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Nixon Mission review: A hardcore Android Wear watch for surf and snow

Jon Phillips | Sept. 23, 2016
Ruggedized for action sports, the Nixon Mission is water resistant down to 10 ATM thanks to a trick "MicLock" feature.

nixon mission miclock 
A close-up of the microphone locking mechanism that helps the Mission achieve 10 ATM water-resistance. When you see the flash of red in the mic port, you know the lock is open.

As the name implies, the MicLock covers the watch’s microphone port, the one point of entry where water can penetrate the case. You know the MicLock is open when you see a flash of red in the microphone port.

To lock the watch down tight, you slide a little metal band off a tiny metal lever, lift the lever, shut the door that’s over the microphone port, and then refasten the band on the lever. The parts are small, and you better have some fingernails handy, but it’s all pretty simple once you do it once or twice.

mission nixon in water 
Thanks to Nixon’s MicLock, the Mission is water-resistant to 10 ATM—that means it can withstand the pressure of being about 330 feet underwater.

I can’t promise that the Mission can withstand a full day of surfing, but I submerged it in water for 15 minutes, and it was none the worse for wear. The MicLock is certainly an interesting innovation that should appeal to Nixon’s target customer, and I love seeing Android Wear watches branch out into niche categories. That said, the Mission was less responsive to voice commands compared to other Wear watches. I don’t know if the MicLock or some other factor is to blame, but the issue was big enough to warrant mentioning here.

Custom watch faces for surf and snow

Besides the usual assortment of Android Wear watch faces, the Mission comes with six custom faces. It’s a relatively small assortment, but if you’re interested in snow or water sports—or simply need to make a statement—the Nixon dials may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Let’s start with Nixon’s Unit face, which is definitely the watch’s most aggro design. Vaguely reminiscent of the head-up display in Predator, it shows you day and date; hours, minutes and seconds; your local temperature; and an inexplicable animation in the lower left of the dial. You can choose between deep red graphics and a color that looks similar to what my favorite car manufacturer calls krypton green. It’s not the watch face you wear to the symphony, but that’s not Nixon’s scene, if you dig.

nixon mission unit face green 
The green-themed Unit face certainly has... a look.

If you’re looking for something more traditional, you can opt for The Mission face, which is illustrated in my bezel dissection shot above. With this face, you can customize the colors of your background, hands and digits, and also define the data displayed by three subdials. I’ve chosen battery status, steps and local weather, but other subdial options include date, next calendar event, distance walked, calories burned, world time, a chronograph, and surf height or snow levels at predefined locales.

 

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