Most helpful positive review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Solid watch for anyone interested in being outdoors.
on August 31, 2014
I've owned several watches from several different manufacturers and price points, and this is one of my personal favorites so far.
Size - I've seen some reviewers mentioning how big this watch is. It's not really a huge watch. It's slightly above average for a men's watch in terms of diameter, which is fine by me, but it is by no means one of those oversized watches that are trending the past few years (I have a couple of those, too). If you have average sized wrists or larger, then this will look completely normal in size. The photos are pretty accurate. However, this is a somewhat thick watch, considerably thicker than most simple watches that show only time and date. This is likely due to the multiple functions that this watch performs besides just time and date. Those mechanisms to measure temperature and compass heading have to go somewhere, I guess. This effect is minimized on the wrist, though, by the back having somewhat of a rounded edge where it meets the case while the majority of the back is flat. This means the watch doesn't dig into your wrist and also seems to help visually reduce the visual thickness when on your wrist (vs. sitting on a table top).
Features - This watch shows the time and day of the month just fine using the traditional hour, minute, and step-second hand (not sweep). What it does extra, though, is threefold. It has a thermometer, a compass, and tide predicting features, all of which utilize a fourth hand on the watch face. Note: This watch does not have a chronograph function.
The thermometer seems to work pretty well, though you obviously have to take it off your wrist and let it stabilize to ambient temperature before you can expect it to measure true temperature. I suppose the idea is to take it off at night in your tent when camping and you'll have a more accurate read of the temperature the next morning when you get up. If you're wearing it, your body temperature will skew the reading. For example, I'm in a 74 degree F room currently and the watch on my wrists reads 90 degree F currently. Kind of neat, but not as useful as having an anytime temperature reading. I guess you could purchase a clip-on thermometer and stick it on your backpack if you wanted something like that. So yeah, a bit of a gimmick but possibly useful in a few scenarios. I can't yet tell how far off real temperature it would be if worn in freezing temps but on your exposed wrist (e.g., if you're hiking in 20 degree F temps and you had your wrist exposed to outside air, how much warmer would it be than the ambient temp).
The compass is probably the most well executed extra feature on the watch. It does require calibration, as any digital compass does, but it does NOT require constant recalibration, nor does the manual suggest it. Like all compasses, it can be influenced by the presence in your immediate surroundings of a lot of metal, particularly steel/iron. Thus if you're in the woods, you'll probably be OK, but if you're in the middle of a metal box (e.g., a car), it will read off. All compasses will. Interestingly, this compass permits setting of declination in 1 degree increments, which will be useful if you live in parts of the world where magnetic north and true north vary considerably. It's relatively easy to calibrate the compass and set the declination, by the way. The watch bezel smoothly rotates clockwise or counter-clockwise to help with navigation. However, the manual states that the compass is only accurate to within +/- 10 degrees, which is a pretty big variation. This is definitely not going to be your primary compass for orienteering, but it's a nice backup in a pinch.
The tide-tracker is of limited value, in my opinion, but I live in Arkansas and don't have any way to really test this. It may be of some use simply to get an idea of if the tide is coming in or going out, but you're much better off getting local tide predictions where you're at. Tides vary based on geographical features, so exact tide predictions have to take into account lots of measures besides time of day, moon and sun positions, etc. Thus, at best, this is a general guideline rather than a true tracker of tides.
Style/Build Quality - The watch looks and feels pretty sturdy. It's not as heavy as you might think just looking at it, but it is definitely not a flimsy thing. The watch band is sort of a suede-like material on the outside with smooth "genuine leather" on the inside. The band color and face color match. The housing is black metal with white markings with an unpainted stainless steel back. The buttons are substantial and are black as well. The crystal is mineral crystal, not sapphire, which means it will eventually get scratched up. For a watch obviously intended for hard outdoor usage, this is a bit of a disappointment.
The hour and minute hands are white, and the second hand is yellow. The accessory fourth hand is also yellow but shaped differently from the other hands. The hour and minute hands do have a glow-in-the-dark paint for the white areas. The text on the face for all the temperature and tide measures plus the minute/second marks are white, but the text is pretty small.
This watch has an Indiglo function which works OK, but the dark color of the face makes it somewhat difficult to see the hands at night, and the presence of the large accessory fourth hand can interfere with your ability to read the hour and minute hands. It's passable, and not a deal breaker, but it should be better.
The Manual - I got a chuckle from the other reviewer mentioning how small the manual was for this. He's both right and wrong. First, the manual itself uses about the same size font as most other watch manuals I've had from other brands. However, the page size is smaller because rather than this watch coming in a display box, it comes on a plastic display stand and the manual has to fit in the base. As such, it is pretty compact. However, it's also very thick, unnecessarily so. The manual apparently covers watches from a series rather than this specific watch. It includes watches with chronographs, watches with other features this watch does not have, etc. This is not unusual among watch manufacturers, to include multiple watches in one manual, but I've never seen one with this many different watches covered in one manual. That's why it is so thick. It will take you a while to find the instructions for this specific model (there are other models with different colors but that function the same way). Which is a shame because the actual number of pages for this watch in the manual is about 10, yet the whole manual seems cover a dozen different watch models so it is exceedingly thick.
If you want a good watch to go bounding about in the underbrush, to go hiking, kayaking, biking, etc., and you don't want to drop big cash on one of those fancy multi-function hiking watches (like a Suunto), you could do a lot worse than this model. This is a good middle-of-the-road price for a middle-of-the-road outdoors watch.