Feature: 3 Watches To Survive The Apocalypse With
The apocalypse is coming. It’s a fact of life. Whether it’s of the four horsemen or mushroom cloud variety is yet to be seen—what’s for certain is that we need to be prepared. So, with the stockpiling, bunker building and survival training, we’ll need a watch—a watch that can survive the end times.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Survivor 26165IO.OO.A002CA.01
Sourcing sustenance in a post-apocalyptic world is one thing; defending them is another. In a world where ammunition is scarce, a currency of its own, personal security and that of those around you will be as big a concern as finding food to eat and water to drink. Roaming gangs will scour the wintery desert that spans for miles around, pillaging what they can, taking no prisoners. Whether you like it or not, you’ll need to be prepared—or you won’t last long.
But the paucity of weaponry won’t make that easy. Most will be forced to make their own from what they can salvage around them, relying on the solace of the dwindling communities for protection. Soon though, those communities will fracture, fear and pestilence driving pockets out further into the wilderness to take their chances on their own. With corruption and oppression unfettered, isolation will be the best bet against a dominion of force taking control.
So, if the hopes of carrying a working, well-fed pistol or rifle are slim, what hope does that leave the average survivor? With every day marked as the last, each sunset another line in the sand, it will be as much about presenting a deterrent than anything else. This is where the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Survivor comes in.
With a rifle muzzle crown, crosshair dial and—amusingly—handguard hands, the Royal Oak Offshore Survivor tells would-be bandits what’s what. Assembled with a solidity that makes a tank seem like a child’s Wendy house, the Survivor does exactly what it says on the tin: it helps you survive. When a Mad Max convoy of trucks with retrofitted flamethrowers and wheel spikes rolls into town, one look at this watch and they’ll know you mean business.
And if they don’t get the message, simply flick open the folding stock-style pusher guards and your intentions will soon become clear. As what little light from the bleak sun makes it through the vapour and dust that fills the air and glints off of the slots, holes and vents of the Survivor, your enemies will be blinded by the fear of what awaits them if they antagonise you further, and will hightail it back into radioactive tundra from whence they came. Or, if they haven’t already got the message, you can take the watch off and hit them around the head with. The watch will be fine, but they certainly won’t.
Graham Chronofighter Overlord Mark III 20VAS
When the sky, in perpetual dusk from the thick ash churning through it, ceases to offer any indication of the time, the mechanical watch will be a must-have item for any survivor. With many electrical appliances fried from the blast and its resulting electro-magnetic pulse, and with free-flowing electricity a thing of days gone, quartz watches—and certainly any electrical device that displays the time—will become useless.
It will be a new revolution for technology that derives its power from human interaction, and the mechanical watch will lead the way. Inventors will learn from it, engineers will build from it, crudely and desperately trying to rebuild a life that can be sustained under the harshest living conditions humankind has ever seen.
Relentless summers and bone chilling winters will demand only the most robust creations, and here’s where the Graham Chronofighter Overlord Mark III comes into its own. The thick, sturdy case will easily take many years of scrambling through scrap piles, negotiating scorched, unforgiving landscapes and getting caught in acid-rich rain, the thick bezel, extended lugs and overengineered controls built with enough material to last what will likely be a severely reduced lifetime and beyond.
And there are other practical solutions on offer here as well. As resources become scarce, and people begin to risk venturing into the exclusion zone to plunder what they can, it will be crucial to know just how much time you’ll be exposed for to avoid taking a lethal dose—and that’s where the Graham’s chronograph will really shine. Even better—with a cumbersome, makeshift hazmat suit on, the controls of an ordinary chronograph would be too tricky to use. With the Graham’s trigger-activated chronograph, even the thickest of mutated boar skin gloves will not inhibit use.
As the sky continues to darken as the nuclear winter fully sets in, the bold, colourful markers and swathes of luminous paint will keep the Overlord Mark III readable well into night, even through the thickest dust storm. And as an added benefit, Graham has even seen fit to furnish the watch with a dial that appears to be made from repurposed scrap metal, which will fit the post-apocalyptic aesthetic very nicely.
U-Boat U42 6472
We’ve seen some watches that will help see us through the worst of what people will come to call The Event, but what we really need is something that’s going to help us survive in the harsh existence that follows. We’re talking armour-plated, reinforced, titanium-clad, military grade wrist armament, something that would have survived The Event even if it had been in the exclusion zone when it happened.
For that we turn to U-Boat, the Italian watchmaker whose credentials include designing a watch to survive life on board a World War II submarine—the ultimate survival vehicle—but even that has nothing on this, the U42. The original watch was no shrinking violet, but compared to this it may well have been an ultra-thin dress watch. All 47mm of the U42’s case is fashioned from lightweight, hardened titanium, treated with a bead-blasted finish that’s just as rugged as you’d expect from a watch that looks like it was built to take a direct hit from a 50-cal. machine gun.
From the bezel lock lever to the chronograph pushers—start-stop borrows its design from the ergonomics of the charging handle of an automatic rifle—everything is made not just to last, but to shrug off whatever ill can befall its existence in a post-apocalyptic, nomadic lifestyle. Even the bolts that hold the watch together look like they were borrowed from the hull of the very submarine the watch is inspired by.
And U-Boat has thought beyond a short-term existence in a now-barren world, understanding that the crown, a watch’s most vulnerable point, needs to be protected at all costs. In the lawlessness of the dystopian world, where anything bad can and will happen, the typical twin protrusions of your average crown guard just won’t cut it, and even a Panerai-style crown guard will only last so long. So, U-Boat has created a foldable crown, protected when not in use and easily accessible when setting—which, by the way, feels more like adjusting the timer on a makeshift pipe bomb than tweaking the time on a watch. That’s how robust it is.
The U42 is so thick and so solid that it quite honestly feels like it could, with lightning reactions of course, deflect a bullet. Let’s hope, in the desolate, isolated, dog-eat-dog existence following The Event, that this never has to be tested.
It won’t be easy, it won’t be pleasant, but we will survive. And, thanks to Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore Survivor, Graham’s Chronofighter Overlord Mark III and U-Boat’s U42, survival might just be that little bit easier. Just make sure you’re back by nightfall.
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