5 of the best mountaineering watches 5 of the best mountaineering watches

5 of the best mountaineering watches

Fergus Nash

Even the word mountaineering conjures images of triumphant explorers, daring to tackle some of Mother Nature’s harshest environments. Reaching the top of a mountain is the kind of achievement which resonates as easily with tiny children as it does with adults, encompassing a simplicity which must reach far back in humanity’s evolutionary chain. For as long as watches have been around, they’ve been used to aid mountaineers, and now to celebrate World Mountains Day we’ll take a look at five of the best mountaineering watches.

Rolex Explorer

Rolex Explorer mountaineering

To many, the Rolex Explorer is the ultimate one-watch collection. From the vintage examples of the 1950s, up to the modern sports watches of today, the Explorer can truly go anywhere and do anything. Originally however, it was launched with high-altitude adventure in mind. Although the story of Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary actually wearing a Rolex as they became the first men to summit Mount Everest in 1953 is still up for debate, Rolex’s sponsorship of their success was used to promote the first Explorer watches in that same year. The water-resistant oyster case and simplistic 3-6-9 dial layout has made it an incredibly popular watch for those who wish to capture the older essence of Rolex’s brand. There’s also a version of this watch that made it to our list of the best white watches. Price: A$11,350

Norqain Neverest Glacier

norqain adventure neverest glacier wrist

Launched in 2021, the Norqain Neverest Glacier is a relative newcomer to the watch world. From a specifications perspective there’s nothing which makes it any more capable for mountaineering than most other modern sports watches, however it makes up for that in two ways. Beyond Norqain’s mountain logo, the Neverest Glacier has been given a captivating dial in pure white. Inspired by the treacherous crevasses of Mount Everest, the cracked texture instantly transports your mind to a much colder climate. The second aspect of the watch is its charitable side, as Norqain have partnered with The Butterfly Help Project which supports the families and children of sherpas who have died in the Himalayas. Price: A$5,400 from the T+T Shop

Montblanc 1858 Geosphere

Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Mountaineering

The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere is the only watch on this list which actually looks like it could be an antique, thanks to the gorgeous globe hemispheres and the cathedral hands. Montblanc were quite ahead of their time releasing this watch in 2018, anticipating the extreme lengths that watch brands will go to for a unique, vintage aesthetic. It’s essentially a GMT and a world timer in one, incorporating both hemispheres so that neither half of the world is left out. If inspected closely, you can also make out dots on the map, which indicate the highest mountains in each of the seven continents as part of the Seven Summits challenge. The compass bezel also adds a lot of exploration utility and flair, while the fumé blue dial is glacial and mysterious. Price: A$10,410

Seiko Alpinist

seiko alpinist sarb017 wrist
Borna’s Seiko Alpinist SARB017

As you can probably see by now, mountain-oriented watches tend to give themselves away with their names. The Seiko Alpinist has been a cult classic for years, championing the green dial long before it became a worldwide trend. It’s recent reincarnation within the Prospex range retains its iconic inner-rotating compass bezel, which can help with navigation in areas without cellular or GPS reception. Its golden touches give it a bit more of a sophisticated quality, while also being among the most affordable mechanical mountaineering watches. Price: A$1,200

Casio G-Shock Rangeman

Casio G SHOCK Rangeman

While it’s all very romantic to bring a rugged, mechanical watch up to the surface of a mountain, realistically it’s not going to be the most helpful tool. If you want something that may actually benefit you quickly and reliability, a digital watch will always win out. The Casio G-Shock Rangeman from the Master of G series is a perfect example of function over form, although there is something to be said for its lumpy, hulking 53.5mm case which would easily fit over a snow jacket. It’s solar powered, can measure altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, and it can also give you quick direction readings. All of that plus the general features and indestructibility of a G-Shock makes for a truly adventurous watch on a budget. Price: US$330