All posts by Daniel Davies

Factor reviews: Elliot Brown’s Canford watch

Elliot Brown describes its Canford watch as “quietly handsome, for those who don’t want their watch to shout too loudly” and as having “the elegance of a classic pilot’s watch but with broader shoulders”.

I would describe the Canford as a watch on steroids, or a watch for people who think a Hummer truck is a practical city car.

It’s big, brash and brutish, and I have to say I’m a fan.


Images courtesy of Elliot Brown

Like anyone or anything on steroids, the Canford is overly concerned with strength.

For instance, the watch’s case is made from solid marine grade stainless steel that’s pressure tested twice during construction, then placed in a water-filled pressure vessel at 200m. Both of the watch’s crowns have triple seals and aggressive knurling for maximum grip, but Elliot Brown insist their smoothed edges  “won’t wreck the cuff of your favourite shirt or wetsuit”. The Canford’s case is bolted down, not threaded, for maximum shock absorption.

Perhaps the best way I can describe the Canford is to say that it’s essentially the Land Rover of watches. While you might see a Land Rover on suburban roads, really it wants to be roaming in the wilderness. The Canford is the same.

While Elliot Brown wants you to believe that this can be worn to the office and on your weekend rock-climbing expedition; the simple truth is it can’t. It’s heavy and slightly cumbersome, so it makes typing a more difficult task than it needs to be.

Image courtesy of Elliot Brown

Image courtesy of Elliot Brown

But why would you want to wear the Canford to the office anyway? Considering the watch was put through as stringent a training program as an actual marine, it was made with the adventurer and the adrenaline junkie in mind. And if you don’t feel that you fit into those categories then the Canford is big and tough enough to demand that you change to suit its needs.

There are a lot of things to dislike about the Canford, it’s big, it’s cumbersome and priced between £350 and £500 it’s not exactly cheap, but it is a watch that demands attention and will make even the smallest wearer feel like a powerlifter.


Neurosurgeons might soon prescribe wireless, dissolvable sensors

Wireless, dissolvable sensors will be used to monitor patients with traumatic brain injuries in what could be the biggest development in the technology since the 1980s.

In a paper published in the journal Nature, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine have revealed sensors that observe intracranial pressure and temperature before being absorbed by the body, negating the need for surgery to remove the devices.

“The benefit of these new devices is that they dissolve over time, so you don’t have something in the body for a long time period, increasing the risk of infection, chronic inflammation and even erosion through the skin or the organ in which it’s placed,” said the paper’s co-author Dr Rory K. J. Murphy.

“Plus, using resorbable devices negates the need for surgery to retrieve them, which lessens the risk of infection and further complications.”


Around 50,000 deaths are caused by brain trauma annually in the United States.

When patients with such injuries arrive in the hospital, doctors need to be able to accurately measure intracranial pressure in the brain and inside the skull because an increase in pressure can lead to further brain injury.

“The devices commonly used today are based on technology from the 1980s,” Murphy explained. “They’re large, they’re unwieldy, and they have wires that connect to monitors in the intensive care unit. They give accurate readings, and they help, but there are ways to make them better.”


Image courtesy of Washington University School of Medicine

Currently, the new sensors have been tested in baths of saline solution and in the brains of laboratory rats.

If clinical trials with humans are successful, the monitors could represent a major breakthrough in how we monitor activity in organs throughout the body.

“The ultimate strategy is to have a device that you can place in the brain or in other organs in the body that is entirely implanted, intimately connected with the organ you want to monitor and can transmit signals wirelessly to provide information on the health of that organ, allowing doctors to intervene if necessary to prevent bigger problems,” said Murphy.

“Then after the critical period that you actually want to monitor, it will dissolve away and disappear.”

The research is available in the journal Nature.