All posts in “Gear”

This Custom Perpetual Calendar is Proof of Ochs und Junior’s Watchmaking Prowess

Customized products made to a client’s exact specifications are few and far between in the watchmaking world — generally, they are the province of either a large Swiss firm making small batches of watches with custom dials for large companies (such as Rolex used to do), or for ultra-high-net-worth individuals or celebrities (such as Patek Philippe has been known to do for especially good clients).

Of course, if you are a watchmaking concern that regularly customizes its offerings for every client, the proposition of fashioning a unique watch is made somewhat simpler.

…somewhat.

If you’re a regular GP reader, chances are you’re familar with Ochs und Junior, the Swiss watchmaking company that distills dazzlingly complex mechanical mechanisms (such as the perpetual calendar) to just a few parts, and then completely redefines the system by which they are read and understood on a watch dial. Established in 2006, Ochs und Junior, under the direction of master watchmaker Dr. Ludwig Oeschlin and cofounder Beat Weinmann, has made some of the most remarkable watches of the 21st century. What’s more, all O&J pieces are customizable — if you decide to purchase, say, one of their perpetual calendars, you can customize nearly every aesthetic aspect of the watch, from the case material to the dial color to the strap material and more.

But the possibilities don’t end there, and chances are that if you’re good at what you do, and you offer complete customization, that one day someone is going to ask you to craft something truly unconventional.

In July 2017 a customer reached out to Ochs und Junior from California — he admired the company’s watches and design and wanted to inquire about a bespoke watch, but he had a unique story: the client worked in the health industry and had just undergone a bone marrow transplant to save his life. He wished to somehow incorporate the story of the bone marrow transplant into the watch and wanted to know what sort of possibilities there were beyond the Customizer available on the Ochs und Junior website.

During a one-hour phone call, the O&J team discussed with the client the essence of the watch, the materials that would be used and what was possible. He wanted to engrave several personal dates on the watch as well as visually represent red and white blood cells, platelets, arteries, veins and bone marrow, but he wanted to do so in a way that wouldn’t appear gaudy. Needless to say, this was a tall order.

The client and O&J settled on a perpetual calendar as the base watch type, and from there refined the customization. An initial design was mocked up in Photoshop, but translating this into an actual watch was much easier said than done. Eventually, O&J master watchmaker Marion Müller suggested collaborating with Bernadette Sommer, an artist working in the small Swiss town of Willisau who restores vintage pocket and wristwatch dials for Patek Philippe, Omega and others. Mrs. Sommer is an expert in painting microscopic patterns onto watch dials, so it seemed logical that her expertise could be used to realize the client’s vision.

All visible functional parts of the watch were manufactured in titanium by Helfenstein Mechanik in Aplnach, including the dial, date and month discs, main plates, hands, and more. Myriad small adjustments to the typical manufacturing process had to be accommodated in order to allow for the customization: for example, on parts such as the dial, onto which tiny veins were painted into the indices, the normal milling depth was reduced by 0.1mm to better allow access with a paintbrush (painting had to be done under a microscope in order to achieve the necessary level of detail).

“We knew that we had to yse the possiblities offered by Ludwig Oeschlin’s concept to their fullest in order to succeed in creating a watch with a perfect balance between elegance and symbolism.” -Beat Weinmann, Ochs und Junior Cofounder”

Once work had been finished machining all parts for the watch and the client approved the final design, detail work began. Because the perpetual calendar in question was a unique piece and single parts were manufactured (rather than entire series of parts), extra care needed to be taken to ensure that no part was scratched, lost or damaged during assembly. What’s more, O&J offered the client the opportunity to assemble the watch himself under the supervision of their master watchmaker, which he accepted. Before this could happen, however, the watch had to be assembled without the painted details in order to regulate it and ensure that it was working, after which it was disassembled, the finishing details were added, and it was reassembled and tested over several days…

…and then it was disassembled again, this time so that the client could assemble it himself.

At this point another firm, Birchler Gravuren und Lasertechnik AG in Neuheim, engraved the titanium case back and crown. The case back design shows the structure of bone marrow and was first milled into the titanium and then processed using laser technology in order to show different grades of grey and black. O&J’s textiles expert, Sabina Brägger, designed and assembled the watch’s custom pouch from vegetable-tanned Ecopell leather, with dark red seams to symbolize the arteries. A sturgeon leather strap with silver seams and a black version with red thread were constructed specially for the watch.

When all parts had been constructed and delivered and the watch had been assembled, regulated, and dissasembled, all that remained was for the client to come and assemble the watch himself, which he did in March of 2018. Needless to say, he was thrilled, and owns what is, to date, the most elaborate Ochs und Junior ever constructed, a watch that took an entire team of people almost a year to realize. More importantly, he has a constant reminder of the extra time that his surgery afforded him — time to spend with his family and enjoy life.

Everything You Need to Know Before Buying the Unloved Porsche 911

Almost everybody who loves cars loves the 911. Unless, of course, we’re talking about the 996 generation, made from 1997–2004 and perhaps one of the most vilified performance machines in all of car-dom. The 996 was the car that killed the air-cooled flat six, usurping the far more desirable 993 that preceded it. The 996 replaced the 911’s iconic round headlights with a shape vaguely reminiscent of a runny fried egg. The 996 came from the factory with a fatal flaw that could result in catastrophic engine failure.

I’m probably not making a great case for the 996 right off the bat, and on the surface, the odds are stacked against it. The thing is, though, that despite its faults, the 996 wasn’t as bad as many make it out to be. Today it represents pretty good value on the used car market, especially while air-cooled cars continue to trend upwards in price. As long as the significant issues with the car have been resolved, you have a relatively reliable, relatively practical and relatively affordable version of one of the most iconic cars ever made. Haters be damned.

Performance

This wasn’t just the first water-cooled 911, it was the first 911 since the model’s inception to roll on a completely brand new chassis and suspension. That means a larger — but sleeker — body and of course those new headlights. You know what it also means? Better handling. While earlier 911s tended to dangerously oversteer under heavy cornering, this was something engineered out of the 996.

In fact, in a 1998 review, The New York Times compared the 996’s handling more favorably to the earlier 993. Their analysis? “The [993] was substantially noisier at all engine speeds, and its handling characteristics, as good as they are, proved far inferior to the new car’s… By every measurement, on or off the track, the new 911 is superior to the old one.”

And that doesn’t even get us to power. Yes, Porsche switched to a water-cooled engine design to meet increasingly stringent emissions standards, but it also allowed them to add four valves per cylinder and to generally squeeze out more power. The base 993 Carrera, for example, was making 268 horsepower out of a 3.6-liter flat-six, while the comparable 996 made nearly 300 horsepower from just 3.4 liters; the later car, thus, was 0.7 seconds quicker to 62 miles per hour form a standstill.

That sort of progress is meant to be expected as time marches forward, but it illustrates just how much of a leap the 996 was. Yes, air-cooled Porsches will always be lusted after, but the 996 is very clearly not without its merits. What’s more, it’d make a reasonable daily driver, too. A long-term test of a 1999 Porsche 996 from Car & Driver lauded its “everyday practicality and reliability” even after accumulating thousands of miles of winter driving.

Problems

No discussion of the 996 is complete without mentioning the infamous intermediate shaft (IMS) bearing. The shaft connected the crankshaft to the camshaft by a ball bearing. The problem was that there was no way to lubricate this bearing and, in time, it would dry out and fail. Well, sometimes it would; a class action lawsuit cited that the failure rate was somewhere around 10 percent on 2000 to 2005 model years. What’s more, it would happen seemingly at random, with no warning signs. When it went, the fix was to replace the entire engine.

So, when searching for a 996, search for a model that’s had the IMS bearing issue resolved (and the paperwork to prove it). If you find a car that you like but hasn’t had the IMS bearing replaced by a more effective aftermarket upgrade, use that to your advantage when bargaining the price and budget for a fix after the transaction. According to Jalopnik, two proven replacement bearing kits both cost around $1,000, and you can even install a sensor that detects bearing wear.

IMS bearing issues aside, most purport the 996 to be fairly reliable, at least for a German sports car. One more thing to consider checking, though, is for any signs of the cylinder head and liners cracking. When getting the car inspected before purchase, make sure a borescope inspection is done to see if there’s any sign of this.

Trims

The beauty of the 911 is that they made more versions than you can shake a stick at. The cheapest versions today remain the more basic Carrera and Carrera S, which you can still find under $20,000, though better examples are in the low twenties. Expect to pay more of a premium for the 4 and 4S models, the latter which is prized not just for its AWD and higher engine output but its wider hips at the back. Expect those to run in the high twenties and low thirties. And do you want to know what’s really crazy? You can still get the batshit Turbo model for under $60,000. The coveted GT3 version will set you back somewhere around $70,000, but that’s still cheaper than later generations. There’s also the GT2, which has held its value well and still sells for well over $100,000 today.

Key Specs:

Engine: 3.4-liter flat-six; 3.6-liter flat-six; 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six
Transmission: 6-speed manual; 5-speed “Tiptronic” automatic
Drive: RWD; AWD
Horsepower: Between 296hp and 476hp
0-62mph: Between 5.4 seconds and 3.6 seconds

3 of the Most Stylish Guys We Know Explain Fall’s Key Trends

To usher in the start of fall, we talked to three of the most stylish people we know to learn about the season’s key menswear trends. Most fall collections are already on the racks at retailers across the country. And though warm weather is still holding on in many parts, it’s not too early to invest in new garments for cooler weather. We talked to three industry insiders — Bruce Pask, Jacob Gallagher and Erick DeLeon — about the fabrics and styles prevalent in many designers’ collections. From the proliferation of velvet to a focus on functional pockets, these are what the top apparel brands are doing in fall 2018.

Bruce Pask

Men’s Fashion Director at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus

Photo: Cory Vanderploeg

Velvet: “Evening wear continues to be a category where men are having fun, trying new things, experimenting beyond the classic tuxedo and dressy options for after 5. Velvet, in particular, is a fabric that is seeing many iterations and colors this season, whether in a deep navy evening suit from Brunello Cucinelli, a burgundy velvet bomber jacket from Amiri, velvet 5-pocket style pants from Monfrère or any number of jewel-toned velvet jacket from Giorgio Armani, Etro and Cesare Attolini. These velvet jackets can be work with traditional evening shirts, tux trousers and black bow tie for a more formal occasion, or just as easily paired with a pair of jeans and a tee shirt for an evening out on the town. I love the variety and versatility of these items, really allowing our customer to show his personality in how he chided to wear it.”

Velvet Tuxedo Jacket by Brunello Cucinelli $3,395

Velvet Two-Button Sport Coat Jacket by Giorgio Armani $2,295

The Parka: “No longer just utilitarian outerwear for inclement weather, the parka has become a means for both fashion and function. Tom Ford made a big statement with multiple versions of this channel-quilted outerwear piece, featuring them in his first menswear runway show held in NYC at the beginning of the year. Drake chose to sport a Tom Ford python printed parka in his ‘Nice For What’ video. Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, Balenciaga, Prada, Moncler x Craig Green and Valentino all have great parkas in their fall collections that we will start to see our customers wearing as soon as the weather turns.”

Snakeskin-Print Puffer Jacke by Tom Ford $4,990

Quote Puffer Jacket by Off-White $2,110

Erick DeLeon

Buyer/Brand Manager at Martin Patrick 3

Patterned/Non-Basic Shirts: “Whether that’s from a very low price point from a brand that we carry called Kennington — which did a bunch of floral prints or fruits — to Rodd and Gunn all the way to Culturata and even Gitman Vintage. [We’re seeing] some shirts that a couple years ago you’d look at it and be like, ‘That’s crazy, I’m not going to wear a shirt with a bunch of oranges on it.’ But, people are having a little bit more fun and are less afraid of taking those small chances.”

Ellerby Sports Fit Shirt by Rodd and Gunn $178

Green Paisley On Twill Western by Gitman Bros. Vintage $205

Deconstructed Blazers: “Versatility seems to really sell a customer, lately, more than anything. It’s like, ‘Hey I can wear this to this occasion and this occasion.’ Whether that’s a trend or not, it’s definitely worth noting. Because in that vein, brands are responding to that. Deconstructed blazers are still very much on trend because you can travel with them, you can throw them in a suitcase. Boglioli is a perfect example of that — you can dress it up with a slack or you can wear it with a jean.”

K-Jacket by Boglioli $1,205

Brands Sticking to What Works: “At least this season, I didn’t see this much of trying to chase a trend or trying to start a brand. What has historically worked for brands is back on track. There was a time when Rag & Bone was over-designed or tried to do a lot, but it seems like they’ve toned it down a bit. And the same thing with Vince, Varvatos and Theory — it feels like they’re back in the lane where they were very successful, but still pushing the boundaries with fabric blends.”

Manston Bomber Jacket by Rag and Bone $595

Yost N Twill Jacket by Theory $495

Jacob Gallagher

Fashion Editor at The Wall Street Journal’s Off Duty Section

Utility and Function: “Utility and function have become the two dominant characteristics that people want out of their clothing. We’re seeing a lot of garments that are very pocket heavy; designers are really doubling down on that look from a lot of Japanese brands like Junya Watanabe to South2 West8 to Engineered Garments. But if you look at Lanvin or Goscha Rubchinskiy, they’re doing a lot of garments that have so much practical purpose to them. What I really like about it is it’s a trend that has a real functional value to it. Look at Mophies and wallets and phones and AirPods and keys and whatever else you may need throughout the day — I love this idea that clothes are speaking to that and are making our lives easier.”

Canvas Blazer by Junya Watanabe $1,135

Ripstop Camo M-65 Jacket by Goscha Rubchinskiy $990

Hiking Boot-Sneaker Hybrids: “I really love Roa right now. They’re a luxury hiking boot if you will. It’s this great hybrid mish-mash: they have a practical purpose for being in the rain or snow but are also a really cool-looking shoe. They are also a weightier shoe. It’s a nice anchor on a look.”

Neal Sneakers by Roa $335

British Checks: “We’re going to see a lot of British checked overcoats in particular. I think it’s really speaking to the fact that we’re heading back towards a time when designers are going to be a lot more sartorially-minded. This use of very traditional Anglo-looking fabrics — houndstooths, glen plaids — but then taking them and doing them on overcoats that are softer (softer shoulders, a little bit looser cut through the body). I think someone like Dries Van Noten does this really well and MP Massimo Piombo is amazing at this stuff.”

Houndsooth Coat by Dries Van Noten $1,715

Coat by MP Massimo Piombo $890
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

7 Small-Scale Backpack Makers You Need to Know About

When Yvon Chouinard started forging climbing tools in his homemade blacksmith shop, he had no intention of starting one of the biggest outdoor apparel and equipment companies in the world. All he wanted was better tools for himself and his friends that would better aid them in scaling the granite walls of Yosemite and beyond. He targeted the hardcore users, and it was only as he and his team grew by creating more products and marketed them more widely that Patagonia became as far-reaching as it has.

Not every company can be Patagonia though, or wants to be for that matter. Even after luck is taken out of the equation, some brands remain small on purpose, whether it be because the gear they’re creating is custom and difficult to scale, or to better serve their core users through focused attention to detail. This is especially true for the handful of cottage backpack makers that continue to craft covet-worthy bags for everyday users and dedicated thru-hikers alike.

Information about these backpack makers is often spread word-of-mouth instead of through national marketing campaigns; you won’t find their names plastered in magazine spreads and their websites can look like they’re from 1999. The common thread that runs through all of them is a committed base of customers with undying brand loyalty, and that devotion is returned in kind.

Madden Equipment

In 1974, Dan Madden, then an instructor for the wilderness education program Outward Bound, witnessed one of his students dragging a broken backpack along a trail and thought he could do better. He could, and quickly after launching Madden Equipment, Outward Bound students and others began buying his packs en masse. At one point, the company sold more technical backpacks in Europe than any of the leading brands today. Then, in the mid-2000s, after being acquired by the French company Lafuma, Madden Equipment went defunct due to competition.

Ten years later, with a little help from a revived appreciation for story, simplicity and retro outdoor style, Madden Equipment returned with a new line of backpacks. They still hold true to the originals in that they’re hard-wearing, understated and 100 percent USA-made, and they still use the same rugged materials that made them so beloved in the first place.

Rivendell Mountain Works

Like Madden Equipment, Rivendell Mountain Works went through a boom and bust, and has since been revived. The company was founded in 1971 by Larry Horton, who placed a high value on simplicity in design. With this philosophy, the brand created its most distinct backpack, the Jensen, which uses a divided main compartment that provides comfort and structure when packed without the use of an internal frame. Rivendell prides itself on remaining super-small — it calls its model a “cottage industry” and uses “village-based” production that has various makers crafting its backpacks across multiple home workshops. With this approach, Rivendell can continue to ensure the quality and longevity that it became known for so many years ago.

ZimmerBuilt

Even large outdoor companies are often based near the outdoor world’s focal points; in states like California or Colorado where, even in cities, access to wilderness is relatively easy. Chris Zimmer builds his ultralight backpacks in his home in Ohio though, and sends them to dedicated customers all over. Zimmer offers two made-to-order backpacks; everything else is custom, built to each buyer’s specifications that are gathered through one-on-one communication with Zimmer himself. Zimmer can design for any purpose, and primarily uses high-end materials like X-Pac, Dyneema and Dyneema Composites.

ULA Equipment

ULA is one of the younger companies on this list. Brian Frankle founded the company in 2001 after thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with the idea to make lighter and more durable bags that would cater specifically to the types of hikers who might undertake a similar journey. This community has widely adopted ULA’s packs, and the brand claims that close to half the hikers on the PCT carry one of its bags. The company is based in Logan, Utah, and practices a small approach to business that allows it to focus on quality and customer service. ULA’s collection of backpacks is small but carefully-considered to cover a spectrum of carrying needs.

ZPacks

ZPacks is another thru-hiker founded company that makes shelters, sleeping bags and clothing in addition to its ultralight backpacks. Its founder, Joe Valesko, designs and tests everything the company makes in its West Melbourne, Florida manufacturing facility. Like many of the other brands featured on this list, ZPacks focuses on the hardcore long distance hiking community and creates simple ultralight backpacks using high-end materials like Dyneema Composite. Each pack is made to order and functions with a range of accessories that can be paired with the bags for a customized experience.

CiloGear

Portland, Oregon-based CiloGear may be small, but its ultra-rugged bags have earned it distinctions including the American Alpine Institute Guide’s Choice award. That’s likely because the company sought to design the rugged and light backpacks that would allow mountaineers to carry heavy and sharp tools like crampons and ice axes without worrying about puncturing any fabric. Its bags are minimal on purpose, and while they don’t come with many bells and whistles, the construction provides plenty of options to swap out back panels and strap configurations depending on what the adventure calls for.

McHale Packs

Looking at the McHale Packs website is like wandering into an Internet timewarp. McHale’s history predates the web though — his backpacking and climbing career began in the late 1960s and included ascents of now-famous routes in California’s Sierra Nevada. He’s been making backpacks for nearly as long, and even helped to get Outdoor Research on its feet during that company’s first three years.

Today, McHale continues to craft backpacks in Seattle. Each bag is made-to-order using high-quality materials like Cordura nylon and Dyneema. McHale’s approach to pack making is hands-on and collaborative; the process involves sending McHale multiple rounds of measurements and photographs through email or DVD. No two backpacks are alike, and if the rave reviews are to be believed, each one is close to perfect.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear

Based in a former mill in Biddeford, Maine, Hyperlite Mountain Gear specializes in making ultra-light, ultra-durable packs and shelters from Dyneema, the strongest material in the world according to strength-to-weight ratio. Hyperlite’s founder, Mike St. Pierre, essentially founded the company on the potential of Dyneema alone and it’s found in some form in every one of its products, from 30-liter day packs to gear-gobbling 140-liter duffel bags. Best of all, each piece is made by hand to exacting specifications. Hyperlite makes such good products that some pro athletes have been known to carry them on the sly despite being sponsored by other brands. If it’s enough to make a pro athlete put down the freebies and pay out of pocket, it’s probably enough for any adventure you’ve got planned.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Today in Gear: Naadam’s Fair-Priced Cashmere Sweaters, Instant Pot’s New Blender and More

We’ve made some new adjustments to Today in Gear, including a new publishing time of 4 p.m. in order to capture all the day’s new stories. Comments or concerns? We’d love to hear from you at tig@gearpatrol.com.


Cashmere Essentials from Naadam
Naadam has already greatly altered how the cashmere industry should operate — cutting out the middleman to give higher profits to nomadic herders in Mongolia while also passing savings along to the consumer. And at its customers’ request, the company has taken those savings even further with a new 100 percent cashmere sweater that costs just $75.

Naadam is able to offer this price by controlling every stage of the knitting and manufacturing process, having retooled decades of manufacturing inefficiency to develop less expensive cashmere products. But its suppliers still take steps that most others don’t (like old-school hand combing for cruelty-free cashmere). So the result is an extremely soft, sustainably made, luxury cashmere sweater that’s fair to everyone from start to finish.

New & Noteworthy Releases

If You Grew Up With PlayStation, It’s Now Your Turn to Get a Classic

If You Grew Up With PlayStation, It’s Now Your Turn to Get a Classic

The PlayStation Classic is a miniature version of the original PlayStation console.

Another Uniquely-Designed Watch Finds a Home on Kickstarter

Another Uniquely-Designed Watch Finds a Home on Kickstarter

The NU:RO is a years-old concept with a minimalist aesthetic and a wild dial layout.

BMW Overhauled Its Most Successful Adventure Motorcycle For 2019

BMW Overhauled Its Most Successful Adventure Motorcycle For 2019

If you’re aiming to take on an intercontinental ride, spanning time zones with stretches of massively varying topography, it’s hard to find a better way to conquer it than a BMW GS.

You Can Now Buy a Previously Unproduced Eames Design

You Can Now Buy a Previously Unproduced Eames Design

Charles and Ray Eames’ radio design was ahead of its time in 1946.

A Mazda With a $30,000 Steering Wheel

A Mazda With a $30,000 Steering Wheel

With a set of shifter lights, two shifters on the back, 11 buttons, four scrolls, four dials and one LCD screen for basic readouts, there’s a lot to look at.

This Waxed Canvas Jacket Will Stand Up to the Worst Fall Weather

This Waxed Canvas Jacket Will Stand Up to the Worst Fall Weather

Heritage fabric from Halley Stevensons.

Instant Pot Released a High-Performance Blender That’s Half the Price of the Competition

Instant Pot Released a High-Performance Blender That’s Half the Price of the Competition

Instant Pot has yet to release the latest Instant Pot, but it did just surprise release something in a completely different category.

At $33K, the Lexus UX Is the Premium Brand’s Most Affordable Car

At $33K, the Lexus UX Is the Premium Brand’s Most Affordable Car

My prediction is that Lexus will edge back up as a major threat in the US premium segment. And who knows? Maybe the UX will be a great car too.


Fresh Deals



Brooks Brothers Blazers
Save 28%: Since 1818, Brooks Brothers has provided men with well-made clothing fit for business, travel and various professional ventures. The NYC-based brand is a stalwart element of offices across the country for good reason: its classic designs and quality manufacturing are still some of the best. If you’re in the market for a new blazer and want to save on some timeless options from Brooks Brothers, head over to Nordstrom Rack now. The Two Button Notch Lapel Classic Fit style is 28 percent off and now costs just $250. — John Zientek


Patagonia Black Hole Bags
Save 15%: Patagonia’s range of sturdy water-resistant packs and duffels — the Black Hole line — are made from ultra-tough 900-denier nylon and treated with a special TPU coating to keep moisture at bay in just about any environment.

Pair these innovative materials with the all-around durability, ergonomics and attention to detail that Patagonia is known for, and you can be sure these bags are all you need for whatever journey lies ahead of you — plus they’ll help you look extremely cool while you sprint through the terminal for that morning flight home.— Andy Frakes



T-Fal Non-Stick Skillet
Save 74%: Why do we buy high-priced stainless steel cookware? It lasts longer, performs better, is (probably) used more than all your other cookware and provides greater value over its lifespan than cheap alternatives. Non-stick cookware does not follow these same rules.

Perhaps most importantly, non-stick cookware is not used nearly enough to warrant the pricetags more premium brands place on it. Its greatest feats are flippable eggs and its delicate treatment of fish. There’s also the simple fact that all non-stick pans have an expiration date, whether it’s advertised or not (the closest you’ll get is a warranty duration).

This is because — through heating, cooling, flipping, scratches and cleaning — all non-stick pans eventually shed their precious non-stick coating, making them completely worthless to cook on. Most even have a number of “releases” they’re good for (how many eggs you’ll be able to flip), but rarely make this information public.

This all adds up to a very happy ending — in the world of non-stick cooking, you’re better off buying cheap and simply replacing your pan when the coating begins to flake or food doesn’t want to come off it. And if you’re in the market now, T-Fal’s perfectly satisfactory non-stick skillet is a whopping 74 percent off on Amazon today. That’s down from $50 to $13. — Will Price



Fleece Jackets
Save up to 63%: Fleeces have been around for a while. More specifically, since 1981, when Malden Mills (now Polartec) teamed up with Patagonia to create it. The original stuff was thick, fluffy and pilled up after lots of use, but it was light and warm, even when damp. The two companies continued to refine the material (lighter, warmer) and it’s been so successful that now pretty much every outdoor company uses it to create technical and casual layers.
Fleece comes in a wide variety of weights and fabric styles now too — there’s micro-grid for high-exertion activities, thicker stuff for everyday wear and that original fluffy, sheep-like stuff is still around also. Fleece in all its forms, from full-zip to quarter-zip to pullovers, is currently on sale at Mountain Steals for up to 63 percent off. — Tanner Bowden


Today on Gear Patrol

McLaren Completely Changed Supercar Design With the “Boundary-Breaking” 720S

McLaren Completely Changed Supercar Design With the “Boundary-Breaking” 720S

You’d be correct to say that McLaren — quirky, nutty, outrageous McLaren — has mastered the art of the everyday supercar.

How to Pack a Weekender Like a Pro

How to Pack a Weekender Like a Pro

How do you avoid an unnecessarily heavy travel bag? Our editor weighs in on the top tips for packing a weekender well.

The Best Hiking Pants of 2018

The Best Hiking Pants of 2018

Sure, you can pull on a pair of jeans and hit the hills, but a pair of hiking pants is a better decision.

Why You Aren’t Supposed to Polish a Watch

Why You Aren’t Supposed to Polish a Watch

Polishing your watch can decrease its value.

5 Things You Need to Bike Across the World

5 Things You Need to Bike Across the World

After spending a full year riding from Amsterdam to Singapore, Martijn Doolaard is on his bike again. This time, he’s riding from Vancouver to Patagonia.

The 15 Best Desks to Deck Out Your Home Office

The 15 Best Desks to Deck Out Your Home Office

Building out a place to get work done at home can be difficult. Our collection of the 15 best desks for every price range makes it suck a bit less.

This Is Polaroid’s Most Advanced Instant Camera – And It Has Portrait Mode

This Is Polaroid’s Most Advanced Instant Camera – And It Has Portrait Mode

It’s the first Polaroid instant camera to have two lenses, built-in Bluetooth and a companion app.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The Best Deals of the Day: September 19, 2018

Welcome to Deals of Note, where Gear Patrol captures all the best deals of the day. You can also follow all our deal posts in the Deals section. Comments or concerns? We’d love to hear from you at deals@gearpatrol.com.



Brooks Brothers Blazers
Save 28%: Since 1818, Brooks Brothers has provided men with well-made clothing fit for business, travel and various professional ventures. The NYC-based brand is a stalwart element of offices across the country for good reason: its classic designs and quality manufacturing are still some of the best. If you’re in the market for a new blazer and want to save on some timeless options from Brooks Brothers, head over to Nordstrom Rack now. The Two Button Notch Lapel Classic Fit style is 28 percent off and now costs just $250. — John Zientek


Patagonia Black Hole Bags
Save 15%: Patagonia’s range of sturdy water-resistant packs and duffels — the Black Hole line — are made from ultra-tough 900-denier nylon and treated with a special TPU coating to keep moisture at bay in just about any environment.

Pair these innovative materials with the all-around durability, ergonomics and attention to detail that Patagonia is known for, and you can be sure these bags are all you need for whatever journey lies ahead of you — plus they’ll help you look extremely cool while you sprint through the terminal for that morning flight home.— Andy Frakes



T-Fal Non-Stick Skillet
Save 74%: Why do we buy high-priced stainless steel cookware? It lasts longer, performs better, is (probably) used more than all your other cookware and provides greater value over its lifespan than cheap alternatives. Non-stick cookware does not follow these same rules.

Perhaps most importantly, non-stick cookware is not used nearly enough to warrant the pricetags more premium brands place on it. Its greatest feats are flippable eggs and its delicate treatment of fish. There’s also the simple fact that all non-stick pans have an expiration date, whether it’s advertised or not (the closest you’ll get is a warranty duration).

This is because — through heating, cooling, flipping, scratches and cleaning — all non-stick pans eventually shed their precious non-stick coating, making them completely worthless to cook on. Most even have a number of “releases” they’re good for (how many eggs you’ll be able to flip), but rarely make this information public.

This all adds up to a very happy ending — in the world of non-stick cooking, you’re better off buying cheap and simply replacing your pan when the coating begins to flake or food doesn’t want to come off it. And if you’re in the market now, T-Fal’s perfectly satisfactory non-stick skillet is a whopping 74 percent off on Amazon today. That’s down from $50 to $13. — Will Price



Fleece Jackets
Save up to 63%: Fleeces have been around for a while. More specifically, since 1981, when Malden Mills (now Polartec) teamed up with Patagonia to create it. The original stuff was thick, fluffy and pilled up after lots of use, but it was light and warm, even when damp. The two companies continued to refine the material (lighter, warmer) and it’s been so successful that now pretty much every outdoor company uses it to create technical and casual layers.
Fleece comes in a wide variety of weights and fabric styles now too — there’s micro-grid for high-exertion activities, thicker stuff for everyday wear and that original fluffy, sheep-like stuff is still around also. Fleece in all its forms, from full-zip to quarter-zip to pullovers, is currently on sale at Mountain Steals for up to 63 percent off. — Tanner Bowden

See More Deals

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

This Is Polaroid’s Most Advanced Instant Camera – And It Has Portrait Mode

The Polaroid OneStep+ ($160) is the company’s newest instant camera, and if you think it looks similar to its predecessor, the OneStep 2 ($100), that’s because it does – the two cameras are virtually identical. However, the OneStep+ adds way more advanced features that instant film enthusiasts will dig. It’s the first Polaroid instant camera to have two lenses, a portrait lens and the OneStep 2’s standard lens, so you can shoot super close-ups (from close as as one foot away) with background blur. It’s the first Polaroid instant camera to have built-in Bluetooth and also a companion app.

This app, called Polaroid Originals, allows photographers to shoot instant film photos in a number of different ways. They can shoot double exposures (two photos in a single frame) or with the “light painting” effect they can shoot photos with all kinds of crazy light effects. There’s a manual mode, too, that allows them to completely control things like the aperture and shutter speed, and they can also turn the flash on/off. And there’s also a self-timer mode, so you can set the OneStep+ down on a tripod or countertop and use your phone as a remote shutter button to take selfies. Essentially, it’s a more advanced instant film camera that gives photographers more creative options.

At $160, the OneStep+ is the most expensive instant camera that Polaroid makes, so to consider buying it you should probably be an advanced photographer or just somebody really into instant film photography. One such person is Jarry Truong, Gear Patrol’s Associate Videographer — I gave him the Polaroid OneStep+ and two sleeves of instant film (black and white) to play around with over this past weekend. Afterward, I asked him what he thought about the camera.

Question: What experience do you have shooting instant film cameras?

Jarry Truong: I use the Fuji Instax Wide. I have that as my personal camera, but I’ve used an older version of the Polaroid. My girlfriend has the original one. So you could say [the OneStep+] is a little mix of the competitor and Polaroid’s new version.

Q: So what are your initial thoughts about the OneStep+?

JT: It’s nice to have manual control over instant film. Instant film is usually a Pandora’s box when you open it. You don’t really know what you get until you shoot it. Now that you have control over things like double exposure or manual controls, it’s really nice. One downside that’s a little bit cumbersome, like you said, is that it’s weird having the phone out and then trying to compose your photo through the tiny viewfinder and still hit the shutter button on your phone. I’m not sure if that’s a UI/UX design problem, whereas it could be nice if you could set it to a specific mode that you want and then just hit the shutter button from your camera.

Q: Of the new features that you don’t normally get in an instant film camera, which was most interesting?

JT: I did enjoy Portrait mode – it was really nice. One caveat is that you do have to get pretty close for the background blur to come out, but it is really sharp and it’s a wonderful photo. It’s easy to switch into Portrait mode from Landscape mode, as it’s just a flick of a switch on top of the camera. The other modes are a little more difficult to get to just because you do have to pull out your phone.

Q: Did you try Manual mode in the app? What did you think?

JT: Yeah. It’s cool to see that you can meter. And you change the settings from aperture to shutter speed, and if you wanted to do double exposure, it’s in that Manual mode as well. One camera that a lot people weren’t a fan of was the Fuji Instax Square SQ10, and that’s because it went too digital. For an instant film camera that’s a big no-no. It’s taboo, basically, as you were able to see what you were shooting and then print it out. And you could even give it a color grade beforehand, by adding contrast or saturation, and that defeats the purpose of what instant film is to a lot of people.

Q: So you like that, with this camera, you don’t know how the photo is going to turn out?

Q: You want to shoot and then you kind of don’t know what you’re going to get. Just like using the double exposure [with this camera]. I didn’t know how it was going to look, but you kind of compose to what you think it will be. That’s the beauty of [using] film.

Read More Gear Patrol Reviews

Hot takes and in-depth reviews on noteworthy, relevant and interesting products. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The 15 Best Desks to Deck Out Your Home Office

The desk in the home workspace should be invested in the same way a bedroom should be invested in — if you’re giving the work from home life a go, you’ll be in that workspace for as many hours as you will your bed. A great many factors are considered when choosing what sort of desk you’ll build a home workspace around — square footage, need for storage, durability and looks — and the mountain of options out there hold an answer for virtually any living situation. The trouble is finding that answer. We explore the best in as many varieties as we can in our guide to the best desks you can find online in 2018.

Walker Edison Soreno 3-Piece Corner Desk

Lustrous, fairly lightweight powder-coated steel, this desk may not scream C-suite executive, but room for a computer that’s not boxed in and plenty of table space to get shit done, it’s apparent why this blacked-out L desk is one of the best-selling on Amazon. Oh, and it’s incredibly, stupidly cheap.

Ikea Besta Burs Desk

Ikea’s consistent blend of no-fuss designs are, in general, anti-statement pieces. That’s not a knock against them — like this desk, not everything needs to pull your eye when entering a room. This one is much easier to assemble than most of Ikea’s stuff, and it has two wide drawers to limit clutter on the desktop.

Poppin Key Desk

Poppin’s affordable, cleanly-designed office gear is designed to do a job for a long time and not make a big to do about it. The Key desk rides the line between a compact and normal-sized desk, has a drawer for storage and can be assembled in short order (and without tools). It also comes with a pretty decent warranty and is made with a nice powder-coated steel.

Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk

Wirecutter called it “Sturdier, better looking, and covered with a longer warranty than many desks costing more than $1,500.” Fully’s lineup of office products is practical, forward-thinking and centered entirely around products that adapt to your setting and mood. Its Jarvis desk lifts up or down with ease, and packs an impressive 350-pound weight capacity. This is a desk that understands you want the option of standing while working, but not be required to do so.

Akron St. Reader Desk

It’s a rare thing for any solid white oak furniture to be affordable, but this desk manages it while striking a classic look as well. Akron Street’s Reader desk sets up a bit like a larger version of the old schoolhouse desks your grandparents used in grade school. At under 40 inches in width and for an oddly affordable $395, it’s compact, sturdy and cheap enough to be your work HQ for more than a few moves.

The Floyd Desk

This is a big, wide desk that comes in flurry of color options and reeks minimalism. Floyd’s wares are sturdy — the desk is birchwood, linoleum and cold-rolled steel. They also delivery lightning fast (same-day in some cities), come with a 10-year warranty and assemble in minutes and without the need for tools. Push this desk up against a wall and get to work.

Blue Lounge StudioDesk

Cable clutter is a quietly maddening visual. Bluelounge’s StudioDesk has what amounts to a trapdoor for up to four devices built into the center of the desk, obscuring unsightly wires and cords and making you seem more put together. It comes in two sizes and with some pretty stellar birchwood detailing.

CB2 Drommen Desk

A blend of the architect and drawing desks (they’re pretty close anyway) and an upright piano, the Drommen by CB2 is storage-forward and sturdy as can be. Its V-legs, extra-wide desktop space (58 inches), three drawers and three cubbies are all made out of a hardwearing, sustainable acacia wood. Throw a bright-colored task lamp on it and some sketch pads and you’re halfway to being a sketch artist.

West Elm Mid-Century Wall Desk

Wall desks are the compromise between folks with small living spaces, but high demand for storage. West Elm’s narrow mid-century wall desk is only 38 inches wide, but features a seat-level drawer a standing height cabinet with space inside and to stack stuff on top. The side-to-side-sliding cabinet doors and the and light-colored wood look is clean and simple mid-century. Pair it with its matching bookshelf and you’ve got an ideal mini-office.

Article Taiga Smoke Desk

This is a lot of desk for well under $1,000. Article’s Taiga Smoke desk sports a solid oak body, heavy iron legs, two drawers and a decent-sized cabinet. The internet-only brand has no storefront and isn’t taking up real estate in stuffy department stores, so the prices you’re getting are far closer to the true value of the product.

Schoolhouse Foundry Desk

Schoolhouse is based in Portland, Oregon, and started out making old things new. Now, they make new things the old way in hopes they’ll stand the test of frequent changes in sceneery and taste. The Foundry Desk takes a cue from a time where work was done at a bench, and by hand. The desktop is maplewood and the base is a hand-shaped powder-coated steel.

Case Celine Desk

This spread-leg desk is the product of Good Design and Design Plus Award-winning furniture designer from Iran, Nazanin Kamali. Beyond an open cubby and large drawer, it’s characterized by its blend of mid-century shape, connical legs and compact size.

Artifox Desk 02

Tech meets tradition. Artifox’s Desk 02 (which also comes in walnut and a lighter oak) is made black with ink and given a sattin finish. The desk features a cable management system, a headphone hook and a clever felt cable grip keeps cords in place. The desk arrives in separate parts and can be assembled in short order.

Rejuvenation Lowell Desk

Portland, Oregon’s Rejuvenation was founded in the ’70s and, until they were acquired by Williams-Sonoma a few years back, specialized in making old designs new. The Lowell desk is just that — a mid-century design brought to the 21st century, but not in a showy modernist way. Brass details, ashwood and completely made in the U.S., the price tag is a product of supreme craftsmanship and materials that don’t completely suck.

Herman Miller Airia Desk

Recommending the Airia desk by Ayako Takase and Cutter Hutton is a bit of a cliché now, but it’s impossible to ignore. Rounded edges, loads of clever storage (cork-lined drawers, people), a solid walnut desktop frame, powder-coated aluminum legs and an absolutely timeless design (though designed less than a decade ago) make for the ultimate home workspace. Oh, and it won a Good Design Award the year it was released.

At $33K, the Lexus UX Is the Premium Brand’s Most Affordable Car

Updated September 19, 2018: The Lexus UX, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show last March, will be the brand’s most affordable vehicle yet. It’s a compact crossover that will be offered in both hybrid (the UX 250h base MSRP is $35,025) and non-hybrid guise (the UX 200 base MSRP is $33,025). It’ll be less expensive than its Mercedes-Benz (GLA 250) and BMW (X1) competition. Only the hybrid is offered with all-wheel drive (the UX 200 is FWD), and both models are less powerful than their rivals. However, the UX 200 utilizes the very good transmission found in the shockingly fun new Toyota Corolla. The UX will be available in December; the Hybrid will bow in January 2019.

Lexus UX 200 Specs:
Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Transmission: CVT; front-wheel drive
Horsepower: 169
Torque: 151 lb-ft

Previous Coverage:

It’s no secret that the Geneva International Motor Show is, essentially, the premier car-launch event of the year. Thanks to a mixture of timing and location, the early March mega-show is a new-car Mecca where dozens of exciting metal goes on display. We’re looking forward to seeing fresh cars, refreshed cars and much more next week ahead of the public unveilings. But among all the sport sedans and hypercars and 4x4s is one vehicle in particular that stands out: the all-new Lexus UX compact crossover. The UX is a tiny version of the NX crossover set to compete with the Audi A3 and Mazda CX-3, among many others. It’s also a massive deal.

Nevermind the dubious moniker Lexus is giving the car — the brand’s “first urban crossover” — what matters here is that the UX is poised to check off the right boxes for a boatload of customers. At the turn of the millennium, Lexus was on top of the premium segment in the US and remained such for over a decade. When the NX crossover was launched in 2015, the brand regained traction lost to Mercedes and BMW in the interim. I’m guessing that the UX may nudge Lexus even closer to the top again for two reasons.

First, the ‘compact crossover’ is, for all intents and purposes, a wagon. It’s a little taller and a little dumber, but it’s at least a wagon/hatchback hybrid. Wagons are, objectively, the most practical overall car choice around, but consumers prefer their taller SUV relatives, which is why ‘compact crossovers’ do so well: they represent wagon practicality and SUV-ish height.

Second, Lexus styling continues to be remarkably distinctive in a world of lookalikes. While most other premium makers are relying on design language inspired by underbaked clay introduced to a wind tunnel, Lexus doubles down on aggressive, sharp styling. I think consumers will be attracted to edgy, new cars in this segment, especially when alternatives are the relatively stale German competition and otherwise derivative contenders from Infiniti.

(Not for nothing, the name “UX” is a clever play too — there’s a high probability of tech-minded folks coming across this little car when Googling things like ‘new UX’ and ‘best UX’.)

My prediction is that we’ll see a multitude of UX crossovers materialize very quickly once the car is officially launched, that most of them will be mid-to-high trim levels and that, seeing success, Lexus will edge back up as a major threat in the US premium segment. And who knows? Maybe the UX will be a great car too.

Porsche Just Revealed its Maniacal 2019 911 GT3 RS

The latest non-turbo, race-ready 911 variant, freshly facelifted and very green, has finally arrived. Read the Story

5 Things You Need to Bike Across the World

We plan our trips. Sometimes to a T, one that’s often lower-case and situated firmly at the end of the word detriment. One of the greatest joys of travel is the unknown, and it’s through the impromptu — a chance meeting, a wrong turn — that a trip becomes an adventure. Martin Doolaard agrees. He applies the philosophy to travels that extend beyond casual weekend trips too: between 2015 and 2016 Doolaard spent 365 days riding his bike from Amsterdam to Singapore, and he’s currently well over a year into another ride from Vancouver to Patagonia.

One would think that this type of expedition would have a pre-scheduled route, but Doolaard likes to keep things open-ended. “I have a vague idea of a route,” he says. “There is so much coming your way on such a journey that it is hard to plan. I like to make decisions last minute.” Doolaard learned the practice during his first trip from Europe to Asia, which he planned to end in China but as he arrived at the Kyrgyzstan-China border decided to extend through India, and Southeast Asia down to Singapore.

Doolaard’s second big ride has already seen some equally-considerable itinerary changes. His original plan was actually to start in the Florida Keys and bike clockwise around the United States. “Quite last minute I made the call to fly to Vancouver. I was finishing some freelance jobs in Amsterdam and some other jobs I could do from Vancouver, so that’s how the idea grew to cycle from there,” says Doolaard. Extending the ride into the Southern Hemisphere seems just as spontaneous. “I had never visited Central or South America. Vancouver to Patagonia seemed like a logical straight line to do another big transcontinental journey.”

Equally crucial to Doolaard’s approach is going by bike. The primary reason for this? Bikes are slow. “While others would say that traveling faster would bring you to more destinations, I believed that in between two destinations are 20 more to explore,” he writes in One Year on a Bike, the photo-heavy chronicle of his first journey. Riding a bike does come with more hardships than planes and buses (“Cycling uphill with a 50-kilogram bike will always be a big struggle,” he says) but Doolaard also notes inverse moments of zen: “There’s nothing better than starting a downhill with a heated body and letting the wind cool the sweat on your back. It’s a glorious feeling which you will never have in a car.”

Naturally, riding a bike thousands of miles through regions that are often remote means that Doolaard has to be self-sufficient for days on end, and that means carrying a lot of gear. The list includes clothing, toiletries, a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cooking equipment, a full kit of photography equipment and accessories as well as the small necessities like a spork, a notebook and a knife. Some items become more vital than others, and Doolaard let us know — from somewhere on the road between Costa Rica and Colombia — which things those are.

Learn more about Doolaard’s journey and follow along at his website and on Instagram.

Martijn Doolaard’s Favorite Gear

iPhone 8

I can’t imagine traveling without a smartphone. I use it to communicate and view maps every hour of the day. I use an iPhone 8, but any other smartphone will do the job. It’s more the specific apps that are important. I use Google Maps for maps, but also to check out reviews of hotels, restaurants, activities and sights. For navigation I use Maps.me. It uses pre-downloaded maps, so it’s good for offline use. Most of the time I have internet via local sim cards, but cellular connectivity drains the battery of the phone so I like to shut the internet off as much as possible. MapOut is another that I use to check altitude in great detail. Then there are of course a number of social apps to stay connected with the world.

Panasonic Lumix GH5

Photography is an important part of my journey. It’s how I tell my story. I use a Panasonic Lumix GH5. It’s a professional lightweight camera with interchangeable lenses. I carry four lenses of different focal lengths. I like this camera because it’s great with video as well as stills, and the timelapse function comes in very handy to make selfies — I can put my camera on a tripod on a mountaintop and photograph myself cycling through a valley.

Macbook Pro 15″ (Retina, 2012)

My trusty Macbook has been shaken and stirred for about 30,000 kilometers of cycling around the globe and it still performs well. I use it to edit my photos, write stories, read about new places, prepare routes and alongside my iPhone, it’s my main tool to stay connected.

Bialetti Moka Express 1-Cup Espresso Maker

Consistently good coffee at any moment of the day — it keeps me going, whether I’m in a motel or camping somewhere.

Surly ECR

Obviously, the bicycle is the central piece that carries everything and it’s very important to have a bike that fits you properly. The Surly ECR is a steel frame, heavy-duty off-road bike. It’s built to resist and carefully tailored to fit all my gear. My camera is stored in the handlebar bag in front of me. I can take it out and shoot a picture, while cycling.

The World’s Greatest Mountaineers Share Their Most Cherished Pieces of Gear

Jimmy Chin’s first-ever film camera, Melissa Arnot’s bag of blessed rice, Ed Viestur’s Rolex watch and more. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Why You Aren’t Supposed to Polish a Watch

Back in 2011 a Rolex 6062, a sought-after gold-cased calendar watch, sold for well over half a million dollars at Christie’s. In addition to being a rare watch, the piece was notable for its case which was so incredibly oxidized it barely looked like it was made of gold at all. Two weeks earlier, Sotheby’s sold the very same reference but with a shimmering gold case that, on the surface, looked like it was in better condition. It sold for $62,500.

Why did the oxidized case sell for literally hundreds of thousands of dollars more? There could be a few factors, but one of the biggest was the fact that the oxidized case showed pretty clearly that it hadn’t been polished. According to Christies and the vintage watch collecting community at large, polishing a case is about as big of a no-no as you can possibly get. Vintage watches are increasingly being viewed as having the same collectability and stature as art pieces or classic cars, and in both these areas, originality is king.

So what about case polishing, in particular, is so egregious? According to vintage watch dealer Eric Wind, “I advise people to not have their watches polished or buffed since it ends up removing metal and changing the architecture of the case.” Polishing, naturally, removes metal that you can’t really add back. Unlike replacing original parts, there really isn’t any opportunity to reverse it, save for laser welding metal back on to the case, Wind says.

Moreover, collectors don’t like when an original case’s lines are altered and softened. “Compare a Rolex Submariner from the 1950s or 1960s with an unpolished case versus the vast majority with polished cases — you can see the remarkable “bevels” or “chamfers” on the edges of the lugs that add some design interest as part of the architecture of the cases, like the smooth lines and unusual design elements of vintage sports cars,” says Wind. “Even today, polishing more modern watches ends up softening the edges and making the watch look less crisp.”

Part of the problem with polished watches coming on to the market, according to Wind, is that case polishing has become a standard practice by manufacturers servicing newer watches. While you can try to specify not to have that work done, Wind says that, in some cases, those requests can go ignored or forgotten. If you want to retain as much value of your watch as possible, you can work with an independent repair shop that will more likely heed your demands to leave the case unpolished. “With service centers, their goals are timekeeping and water resistance and aesthetics are an afterthought…for collectors, the case and the dial are everything,” says Beau Goorey, head of LA Watch Works, a watch service center that primarily specializes in the case refinishing of vintage Rolexes.

If there’s an argument for refinishing cases, its the work that LA Watch Works does, mostly because his refinishing work involves restoring watches that have been polished by jewelers or unskilled watchmakers. “We’re restoring a case that’s otherwise great but at some point in its life a jewelry or watchmaker got a hold of it and shined it up, destroying all the geometry,” he says. While Goorey needs to remove a thin layer of material from the case, his use of a lathe, not a polishing buff, allows him to create case surfaces that are sharp and flat. While they’re not original, they are certainly an alternative to haveing a watch with a rounded and malformed dial.

Still, it’s that sweet, sweet original case that’s going to be considered the most valuable, and if you’re in the market for a vintage piece, or a pre-owned piece, it’s something worth keeping an eye out for. Most vintage watch retailers will offer some insight into whether or not the watch case looks polished, but there are a couple of ways to discern for yourself if you’re purchasing from a source that doesn’t make any such claims.

For one, look along the lines of the case; they should be sharp and “crisp,” not soft and smoothed over. If a case appears to have a decent amount of scratches or surface imperfections that would’ve been caused by wear, that’s a good sign, too. Many stainless steel tool watches came from the factory with sanitized, brushed or sunray finishing, so check to see if that looks present. And, naturally, if you have an image of an original example to compare it to, that’s particularly helpful.

A Mazda With a $30,000 Steering Wheel

Of all the facets and accouterments in your car increasingly growing more complicated, the steering wheel is leading the charge. At first, the steering wheel was tasked merely with turning the wheels, then buttons and dials started populating the small space to control radio volume, cruise control, phone calls and even change the way the car handles. The design tactic certainly clutters the real estate and is done in the interest of safety — the less time your hands are off the wheel, the better. But if you think the steering wheel in a modern road car is overpopulated, slide into the Mazda RT24-P IMSA prototype race car and belt your self in front of its $30,000 direction changer.

Modern top-tier race cars are exponentially more electronically complicated than their forebearers. Before the advent of traction control, the driver’s right foot took care of managing grip. Before shifter paddles were bolted to the back of the wheel for quick shifts and seamless gear changes, drivers were doing it all manually. Engine revs and speed, those were on the dash. Now, cars like the Mazda RT24-P put all of those operations and more on the wheel solely on the steering wheel.

If you really want to trace this trend back as far as you can go, you can argue it started in the ’60s when Jackie Stewart taped a wrench to the steering wheel of his BRM Formula 1 car so he could get out if he crashed. Mazda driver Tristan Nunez doesn’t have a box end wrench strapped to the wheel of his RT24-P, but he says “this is by far the most complicated steering wheel I’ve ever raced with — more so than even an Indycar.”

With a set of shifter lights, two shifters on the back, 11 buttons, four scroll wheels, four dials and one LCD screen for basic readouts like lap times and speed and to see all the settings he’s changing with all those dials and buttons, it’s easy to see why. Throughout any race in the IMSA, Nunez and the other drivers he shares the car with are constantly adjusting and alter the settings on the car to fit their specific tastes and to best suit the conditions on track.

Nunez can dial in how much weight he wants in the power steering and he can fine-tune the level at which the traction control intervenes. And like most road cars these days, the RT24-P has a few driving modes, but where your typical ‘comfort’, ‘eco’ and ‘sport’ modes suffice for your daily driver, Nunez has a dial with 11 different engine map settings. Oh, and his steering wheel also has a button to dispense a drink, through a tube going into his helmet. Consider the fact that this tiny little supercomputer steering Nunez’s Mazda race car is made from carbon fiber and magnesium and it starts to make more sense why it costs as much as a brand new Miata.

How to Pack a Weekender Like a Pro

Packing for a weekend away is an art form — particularly if it involves cold weather layering. A good holdall is large enough to store the essentials but gets the job done without being overly bulky. The key, aside from choosing a top-notch bag, is packing with authority. In the absence of a full wardrobe, packing pieces that can mix and match or ones that live in the same color family is the most indispensable trick of the trade.

Stock your luggage with garments that are casual enough for daylight yet able to be styled for an elevated look in the evening. A textured or patterned crew neck knit or two, dark wash denim or a crisp pair of chinos are classic choices. Throw in a versatile jacket and a change of shoes — like a timeless Derby — and your weekender will be set for any getaway.

Have High-Low Options

Editor’s tip: On any given weekend away, you really just want to relax (that’s what holidays are for). That doesn’t mean you don’t want to also have the option of popping into a nice restaurant for dinner or a stylish bar for date night drinks. Simply adding the right accessories, trousers or shoes, along with a versatile jacket, will sharpen an outfit to make it evening-ready.

Gondog Funnel Neck Nylon Jacket $315
Fryegg Crew Neck Cotton T-shirt $85
Hapnes Bird Embroidered Cotton Polo Shirt $119
Shandal Straight Fit Printed Hem Jeans $189
Escobar Nubuck Leather Belt $95
Hannel Block Colour Cotton Socks $15

Embrace a Color Palette

Editor’s tip: Packing light doesn’t have to be boring. It’s not necessary to go fully monochrome. For a cool weather, autumnal trip, the season lends itself to reds, oranges and earthy green hues — all of which look sharp with navy so the outfit choices are near endless.

Legit Checked Wool Jumper $175
Malttea Textured Crew Neck Jumper $175
Percypi Textured Wool Jumper $175
Charl Cropped Fit Wide Leg Trousers $159
Zakery Slim Utility Pocket Trousers $175

Cap Your Shoe Count

Editor’s tip: Whether hopping on a short flight or stepping onto the train, you likely won’t want more than a weekender and a small backpack for a few days away. Shoes take up precious space — a simple white sneaker is often all you will really need. Adding in a pair of Brogues (see above slideshow) is a safety for any elevated occasion that might arise. Other than that, you don’t need more. Save space for your mix and match knits and trusty dopp kit.

Thawne Burnished Leather Sneakers $210
Jhorge Burnished Leather Derby Brogues $250
Knitts Wool Holdall $319
Graveet Contrast Corner Backpack $249
Chocks Croc Effect Leather Wash Bag $115

The Upstart Genesis G70 Is a Truly Worthy BMW Competitor (Updated with Pricing)

Updated September 19, 2018: Genesis has released pricing figures for the G70 sedan’s six trim levels: Advanced, Elite, Prestige, Dynamic, Sport M/T (manual transmission) and Sport. The entry-level car, dubbed 2.0T Advanced, sports a 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four and will start at just $35,895.

Other trim levels feature a combination of the 2.0 turbo or a 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6, automatic or manual transmissions and all-wheel drive. AWD will be a $2,000 option on all trims but is not available with the manual transmission. At the top of the price spectrum will be the Sport trim level car equipped with the V6 — the 3.3T Sport — which will cost $50,495.

You’ll read below that the G70 is a direct competitor to the likes of BMW’s 3-Series. Car and Driver points out that the G70 prices above also reflect over a $5,000 discount compared to comparable BMW cars. That’s… significant.

The Genesis G70 will be available in dealerships this week.

Previous Coverage:
The bold run at the premium-luxury segment from South Korea’s Genesis continues with the mid-sized G70, a spry and sporty model that in no way feels like the product of a novice carmaker. It’s just too good.

Of course, it’s not really a novice carmaker. The young brand — this is its third vehicle, and third sedan, in as many years — has the not-insignificant business chops, deep engineering bench and hefty funding of Hyundai Motors behind it, as well as the benefit of having had that parent company take the learning-curve hit with its largely unsuccessful (in the U.S. anyway) Equus sedan over the last decade. But still, it’s entering a ridiculously tough venue. Going up against the likes of Lexus, BMW, Audi and Mercedes for U.S. dollars — carmakers that are giving our own hometown heroes Cadillac and Lincoln plenty of grief — leaves very little margin for error. There can be no mistakes with their cars, no weak spots whatsoever in design, build or performance.

Has the G70, available in both a twin-turbo V6 or a turbocharged inline-four, got the chops to run with the big dogs — or, more specifically, the mid-sized dogs — in the shape of the BMW 3, the Mercedes C-Class, and Audi’s A4? Yeah, frankly, it does.

The Good: This is the lowest and widest car in its class, which means the seating position — also unusually low within the car — lends a true sports-car feel to the drive. It’s the first thing I noticed when I got in, and it generated an immediate visceral effect. It just felt right. The second thing I noticed: How that low center of gravity impacts handling. The car feels terrifically flat and steady, thanks in part to that quality. The visibility is also great, thanks to its modest A-pillars, the downward-curving hood and the increased road view generated by — again — that low stance. Also, I’m a big fan of the buttery-smooth six-speed manual transmission. It’s a rare treat in a mid-sized sedan these days — or any car, for that matter — and Genesis insiders confide there’s no business case for it. But it’s such a pleasure, and absolutely among the last truly modern cars you’ll be able to find with one. If the realities of sharing your car with friends and family preclude going all-in on rowing your own, the automatic is perfectly crisp and responsive, especially with the paddle shifters employed.

Who They’re For: The line-topping G90 two steps above the G70 is a proper luxury cruiser — a chauffer-ready waft-mobile that, like its S-Class, A8, and 7-Series counterparts — will ensure that you arrive at work refreshed. You’ll be in a safe place; cared for, with that glint of well-being in your eye. Good for you! The mid-range G80 — shorter, spryer-er — will energize you for your work day. You’ll arrive ready to take on the world, kick butt and still be your best self. With the G70 — well, you just won’t show up for work at all. Screw that. This is a driver’s car, so that’s what you’re going to do with it.

Watch Out For: The optional perforated, quilted, contrast-stitched leather seats look fantastic, but draw grit, crumbs and general schmutz like nobody’s business. Other than that, there’s precious little to complain about with this car, which is a testament to the seriousness with which Genesis is taking its craft.

Alternatives: As mentioned, this car is aimed squarely at the Audi A4, the Mercedes C-Class and the BMW 3-Series, so that’s your direct competitive set. But there are plenty more options, including the Cadillac ATS and ATS-V, the Lexus IS, the Acura ILX or TLX and even the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Indeed, those infernal crossovers aside, this is still the hottest segment among true driving enthusiasts.

Review: I drove the G70 in and around Monterey, California, during the annual Pebble Beach Concourse D’Elegance car show in late August. As you may know, this show — once primarily a vintage car show — is now ground zero for car porn of all stripes, from the classics to the rediscovered sleepers up through the mega-hypercars of today. My point is that there are plenty of cars to admire and ogle while here — yet somehow, this admittedly relatively mainstream luxe ride still drew its share of eyeballs. Partially that’s because people have known the car was coming, and my borrowed samples were among the first in public. (At least three gaggles of car nuts queried me about it, beyond the appreciative glances I received while driving.) But the other part of the equation is that it’s simply a lovely car, with nice proportions, clean lines and enough character to set it apart. The low and wide stance and the powerful grille also give it a subtly aggressive exterior look. People genuinely seemed to dig the car, and that bodes very well for it.

Of course, there’s only so much supercar traffic I can take, so I headed for Big Sur every chance I got. There the demanding curves — largely absent of traffic in the wee hours of Saturday morning — proved a fine match for the G70. Its light weight made it feel tossable without feeling like you couldn’t reel it back in when you needed, and its electrically assisted steering and responsive transmission, whether the manual or the automatic — I took each down there — were always ready to power me out of the turns, with the manual’s well-modulated clutch release effortlessly synced up and completely absent any audible or haptic hiccups during those rare moments of hesitation, while, say, second-guessing your gear selection and slipping into and then immediately out of one on the fly. That’s when you risk embarrassing yourself. The G70 never embarrassed me.

Both engines were easy to enjoy, with the four-cylinder producing barely any lag even if its 260 lb-ft of torque couldn’t quite keep up with the 376 lb-ft in the V6. Still, they each acquitted themselves well, if slightly differently, in the more dynamic stretches of CA-1. Both engines come with an AWD option, which can transfer power almost entirely to the rear wheels as necessary to maintain traction. You also have multiple modes depending on the model you get — including Comfort, Sport, Eco, and Custom — and there’s even have a launch control function in the rear-drive automatics.

Inside, the nicely firm leather and supportive seats kept me as planted as the car in Big Sur, and the overall quality is exceptional — easily competitive with the class-leaders from Germany. The 15-speaker, 600-watt Lexicon audio system, cranking from both my iPhone and Sirius XM, generated a robust and satisfying audio experience for my solo bombing runs down to Le Grande Sur, as nobody in their right mind actually calls it. The audio system has about as many modes as the car itself, which in turn has its own mix of trim levels available, including Advanced — counterintuitively, the base model — Elite and Prestige. So pay attention to what you’re doing when ordering (and driving) this car.

Verdict: Genesis has taken an interesting strategy in its lineup rollout. First, hit all three sedans, then the SUVs and crossovers — three of which are due by 2021 — that seem to be fueling so much demand among consumers. That means that, in short, if it can build its base with customers excited about what many argue is a fading body style — and, in fact, cut its teeth on that style — the SUVs and crossovers could be titanic home runs. What does that mean for the G70? Well, it means the third one is the charm, to twist a phrase, and this car has plenty of charm.

What Others Are Saying:

• “Lighter and nimbler than the Kia, it’s also more handsomely designed and better executed throughout. Its solid chassis, refined demeanor, and vice-free behavior when pressed hard all measure up to the high standards that prevail in this class.” — Kevin Wilson, Car and Driver

• “The V6 is the same engine used in the Genesis G80 Sport and Kia Stinger, but this may be the best application of it yet. The G70 is lighter than the other cars, and its chassis is well equipped to handle the engine’s power. The base four-cylinder engine is less thrilling, providing only adequate thrust. But that engine is available with the manual transmission and, because the four-banger weighs less than the V6, the front end feels more responsive in corners. So, while the V6 is more thrilling in a straight line, the four-cylinder offers a more rewarding overall driving experience.” — Stephen Edelstein, Digital Trends

• “So, the new 2019 Genesis G70 checks all the major luxury sport sedan boxes with attractive styling, a well-trimmed cabin filled with tech and extremely capable performance chops. But the question remains: Will it matter? To those who hold brand prestige in high regard, it likely won’t, because nothing will be able to rip them away from the Audi rings, BMW roundel or Mercedes three-pointed star. But for those looking to break from the crowd and want a genuinely competitive alternative, the G70 is certainly worth your consideration.” — Jon Wong, CNET Roadshow

Key Specs

Specifications: 2019 Genesis G70

Engines:  DOHC turbocharged inline four-cylinder; twin-turbo V6
Transmission: 8-speed automatic; 6-speed manual (2-liter only)
Horsepower: 252; 365
Torque: 260 lb-ft; 376 lb-ft
Weight: 3,580 lbs (RWD 2-liter) up to 3,887 lbs (AWD V6)

Price: $35,895

Read More Gear Patrol Reviews

Hot takes and in-depth reviews on noteworthy, relevant and interesting products. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

McLaren Completely Changed Supercar Design With the “Boundary-Breaking” 720S

It has become an eye-rolling trope of automotive marketing to claim that extreme supercars offer “everyday drivability” or “accessible performance.” Part of that reaction is a kind of resentment from the overwhelming ranks of enthusiasts (like me) who will never come close to owning a half-million-dollar supercar and instead daily drive a truly “everyday” vehicle. Additionally, it seems to be an obscene lie to say that a 700-horsepower carbon fiber tub hovering two inches about pavement is in any way practical. Consider that claim from a relative point of view, however, and you’d be correct to say that McLaren — quirky, nutty, outrageous McLaren — has mastered the art of the everyday supercar.

I spoke with Dan Parry-Williams, McLaren Chief Designer, about what separates the physics-defying 720S supercar different from its competition, and the answer is, plainly, that the McLaren 720S is engineered that way. Thanks to a strong focus on ergonomics, the 720S is just as easy to park in a garage as it is to take on a road trip as it is to scream around a race track. And that’s not entirely marketing speak.

“It was a driver from the onset to go above and beyond in terms of ergonomics,” Parry-Williams told me. “We decided right from the get-go to actually break a new boundary for a supercar. If you like, when the 12C (made from 2011-2014) came out, and later became the 650, it had surprisingly good vehicle dynamics in terms of comfort and track performance, and I think previously that had been an area that had been a poor compromise for supercars. That car represented a big step forward in terms of being able to have both comfort and dynamics.”

This is where ergonomics come in to play. McLaren designs its cars to be more physically accessible and approachable from an everyday perspective, doing away with the notion that a supercar — say the Lamborghini Aventador — needs to be a squinty-eyed cave from the driver’s perspective. A driver must be able to get in and out in normal settings and see where he’s pointing his car — reasonable enough notions, but a significant departure from the rest of the fray.

“When we came to do the 720, we wanted first of all visibility to be amazing from the driver’s perspective,” said Parry-Williams. “So we slimmed down all of the [windshield] pillars, we worked out how we could have almost 360-degree visibility. The rear window is much lower than other supercars [and] visibility in the mirror is much better. Over the shoulder visibility too — we’ve glazed the quarter panels. That means that when you’re driving the car it’s not intimidating. You can park it, you can see what’s behind you, you can see all around you.”

Earlier this summer, I borrowed a 720S from McLaren for a long weekend, during which time I confidently wound through Manhattan with ease, parked in narrow garage spaces and easily cruised, passed and navigated all manner of highway driving. In many other vehicles – even massive G-Class SUVs and many passenger cars – I wouldn’t have felt as confident.

In terms of engineering tweaks, perhaps most significant in the 720S’s pursuit of ergonomics is the engine location. The topmost point of the entire car clocks in at about 47 inches tall — for comparison, a Toyota Camry is about 57 inches tall. You can imagine, then, that space is precious. “We decided to actually lower the engine — we redesigned the entire plenum of the engine to be about three and a half inches lower,” Parry-Williams explained. “There’s space inside the car for two [duffel bags]. You’ve got room in front for two … and we created this big luggage space over the top of the engine.”

Aside from its alien design, the one aspect of any McLaren that almost any 10-year-old is most excited about are the doors which, of course, open upwards. Certainly, the upward-swinging doors give the car an even more exotic look, but they are truly a practical addition, says Parry-Williams. “We set ourselves a target: if you park the car between two other standard cars in a parking bay, can you fully open the doors? You can’t even do that in a compact.” That’s another area where supercars haven’t been particularly brilliant. We decided to go back to the door concept we did for the F1 — the previous generation of McLaren — where the door cut into the roof like a Ford GT40. Not because it was cool, but because what it does is create a different axis which throws the door over the top of the roof.”

Like I said previously, I squeezed the mega-wide 720S into a garage parking space from which I had no right being able to physically escape. The 720S is over 80 inches wide; compare that again to the Camry at just under 72 and you’ll begin to see what I mean. Inside there’s an astounding amount of room for a car that moves as though it’s mostly engine. “When you take the door across into the roof,” Parry-Williams continues, “you no longer have that restriction so the thickness of the door through that whole area can be like an inch thick instead of maybe three inches thick. Which means that in the 720 it meant that we could have this beautiful teardrop shaped glass house. It pulled the external surface inside where the driver’s head is considerably further than it was in the 650 but there’s actually more room inside. So we had an aerodynamic benefit, we had a design benefit from an aesthetic point of view and better ergonomics. That’s the kind of cool solution we really like: when there’s two or three things.”

It’s not only ergonomics that set apart the 720S. As one can imagine, its level of performance borders on indecent. I cannot fully explain in words what it feels like to accelerate at full tilt in a 720S. The best I can do is to say that it is a lot like one of those barf-inducing, magnet-driven roller coasters that accelerate faster than they should, only with less barf. Mashing the throttle from a docile 30 or 40 miles per hour conjures enough adrenaline in the next four seconds to revitalize a corpse and make you see stars. I say this without irony: it is enough to make me afraid. The sound from behind your head — whooshing turbos and air being sucked into that lowered plenum — sounds nuclear, like a cheesy sci-fi movie about rocketships that can somehow make noise in the vacuum of space. In short, the physics of an accelerating 720S feel as though they simply should not happen.

I didn’t take the 720S anywhere near its limit, but on a track, it is a formidable weapon. “We’ve evolved the suspension concept,” Parry-Williams tells me. “The system we use, where it constantly monitors what the car is doing and then uses real-time to calculate optimize the damping. The roll of the car is [managed] with gas springs and hydraulic lines and not with mechanical roll bars. Which gives us this kind of characteristic of zero warp stiffness (where the body twists as the front and rear suspensions lift and drop at different rates). Normally when you go across a road where you’ve got changes in camber, it destabilizes a sports car because a car has to be stiff in roll. But the characteristic that this creates is one that just cuts through these reverse camber, combination corners. That’s grip and that’s performance.”

Did McLaren set out to evolve the supercar with the 720S? I think probably, but Parry-Williams suggests otherwise. “We just wanted to make it a big step up. We didn’t really have a benchmark. We felt that we had already achieved our benchmark target with the 650. We just wanted to see how far we could push it beyond that to evolve the dynamics and ergonomics and the design.”

Reading back, maybe this does all sound like marketing speak. But I swear to you on all that is automotive and holy, that I have never been in a machine that moves and feels like the 720S. It does things you don’t expect — like move as though it is part of a lightning bolt, or carry four duffel bags, or deftly park in between Camrys. Purposeful or not, McLaren has pushed and broken the boundary of what a supercar can be, not simply by going faster or being wilder, but being smarter.

The Best Hiking Pants of 2018

If you’re still wearing jeans to hike, it’s time to upgrade your hiking attire. They may work for some short day hikes, but if you’re ready to tackle a 14-er or one of the 46 peaks in the Adirondacks, you’re going to need something that can handle the constant motion and rigors of hiking. It’s not that hard to imagine — you wake up at the crack of dawn to brew coffee and heat up a bagel with some butter before filling up all your water bottles and hopping in the car to drive to your point of takeoff. It’s cold enough that you need a little bit of heat to warm up the car, but not so cold where you’re melting the frost off your windshield. The leaves are all vibrant in color — rusty reds, golden yellows and Hi-C-like orange. You park the car, throw a backpack over your shoulders and start walking up. About a mile in, you’re starting to warm up and feeling like your denim bottoms weren’t the smartest choice. While they hide sweat, they’re certainly not breathable. We’ll stop there (we could continue to criticize the use of denim while hiking) and show you four of the best hiking pants out there so you are always prepared. Each is lightweight, extremely durable and packs up small so you can toss them in any overnight bag.

Mission Workshop The Signal Pant

Yes, for $225 you could buy a new pair of nice leather boots, or a gym membership for two months, but hear us out. The Signal pant is one of our editor’s favorite travel pants because of its ability to perform in both frigid and hot temperatures, fit well and look great, which is ideal for hiking. The military-spec nylon is stretchy and durable, so you don’t have to worry about getting caught on rocks or carabiners or sticks. The YKK zippers and water-repellent finish keep your EDC and trail map safe. Did we mention the pants are guaranteed forever? That’s a pretty solid bargain. $225 and you might never have to buy a pair of pants again.

Mountain Hardwear AP Scrambler Pant

At just 7.2 ounces, these pants weigh less than some pairs of stability sneakers, and are likely lighter than your hiking boots. The pants are made from stretch cotton nylon sanded canvas and have a 32-inch inseam. Store keys and valuables in your back pockets with snap closures, or maybe just the chapstick you don’t want to lose. People love the waistband, which doesn’t require a belt, thanks to the elastic band and drawstring front closure. Performance stretch means you can tackle any trail or climb up to 5.15 — if you’re really feeling it. If you shop today, you can save up to $45 off the original $85 price tag.

Prana Stretch Zion Straight

With three inseam options– 30, 32 and 34– the Stretch Zion Straight is one of the most personalized pants on this list. With abrasion-resistance and a DWR finish, you can take these through rainstorms and back. It’s also UPF 50+, so the higher the altitude and the closer you are to the sun, the more the protection comes in handy. The mesh pockets, straight fit and adjustable waistband make these slim-fitting pants rather flattering. Choose from four colors: cargo green, a deep yellow, charcoal and a khaki.

Outdoor Research Ferrosi

Ron Gregg was an intense adventurer who knew he could improve outdoor gear, making it easier for everyone to attempt incredible excursions. As the founder of Outdoor Research, he passed that passion down to his employees who continue his legacy. The Ferrosi pant is one of those simple apparel items that OR tweaked and changed for the better. Water and wind-resistant, quick-drying and breathable, these pants are everything you want in a bottom layer that’s built to tackle your endeavors with you. The low-profile waistline is designed to sit underneath your harness so that it doesn’t get in the way. There are also drawcord ankle adjustments if you want to fit these around your hiking boots, or need to lift them up to keep your legs dry as you wade through puddles and mud.

Audi Introduces All Electric e-tron SUV for 2019

Audi just took the wrapper off the e-tron, the German automaker’s first all electric SUV.  Two electric motors power the all-wheel-drive e-tron. A 95 kWh battery gives it what Audi says is “well over 400 kilometers” of estimated range, or more than 248 miles on a full charge.  It comes equipped with LED lighting, air suspension, and 20-inch wheels. The 5-seater luxury SUV will hit dealerships in mid-2019.

Today in Gear: Comfortable Canvas Sneakers from TOMS, a Promising E-Mountain Bike and More

We’ve made some new adjustments to Today in Gear, including a new publishing time of 4 p.m. in order to capture all the day’s new stories. Comments or concerns? We’d love to hear from you at tig@gearpatrol.com.


TOMS Camo Canvas TRVL LITE Low Sneaker
With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, it’s time for your fall wardrobe. There are subtle ways to start implementing fall vibes into your rotation, especially when it comes to wearing more earthy tones.

The Camo Canvas TRVL LITE Low Sneaker from the purpose-driven TOMS is perfect to add a bit of that fall color pop while still getting the benefits of an ultra-lightweight, comfortable sneaker. Built for life on the move, it has a flexible outsole made from a custom TRVL LITE compound and a molded cork-covered footbed that provides superior cushioning. Leather accents and a wave-patterned tread round out the TRVL LITE to make one heck of a fall colorway sneaker.


New & Noteworthy Releases

Hate E-Mountain Bikes? Specialized’s New One Might Convert You

Hate E-Mountain Bikes? Specialized’s New One Might Convert You

Today, Specialized revealed the new Turbo Levo, an e-mountain bike that improves over its predecessor in every way.

Vizio’s Popular Soundbars Support Dolby Atmos (And They’re Not That Expensive)

Vizio’s Popular Soundbars Support Dolby Atmos (And They’re Not That Expensive)

Starting at $500, which is pretty affordable considering it’s a 5.1.2 system, complete with a subwoofer and two satellite speakers.

This Thermo-Sensitive Dyneema Jacket Could Change Technical Wear Forever

This Thermo-Sensitive Dyneema Jacket Could Change Technical Wear Forever

Stone Island teams up with ECCO LEATHER for a thermo-sensitive leather and Dyneema layer engineered to conquer cold-weather.

If You Invest in Quality Cashmere, Take Care of It Properly

If You Invest in Quality Cashmere, Take Care of It Properly

Cleaning, protecting and de-pilling.

This Affordable and Inventive Watch Now Comes in a Gorgeous Shade of Blue

This Affordable and Inventive Watch Now Comes in a Gorgeous Shade of Blue

A design that’s both playful and beautiful.

For a Better National Parks Souvenir, Get a Hat

For a Better National Parks Souvenir, Get a Hat

Most souvenirs are cheap. Not the goods made by Parks Project, an action-minded brand that just launched a new line of hats.

Outerknown’s Sustainable Fleece Jacket Is Perfect for Fall

Outerknown’s Sustainable Fleece Jacket Is Perfect for Fall

Cut from a soft, Italian-milled blend of cotton and polyester, this is one of the most luxurious ways to stay warm this fall.


Fresh Deals



Furniture from Target
Save 25% and Up: Like many categories, Target’s wares in the furniture and home space should not be written off quickly. The mega-retailer peddles an enormous number of good-looking, dead simple, budget items, and today a great many of those items are significantly more affordable.

Because Target believes we should celebrate coming of fall early, we will — take 15 percent off any furniture (even if it’s already discounted) with code FALL15 at checkout. Hot tip: check out the section of its site dedicated to furniture already on sale and stack the coupon with an already existing sale. — Will Price



Saturdays NYC Clothing and Shoes
Save 40%: Need to bolster your cool-weather wardrobe before the mercury drops? Head over to Saturdays NYC and save 40 percent on a range of fall essentials. Garments utilize quality fabrics designed to age well with time, developing unique patinas and fades with wear. Pick from chinos, sweaters, shirts, shoes and more, but don’t wait — with prices like these, sizes are bound to sell out quickly. — John Zientek


Zojirushi Commuter Mug
Save 62%: Zojirushi’s travel mug is excellent. The obvious and more ubiquitous strengths are its vacuum insulation and multi-walled body, but it’s the smaller details of this work commute essential that set it apart. The lid, for one, won’t spill or drip its liquid cargo even if dropped, knocked over or placed upside down. It’s also slim enough to fit in the cup holder of your car which, strangely enough, isn’t the norm.

Every size of Zojirushi’s subtly great mugs are all a part of Amazon’s Deal of the Day, and discounted more than 60 percent. — Will Price


Today on Gear Patrol

5 of the Best Essential Oils to Put in Your Diffuser

5 of the Best Essential Oils to Put in Your Diffuser

They’re not all the same.

The Best Family Car Under $30,000 Shootout: Honda vs Subaru

The Best Family Car Under $30,000 Shootout: Honda vs Subaru

The question, for parents who can’t afford to pop over to the Mercedes or Volvo dealership, is what is that best value family car?

This Watch Thrives in Harsh Elements Others Can’t

This Watch Thrives in Harsh Elements Others Can’t

The G-SHOCK MASTER OF G GG11000-1A8 is a watch built to withstand the toughest mud, dirt, and other elements the Earth can throw at it.

It’s Surprisingly Fun to Shave With Gillette Labs’ New Heated Razor

It’s Surprisingly Fun to Shave With Gillette Labs’ New Heated Razor

Want the most comfortable shave you’ve ever had? Get to Indiegogo right now.

Is Virtual Fitness the Future of Working Out?

Is Virtual Fitness the Future of Working Out?

In an industry driven by trends, is this one here to stay?

Why You Should Download iOS 12 Right Now

Why You Should Download iOS 12 Right Now

iOS 12 allows you to open the camera up to 70-percent faster while launching apps up to 40-percent faster than on iOS 11. It also bolsters your device with a lot more practical features.

Mido Multifort GMT Review: Two Time Zones for the Price of One

Mido Multifort GMT Review: Two Time Zones for the Price of One

Mido expands their Multifort offering with a dual-crown, internal bezel GMT available in several colorways.

Light L16 Camera Review: How Do 16 Lenses Compare to Your iPhone’s Two?

Light L16 Camera Review: How Do 16 Lenses Compare to Your iPhone’s Two?

The question is what narrative the L16 is trying to sell, and which one you’re most interested in buying. At the moment, to me, it’s predominantly a really cool hardware and software story, but not…

The Prison-Inspired Workout That’ll Get You in Shape

The Prison-Inspired Workout That’ll Get You in Shape

Coss Marte used his time in prison to get in shape and save his own life. Now, he’s teaching ex-cons to do the same.


Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The Best Deals of the Day: September 18, 2018

Welcome to Deals of Note, where Gear Patrol captures all the best deals of the day. You can also follow all our deal posts in the Deals section. Comments or concerns? We’d love to hear from you at deals@gearpatrol.com.



Furniture from Target
Save 25% and Up: Like many categories, Target’s wares in the furniture and home space should not be written off quickly. The mega-retailer peddles an enormous number of good-looking, dead simple, budget items, and today a great many of those items are significantly more affordable.

Because Target believes we should celebrate coming of fall early, we will — take 15 percent off any furniture (even if it’s already discounted) with code FALL15 at checkout. Hot tip: check out the section of its site dedicated to furniture already on sale and stack the coupon with an already existing sale. — Will Price



Saturdays NYC Clothing and Shoes
Save 40%: Need to bolster your cool-weather wardrobe before the mercury drops? Head over to Saturdays NYC and save 40 percent on a range of fall essentials. Garments utilize quality fabrics designed to age well with time, developing unique patinas and fades with wear. Pick from chinos, sweaters, shirts, shoes and more, but don’t wait — with prices like these, sizes are bound to sell out quickly. — John Zientek


Zojirushi Commuter Mug
Save 62%: Zojirushi’s travel mug is excellent. The obvious and more ubiquitous strengths are its vacuum insulation and multi-walled body, but it’s the smaller details of this work commute essential that set it apart. The lid, for one, won’t spill or drip its liquid cargo even if dropped, knocked over or placed upside down. It’s also slim enough to fit in the cup holder of your car which, strangely enough, isn’t the norm.

Every size of Zojirushi’s subtly great mugs are all a part of Amazon’s Deal of the Day, and discounted more than 60 percent. — Will Price

See More Deals

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Why You Should Download iOS 12 Right Now

Whenever a new iOS update rolls out it seems to carry a bit of trepidation. Will it slow down my iPhone or iPad? Will it sap my battery life? That red notification dot hovers over your Settings app, seeming to stare into your soul, taunting you to just download me. Now it’s iOS 12’s turn to do just that – the update is available to most iPhones (iPhone 5C or later) and iPads (from 2013 or later). So, should you download it?

The answer is yes. Download the hell out of it. Apple claims that its newest software update makes your iPhone and iPad much faster. It allows you to open the camera up to 70-percent faster while launching apps up to 40-percent faster than on iOS 11. And it can handle running more apps at once. Basically, it’s just going to make your iOS device better, even if your device is several years old.

But that’s not all. iOS 12 comes obviously comes with a heap of new features and apps, and probably more than past iOS updates, you’ll actually want to take advantage of them. These are our favorite reasons to download iOS 12 right now.

Editor’s Note: Some of iOS 12’s coolest features aren’t available at launch. These include Group FaceTime, which allows you to video chat with up to 32 people at once, and Siri Shortcuts, which allows you to program multiple actions with one “Hey Siri” command. Both features are expected to be available “this fall.”

Grouped Notifications, Boo-yah

Previously, managing your notifications was a bit of a nightmare, especially if you’re relaying on many apps to send you these push notifications. They piled up. And you’d see the meaningless ones (like when a rando wants to connect on LinkedIn) and miss the important ones (like your home security camera alerting you when your child gets home). iOS 12 introduces the ability to group notifications. Everything from the same app gets piled into one notification tab on your Lock Screen or Control Center. From there, you can clear them all or manage them. You can even choose to have an app deliver its notifications “quietly” so that they appear in your Notification Center but not on your Lock Screen. It’s simple and convenient.

Manage Your App Use with Screen Time

Screen Time is a new feature that you’ll find in the Settings menu and it simply lets you know which apps you’re using most often, and how much time you’re spending on each during the day. More importantly, it lets you manage how much time you send on apps. Scrolling through Instagram or Twitter too much and you want to quell your addiction? Set limits on how much time you can use the apps or schedule Do Not Disturb times for your device. It’s actually is a pretty good productivity tool.

Apple iBooks Is Now a Bonefide Audible Rival

The new Apple iBooks app has been drastically updated with new navigation tabs and larger, clear images. It’s posied to be all-around more pleasent experiance for anybody who reads books on their iOS device. More importantly, for the first time the iBooks app now has a dedicated tab for Audiobooks, meaning this is Apple’s full-on counter to Amazon’s popular Audible app.

Voice Memos Is Now on iPad

Apple’s extremely popular recording app, Voice Memos, is now available on iPad. Admittedly, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long for it to get there, but for the many journalists with numerous iOS devices, this is a godsend. Their recordings will instantly carry over to all their iOS devices (as long as they share an iCloud account) so there’s no need to go the AirDrop, Email or Dropbox route. Again, it’s just convenient.

Repeat Passwords Are Easy to Spot (and Change)

We’re all guilty of it, using the same password (or some derivative of it) over and over again. It’s easy, convenient and arguably the most surefire way of getting your password stolen. That’s why with iOS 12 your device will let you know if you’re overusing the same password too frequently. When you go Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Website & App Passwords you’ll see an “!” mark on all the apps that you have a repeat password. (This is also a great way to remind yourself of a certain password if you’ve forgotten.)

Share Photos with Your Family and Friends Is Easier Than Ever

It seems like a simple thing, to take a photo of somebody and then share that photo with that person in it, but it actually takes a lot of AI facial recognition magic. Well, now the Photos app is capable of doing just that. iOS 12 brings about Sharing Suggestions (prompted in the new “For You” tab) and once the Photos app recognizes somebody in your photo, it’ll it ask if you want to share that photo with them. If your friends or family members also have iPhones, they can quickly share photos of you with you, too. And you can aggregate everybody’s photos from the same event into one album. This is convenient, say, if you’re at a family party and everybody wants to share everybody’s photos.

Do Not Disturb, Improved

Do Not Disturb is more advanced in the latest iOS update. Nothing groundbreaking, but you’re now allowed to make the feature location-based – so you won’t recieve notifications until you leave a specific place. You can also set Do Not Disturb to kick in until something on your calendar ends. Say you’re in school all day or you’re watching a game and you don’t want to be bothered by notifications.

More Playful Ways to Use Messages and FaceTime

Anybody with iPhone X or later will be able to create a Memoji, which is basically an Animoji that looks like you (a person) rather than a dog, fox, rabbit or a poop. That’s great. Not exclusive to the iPhone’s with Face ID is the ability to add filters, stickers, and text to photos, similar to how Instagram does it. You can add also these fun things directly through Messages or FaceTime – just tap the new Effects button.