Purchasing a watch can be a daunting task, given how many quality horological choices are out there. Why are you wearing it — for mountain skiing and adventure sports or in the boardroom? What circumstances describe watches for all occasions? The questions can be endless, which is why it is good The Manual is here to break down new watch drops.
The sun is high in the Pacific and Mediterranean sky, so let’s break out the auto, skate, and surf watch designs. These odes to extreme sports will comfortably fit into any social occasion.
Zenith Defy Extreme E - Island X Prix Edition
Sustainability is at the core of this crown jewel in environmental watch wear… or any watch wear, for that matter.
The new Defy Extreme E Island X Prix edition is Swiss luxury watchmaker Zenith’s second in a special series of sustainably made timepieces in partnership with electric car racing league Extreme E.
As a founding partner, Zenith named the snazzy piece the Defy Extreme Carbon, the watch firm’s 1/100th of a second automatic high-frequency chronograph. (Zenith watches continued its role as official timekeeper of the Island X Prix race in Sardinia, Italy.) The Defy Extreme E Island X Prix incorporates upcycled materials and scarce elements in its 45 mm case. Constructed from carbon fiber and micro-blasted titanium, the face offers up to 20 meters of water resistance.
An open, multilayered dial includes tinted sapphire crystal elements embellished with fiery orange accents — the official color of the Island X Prix race. This tangerine tint also flashes atop a rubber strap created using recycled Continental CrossContact tires from Extreme E’s first season.
If these components sound rare, they are. The Defy Extreme E Island X Prix is over $26,000 and is limited to only 20 pieces available at Zenith retail and online stores as well as at boutiques around the world.
Staple x Fossil Prehistoric Watch Collection
Have you ever owned a watch that doubles as a sundial? Me neither, but it’s a brilliant analog innovation on the battery-operated clock. Flip up an exterior section of the fresh Staple x Fossil watch and read the time by the sun’s shadow instead of on the watch face inside.
Jeff Staple’s innovative vision with Fossil elicited an artifact that looks like it was uncovered during an archaeological dig. The new timepiece even arrives in a collectible dinosaur egg tin.
The watch’s design mixes retro-futurism and mid-century elements in a historic nod to 1990s Fossil watches. The sundial replicates Fossil's fan-favorite icon with a secret silhouette cut into the gnomon so that Staple’s logo pigeon is visible in the sundial’s shadow.
The watch inside sports a classic, Roman-numbered dial along with not one, but two holograms that flash when catching the right light — a green pigeon and “Staple” in bubbled green holo letters.
Madrid x Fossil Neutra Chronograph Watch
Fossil is going all out with accessory collaborations this summer; not only celebrating time in the sand with Staple, but covering skate with Madrid and surf with Maui & Sons.
Born in Southern California, Jerry Madrid has been making handmade skateboards since 1976. Madrid came together with Fossil to not only celebrate that founding with a limited-edition timepiece, but also 250 exclusive skateboards.
The Madrid x Fossil Neutra Chronograph Watch features a maple wood veneer dial, black grip tape-textured subeyes, chronograph function with a 30-minute elapsed timer, and brown leather straps made with eco-leather. With each watch purchase, the buyer receives a maple veneer box set that includes a branded bottle opener and a 1:8 scale fingerboard. Each set is outfitted with an individually numbered plaque.
Maui and Sons x Fossil FB-01 Solar-Powered Watch
From the home of big wave surfing in 1980, Maui and Sons was an instant icon, an action sports apparel brand that embraced and exuded founder Jeff Yokoyama’s Hawaiian home.
Honoring this rich history in the sun, the Maui and Sons x Fossil collection launches with two solar-powered watches made with recycled materials, inspired by the brand’s mission to pair an active lifestyle with gratitude for nature.
The Maui and Sons x Fossil FB-01 Solar-Powered Watch is based on the watch brand’s classic dive-inspired platform, wrapped in Maui’s iconic ‘80s cookie logo — a nod to the Yokoyama family chocolate chip cookie recipe.
The timepiece is crafted with a #tide ocean material case (42 mm), rotating bezel, and nylon straps. These wraps contain upcycled components like ocean-bound plastic waste transformed into durable plastic reinforced with natural fiber.
Maui and Sons x Fossil Solar-Powered Ani-Digi Watch
The Maui and Sons x Fossil Solar-Powered Analog-Digital (Ani-Digi) Watch also features a solar-powered rechargeable battery, as well as a case and top ring made with castor oil and Velcro-recycled polyethylene tetraphyte straps.
The piece celebrates Maui and Sons’ core brand colors, including its surf-inspired rainbow gradient.
Nixon x Independent 51-30 Chrono Watch
Professional skateboarders like Tony Hawk and other notables have ridden Independent trucks since 1978. The company’s motto, “Built to Grind,” fits Nixon’s new-school roots. Sponsoring skateboarders since 1998, Nixon offers its commitment to quality and keeping the boarding heritage alive with this collab.
The new Nixon x Independent Custom-Built to Grind watches honor each company’s freewheeling roots with fresh timepieces. This drop includes four customized takes on some of Nixon's most popular analog and digital models. From classy to punk, this line is balanced for both veteran grinders and newbie skateboarders.
Bold with big details to match, the 51-30 Chrono Watch also sports an oversized, 51 mm case. Skaters can appreciate the pool tile detail in its rotating bezel.
Features include a Time-to-Grind countdown subdial, hardware-shaped crown, and pushers on the 9 o'clock side that balance the watch case to prevent "wrist bite" for right-handers during active use.
Nixon x Independent Time Teller
Nixon tweaked one of its bestselling lines to create two new models that blend analog style with active elements in classic colors.
Available in two finishes, silver or gunmetal, the distinct Independent logo lays imprinted on the Time Teller’s face. The silver option comes with a matching woven band, and the gunmetal features a black polyurethane wrap, each ensuring comfort even during long sessions at the skate park.
There’s no need to worry about sweat either with a 10 ATM/100 m water rating. Hardware-shaped crowns resemble skateboard truck nuts, an extra level of detail for those who know.
Nixon x Independent Staple Watch
Perfect for the indecisive, the Nixon x Independent’s Staple Watch offers a built-in coin flip app in the watch’s customizable display to help solidify tough decisions. The fat camo band attached to a wide square face helps forearms pop.
Made from recycled water bottles pulled from the ocean, this Independent blends this Marine-tough look while protecting the environment that supplies the grind.
Whatever a man’s style, it’s always upgraded by accessories. What better way to accessorize than with a fresh piece that accentuates whatever shirt, shoes, or skin that a watch appears with. In other words, those not sporting a wrap around their wrist need to get with it.