The Elliot Brown Canford is a great watch for active dads. It looks cool, you’ll never have to take it off or charge it, and it seems virtually indestructible. Perfect for outdoor family adventures!
I’ve had this watch for around four years, and in that time it’s climbed mountains, swum in the sea, canoed down rivers, cycled in sub-zero temperatures, played countless matches of football and tennis, been skiing in freezing-cold Poland, and – perhaps most impressively – handled relentless abuse from a rampant toddler.
To put it simply, the Elliot Brown Canford is bloody fantastic.
Fantastic customer service
When I first got this watch, and because I generally don’t read instructions, I couldn’t figure out how to remove links from the strap to make it fit my wrist. So I called up Elliot Brown and actually spoke to one of the company’s co-founders, who happily talked me the through the process over the phone. Since then they’ve also offered to fix some scratches I stupidly put on the face by scraping it along a rough wall, and replaced the battery when it started to run out last year.
I never trust anything mechanical that says it’s waterproof, because from past experience it always proves to be the complete opposite. But the biggest compliment I could pay this watch is that I never even consider taking it off when I come into contact with water. Whether that’s diving in the sea, jumping in a river, taking my son to the local swimming pool, or having a shower at home – I always keep the Canford on and its performance level has never dropped.
I spend as much of my spare time as possible messing about on mountains. Walking, climbing, camping, skiing, mountaineering – I’ve had a crack at all of it in recent years and I can’t think of a trip the Elliot Brown Canford hasn’t been on with me. You can choose from a variety of straps when you buy the Canford – leather, solid-link, woven webbing etc – and I went for the traditional solid-link version. The strap is incredibly tough and thanks to two handy little buttons on the clasp you’re able to adjust its length slightly without taking it off. I don’t know about you, but my arms get uncomfortable when they’re hot and sweaty so just being able to make that little adjustment keeps it comfortable whatever the temperature. I’ve slammed the watch against rocks and other sharp objects on my travels, and although I’ve done a good job of scratching the hell out of it, I still haven’t managed to break it.
For some daft reason I decided to do a winter ascent of Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis a few years ago (you can watch the video here) and my God was it cold. The Polish Tatras were freezing when we went skiing there too, and to be honest British winter is generally pretty hellish anyway. From past personal experience, watches hate this. I had a very expensive Garmin Fenix GPS watch for a few years ago that misted up whenever the temperature dropped below zero, but I’ve had no similar problems with the Canford. Whether it’s tucked away under a jacket sleeve or exposed to the elements, it just keeps ticking away with no issues.
As mentioned above, and throughout this blog, I have a crazy toddler. Sonny’s a relentless blur of energy who likes to crash, bash, smash, kick, drag, grab and generally bulldoze his way through every day minute of every day. He’s destroyed pretty much everything else I own, and he spends most of his spare time man-handling me in some new and inventive way, but the Canford is still standing firm. And if it can handle an out-of-control two-year-old boy, it can handle pretty much anything.
Despite the impressive scratch I managed to stick straight down its face a few days after I got it, I still love the way this watch looks.
Have you ever tried a smartwatch? My God I hate them. They seem to need charging every 20 minutes and try to do a million jobs I don’t need them to do. The Elliot Brown Canford simply tells me the time and the date. It never needs charging. I never have to take it off. And it never tries to tell me I haven’t taken enough steps or spent enough time breathing during the day.
Outdoor Dad Verdict: Elliot Brown Canford watch
Easily the most expensive watch I’ve ever owned, but also easily the best. If you’re an active dad who needs a watch that can handle very type of activity, terrain and weather, you can’t go wrong with the Canford.
Buy it: From £350