The best tool for any outdoor pursuit is one that serves multiple purposes and solves a number of problems, all without getting in the way. Ideally, it looks good too. Field Mag exists in part to pursue such products. Which leads us to the Nixon Heat, a high function, low profile, waterproof watch well suited for everyday wear and everyday life. I set out to test the unisex Heat as a “surf watch,” then quickly realized it’s much more. Over the span of a month the watch became a staple for gym visits, cycling, and yes, surf sessions. Here’s how.
At just 8mm, the super slim stainless steel case is somehow rugged yet elegant, and fits easily under the sleeve of a button down shirt, merino base layer, and wetsuit (over the glove, under the sleeve). The perforated, injection molded rubber band helps keep it firmly in place, too—even when getting tossed over the falls and through a wave washing machine. A 100 meter waterproof rating sets the mind at ease. Beyond the external design, the Heat’s internal functionality also shines bright. Literally.
Capabilities include two time zones with prominent day and date display, a chronograph, six preset timers and two customizable countdown timer options. All viewed on a custom backlit digital LCD screen. This is where the “beyond a surf watch” portion of the review comes in—using the timers to replace my phone at the gym.
Typically I have to rely on my phone as a straightforward timer to maintain consistent rest between reps and to access an interval app for both HIIT core and bike workouts. The Heat’s custom pre-set timers make all that possible without my phone. For those of us prone to impulsive scrolling during moments of down time (read: everyone), the simple ability to leave my phone (and a world of distractions) in the locker is huge for maintaining concentration during a workout. Not having to find a place to balance my phone when moving between machines, floor mats, and the stationary bike is certainly nice too (that gym floor can’t be clean).
The automated “SEND” message that appears during the final minute of a timer is a fun bit of encouragement for brutal workouts, too.
As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a watch guy. It’s always been minimalist military watches for me. But the Heat ($150) seems to be the perfect balance between analog and Apple watch I didn’t know I was looking for. But I’m sure glad I found it.