Now, I’m not one to get excited about bling and jewellery. My only adornment tends to be a watch. I rarely even wear my wedding ring when I’m out in the hills and wilds.

My watch has, for a very long time, been a plasticky job that tells the time, has an altimetre, alarms, and various other gadgets, and I have found it really, really useful for my work as a mountain walking instructor.

So, when Elliot Brown Watches asked me if I’d like to try one of their very smart, slightly expensive, but absolutely no thrills Canford watches, I was a bit surprised and possibly even nonplussed, I have to say.

wrist 1

I had a long telephone conversation with Alex from Elliot Brown, which was enlightening. Alex quickly made me realise that I didn’t need a watch that does a million things other than telling the time. He explained that the whole philosophy behind their Canford is that it is beautifully made, but very simple in design. In short, it tells the time, and that’s about it.

I do like simplicity in my life, and so was happy to try the new classic time-keeping device. It arrived a couple of days later, nicely packaged, and with a note from Alex and Ian from Elliot Brown. All very nice.


The watch felt heavy, and chunky too, and initially I couldn’t understand why I might want to wear something that was bigger and weightier than my own watch that didn’t do most of the things that old lump of plastic could. I replaced old with new on my wrist, and within half an hour had forgotten that the Canford was there, never mind the extra weight my wrist was now carrying.

I soon grew to love the simplicity of the Canford. It does indeed tell the time, very, very accurately as it happens. It’s luminous display is perfect for those night-time walks I often take with my mountain skills groups. Oh, and it can also tell me the date too! It’s minimalism soon grew on me. If I want to know how high above sea-level I am, or what the time is in Peking, I can do all of that on my smart-phone. My watch is just a watch, but its elegant and stylish, and hard as granite too.


In the last four months or so I’ve barely taken the Canford off my wrist. I fretted initially about whether it could live up to my active outdoor lifestyle. I needn’t have worried. It’s been to the summit of over 70 mountains. It’s been jammed into fist-wide cracks when rock climbing. It’s been on my wrist when I’ve jumped off a cliff-top into the sea when coasteering. The Canford has seen me through countless navigation courses, ridge scrambles, wild camps, and dog walks. And it looks good down the pub and in the restaurant too.

So, now I’ve had a summer of testing the Canford watch from Elliot Brown, would I go back to my old lump of do-everything plastic? Not a chance.

The Elliot Brown Canford Watch comes in 18 different styles. The one I’ve tested and am still wearing retails at £325.

Check out the Canford and other watches from Elliot Brown here