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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Watches > Origo Traverse Peak > Test Report by Kathryn Doiron
Origo Traverse Peak Series Watch
Test series by Kathryn Doiron
Initial Report: Aug 13, 2008
Field Report: Nov 4, 2008
Long Term Report: Jan 6, 2009
Name: Kathryn Doiron
Height: 5' 8" (1.7 m)
Weight: 150 lb (68 kg)
Email: kdoiron 'at' gmail 'dot' com
Location: Washington DC, USA
Brief Background: I started backpacking and hiking seriously almost four years ago. Most of my miles have been logged in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I have recently finished 1200+ miles (2000+ km) of the Appalachian Trail. My style is to be as light as possible while not spending a fortune. My pack weight tends to hover around 25 lbs (11 kg) with two days of food and 16 oz (0.5 L) of water. I have recently started getting into winter hiking, snowshoeing and kayaking.
MSRP: US $110
Colours: black, silver, black with orange azimuth ring
Weight: (stated) 1.87 oz (53 g)
Weight: (actual) 1.84 oz (52.3 g)
Measurements: (stated) Diameter: 1.5 in. (38 mm); Case Diameter: 2.1 in. (53 mm); Thickness: 0.7 in. (18 mm)
Measurements: (actual) Diameter: 1.5 in. (38 mm); Case Diameter: 2.05 in. (52 mm): Thickness: 0.63 in. (16 mm)
Colour received: Black with orange azimuth ring
August 13th, 2008
The Origo Traverse Peak series watch is a multi-sensor watch with easy to access information that is displayed in an easy to read format. Time, weather and date plus day of the week are displayed when in time mode which is the main mode. The watch has four buttons: start/stop, reset, mode, and adjust/el. Holding the start/stop button and the reset button together locks all the buttons to prevent accidental button depression. This feature only works when in time and altitude mode. In time mode, it keeps the watch from entering high battery draining features. Pressing the start/stop button enters the compass mode directly and holds it there for 10 sec. Pressing the reset feature gives the elevation and temperature, also for 10 sec. From the mode menu, it is possible to scroll through all the features either one at a time or rapidly depending on how fast the mode button is pressed. The order of features is: compass in degrees as well as letter equivalent (plus time), altitude (plus temperature and time), barometer (plus temperature, weather and time), alarm (plus whether it is set or not), stopwatch, stopwatch info (currently displaying three dashes), and timer. The watch will remain in the chosen mode until another mode is selected. Weather is shown either as a sun, sun plus clouds, clouds, or clouds plus precipitation. On any feature with units, the reset button can be pressed to toggle back and forth from metric to imperial. The blue backlight is accessed through the adjust/el button. To set any feature, the adjust/el button is held down for 3 seconds. Features that are changeable start flashing and pressing start/stop will advance through the possibilities while pressing mode will set it. The watch has a polyurethane strap with orange highlighting near the face.
Based on the website, I expected a fairly large sized watch with multiple features and trend graphing of two of those features. I chose the black watch with orange azimuth ring as it looked nice on the website. I noted the price was a little lower then the other two colours but assumed that was due to materials. The watch I received is fairly large, large enough that I have to wear the face on the back on my wrist rather then the inside so as to avoid interference when flexing my wrist. This particular colour comes with all the listed features except for the two trend graphing features stated on the website. This particular watch does not show a trend graph for either the altitude or the barometric pressure. Although I can set the altimeter to base for the beginning elevation. The strap is shorter then I expected. I do not have a small wrist (although wearing this watch makes it look small), but I only have two holes left before the end of the band. My wrist circumference is 6.75 in. (17.15 cm), but I could also tighten the watch one more slot without pinching. Having watches too tight bothers me so I wear them one notch looser. The watch band is interesting in that the whole band has holes and the inside of the band is corrugated, likely for ventilation. The corrugations start at the fifth hole on the side of the band opposite the buckle.
The watch has a graphic weather forecasting feature which displays as a little graphic of the weather either in the time mode or the barometer mode. I have observed the weather graphic changing from one graphic to another. I know the weather prediction is tied to the barometric pressure but I haven't figured out how far in advance the warning would be. If, for example, I was hiking and the cloudy feature turned to precipitation, how much warning do I have. This is something I will try to pay attention to in order to see how much warning the weather prediction can give me for inclement weather.
I have been wearing the watch over the past few days and things I will be looking into over the course of the testing period will be ease of use. How useful I find the watch while on a trip; water resistance (so far so good), battery life, accuracy of features, and accuracy of the weather prediction. The manual recommends calibrating some features before a trip, I will look into how easy calibrations are and how easy it is to remember how to do them in the future. I have also been trying to figure out if the temperature feature works best when removed from the wrist to prevent body heat from artificially raising the temperature.
My test plan over the next couple of months will be to use the Origo Traverse Peak series watch on all my outdoor activities. This will include backpacking, day hiking trips in the George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah National Park as well as occasionally kayaking on the Potomac River. I will be interested in looking into how well the watch stands up to wear and water as well as using the features. I will use the features any time I am stopped and compare peak heights to maps and temperature to thermometers.
November 4th, 2008
Over the last two months I have taken this multi-sensor watch out on one overnight trip, two day hike trips and numerous kayaking trips. The kayaking trips were useful for testing the waterproofness of the watch as well as cold water conditions. The watch actually saw a lot of usage both on and in the water and I haven't had any issues with leakage yet. I did notice that my sun block left some lighter coloured streaks on the black plastic housing of the watch the hasn't washed off to date. I did start applying the sunblock before donning the watch after I noticed that. I also was able to keep a close eye on the weather predicting icon. As it is linked to barometric pressure, I feel that I have to reset the icon to more accurately reflect what the weather is currently like. Sometimes the icon will say rain but it will remain sunny and cloudless most of the day. I haven't felt comfortable relying on this information as it seems to be rather subjective. I can say that when the remnants of hurricane Hanna passed through the area, the watch did accurately predict rain about 2 hours before the rain came through. This was a great way to test to see how far ahead the prediction would occur, although I am sure each situation differs.
The overnight backpacking trip took place in the Shenandoah National Park and took place on a trail with a 2000 ft (610 m) elevation drop on the first day and a subsequent 2000ft (610 m) elevation gain on the second day. This was a difficult hike and the maps didn't seem to match the terrain. I had the watch set to give only altimeter readings to determine when I would hit bottom as it were. The readings were correlated with a GPS to verify the readings. The parking lot at the trail head gave an elevation reading that I was able to calibrate the watch too. This allowed for almost spot on accuracy on day one. I also calibrated the compass following the owner's manual. I didn't think I could turn the watch slowly enough for one revolution so I opted to turn twice. The calibration ran fine and matched up with the GPS compass when checked. At camp that night, I put the altimeter lock on the watch to prevent changes overnight. I assumed that this would lock the altitude to whatever the last reading was and I was surprised to find that when I unlocked the altimeter the next morning, the reading jumped by about 100 ft (30 m). During the hike back up to the trail head, the watch remained consistently off by about 100 ft (30 m) verified by the GPS and trail head signage.
The first day hike trip was out in West Virginia and was another reverse hike, with the elevation loss down to the river below before regaining to get back to the trail head parking. This wasn't a long hike but the trail was very steep and rugged. The elevation loss/gain was about 1000 ft (305 m) according to the watch. The weather icon remained on the sun icon which was accurate for most of the weekend. That weekend, the watch saw a day hike and two white water rafting trips. All three days were sunny and cloud free. I did have to update the icon once to continue to reflect this weather. I haven't figured out how many clouds are needed to tip the scales from sunny to partly sunny. With only a few solitary clouds in the sky, I didn't feel it was partly sunny so I moved the icon back to sunny.
The second day hike was about 3 hours of hiking over relatively flat terrain. The maximum elevation gain was 120 ft (36 m). I didn't use the watch as much as I could have due to the cooler temperatures. As the watch is so bulky, when I put my jacket on, I find the watch is so big that I have trouble accessing it from under my cuff. Given the size of the watch and the usefulness of many of the sensors, I find myself wanting to attach the watch to something other then my wrist so that I can make better use of the functionality. Knowing that the watch doesn't work well under my jacket, I will on future hikes try to find a better placement for the watch such that I can more fully use all the features that I need for the trip.
At this point, there are some surface scratches on the face of the watch and a few scratches on the plastic housing surrounding the face. I tend to wear my watches with the face on the inside of my wrist. With this watch, it was fun to do this for outdoor activities, but if I was wearing the watch while typing, the large mechanism would get in the way. Wearing the watch while taking a temperature reading, I find that my body temperature seems to interfere with getting an accurate reading. Comparing the temperature reading to a thermometer while not wearing the watch gives an accuracy to about one degree. After wearing the watch for about five minutes, the temperature jumped from 80 to 87 F (27 to 31 C). This does explain why the watch seems to always read the same temperature when I am wearing it.
So far, my likes for this watch are that it is an all in one. I don't have to carry multiple pieces of gear to do what this watch does. So far, after calibrating, the altimeter and compass work as required. I also like that is has been water tight over the last two months of kayaking trips, some of which were in white water conditions, guaranteeing the watch was going to get wet. I like the quick buttons on the side that give a quick compass or elevation plus temperature reading. This is a very nice feature that beats scrolling through the menu for a quick check.
My dislikes to this point are that the watch case is quite large for me. I understand that there is a lot of sensing electronics packed into the watch but I feel it is a bit large for me. I feel I would prefer a carabiner pendant style system over a watch as I would be able to attach it to any convenient place and still have full functionality. I didn't like the fact that the altimeter reading jumped after I removed the altimeter lock. This was unexpected but knowing that the watch does this will allow me to remember the altimeter number in future and to recalibrate as needed. The temperature readings are not accurate when the watch is worn.
Further testing of this watch will occur in more backpacking and day hiking trips. I will continue to evaluate the watch as a whole while also checking each feature further. I will look into how cold weather affects the functioning of the watch as well as how accurate the weather feature seems to be. I will look into the stop watch feature and the timer as well as the alarm. While the watch is still in good shape now, I will see how a further two months of trail life does to the various parts of the watch.
Long Term Report:
January 9th, 2009
I have taken the watch out on numerous day hikes, car camping trips and backpacking trips over the last two months. Over the last four months my usage of the watch went from exploratory, where I was testing the various features, to using the watch. When I had the chance to calibrate the watch to a GPS I found the altimeter to be close enough. While not spot on, at least once, it was within 1 ft (30 cm) of the GPS reading while another time it was within about 25 ft (8 m). The watch migrated from my wrist to my pack strap as the weather cooled down. It is easier to consult the watch from the strap rather then digging it out from under warm layers.
I have taken the watch out on numerous day trips in the DC area that due to number I will lump together. Most of the hikes took place either on the Maryland side of the Potomac River or on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, but essentially in the same area. As the elevation gain was minimal, the watch was used more for time and timing then for elevation. As the weather has been cooling off, I have been finding it hard to wear such a bulky watch under my winter clothing layers and still be able to get readings. Inside my coat, the temperature listing is way off. It was actually 39 F (4 C) outside but inside my jacket, the watch was reading at 66 F (19 C). Also, with the bulky watch face, it can be difficult to pull my glove down, then my jacket up enough to read what is on the watch. I have noticed that if I don't lock the time reading, then I find when I consult the watch for time, or check the temperature, I find I either accidentally hit the compass button, or the watch is in some other mode. While it is easy to scroll through, I don't know what effect this has on the battery life. So far the battery is still working fine. I have taken to wearing the watch around my pack strap while hiking as in this position, I can get accurate temperature readings, it is easy to read the time and without having to dig through layers of clothes. The draw back is that the compass feature requires the watch to be level to get an accurate reading where none of the other features have this requirement.
The next trip out was a three day, two night backpacking trip with a rather large group of people in the Shenandoah National Park. Before leaving my house, I finally set the base camp altitude. I started off without the manual as I figured it would be set the same as all the other features that require setting. Basically I assumed I would have to enter the correct screen mode then hold the adjust/el button. This was not the case. To enter the base camp mode, the stop/start button is pressed while on the altitude screen, this toggles between the two modes. From there, the reset button is held down for at least 2 seconds when then allows the setting of base camp. I had to pull out the manual to figure out what button to press to set the elevation.
Another quick day hike out to Difficult Run in Virginia allowed me to play with the watch on the shoulder strap of my day pack. From there I had easy access to time and temperature as well as the weather icon. Since there was no big elevation gain, I didn't bother with the altimeter this trip. The weather was about 35 F (2 C). The weather icon was predicting sunny skies but the skies were in fact partially cloudy. Further into the hike the sky became overcast and threatening. The weather icon continued to show sunny. It eventually started raining and around that point the weather icon changed to cloudy.
I took the watch out on a long day hike to the Shenandoah National Park to hike to St. Mary's Rock and the Pinnacle in Virginia. The elevation gain was about 2000 ft (610 m), distance was about 7 mi (11.3 km). This was a very windy and cold day. The temperature reading on the watch registered between 25 and 33 F (-4 and 1 C) depending if I was facing the sun or not. The temperature was only indicative of the air temperature and not the real feel temperature which was much lower given the 50 mph (80 kph) gusts I experienced on the summits and 30 mph (48 kph) sustained wind. The watch had earned a spot on the shoulder strap of my day pack on this trip for which I was grateful to not have to expose my warm wrist to the howling winds.
Another overnight trip to Big Schloss say temperatures down to 23 F (-5 C) as an overnight low. Since I didn't reset the altimeter to base camp before leaving I noticed that the altimeter was off during the trip. This trip the watch became a permanent fixture on the shoulder strap to my pack. I find this spot almost ideal as I can get a quick reading on the watch with little effort. I do have to be careful to not hit a button when tipping the watch up for better viewing. I find in this position, I have fewer inadvertent button presses and I don't have to dig under layers of clothing.
The last trip out was a car camping trip with a 6 mile (10 km) loop day hike from the base camp. A fellow hiker had a GPS and was taking somewhat regular readings. On this trip I did not bother to calibrate the watch before leaving or once I arrived as I forgot. I was rather impressed that the watch, not having been calibrated in some time (about 2-3 weeks), was still accurate to about 5 ft (1.5 m) on this trip.
Overall, I found the watch cool, and somewhat useful. There were features that while I did test that they worked and were accurate, I just did not use them over the course of my trips. The watch does satisfy my curiosity about the current temperature but in many cases I had to remove the watch to get an accurate reading until I started attaching it to the outside of my pack. I found the weather icon gimmicky and I also was constantly resetting it to reflect the current weather. At first I felt this might have been partially due to not having initially set up the base camp feature to my home, but once I set it up it still was rather inaccurate and didn't reflect the actual weather or upcoming weather. In the end I didn't bother consulting it or trusting it. My use of the watch on the last few trips had me attaching it to the strap of my day pack or backpack. I would then place the watch in altimeter mode and from there I had the current elevation, temperature and time. I rarely use any other setting now and I wish I could lock it in the altimeter setting as I sometimes hit the mode button while checking the watch.
I think having the trend line available for the barometer and altimeter might have been more useful then the weather widget. I have found the altimeter was very useful on hikes with large ascents and descents as it allowed me to know approximately how much further I had to go and gave me an idea where I was on the map. After some use, I tended to just put the watch in altimeter mode from the beginning. As I hike mostly on well marked trails, the compass was mostly only useful when leaving camp in the morning to make sure I was going in the right direction. It did occasionally come in handy on summits to determine what landmarks I was looking at. The one button quick features are very useful, and can quickly be exited by pressing the mode button. The timer only seems to count down but it is possible to set various countdown times. The chronometer only counts up but only counts up to 59 minutes and 59 seconds. I never had to reset the time other then to switch out of day light saving mode. The calendar has also been spot on without any end of month adjustments to account for only 30 day months.
Wear and tear on the watch has been minimal. I tried to take care to not bang up the watch, but there are some surface scratches on the face of the watch. The scratches are not so bad that they obscure the readings, to date the scratches are light and barely noticeable. I did get some sunblock on the housing over the summer with all the kayaking I was doing. The sunblock seemed to stay on the housing for a few wears but eventually it faded and is no longer visible. The strap looks in good shape with no visible cracking or damage to it. I feel it is still going strong and I trust it to stay on my wrist or pack strap. Even after exposure to just below freezing temperatures the strap and watch are still doing well. The battery is still going fine. I haven't had the watch stop working nor have I noticed any low battery indicator.
This concludes my long term report on the Origo Traverse Peak watch. I wish to thanks Origo and BGT for allowing me to test this watch. Thank you for following this test series.
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