they’ve been some of the most popular on Amazon.

Buy Now: $18

Ray-Ban New Wayfarer

blue light glasses

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The Step-Up

Yes, your tried-and-true Wayfarers come in blue-light-blocking lenses, too. Still made in Italy using premium acetate, these modern-day lenses are polarized to reduce glare and increase clarity, all white dampening the blues.

Buy Now: $145

Akila Atelier

blue light glasses

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Los Angeles-based brand Akila has floored us with its range of eyewear. They’re made in small batches with some serious bang for your buck and the recent addition of blue light blocking glasses is a must-cop.

Buy Now: $95

Diff Eyewear Jaxson

blue light glasses

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Diff’s glasses are another solid option if you’re looking for a range of well-designed silhouettes. Its Jaxson is a classic P3-style frame featuring hand-cut acetate and scratch-resistant lenses.

Buy Now: $85

Felix Gray Nash

blue light glasses

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Felix Gray’s slick frames are aimed at getting you to bed. The lenses target the range of blue light that decreases melatonin the most and, despite the tinted appearance, give you a true sense of color.

Umizato Brighton

blue light glasses

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Umizato’s Brighton’s offer a simple square frame design that works well with most faces. The lenses offer UV-400 protection, cut down on screen glare and filter up to 90 percent of blue light. Plus, they’re available in several magnifications, making them a great pair for reading.

Buy Now: $45

Garrett Leight Wilson

blue light glasses

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These days, many storied eyewear brands offer blue light blocking lenses as an option, including Garrett Leight’s legendary frames. They use DuraVision BlueProtect lenses made by Carl Zeiss which divert harmful blue light waves into the spectrum of light which actually helps us fight insomnia and depression. That innovative tech coupled with Garrett Leight’s reputation for quality and design makes these a top-tier set of blue light blocking glasses.

Buy Now: $440

The Skincare Step You Didn’t Know You Needed

Having a solid skincare routine is key to tackling your day. Your skin faces a laundry list of harsh elements like sun damage, dirt, bacteria and more. But one factor that many folks overlook is, well, the damage your skin can inflict on itself. Every month, your skin cells die and stick to the surface, making it harder for your pores to absorb nutrients. One way to combat the issue is by exfoliating, giving your skin the oxygen and circulation that it needs. SELF/ish’s Exfoliation Pads make the process easy, and are soaked in an all-natural blend of exfoliating acids. Simply swipe the pad across your face to give your skin a refresh. Its Clean Science formulations use only the most biocompatible, non-toxic ingredients with a focus on skin-perfecting actives. The exfoliating pads are crafted with five percent glycolic acid (which improves skin texture and softness) and a fruit acid blend (which works to increase skin brightness). According to SELF/ish’s philosophy, what you put on your body ends up in your body. The brand has made it easy to take care of your face, giving it the radiance and glow your skin needs. The Exfoliation Pads typically run $25, but right now, you can save 25 percent with the code gearpatrol25 from 10/21 to 10/26. But the savings don’t stop there. The 25 percent deal applies to all of SELF/ish’s skincare products.

Buy Now: $25 $19


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Mack Weldon’s Top-Rated Face Mask Is Finally Back in Stock Today

Are you sick of wearing a mask? Me too. But according to the CDC website, the spread of COVID-19 occurs “when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby.” So, with that information, I will continue to wear a mask, especially when it’s difficult to avoid high risk places and physical distance.

By now, you know that wearing a mask isn’t fun. It can be smelly, fog up your glasses and cause mascne. But as tried and true product experts, we have done the work to find masks that don’t entirely suck. From the best masks for outdoor workouts and cold weather, there are a handful of brands that have catered to our consumer complaints. Since we still don’t know when the pandemic will be over, it actually is important to invest in a high-quality mask you can breathe comfortably in. And trust me, you can’t find this at your local gas station. Enter, the best mask for everyday use: Mack Weldon’s Silver Mask.

This mask once built up a waitlist of over 9,000 people—and with good reason. It’s made with the brand’s infamous blend of Supima cotton and antimicrobial Silver XT2 (the same fabric used by NASA astronauts, Olympic athletes, and the U.S. Special Forces). You would think the brand has been working on perfecting the face mask for years. It has permanent antimicrobial properties and droplet reduction in three layers of protection. Plus, it feels shockingly nice on the face (just read the reviews). It even has a cooling feature for temperature control—say goodbye to hot boxing your face.

The icing on the cake of this baby is just how comfortable, stylish and affordable it is. For just $32 you get two masks in either camo print or a versatile navy or gray solid color to coordinate with any outfit.

Sure, not having to wear a mask at all would be ideal, but since face masks aren’t going away anytime soon, it’s worth smashing that buy button for the two or four pack stat before they’re sold out again.

Mack Weldon 2-Pack Silver Mask

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Today in Gear: A Supremely Versatile Cup from Stanley, a New Kind of Workwear & More

Get this Versatile Ultralight Multi-Cup by Stanley for Your Next Adventure

After a long day of hiking or setting up camp, there’s nothing better than cozying up with your favorite beverage — but bringing along a heavy, bulky thermos can often be enough of a deterrent to leave the hot chocolate at home on more rigorous adventures. When it comes to keeping drinks at your ideal temperature, and doing so without taking a weight penalty, Stanley has you covered. The Stay-Hot Titanium Multi-Cup is as versatile as it is tough. Its double-wall TiVac™ vacuum insulation keeps your coffee or tea hot, making it perfect for brisk days. Or if you’d prefer to cool down with a cold soda or beer, the multi-cup keeps your drink chilled — functioning like a super-powered beverage sleeve. There’s virtually no reason not to keep one in your pack.

Learn More: Here

Everything You Need to Know about the New GMC Hummer EV

GMC just unveiled its new electric pickup, and it’s going to be one of the most capable vehicles on the planet.

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Darryl Brown Is Designing a New Kind of Workwear

The former head stylist for Kanye West, Darryl Brown is redefining workwear for a new generation.

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The Best Two-Tone Watches, and Why They Don’t Suck

Steel and gold “two-tone” watches provoke strong feelings, but they’re making a comeback.

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Building a Kitchen Setup From Scratch? Start Here

The All-New Nissan Rogue Is a Surprising Improvement

We drove Nissan’s all new 2021 compact crossover, and it was better than we expected.

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The 12 Best Down Jackets of 2021

These top picks for lightweight, innovative down jackets will keep you warm from when the leaves fly until the snow melts next spring.

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Fall Style Essentials to Update Your Wardrobe

The trees are disrobing, we’re layering up. But if you’re unsure how to dress for fall, here are some style essentials to point you in the right direction.

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This Bed Frame Made Me Wish I Had More Than One Bed in My Apartment

This Is One of the Best Coffee Roasters in the US, According to Coffee Experts

Texas coffee roaster Greater Goods is Roast magazine’s best micro coffee roaster of 2021.

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The All-New Nissan Rogue Is a Surprising Improvement

We drove Nissan’s all new 2021 compact crossover, and it was better than we expected.

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The 10 Most Exciting Pieces of New Winter Gear

Like it or not, winter is on its way. Here’s all the new gear that’ll make you wish it was already here.

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We Might Have Learned Why America May Not Get the New Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota could be dropping the Land Cruiser from the U.S. lineup. A new report suggests a possible reason why.

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5 Great Reasons You Should Be Shooting Film

It’s not just hipster nonsense. There are terrific practical reasons for any photographer to shoot a roll or two.

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How to Play Xbox One Games on Your iPhone

The Xbox app has a new remote play feature that allows you to stream and play Xbox games on your iPhone and iPad for the first time. Here’s what you need to know.

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8 Great Analog Camera Films to Start Shooting

Die-Hard Panerai Fans Will Love This Special Watch

The Radiomir Venti 45mm celebrates the Paneristi, the global network of Panerai devotees.

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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 Review: A Monstrously Impressive Monster

A full-size SUV that does a damn fine impression of a $100,000 luxury sedan.

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Sleeper Lots from the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: XII

It’s that time again — the latest edition of Phillips’ watch auctions is taking place from November 6th-7th in Geneva.

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This New Electric Motorcycle Is a Waterproof Off-Road Beast

All-new electric powersports company Volcon is launching with a burly off-road motorcycle called the “Grunt.”

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This Bourbon-Colored Denim Jacket Is Very Rare

Want an AMG G63? Enter to Win This One and You’ll Help Black Votes Matter More

The G63 is a wonder of an automobile, but it’s pricey. Now, you can try and win it and also help fight for equality.

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A Car Top Cover for protection against the elements anywhere and anytime

In the city, near your home, or workplace, you’ll normally have a nice roof to park your car under, whether in an indoor parking lot or garage. These parking lots aren’t there simply to vehicles from crowding the street, but to also keep them safe from the elements which can damage your car. These range from anything such as rain, snow, and even the sun.

But imagine a scenario where indoor parking is just not an option. Many people live in the countryside or simply enjoy the great outdoors, away from the urban smog. And while the outdoors can be a great place to go and relax, far away from your daily routine and responsibilities, it does present several factors that automobile owners would worry about.

Imagine you’re forced to park in a forest or on the side of a road where there is nothing to shelter you from nature. What do you do then if thick snow or a hail storm comes around? You’re certainly not just going to let the weather wreck your car right? It’s best you came prepared with a car top cover capable of withstanding the toughest conditions nature throws your way.

The devastating power of nature

Again, the great outdoors is a great getaway for urban folks to escape the hustle and bustle of city living. Nobody wants to spend their leisure bothered by scenarios that they could do something about. Thus, you want to rest easy, knowing your car is protected.

Unfortunately, nature will never cooperate when you need it to. In fact, what might seem like a pleasant drizzle or the rays of the sun lightly shining down on us can potentially damage your car. Too much time under the rain can allow water to seep into areas and parts of the vehicle that are prone to damage from moisture. This will require you to fix or even completely replace them. Not only does it costs a lot, but also affects the longevity and durability of your vehicle.

A simple car cover — one that is water-resistant or waterproof — can negate this moisture by quickly evaporating the water that found its way in from reaching the vehicle entirely. Your car remains completely dry and safe from the moisture, so you won’t have to worry about corrosion.

UV resistant car covers are also effective in their own right. The sun can be very dangerous to a car’s exterior, as well as the interior. Leaving the car parked under it for hours on end could lead to damage from melted plastic and leather. A reflective UV shield cover can resist direct heat and reflect it away from the car’s interior and exterior, keeping it safe from sun damage.

No longer will you have to worry about getting into a car that’s been baking for hours under intense heat. After a long day at work, all you really want is to get into your car and drive home immediately, Nobody wants to wait for the A/C to cool down the interior before you can even sit since the leather seats can get scorching hot.

A Simple, Yet Effective Accessory

When you think about it, a car cover is a very simple and easy-to-use accessory. Its practically nothing more than some fabric that you drape over your vehicle to protect it from the elements. Thus, any responsible car owner should purchase one for their rides, before anything else.

You should too, considering that it’s a relatively cheap investment. It saves you a lot more money in the long run and keeps your car on the road for years to come. Many people are complaining that their cars are slowly losing their durability, without even realizing how or why this is happening. They never even consider that leaving it parked outside might be the cause.

We can easily avoid this issue with a simple car top cover that’ll protect your vehicle and increase its lifespan. Therefore, don’t miss out and buy one now. It pays to protect your vehicle from situations that could turn into repair expenses or worse.

Filippo Loreti dedicates the Okeanos dive watch as a tribute to the Titan Oceanus

Despite the surging popularity of smartwatches, fitness trackers, and mobile devices, the classic wristwatch is not going away anytime soon. The platform withstood the test of time (literally) and will do so for years to come. Moreover, thanks to the unrelenting efforts of those who choose to pursue the goal of being the best in their field, we, as consumers, can look forward to even more amazing stuff down the line. One such brand which embodies the quality and craftsmanship one looks for in a timepiece is Filippo Loreti. We at Men’s Gear are excited to talk about one of its latest models – the Okeanos.

While most dive watches tend to be on the chunkier side, the watchmaker manages to pack all into a compact construction. It’s noteworthy when you look back and understand the humble beginnings of this watchmaker. From a crowdfunding project that met its targets and delivered beyond what people expected. Now, with three Kickstarter campaigns under its belt in the last 5 years, Filippo Loreti is using the experience to establish a loyal following

The Okeanos And Filippo Loreti

Men’s Gear has the privilege to feature a wristwatch that expresses an essence of mythology. For those who know their Greek literature, the Okeanos is a fitting tribute to ancient tales of fantastic supreme beings who live on in our imaginations to this day. Filippo Loreti offers an insight as to what inspired the design of this classy model.

What sets Oceanus apart from other Titans was his preference for harmony. While everybody else was in conflict most of the time, he was apparently neutral. Given what the Okeanos stands for, its only natural the watchmaker built it as a modern and fashionable dive watch that kindles the spirit of aquatic adventures.

As with any timepiece one gets from Filippo Loreti, you can be sure everything about it will be outstanding. In fact, it’s almost unbelievable something this stunning does not break the bank. Credit goes to how the company chooses to market directly to its clientele. Therefore, the absence of middlemen leads to more value at a cost that does not hit as hard as its competitors.

Acquiring the Okeanos

Earlier, we were pointing out how the brand is making its products accessible for most consumers. As such, the process is pretty much straightforward. Browsing through its catalog can keep you busy for hours. But for this particular piece, we will focus on the Okeanos and its variations.

From what we can gather, there are a total of 8 available and each would surely appeal to a user’s personal taste. A few of those come with a stainless-steel bracelet, adding to its already top-shelf appeal. Then you also have some paired with a rubber strap, which is what we will be talking about in detail later on.

Just because Filippo Loreti is an online-only establishment, does not mean that it forgoes quality. In contrast, it actually allows the manufacturer to dedicate its resources to deliver a level of refinement you won’t find on others in the same price range.

Unboxing the Okeanos

Ordering your watch from their website is a pleasing experience. Buyers can easily locate the items they want from the top menu, which takes you to a page with a huge selection of watches and jewelry. We love that they even ship out your purchases for free. Furthermore, the comprehensive 10-year international warranty speaks volumes about the reliability of their watches.

Our Okeanos did not take long to arrive. The unboxing made us eager to see what’s inside. After popping open the black outer cover, what greets us a thank you card. It says, “You Are Awesome” with a message from the folks who built the watch. This right here is a simple gesture that can definitely build brand loyalty among its clientele.

Up next was a black sleeve that wraps around the presentation box, which you can just slide off. When the light hits it at a certain angle. an image of the Okeanos as well as the Filippo Loreti branding can be seen.

Finally, after lifting the cover open, what greets us is a rose gold and blue variant of the Okeanos. Lifting the fabric tabs on each side reveals a cleaning cloth at the bottom you can use to wipe the watch clean from smudges. It’s clear that a lot of thought was put into everything which is an exquisite touch in our opinion.

Getting to know the Okeanos

Case – Our version of the Okeanos touts a 42 mm stainless-steel case in a shade of rose gold with a satin finish. It’s easy to forget that this is a dive watch due to its elegant looks. Nevertheless, the unidirectional bezel quickly reminds us that this is a robust timepiece that can withstand depths of up to 330 feet.

Additionally, spinning it produces a satisfying click from the ratchet springs. It took some effort for us to stop fidgeting around with it after some time. A close-up inspection of the crown shows an engraving of a trident – the one wielded by Oceanus.

What follows is the case back which shows an intricate engraving of the Titan grasping his trident. The details such as his crown, hair, and beard are intricately done as the emblem of Oceanus adds a distinct personality to the Okeanus dive watch.

Dial – Moving on, we are greeted by a sunburst dial that adds a dynamic element to its appearance. This sits below a mineral glass lens with a sapphire coating for dependable scratch resistance. The flange, hour markers, and hands match the rose gold of its case. Meanwhile, the indices on the outer ring and the bezel are in white.

Aside from the Filippo Loreti branding, Okeanos script, and the water-resistance details, the dial is dominated by a shade of deep blue. For low-light visibility, the hands and hour markers sport luminous coatings. Running the show is the 2-hand Miyota 2025 quartz movement which is quite reliable.

Strap – Finally, a blue 20 mm rubber strap with a stainless-steel pin buckle in rose gold completes the ensemble of the Okeanos. This makes it a perfect match for casual or format outfits.

Conclusion

Overall, we believe the Okeanos is perhaps one of the most stylish dive watches one can have. Although the rose gold and blue combination might not be for everyone, Filippo Loreti gladly presents more options. Browse through their luxurious catalog and one will likely meet your preference. What you get is a sophisticated timepiece that is crafted with premium materials and stunning aesthetics.

Purchase it here

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This New Electric Motorcycle Is a Waterproof Off-Road Beast

Electricity and off-road vehicles seem like natural bedfellows, when you stop and think about it. (See: the new GMC Hummer EV.) Off-roading is about getting away from civilization and appreciating nature — something much easier (and less impactful) when piloting a vehicle that emits little noise and no smelly, toxic emissions. And don’t forget that the instantly available torque of electric motors provided added security and control in low-speed, low-traction conditions that pop up all the time when rock-crawling or trail-chasing.

Until recently, the biggest problem has been that EV batteries simply haven’t delivered enough range to make off-roading particularly feasible. With that changing, though, a new realm of electric off-road playthings is opening up. Zero Motorcycles and Polaris, for example, are teaming up to create new EV snowmobiles and UTVs in the near future ‚ but they’re not going to be the only game in town. A new company called Volcon is looking to snag a chunk of the nascent EV powersports market — and their first product, an electric off-road motorcycle called the Grunt that’s set to hit the trails next spring, just might have what it takes to woo internal combustion die-hards over to riding the lightning.

After all, the Grunt sounds awfully enticing, at least on paper. The EV bike will offer to to 100 miles of range, with a battery that can be hot-swapped on the go and the ability to be charged up in two hours on a household outlet. 75 pound-feet of torque means it’ll be capable of reaching its 60 mile-per-hour top speed in six seconds flat from a dead stop. And the powertrain is rated to the IP67 waterproof standard, meaning you need fear no stream; indeed, the company says it can even be ridden underwater.

After the Grunt will come a pair of four-wheeled electric off-roaders: the Stag, a side-by-side set to debut in late 2021 with up to 225 horsepower and 150 miles of range, and the Beast, a four-seat UTV expected to arrive in 2022 that reportedly will be able to go 80 mph and dash from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds thanks to a maximum of 450 horses and 600 lb-ft of torque.

Of course, many a vehicular startup has made lofty promises that wound up deferred or denied. Still, if the Grunt proves as capable as it seems, Volcon seems to be setting themselves up to carve out a good-sized chunk of the soon-to-be-exploding EV powersports market. We can’t wait to try it out.

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The 12 Best Down Jackets of 2021

Last updated November 2020: New picks have been added to this buying guide. Prices and links have also been updated to reflect current availability.

The Best Down Jackets of 2021

    Down is warm enough that ducks and geese can swim in freezing water and light enough that they can fly. It’s those two qualities that also make it arguably the best form of insulation yet devised for outdoor apparel. Down’s warmth, low weight and ability to compress make it the perfect material for activities like skiing, mountaineering and backpacking (it’s also great for just cruising around the city, too).

    Advances in chemical treatments also mean that down jackets are more resistant to down’s mortal enemy, moisture, than ever before. From lifestyle wear to burly mountaineering layers, down jackets are lighter, tougher and more water resistant than ever. These 12 jackets are perfect for every activity, from walking your dog on frigid January mornings to conserving warmth and energy at Camp Four.


    Mountain Hardwear Super/DS StretchDown Hooded Jacket


    Editor’s Choice

    We consider our list of the best down jackets of the year to be exhaustive, but throughout the year, we tested many more that you won’t see here. Down jackets have existed as functional outdoor protection for decades, and while the central concept that guides their design — ultralight warmth — hasn’t changed over the years, companies are still finding new ways to make them more functional than ever.

    Mountain Hardwear is one of those companies. Instead of adhering to the iconic horizontal baffle design, it used a meandering pattern and a woven construction to disperse the down throughout the coat, thereby increasing durability and stretch while minimizing cold spots. The Super/DS StretchDown also uses a stretchier shell fabric that’s less shiny than traditional down coats, making it more approachable for those trying to avoid looking too “outdoorsy.” The sum of all these features is a down jacket with a vast range of applications. Mountain Hardwear may have built it for rock climbing, but the Super/DS StretchDown Hooded Jacket can function anywhere. Plus, with a price tag that’s less than $300, it’s also very affordable.

    Weight: 17 ounces
    Fill Material: Q.Shield responsibly-sourced down; 90% goose down, 10% goose feather
    Fill Power: 800
    Shell Material: Toray I-Tube (85% nylon, 15% elastane)
    Waterproofing: DWR

    Buy Now: $275

    The North Face Summit L3 Down Hoodie


    Best Do-It-All Down Jacket

    Summit Series represents the most technical apparel and equipment that The North Face can cook up. These are the tents that are used as Himalayan base camps, the one-piece suits that look as suitable for outer space as for high peaks. It’s not just marketing chatter either; The North Face outfits its ambassador athletes in this stuff so that they’re better equipped to explore the places in the world we might only see in the pages of National Geographic, and when it sent its team to Antarctica this summer, it kitted them out in the L3 Down Hoodie.

    In an expedition kit, the L3 is more of a mid-layer, which means it’s perfect for the rest of us who tend to explore less extreme latitudes. It’s the classic down jacket, made thoughtfully in every way: it’s lightweight with 800-fill down and a ripstop exterior, includes two hand pockets, an adjustable hem and an adjustable hood. It has a much wider range of motion than we expected and is treated with a DWR finish. The best thing though? The cuffs, which are soft and stretchy and more comfortable than what the rest of the field uses.

    For a slightly more affordable down jacket with a similar set of features, check out Mountain Hardwear’s Phantom Hoody ($350). For a pricier upgrade, look at The North Face’s Summit L3 50/50 Down Hoodie ($475), which is also our pick for the most innovative down jacket (see below).

    Weight: 13.4 ounces
    Fill Material: responsibly-sourced goose down
    Fill Power: 800
    Shell Material: nylon
    Waterproofing: DWR

    Buy Now: $375

    Looking to save on down? These promising options are currently discounted in select colors and sizes.

    Montbell Plasma 1000


    Best Ultralight Down Jacket

    If you aren’t familiar with Montbell, you should be. They are one of our favorite ultralight brands, making high-quality sleeping bags in addition to down jackets. That reputation held up through testing the Plasma 1000, and we weren’t disappointed. Simply picking up the jacket can be shocking — even the lightest lightweight rain jackets are heavier. Exaggerations aside, when you toss it up in the air it’ll float gently back down, like a feather.

    The secret is high-loft 1000-fill down, which provides more warmth by weight than lower fill powers. It’s been hard to source in the past, but Montbell is now joined in producing a jacket that packs it — see Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer UL ($375) and Eddie Bauer’s MicroTherm 100 ($399).

    So despite its lean stature, the Plasma is toasty warm and packs down into a tiny stuff sack that fits in its pocket. We took the jacket on a shoulder season camping trip and were glad we did. It took up virtually zero space in a pack and was warm enough to extend a sunset hike into the dark.

    Weight: 4.8 ounces
    Fill Material: Power EX Down
    Fill Power: 1000
    Shell Material: 7-denier Ballistic Airlight rip-stop nylon
    Waterproofing: DWR

    Buy Now: $329

    Jöttnar Fjörm


    Best Heavy Down Jacket

    Jöttnar’s tagline is “Conquer Giants,” and that’s exactly what this expedition-class down jacket was built to do. The Fjörm is big, puffy, and most of all, warm. It’s filled with just under ten ounces of DownTek’s responsibly-sourced, water-resistant, 850-fill goose down — that’s a lot of warmth, but the jacket is still incredibly lightweight and compressible (it packs down into what seems like an impossibly-small stuff sack). That much warmth may be overkill for shoulder season use, but the jacket still breathes well enough to be worn in temperatures just above freezing and is certainly suited to go far below that mark.

    Despite the Fjörm’s size, it doesn’t feel bulky, as some expedition jackets tend to. It’s also incredibly comfortable, and Jöttnar improved the cuffs (small yet key points of jacket-on-skin abrasion) with the addition of a fleece lining. A drawcord waist, extra-large internal gear pocket, helmet-compatible hood, and two-way zipper give the Fjörm serious (and practical) mountain chops. But while this jacket may be built to equip high elevation adventures, its undeniable warmth and comfort make it suitable for wear in cities that see their fair share of frigid temperatures (like New York, for example).

    Weight: 24.2 ounces
    Fill Material: DownTek hydrophobic goose down, synthetic fill in cuffs and neck
    Fill Power: 850
    Shell Material: nylon
    Waterproofing: DWR

    Buy Now: $449

    Rab Infinity Light Jacket


    Best Down Jacket for Windy Places

    For years, the presence of a Gore-Tex tag on a product has signified best-in-class waterproofing. With the recent launch of Gore-Tex Infinium, the label means more (Infinium tags are also white instead of black). In Rab’s Infinity Light Jacket, which is still one of the few down jackets to utilize Infinium, it means superior windproofing and breathability. That combo makes it ideal for getting out and active in super-cold temperatures. Rab made it with mountaineers in mind, but it’s perfect for mountain towns and frigid cities too.

    Weight: 1 pound 2.5 ounces
    Fill Material: Nikwax hydrophobic down
    Fill Power: 800
    Shell Material: nylong with Gore-Tex Infinium and Gore-Tex Windstopper
    Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Infinium (water-repellant)

    Buy Now: $450

    Norrona Lyngen


    Best Down Jacket for Cities

    Not everybody is into the look of technical winter gear. The materials that make jackets warm and waterproof are often shiny or brightly-colored and covered in pockets and zippers, making wearers look like they’re headed to the mountains when they might just be commuting to the office. Gore-Tex launched its Infinium with remedying this stigma in mind. With Infinium, lifestyle drives performance, and technical fabrics might not look like technical fabrics, even though they’re still highly weather-proof and breathable.

    It’s true for Norrona’s Lyngen down jacket. Its outer shell is water-repellant and fully windproof, but unlike many of the other options here, it doesn’t have the characteristic sheen of ripstop nylon. Instead, it looks and feels more like a thin layer of leather. But style isn’t the Lyngen’s only play; that same material is incredibly breathable (Norrona built this jacket with ski touring in mind) and it’s filled with a hearty load of 850-fill, responsibly-sourced down. It’s very warm as a result — warm enough to wear as an outer layer in Northern Hemisphere towns during the dead of winter.

    Weight: 17 ounces
    Fill Material: responsibly-sourced down
    Fill Power: 850
    Shell Material: Gore-Tex Infinium
    Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Infinium (water-repellant)

    Buy Now: $599

    Black Diamond Vision Parka


    Most Durable Down Jacket

    Black Diamond emphasizes two things in the Vision: warmth and durability. The former is a given, but down jackets, particularly the lightweight, packable ones, are known for outer shells that are far from tear-resistant. So Black Diamond worked with a company in Japan to create a liquid crystal polymer coating that makes the Vision significantly more durable.

    The coating works wonders for rock climbers scraping up against a granite, but it also comes in handy when you accidentally scuff up against a wall in town or intentionally bash your way through brush on a hike. Oh, and the Vision is warm. Really warm. It’s Black Diamond’s warmest down jacket to date.

    Weight: 1 pound 4.5 ounces
    Fill Material: goose down
    Fill Power: 800
    Shell Material: 20D nylon liquid crystal polymer ripstop
    Waterproofing: DWR

    Buy Now: $450

    Marmot WarmCube EVODry Parka

    Marmot

    Best Waterproof Down Jacket

    In 2019, Marmot achieved furnace-level down jacket warmth in an unconventional way: In addition to employing the horizontal baffles standard to down jackets, it lined the interior with rectangular pods of 800-fill down. The technology is called WarmCube, and it was previously only available in a jacket meant for arctic-type expeditions called the West Rib Parka. (The West Rib earned a spot on a previous iteration of this list.)

    Marmot has since brought the tech to new designs, like the WarmCube EVODry Parka. This jacket still has those down-filled pods inside, and they’re separated by channels that hold warm air, just as they were in the West Rib. But the exterior is a two-layer waterproof shell that can handle snow and rain alike. The baffle-free surface makes this down jacket sneakily stylish and perfect for residents of cities that see their fair share of winter storms.

    Weight: 2 pounds 1 ounce
    Fill Material: goose down, synthetic insulation
    Fill Power: 800
    Shell Material: EvoDry 2L 100% Recycled Nylon Plain weave 3.9 oz/ yd
    Waterproofing: Marmot MemBrain Eco 2-layer, DWR (10k/10k rating)

    Buy Now: $525

    REI 650 Down Jacket 2.0


    Best Budget Down Jacket

    The middle ground between price and quality is a small plot, but REI figured out how to land there with its 650 Down Jacket 2.0. For only $100, this jacket is lightweight and provides plenty of warmth for use as a mid-layer on colder days and an outer layer when it’s slightly more temperate. The jacket is relatively unadorned – it has two zippered hand pockets and two interior drop-in pockets, and that’s it for features. For even more warmth and a more technical set of features, upgrade to REI’s Magma 850 Down Hoodie 2.0, which is an equally good deal at $219.

    Weight: 11 ounces
    Fill Material: power down
    Fill Power: 650
    Shell Material: recycled nylon taffeta
    Waterproofing: DWR

    Buy Now: $100

    Foehn Robson Down Hoody


    Best Down Pullover

    Familiarize yourself with Foehn. The small brand, which draws its name from the type of warm wind that can develop on the leeward side of mountain ranges, produces a small collection of apparel with rock climbing in mind while paying close attention to style — everything that the brand makes is suitable for city life too. Foehn’s most well-known piece is the Brise Pant, which raised more than $70,000 on Kickstarter, but its down jacket is equally-worthy of high praise.

    Unlike many of the other jackets on this list, the Robson is a pullover. It doesn’t use the common quarter-zip construction either, favoring a zipper on the side to accommodate entry and exit instead. This keeps the jackets face — a matte, Japanese-made stretch fabric treated with DWR — plain, like a sweatshirt. It makes for a stylish profile that’s sure to draw compliments (and questions about who makes it). But the Robson isn’t all looks; it’s plenty warm with a substantial helping of 800-fill down and includes laser-cut underarm vents that aid breathability during high-output activities.

    Fill Material: responsibly-sourced down
    Fill Power: 800
    Shell Material: Nylon
    Waterproofing: DWR

    Buy Now: $260

    Foehn Robson Down Shacket

    Foehn

    Best Down Shirt Jacket

    Shackets — a now-established subcategory cross between a button-up and an outer layer — come in many forms. Many are simply heavy shirts, but Foehn’s Robson Down Shacket is a mash-up in the truest sense. It contains the best features of the brand’s equally-awesome Robson Down Hoodie, including a stretchy, Japanese fabric exterior and premium 800-fill down innards. But it’s definitely a shacket, and not only because it has a snap-button front and a collar but also because it provides just the right amount of mid-level warmth to stay comfortable in those what-do-I-wear temperatures that are 15 degrees on either side of freezing.

    Weight: 12 ounces
    Fill Material: Responsible Down Standard (RDS) down
    Fill Power: 800
    Shell Material: nylon
    Waterproofing: DWR

    Buy Now: $225

    The North Face Summit L3 50/50 Down Hoodie

    The North Face

    Most Innovative Down Jacket

    Zipped up, The North Face’s L3 50/50 Down Hoodie doesn’t look all that different from the other down jacket from the brand to make this list, the L3 Summit Down Hoody (even the names are confusingly similar). That all changes when you open it up.

    Inside, the jacket’s baffles become obvious, accentuated even. That’s because The North Face developed a new construction method where nearly all of those baffles have room to breathe between them. The idea is simple, but it works: by leaving these spaces, heat and moisture can escape the jacket more efficiently, creating a versatile, heat-regulating layer. Consider this an upgrade pick to our best do-it-all down jacket, and one to think about buying if you spend significant time in the mountains during winter.

    Weight: 16 ounces
    Fill Material: water-repellent, Responsible Down Standard (RDS) ProDown
    Fill Power: 800
    Shell Material: nylon
    Waterproofing: DWR

    Buy Now: $475

    What to Know Before You Buy a Down Jacket

    An Intro to Down

    Down is found in layers underneath the rougher outer feathers of ducks and geese — it’s what keeps them warm while floating around all winter, so, naturally, it will keep us warm too. Despite that, moisture is the undoing of down, causing it to clump up and lose its heat-retaining qualities. It also should be noted that while large-scale efforts have been made by big brands such as Patagonia and The North Face, not all down is ethically sourced, and animal cruelty does happen.

    Fill Powers Decoded

    Down fill powers are numerical ratings that usually range anywhere from about 450 to 900. This number comes from a standardized test in which an ounce of down is compressed in a graduated cylinder and then measured for volume in cubic inches; that volume is the fill rating. An ounce of 900-fill down occupies more space (and thus traps more air and provides more warmth) than an ounce of 600-fill down. The two samples weigh the same, but one takes up more space and can trap more air, which means more warmth.

    What this boils down to is the idea that a higher fill power means more warmth for less weight. It’s important to note that two jackets or sleeping bags may have different fill ratings while providing the same amount of warmth — the difference is that whichever has the higher rating will pack down to a smaller size because less material is needed to get the same amount of warmth. High down fill powers tend to come with a heftier price tag, so consider what you’re going to use a product for when getting into those loftier feathers.

    How To Wash Your Down Jacket

    Most people take their down jacket for granted, expecting it to perform the same year after year without any maintenance. Over time though, down becomes compacted and dirty, which inhibits its loft and makes the jacket less warm. To clean your jacket, revitalize its warmth and get it ready for all your adventures, follow our simple guide.

    Put your jacket into a washing machine without an agitator. It is easiest to do this at a laundromat, but if your home washer is of the large, front-loading variety, feel free to toss it in there. If you use a washing machine with an agitator, you run the risk of tearing open your jacket or clumping the down in large balls inside — so avoid agitators at all costs.

    Wash with Nikwax Down Wash. Though there are other good down washes out there (namely Granger’s), we recommend using Nikwax’s Down Wash. Add the Down Wash directly into the washing machine, using about three ounces. Follow the directions on the care label of your jacket for specific temperature and cycle settings.

    Switch your jacket to the dryer and add tennis balls. Move your jacket over to the dryer, but before you turn it on, add in a package of new tennis balls. As the drier spins, the tennis balls will bounce around inside the drum, breaking up any clumps of down and helping dry the jacket completely. This also helps to restore the loft in the down feathers. As for dryer settings, low heat for a long period of time is the name of the game.

    Pause the dryer and manually break up any clumps. Every twenty minutes or so, pause the dryer and manually work out larger clumps of down. While the tennis balls work well to help break up clumps, you’ll need to put some extra effort in to break them up completely.

    Tumble dry until the jacket is completely dry. Dry the jacket until it is dry the entire way through. Not only does moist down function terribly as an insulator, it’s also prone to mold, which will lead to a stinky jacket.

Want an AMG G63? Enter to Win This One and You’ll Help Black Votes Matter More

The world is full of capable vehicles, but few can pull off quite as many different tasks well as the Mercedes-AMG G63. As we put it in our review, it’s effectively an automotive multi-tool — a single ride able to do the job of a muscle car, a luxury sedan and an off-roader. Of course, all that capability doesn’t come cheap; the G63 starts at $156,450, and come close to $190K when you start adding options and playing with the copious color choices.

Luckily, there’s another way you can try to park a G-Wagen in your driveway: by winning one. And even if you don’t bring home the proverbial bacon in this Omaze G63 giveaway, you can sleep well at night knowing you’re supporting a great cause.

See, this Omaze contest is in support of the Black Voters Matter fund, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase the representation of marginalized, predominantly Black communities and fight voter suppression across the United States. The group does so through a wide variety of initiatives, including voter engagement buses that help mobilize citizens during all three varieties of the voting process — voting by mail, early voting, and casting ballots on Election Day — and by hosting events like their BVM Parties at the Polls, which bring a carnival atmosphere to voting lines in order to make exercising your rights less of a chore and more of a pleasure.

So, long story short: help fight for Black voter rights, and maybe win one of the best SUVs you can buy at any price in the process. Sounds like a win-win of epic proportions to us.

And remember, folks: Election Day is November 3rd. Don’t forget to vote.

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Drift Off Into Weightlessness With the Varier Gravity Chair

Recliners have seen their boost in this modern era of entertainment and relaxation. They provide comfort whether in sitting or reclined position. The Varier Gravity Chair provides both but sans the need for any mechanical controls normally found in typical recliners.

This chair lets you “relax into complete weightlessness.” As its name implies, it relies on your body’s gravitational pull to create the ideal comfortable position. The slightest shift of weight lets you change sitting positions which results in smooth transitions from one position to another.

The Varier Gravity Chair features four angles that let you change positions. Leaning forward turns it into a kneeling chair and a slight backward shift puts you in an upright sitting position. A slight push on the ground with your feet tilts you back in a reclined position.

One unique feature of this ingenious design not found in any other of its kind is its unique rocking movement. It gently moves with your breathing as you drift into weightlessness. When you lean all the way back you are in a fully reclined position wherein your legs are elevated above your heart. This allows the chair to move in sync with your breathing as if discreetly rocking you to sleep.

All the while, the Varier Gravity Chair provides lumbar and neck support. The space between the adjustable headrest and tilted backrest provides freedom of movement for arms and shoulders.

The Varier Gravity Chair does not only assure optimum comfort but also quality construction. The framework is from top quality beech plywood treated with several layers of veneer and made strong and flexible.

Get It Here

Images courtesy of Varier Furniture

The Fire-resistant Snowpeak x Rumpl Nanoloft Takibi Blanket Is Perfect For Campfire Nights

There’s nothing like a good campfire and a warm outdoor blanket to chase the night chill away. The only danger with this combo though is it becomes a fire hazard. Not unless you have the Snowpeak x Rumpl Nanoloft Takibi Blanket.

Snowpeak collaborated with technical blanket experts Rumpl to create this limited-edition blanket that invites the warmth in but keeps the fire out. Its construction of fire-resistant recycled FR ripstop fabric and Rumpl’s proprietary NanoLoft insulation gives you unparalleled protection from the cold. The NanoLoft insulation is characterized by tiny circular clusters that mimic the properties of down.

Moreover, the Snowpeak x Rumpl Nanoloft Takibi Blanket gives another level of comfort. Its top shell has a DWR finish and acrylic coating (96% Polyester, 4% Aramid) to keep you dry in wet conditions.

Outside of its technical side, this blanket looks comfy enough already at first glance. It features fluid gridded quilting and an ultrasoft hand. Its shell bottom provides additional warmth with its construction of 100 percent post-consumer recycled 20D nylon insulation. Drape it around your shoulders or use Rumpl’s classic cape clip so you can wrap it around your body for a secure hold.

The Snowpeak x Rumpl Nanoloft Takibi Blanket is easy to stow away and bring along during your outdoor adventures. Simply roll it when not in use and secure with the added buckle system. It also comes with a strap made from nylon with aluminum hardware. This outdoor gear is also light at just 1.7 pounds and compact when packed down (14” L x 6” W) and wide enough to warm your body at a size of 70” L x 50” W.

Get It Here

Images courtesy of Snowpeak

An Awesome Military-Inspired Backpack Is Super Affordable Right Now

In 1985 the founder of Mystery Ranch, Dana Gleason, invented a revolutionary internal frame design called ArcFlex that permanently changed how pack makers think about load bearing. But Gleason and co-founder Renee Sippel-Baker hit their stride when Navy SEALs approached them in search of custom packs. Now they craft bags for the military, backcountry firefighters and the US Forest Service, but they haven’t forgotten the everyday outdoorsman.

The Urban Assault pack, which is currently 30 percent off at Huckberry, utilizes the same technical design features that make Mystery Ranch bags suitable for the most rigorous users but it includes features that make it ideal for the urban inhabitant. It’s made with 500-denier Cordura nylon and has a unique three-zipper opening system, two internal accessory pockets, a laptop sleeve and a quick-access lid pouch. It also employs a fixed-harness frame system, which allows the commuter-friendly pack to perform like a high-end expedition backpack.

Buy Now: $125 $87


The 8 Best Hiking Daypacks of 2020

Topo Designs

These aren’t the 60-liter-plus bags used for long-distance trekking, but they come with all the same features that make walking in the wilderness enjoyable.

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Die-Hard Panerai Fans Will Love This Special Watch

There was a time when the watch world had to rediscover Panerai. Following its transition from military watchmaker to the Italian navy to a new arm of the Vendome Group, the brand was in a ramp-up period in which it was producing wristwatches for civilians for the first time in its history. Newly minted devotees of the resurgent company were nicknamed “Paneristi,” and they cemented their love of the brand with an online forum aptly named Paneristi.com.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Paneristi website, the Italian-founded, Swiss-run company released a special limited edition Radiomir in a 45mm stainless steel case. Dubbed the Radiomir Venti (PAM2020), it features the Paneristi insignia on its dial and case back.

pam002020

Panerai

A brown, sunbrushed sandwich dial simulates the “tropical” effect of sun and weather on certain vintage watches, while gold-colored sword hands and beige Super-LumiNova recall vintage Panerai models. Powered by the in-house, manually wound cal. P6000, the watch features hacking and a three-day power reserve. It’s also water-resistant to 100m, and ships accompanied by a beige calfskin strap with two-tone stitching and an “OP” logo.

Limited to 1,020 pieces, the PAM2020 is available now for $6,500.

Learn More: Here

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5 Great Reasons You Should Be Shooting Film

Film photography tends to get romanticized these days. Aspiring Jurgen Tellers and Lomographers will wax poetic about the “transcendent experience of shooting film” and the “joy of just shooting.

As an avid digital photographer I couldn’t quite figure out what all the fuss was about, but I was willing to give it a shot. After about 72 rolls of film split 50/50 between 35mm and medium format over the past year (for those keeping track at home that’s about a DSLR in film and development costs) it’s safe to say that I’ve been won over. I’ll save you the metaphysics and poetry and get right into why I’m in love.

It’s cost effective.

I know this sounds like a joke but bear with me. Medium-format film in particular has a bunch of really interesting advantages over puny 35mm roll film (and digital DSLRs). The depth of field is better because of the larger film area, images are sharper because they’re usually scaled up less than 35mm (which also allows them to be enlarged way more). And thanks to some optical trickery, they more closely emulate what the world looks like to the human eye. A roll of medium-format film has 12 frames and costs about $10 to buy and develop. Shelling out nearly a dollar per picture might seem unbelievably expensive until you consider the digital alternative.

porsche 911 pentax 67 film
A Porsche 911 (996) shot on a Pentax 67 with Kodak Portra 160. The depth medium format film can offer is special.

Hunter D. Kelley

If you want to shoot medium format digitally, get ready for some sticker shock. A mid-range digital medium-format camera will run somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000; an excellent one will be closer to $30,000. That’s the cost equivalent of a film-based Hasselblad 500C/M and 2,800 rolls of film. In fairness, you’ll need to buy a good scanner to get the best of your film shots, but even including that it’s still a significant savings unless you’re shooting a lot and getting compensated well for it. So concrete reason number one why I’m in love with film? I can get the amazing results of medium-format photography without auctioning off naming rights to my first-born.

It’s a learning experience.

Every DSLR has a manual mode and manual focus, but — be honest — how many times have you used it while shooting day to day? Picking up a fully manual camera got me back to high school photo classes and reminded me of rules of thumb like “Sunny 16” and guide number flash distance. Stuff that I had completely forgotten came back quickly as I tried not to throw away money on muffed exposures. These days when I pick up a DSLR I still use autofocus and auto exposure, but I feel more aware of what the camera is doing and why — plus I’m able to change it if it’s wrong.

porsche 911 pentax 67 film
Shot with a Pentax 67, 105 2.4 lens and Kodak Portra 160 film.

Hunter D. Kelley

It’s a treasure trove of terrific gear.

It was hard to not be stoked when I got to use two iconic cameras that both cost less than a quality Canon DSLR lens. As far as quality per dollar, you can’t beat a lot of old film cameras. Hell, a good-condition Leica M6 body can be had for $1,500 and that’s one of the most legendary cameras you’ll ever find. Look no further than our vintage camera buying guide if you want to know what I’m talking about.

It saves you from the post-processing rabbit hole.

One of the best parts about film is that things look so great right out of the camera. Fuji and Kodak have spent years and millions of dollars perfecting their films for beautiful levels of contrast, grain and color so all you have to do is focus and expose. Sure, you can edit your scans in Photoshop like everything else, but you really just don’t need to (save for some exposure stuff here and there). Compare this to shooting in digital RAW — where the whole point is that images look like shit out of the camera and absolutely need post processing — and you can see why it’s so relieving not to spend hours in Photoshop adjusting color balances and tone curves.

It’s thrilling. Really!

This, like describing why you should do a kale juice cleanse, is the one that gets the most eye rolls when I try and describe why film’s great. And maybe I just have to concede and sound like a dick for a second. It’s really fun to shoot a roll of film, and that’s half because you have no idea what you’re going to come out with (if anything). The black box magic of photography is back. It isn’t a staid combination of ones and zeros that can be checked and adjusted ad infinitum, but rather light coming in and freezing little chunks of silver halide. You won’t get to see the results until the moment has long passed — and that’s pretty scary if it’s something important. It’s a little bit random and a little bit terrifying, but so rewarding when you get it right. And that’s the thing about film: you can talk about it endlessly and rationalize it with however many hundreds of words, but until you load a roll and give in to the haphazardness of this 200-year-old chemical process, you’ll never quite know what everybody else is on about.

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The 10 Most Exciting Pieces of New Winter Gear

The year 2020 has felt like some strange time warp, but we don’t need a Ned Stark quote to tell you what’s coming. Instead, we’ll share how we’re preparing for it — with a complete list of all the winter gear we’re most excited for. Snow squalls and sub-zero temperatures are no match for this new array of Gore-Tex-clad jackets, down-filled pants and so much more. It’s enough to get us energized for the flakes to fall in a year when we might otherwise be dreading it.

Faction Agent 3.0

exciting pieces of new winter gear

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Reacting to the pandemic, many ski resorts have already communicated new rules, including reservations for tickets and limited capacity on chairlifts. Not being able to go on the desired day seems inevitable, which is why it’s smart to build a ski kit that works at the resort and in the backcountry. Faction’s new Agent is ideal for such a scenario with a versatile construction that can handle all snow conditions and a low weight for when hoofing it is the only option.

Buy Now: $749

Jones Stratos

exciting pieces of new winter gear

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The talk of the 2020 OR Snow Show, the Stratos boasts the shape of a directional freerider and the soul of a freestyler. The sidecut and flex provide pop while the Float Pack inserts — extra holes that let you set your bindings way back — keep you flying high when the snow gets deep.

Buy Now: $580

Foehn Robson Down Pant

exciting pieces of new winter gear

Courtesy

Sweatpants have had their work-from-home moment, but they can’t stand up to bottoms stuffed with premium 800-fill down. If your home is as cold as mine, you can wear these indoors as well as out, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing all winter long. Hell, I’d wear these to the office if those were still a thing.

Buy Now: $200

Stanley Titanium Travel Mug

exciting pieces of new winter gear

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It’s pricey, but Stanley’s Titanium Travel Mug is also undeniably sleek. It’s just the thing for toting hot tea/coffee/Glühwein around when outside temperatures can penetrate any vessel that isn’t double-walled and vacuum-sealed. Plus, it’s leakproof, so stashing it in a ski pack next to extra layers isn’t as nerve-racking as it seems.

Buy Now: $100

Patagonia Descensionist 32L

exciting pieces of new winter gear

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Speaking of ski packs, Patagonia’s freshly updated Descensionist is the one we’ve got our eye on this winter. The new design features the requisite shovel/probe/snow tool pocket and a roll-top construction, which is handy when you inevitably overpack. There’s also a side-access zipper for reaching things at the bottom when there’s not enough time (or space on the chairlift) to dig through from the top.

Buy Now: $179

Zeal Beacon Goggles

exciting pieces of new winter gear

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This product is proof you can innovate without breaking the bank. The 10-degree tilt of the cylindrical lens mimics the physics behind structures like air control towers, cutting glare, boosting vertical peripheral vision and helping you focus on the most important part of any run: the way down.

Buy Now: $129

K2 Maysis Clicker x HB Snowboard Boot and Clicker x HB Step-in Binding

exciting pieces of new winter gear

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Clicker tech harkens back to the early days of boarding, but K2 has completely revamped it with a new system featuring a highback and toe-heel mounts to better mimic the feel of a classic strap-in set-up. Potential advantages over Burton Step-Ons? K2 Clicker boots can still be used with traditional bindings, and the process of getting in and out may come naturally to cyclists, as it’s somewhat similar to engaging an SPD pedal.

Boot: $400 | Binding: $260

Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Plus Jacket

exciting pieces of new winter gear

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Gore-Tex’s brand-new Pro fabric would be bright enough of a highlight on its own, but Norrona gives it plenty of competition with the rest of the features in this jacket. Chief among them is an additional front zipper that reveals a mesh vent enabling easy access to an avalanche transceiver or anything else you want at hand.

Buy Now: $899

Buff Thermonet Hinged Balaclava

exciting pieces of new winter gear

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Face coverings appear to be a universal requirement at ski resorts this season, making the release of Buff’s new Balaclava ideal timing. The “hinged” part of its name refers to a design that makes it easy to pull up and down over your nose without the whole thing shifting around under a helmet and goggles, which is nice.

Buy Now: $30

MountainFlow Eco-Wax Quick Wax

exciting pieces of new winter gear

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Not-so-fun fact: petroleum-based ski wax slowly sloughs off into the snowpack, and last year, an estimated 2.5 million pounds wound up in U.S. waterways when the flakes melted. Thankfully, MountainFlow’s earth-friendly blend of plant-based waxes and oils rivals the performance of traditional ski wax — we know because we tried it — and costs the same or even less.

Buy Now: $16

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Darryl Brown Is Designing a New Kind of Workwear

The titans of workwear are few but mighty. Levi’s, Carhartt, Dickies — generations-old brands with extensive track records of producing clothes built to withstand a hard day’s work. Their garments have also weathered the test of time, becoming immortalized into the canon of men’s style.

Darryl Brown, a former railroad engineer who launched his eponymous label in 2019, wants his name to be the next in the canon, but he knows it won’t happen by simply regurgitating classics and raising the prices. Brown’s familiar designs are informed by his experience working industrial jobs, but they carry a fresh feel and upgraded materials. In his words, Darryl Brown Clothing Company is what would happen “if Dries [Van Noten] and Carhartt had a baby.”

We talked with the up-and-coming designer about the start of his brand and what authentic workwear means in 2020.

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darryl brown workwear
Darryl Brown at his showroom in Paris wearing the DB T-Shirt ($80), the DB Cargo Workpant ($190) and sneakers by Mihara Yasuhiro.

Heitzel Alvarenga

How did you move from the railroad to fashion?

I’ve worked for Chrysler and General Motors, working as an engineer and driving trains. But while I was doing that, a friend of mine, a guy named Zach Beebe, opened a streetwear boutique called Nex. He wasn’t the fashion guy, so he asked me to come and help them run it — be the buyer, do marketing, brand activations, initiatives and stuff like that.

It took a while for you to start your own brand. Was making your own brand the ultimate goal?

I started off just wanting to be a stylist. I never really wanted my own brand. I was always more into helping other people grow their brands.

darryl brown workwear
Inspired by legacy brands Goyard and Converse, Darryl Brown aims to create workwear with lasting appeal.

Heitzel Alvarenga

How did you get into styling?

My friends would tell me, “Man, you should be a model, bro. You should be a stylist.” And I’d be like, “Well, I’m not being a model. What’s a stylist?” “The person that gets celebrities and entertainers dressed.” And for me, that moment that was, like, mind-blowing. I was like, what? I never knew something like that existed.

So you started styling in your free time?

Yeah. We used to throw parties and events. We’d be booking Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller — rest in peace — all those guys. But at this time, none of them guys were even signed yet. We booked Machine Gun Kelly for, like, a hundred and fifty dollars and gas money. He came up to me and he’s like, “Hey bro, what’s that hoodie? Can you get me one?” And that was kind of, like, the beginning of our relationship. He was my first official client.

“We’re still tying up our boots and putting on our slacks and our uniforms, but we’re not necessarily going to factories every day.”

Eventually, you ended up with Kanye West and worked as his head stylist for four years. How did that happen and what kind of influence did he have on you?

If anything, Kanye just helped me polish my skills for who I really am. You get what I’m saying? It’s like being a really dope basketball player, and being put on a team with Jordan or Lebron. You’re still a great player, and you’re still you. But you got to play with Jordan and win a ring. I look to Kanye like a real friend, like a big brother. He opened so many doors up for me and set me up so I could fly on my own.

Why’d you leave Kanye?

It was just time. I was ready to start my own thing. I had already put my first collection into the sampling phase and I was preparing to launch at Paris fashion week that January. We were kind of in a transition phase where we were living between Chicago and Los Angeles. And there were a lot of moving pieces, a lot going on. And I just felt like, okay, this is the perfect time because nobody gets to leave Kanye on good terms.

darryl brown workwear

Heitzel Alvarenga

Any other influences?

My dad was an ex-military man, worked for Chrysler for, like, thirty years; truck driver. He’s more like a manly man, workwear-inspired. Dickies and Red Wing boots every day for him. That’s [how] you get Darryl Brown Clothing Co.

What about other brands? Who is doing it right?

I love Jil Sander. I love Lemaire. I just love The Row, how they just constantly deliver every single time. Their collections are like butter, like Uniqlo on steroids but more minimal. Instead of thirty-three colors, it’s five. It never changes, the quality is always good. And it’s simple. It’s just simple.

I feel like those brands that we’re talking about, they’re going to live forever. They have such a huge fan base. They’re genreless. They don’t have to worry about going out of style. I want to be a Black designer living in that space. I feel like sometimes we’re only allowed to come in if we’re being over-the-top, we have to be so over the top and flashy and gaudy.

A lot of designers borrow from workwear, but you’ve said in other interviews that many designers are doing it wrong.

For me, I sat back and watched workwear become a trend. But none of these designers have ever worked a blue-collar, nine-to-five job a day in their life, you know what I’m saying? They don’t always hit the mark and connect with people because it’s not them, it’s just a trend that they tried to capitalize on. There’s nothing authentic about it and nothing authentic about the message.

“I’ve worked for Chrysler and General Motors, working as an engineer and driving trains.”

So when the fashion conversation turned to workwear and [people started asking] ‘Who should be making workwear?’ It should be me. You know what I mean? I kind of took offense, and then I took it as a challenge. I want to own this workwear space, especially as a Black man.

What about Carhartt and Dickies? Do you consider those brands authentic?

We were just wearing those brands because that’s what our parents could afford — or what we could afford. That’s what we were forced to go to work in, it wasn’t necessarily about fashion. And then Wu Tang took that and they brought it to prime-time television. When you would see your icons walking in the room and they got their Carhartt hoodie on, it’s not because they chose to do that. It was a product of their environment.

DB Third Shift Jacket ($200)

Darryl Brown Clothing Co.

DB Cargo Workpant ($190)

Darryl Brown Clothing Co.

Your pieces are more expensive than the clothing from traditional manufacturers. Where is the extra cost coming from?

The expense of it being made in America. I’m also using a heavier twill — the best of the best. I’m still going tight with the price point. I could make stuff [cost] eight hundred dollars. I could sell hype if I wanted to, but I don’t. I want things to last. I want repeat customers.

Where are you trying to take workwear?

I am creating affordable, sustainable, fire goods. I feel like it’s more about the uniform aesthetic — clothes that you don’t have to think about. It’s workwear, but it’s, like, the new workwear, because [we’re] a whole new workforce. We’re out here, we’re creating, we’re taking meetings, we’re moving and shaking. We’re still tying up our boots and putting on our slacks and our uniforms, but we’re not necessarily going to factories every day.

darryl brown workwear

Heitzel Alvarenga

The Best Two-Tone Watches, and Why They Don’t Suck

Two-tone watches are those which combine mostly steel case/bracelet constructions with gold elements for a bi-color look. This sounds simple enough, maybe even attractive — but this is a highly contentious combination of metals.

There’s clearly an audience that appreciates the look, as evidenced by many recent two-tone releases — but when I say contentious, I mean some people really hate it. (Editor’s Note: I really hate it.) For them, the look evokes something dated, cheap and even somehow sleazy. (Editor’s Note: Like, really sleazy.) They’ll say it reminds them of their tanned, octogenarian grandfather or looks like a compromise for those who want to be flashy but can’t afford full-gold (Editor’s Note: My grandfathers were never tan.) Little else in the watch world provokes vitriol like two-tone.

Clearly people who feel that way shouldn’t buy or wear such watches. Those who don’t share that sentiment, however, might counter that what some call “dated” others might call “retro.” So why shouldn’t two-tone have the same comeback that just about everything in watches from the 1960s and ’70s presently enjoys? In fact, there’s been a marked increase in two-tone watches released in recent years, and one supposes that it’s riding the vintage wave.

It’s not too hard to understand the anti-two-tone point of view, but this view is beginning to feel less relevant itself. Two-tone is like the mustache of watches: it shares stylistic associations with the swinging ’70s — but attitudes are changing and styles from those eras that were once rejected somehow look cool again. (To some people.)

Below are some two-tone watches that you’ll either love or hate.

Nixon Base

nixon two tone watch

Nixon

The two-tone look isn’t restricted to fancy-schmancy watches: if you simply like the warm color combination and want it in a casual package, this Nixon digital watch is one of the most affordable ways to get it on your wrist.

  • Movement: Quartz
  • Case diameter: 38mm
  • Water resistance: 100m
  • Price: $75
  • Manufacturer info: nixon.com

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    Timex Q Falcon Eye

    timex two tone quartz watch

    Timex

    The Timex Q watches are quartz-powered, proud of it and we love them for it. The Falcon Eye has a captivating look and cool personality, with its unique dial and applied, three-dimensional indices and text. Could it have been even more two-toned? Probably, but it meets the basic definition in mostly steel, with a bezel and crown in a gold-toned execution.

    • Movement: Quartz
    • Case diameter: 38mm
    • Water resistance: 50m
    • Price: $179
    • Manufacturer info: timex.com

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      Seiko 5 Sports

      seiko quartz two tone watch

      Seiko

      The Seiko 5 Sports is great as a casual beater, but the newer family that’s downsized to 40mm and sans the rotating diver-style bezel has a more versatile appeal. Here, it looks downright snazzy and offers the two-tone looks and an automatic-winding mechanical movement at an impressively approachable price.

      • Movement: Seiko 4R36 automatic
      • Case diameter: 40mm
      • Water resistance: 100m
      • Price: $275
      • Manufacturer info: seikowatches.com

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        Yema Superman Steel Bronze

        yema superman steel bronze two tone watch

        Yema

        While two-tone usually refers to gold or gold-toned elements, bronze kind of accomplishes the same thing — so we’ll include it here and let you be the judge. These new versions of Yema’s popular Superman dive watch emphasize the brand’s new movement, with the unique combination of a steel case paired with bezel and crown in bronze.

        • Movement: YEMA2000 automatic
        • Case diameter: 39mm or 41mm
        • Water resistance: 300m
        • Price: $545 (kickstarter price)
        • Manufacturer info: yema.com

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          Hamilton Jazzmaster Day Date Auto

          hamilton jazzmaster viewmatic auto two tone watch

          Hamilton

          You can’t expect solid gold components at this price range, but PVD gold-coated steel does the trick visually. What you can expect from Hamilton, however, is a strong value proposition, with Swiss automatic movements, premium features like sapphire crystal and great build quality. In other words, you get the two-tone look in a solid package for a pretty reasonable price.

          • Movement: ETA H-40 automatic
          • Case diameter: 42mm
          • Water resistance: 50m
          • Price: $1,145
          • Manufacturer info: hamiltonwatch.com

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            Zodiac Super Sea Wolf

            zodiac super sea wolf two tone watch

            Zodiac

            Gold and two-tone might seem to go against the character of a dive watch as a rugged tool, but it can work — depending on your tastes. Zodiac takes a classical approach with gold-toned bezel, crown and gold center links for its Jubilee-style bracelet.

            • Movement: STP 3-13 automatic
            • Case diameter: 40mm
            • Water resistance: 200m
            • Price: $1,395
            • Manufacturer info: zodiacwatches.com

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              Oris Divers Sixty-Five

              oris diver sixty five two tone watch

              Oris

              Another example of two-tone executed in bronze rather than gold, the Oris Divers Sixty Five has a very throwback feel to begin with, and the bicolor treatment only emphasizes this. The bracelet completes the look, and the dark blue dial adds some interest.

              • Movement: Sellita SW200 automatic
              • Case diameter: 40mm
              • Water resistance: 100m
              • Price: $2,450
              • Manufacturer info: oris.ch

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                TAG Heuer Aquaracer

                tag heuer two tone watch

                Tag Heuer

                Though TAG Heuer’s Aquaracer dive watch got a modern redesign a few years ago, the two-tone look of this particular model has a very ’80s throwback feel. A blue dial and the choice of yellow gold-coating give it even more glitz, and it’s sure to be one of those bi-color watches that produces polarized reactions.

                • Movement: ETA 2824 automatic
                • Case diameter: 41mm
                • Water resistance: 300m
                • Price: $3,100
                • Manufacturer info: tagheuer.com

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                  Tudor Black Bay Chrono S&G

                  tudor black bay chrono sg two tone watch

                  Tudor

                  “S&G,” in Tudor speak, refers to steel and gold. The Black Bay Chrono hit its stride with this particular version that offers a relatively dark look for a two-tone watch with its black dial and bezel. There are several strap option, but if you’re going full-in for two-tone you need the bracelet, which features gold center links.

                  • Movement: Tudor MT5813 automatic
                  • Case diameter: 41mm
                  • Water resistance: 200m
                  • Price: $7,000
                  • Manufacturer info: tudorwatch.com

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                    Cartier Santos Dumont

                    cartier santos dumont two tone watch

                    Cartier

                    The Cartier Santos Dumont is the original pilot’s watch, but it feels dressy from a modern perspective and looks incredible in this two-tone iteration. The gold hands echo the gold bezel and it all looks seductive against a black dial with a black leather strap. An in-house, manually wound Cartier movement keeps it thin and elegant.

                    • Movement: Cartier 430 MC manual
                    • Case diameter: 31.4mm
                    • Water resistance: 30m
                    • Price: $7,250
                    • Manufacturer info: cartier.com

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                      Bulgari Octo Roma

                      bvlgari octo roma two tone watch

                      Bvlgari

                      The Bulgari Octo’s complicated case design offers a lot of possibilities for swapping in certain elements for ones produced in gold. Here, several components are in 18k rose gold, while silver dial with gold hands and indices provides strong contrast and drives home the two-tone theme.

                      • Movement: Bulgari BVL 191 automatic
                      • Case diameter: 41mm
                      • Water resistance: 50m
                      • Price: $7,350
                      • Manufacturer info: bulgari.com

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                        Omega Speedmaster Mark II

                        omega speedmaster mark ii two tone watch

                        Omega

                        The modern remake of the Omega Speedmaster Mark II comes in three variations, one of which is this two-tone model. Solid 18k rose gold chronograph pushers and bracelet links use the brand’s own Sedna gold alloy. It goes to show that the bicolor look can work well for different types of watches and on a wide range of designs.

                        • Movement: Omega 3330 automatic
                        • Case diameter: 42.4mm
                        • Water resistance: 100m
                        • Price: $11,400
                        • Manufacturer info: omegawatches.com

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                          Rolex Datejust 36

                          rolex datejust 36 two tone watch

                          Rolex

                          Oddly, two-tone Rolex watches have a special name in the Rolex lexicon: their case/bracelet material(s) is (are collectively) called “Rolesor” — even when using white gold, which starts to blur the definition of two-tone. The Datejust is available in other sizes and configurations, too, but it’s probably the archetypal two-tone watch in many people’s minds.

                          • Movement: Rolex 3235 automatic
                          • Case diameter: 36mm
                          • Water resistance: 100m
                          • Price: $11,700
                          • Manufacturer info: rolex.com

                            Shop NowShop Pre-Owned

                            Breitling Chronomat B01

                            breitling chronomat b01 two tone watch

                            Breitling

                            After Rolex, Breitling is one of the brands most associated with the two-tone look. This Chronomat is new for 2020 and uses 18k red gold (just about any gold alloy can be used in two-tone) for various components. With a blue dial and red seconds hand, the overall aesthetic verges on colorful.

                            • Movement: Breitling 01 automatic
                            • Case diameter: 42mm
                            • Water resistance: 200m
                            • Price: $12,100
                            • Manufacturer info: breitling.com

                              Shop Now

                              Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding

                              audemars piguet royal oak selfwinding two tone watch

                              Audemars Piquet

                              One of the most iconic watch designs proves its versatility by looking good in many different iterations. Two-tone? Of course it fits. The bezel, crown, bracelet links and dial elements are in 18k pink gold, but the signature screws in the bezel are steel, providing an interesting contrast.

                              • Movement: Audemars Piguet 3120 automatic
                              • Case diameter: 37mm
                              • Water resistance: 50m
                              • Price: $13,800
                              • Manufacturer info: audemarspiguet.com

                                Shop Now

                                This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io