Thursday, August 23, 2007

Durable digital watch

Today's question of the day from Outside Gear

My boyfriend is stationed in Iraq and he needs an extremely durable digital watch that is water resistant (due to extreme heat and sweating) and has 24-hour time format, compass, barometer, timer, etc. What would you suggest in the $200 range?
— Loree
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


I can suggest several things, Loree. This summer I’ve been wearing a St. Moritz Momentum VS-1 ($200; It’s pretty much a do-everything outdoor watch with an altimeter, barometer, and compass, plus all the usual sport watch features such as alarm, timers, and more. It has a stainless steel case and a tough rubber wrist band, and is waterproof to 165 feet. It should be tough enough for any conditions your boyfriend is facing. I’ve found the altimeter to be exceedingly accurate and assume most other functions offer the same. It also has a little cloudy/sunny/partly sunny icon on the main screen, and that’s fairly easily flummoxed. But that’s minor.

Like most altimeter watches, the VS-1 does have some interface challenges that require a moderately close reading of the manual. Actually, a close reading is all that is possible; the VS-1’s manual has the smallest type I have ever been unable to read. But most features are sussed out fairly easily. And at $200, the VS-1 is a good buy.

Suunto’s Vector ($200; is sort of the cast-iron skillet in that company’s watch line. It also has an altimeter, barometer, and compass, plus watch features and many ways to slice and dice the data, such as rates of ascent/descent, records of barometric changes, and more. Comments on VS-1 apply here as well: the interface takes some puzzling, but works pretty well. It’s water-resistant to 100 feet. It has a plastic/metal case, and probably isn’t quite as tough as the VS-1.

Hope he’s doing well there!