Classy, robust and easy to read, the Canford Mountain Rescue Edition is totally at home in the city, yet excels in the mountains. Virtually indestructible, it won’t fail you no matter how extreme your adventure – there’s a reason mountain rescue members wear them.
Easy to read
Proceeds goes to Mountain Rescue
Swiss 5-jewel Ronda 715 quartz movement
Inner rotating bezel for event timing
Heavier than many field watches
Less subtle than other iterations
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Elliot Brown Canford Mountain Rescue Edition: first impressions
There’s no doubt about it, the Mountain Rescue Edition of the Canford has a bold appearance. Enlarged hour batons, luminous markings and bright white hands filled with green SuperLuminova makes for outstanding visibility. Even in low light, it’s easy to instantly read the time.
The reason behind this bold and bright design is a collaboration between Elliot Brown and Mountain Rescue England & Wales. Elliot Brown is an English watch manufacturer based in Dorset that prides itself on unsurpassed durability and attention to detail. Since 2013, it's been crafting field watches of high caliber and its Canford series blends dinner party elegance with adventure-ready robustness.
For the Mountain Rescue Edition, it's upped the ante in terms of adventure readiness, crafting one of the best field watches out there today. The extra legibility and hard-wearing rubber strap are included to suit the needs of the Mountain Rescue volunteers who drop everything to go to the aid of those in trouble in our high, wild places.
There are a few subtle aesthetic touches in this edition too, such as the Mountain Rescue logo ‘ghost’ printed on the dial, and the etchings on the case back, which also feature the emblem. A purchase of this watch gives back to the teams of volunteers too, with £36 of every sale going straight to this worthy cause.
So, it’s fair to say the Mountain Rescue Edition’s watch face is less subtle than the original Canford – it has to be for visibility in the conditions experienced in the mountains. However, this is still a very stylish looking watch with enough class to wear at the ambassador’s ball, as well as on a rain-drenched, windswept hillside.
List price: £385 (UK)
Dimensions: 44mm across (excluding crowns) x 54mm to tip of case shoulders
Weight: 133g / 4.7oz
Movement: Swiss Made 5-jewel Ronda 715 quartz
Power reserve: N/A
Water resistance: ISO 2281 and individually tested to 20ATM / 200m
Materials & features: Solid marine-grade 316L stainless steel case / Domed & anti-reflective coated glass / SuperLuminova coated indices & hands / EPDM black rubber strap with wide tongue buckle
But how about what’s beneath the surface of this smooth yet practical operator? In its engine room, you’ve got a Swiss five-jewel Ronda 715 quartz movement, which is protected by a housing surrounded by shock-absorbing elastomers. So, in other words, you’ve got a highly durable and accurate mechanism that will withstand a hell of a lot of abuse.
All of this is housed in a marine-grade stainless steel case with anti-reflective glass. The 316L stainless steel used is immune to the effects of sea water. In fact, Elliot Brown once sent one of their watches around the world mounted on a Clipper racing yacht to test its durability. It returned unscathed from salt-water exposure and was still faithfully telling the correct time. It's safe to assume the Canford would survive just as well.
Unlike on some watches, the case back is bolted down rather than being screwed on. This makes the device highly shock absorbent, thus increasing its durability. The watch comes with Elliot Brown’s 5-year guarantee, though this doesn’t cover crystals, batteries, straps and buckles. It’s worth noting that the battery life is approximately 3 years.
The watch is also water-resistant to the ISO 2281 standard and pressure tested to 200m for 10 minutes. In short, this is timepiece that can join you on your wild swims, river crossings and hikes through Scottish deluges.
All the Canford watches feature two knurled crowns on the right-hand side. The upper crown controls the inner rotating bezel around the outside of the watch face. This enables the quick and easy timing of events, which is great for all kinds of applications in the mountains. Whether you’re using timings for precise navigation or keeping track of how long a casualty has been showing a specific symptom, having this feature is extremely useful.
By turning the crown until the bezel’s main zero arrow meets the minute hand, you can time upwards from the start of an event. Or, you can use it to time downwards. As an example, If you estimate that a navigation leg will take 35 minutes, you can turn the bezel until the minute hand is on 35. As you get towards the end of the leg, you can check your estimate by how close the minute hand is to the bezel’s zero arrow.
The lower crown enables you easily to change the date and time, by pulling it out by one and two click respectively. The date is displayed as the day of the month and appears in a window between the 4- and 5-hour marks.
Given its robust construction and mountain-specific design, it’s no surprise that the Mountain Rescue Edition excels in the great outdoors. Freezing winter conditions and long days in the rain are its bread and butter. There’s no drop in performance in even the harshest conditions you’ll find in Britain.
It’s not immune to the odd scratch or two. Elliot Brown use mineral crystal for the glass rather than sapphire crystal because it is less prone to shattering. The downside is that mineral crystal is less scratch resistant. Rocky scrambles and climbing missions can leave their mark on both the glass and the steel case, but these are marks you should wear with pride, rather than scorn.
At 133g, it’s not the lightest field watch out there, so you do pay a weight penalty for it being such a robust beast. However, we’re talking grams here, not kilograms, so it’s hardly too much of a burden.
Of course, as with any field watch, you forego the many navigational and data analysis benefits for a modern GPS watch, so it’s fair to say that it won’t be for everyone. However, for those who value a classic, classy and stylish operator that won’t look out of place anywhere, you can’t go wrong with the Canford Mountain Rescue Edition.
Alex is a qualified Mountain Leader, adventure writer and content creator with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, his native English Lake District has a special place in his heart, though he is at least equally happy in North Wales, the Scottish Highlands or the European Alps. Through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors. He is currently the President of the London Mountaineering Club, training to become a Winter Mountain Leader, looking to finally finish bagging all the Wainwright fells of the Lake District and hoping to scale more Alpine 4000ers when circumstances allow. Find out more at www.alexfoxfield.com (opens in new tab)
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