ORIGO TRAVERSE PEAK WATCH
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
January 06, 2009
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT
5' 6" (1.68 m)
132 lb (60.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. Now I usually hike in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Most of my trips are section hikes or loops from a few days to a week. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and hiking poles.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.origowatch.com
MSRP: $150 US
Listed Weight: 53 g (1.9 oz)
Measured Weight: 52.5 g (1.85 oz)
Comes in Men's Size/Style only
Listed Case Diameter: 53 mm (2.1 in)
Measured Case Diameter: 2-1/8 in (53 mm)
Listed Thickness: 18 mm (0.7 in)
Measured Thickness: 3/4 in (18 mm)
Model Tested: Black with Silver Face
Other Model Options: Black, Black with Orange Azimuth Ring
Photo courtesy of Origo Watch
Watch Type: Digital
Band Material: Rubber
Case and Bezel Material: Stainless Steel
The watch came with an extra battery included.
On the battery cover on the back of the watch is written:
'Made in China. 50m water resistant.' and has a CE mark and Origo name and logo
Features per Origo Watch website (metric conversions added):
Graphic weather forecasting indicator and temperature function
Barometer trend graph display (past 30 hours)
Altimeter 1 foot (0.3 m) resolution
One-touch direction access altimeter
Altitude graph with past 8 hours trend
One-touch direct access digital compass with bearing lock
75 altimeter data memories with date, time and altitude
1/100 second chronograph with lap and split time
99 lap memories stored in a maximum of 99 runs
2 daily alarms
Soft Blue EL backlight
Battery life: Up to 1 year
Water resistance: 165 feet (50 m)
My first impression was how large this watch is. I knew that a watch with all of these features would be large, but I was still surprised. This is a men's watch, but it seems that it would only fit correctly on a very large wrist. Nonetheless, I am wearing it on my wrist around the house and carrying it with me when I go out.
See the 'Trying it out' section for more details on the features.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
First of all, I tried to operate the watch without reading the instructions at all. Despite all of the features, I was able to navigate through most of it without any assistance. This seemed quite an accomplishment because I own a very simple watch (in terms of features) and cannot figure out how to set the time.
The instructions are in a very small pamphlet which is nice if I choose to take them with me. The cover says 'Granite Peak Series, Rendezvous Peak Series, Traverse Peak Series'. They are clear to follow and helped me to navigate through the rest of the features that I was not able to figure out readily. The instructions appear to be written by someone whose first language is not English, but I had no trouble understanding the intention of the meaning.
TRYING IT OUT
In all, there are four buttons which are fairly large and easy to operate. Clockwise from top right the buttons are start/stop, reset, mode, and adj/el. There are no features that are accessed by pressing two buttons at once. The closest thing to this is to lock the key pad which requires pressing the upper right button and then the lower right button. This feature is to keep from accidentally changing modes to altitude or barometer which use more battery power. The adj/el button lights the backlight and also is used for calibration and setting time. The start/stop is used for operating the chronograph as well as stepping up when setting time, date or altitude. The reset button is used for resetting the chronograph as well as stepping down when setting the time, date or altitude.
I tried navigating through all of the 9 modes by pushing the lower left hand button. Each mode displays a title as you toggle through. They are: TIME, COMP, BARO, ALT1, DATA, CHRO, DATA, ALRM, and TIMR. After displaying the title for a second, it flashes to the information for that mode.
This mode displays the day of the week, date, time and temperature. The month is not shown. Time can be set to read in a 12 hour or 24 hour clock. The day of the week and date were already set correctly, so I just set the time and set the temperature to read in Fahrenheit. There are two times that can be kept, T1 and T2, which could be for instance the time/date in two different time zones.
One of 16 compass directions, i.e. NNW is displayed along with the angle, i.e. north equals 0 while south equals 180. The time is displayed in a smaller font at the bottom. The declination from magnetic north to true north can be set, so I did this. There is a chart with the declinations for some cities included in the instructions. I just used the city closest to my home, but I have looked up our true declination will reset it in the future. The compass indicated direction as I know to be true from our home. There is a bearing lock feature which allows you to lock on a particular heading.
The barometric pressure is displayed along with a chart showing the barometric pressure for the past 30 hours. It also displays the weather using a graphical representation of sunny, party cloudy, cloudy or rainy. The barometric pressure seemed reasonable although the weather indicator was showing as cloudy which it definitely was not. I reset it to sunny and it seems to be reading correctly now. I checked the barometric pressure in comparison to a local barometric pressure map on the internet and found it to be fairly close, watch = 1003, map=1010.
The altitude is displayed along with a chart showing the altitude over the past 8 hours. The elevation was right on based on my knowledge of the elevation at our home. I checked the altitude at a nearby town and it was also pretty close, but the chart changed back to my home altitude much quicker than in 8 hours. In fact, I noticed that the entire graph showed the new altitude in about one hour. The instruction manual is a little confusing on this point. On Page 22, it says 'An altitude graph in the top of the display is use to present the history of the altitude change for 8 hours.' But then on Page 25 is says 'It shows the altitude history in the past one hour.' I also noticed that when I decreased in altitude and then went back home that my home altitude now showed about 150 ft (46 m) higher than when I left. I expect to calibrate the altitude before use every time just to have it be as accurate as possible on my trips.
I called Origo to inquire about why the graph only shows the past 1 hour instead of 8 hours. The woman that I talked to did not know the answer, but she was very nice and patient with understanding my question. She said that she would try to get the answer today or tomorrow and call me back.
This is the mode for data on the altitude. It flashes between 'MAX' which is the maximum altitude seen since the watch was reset and 'ACC' which is the total accumulated positive altitude change. The maximum altitude is reading at 18287 ft (5574 m) and total accumulated altitude as 210650 ft (64206 m). The watch was shipped from Colorado via Fed Ex ground, so I'm not sure when it hit this altitude. Plus, if it was made in China, I would expect it to ship via ocean. Anyway, I reset it. There are also 75 data points for saving altitude data along with the time and date.
The chronograph records lap and split time for up to 99 laps and to an accuracy of 1/100 second. It continues to log the total time while you can capture the split times.
This mode records any saved chronograph data. Up to 99 runs can be saved.
This mode has two alarms and displays AL-1 or AL-2 along with the time and whether it is set on or off. The alarm beeps for 30 seconds and is turned off by pressing any button. There is an adjustment for chime on or off, which I figured out means a quick beep on the hour. The instruction manual did not explain this. If the chime is set to be on, it is displayed with a bell symbol in the TIME mode. The alarms can be set for Time-1 or Time-2 which refer to the two times that can be kept, i.e. two different time zones. When the alarm is set, it displays a volume symbol on the TIME mode and indicated if it applies to T1 or T2. I set my alarm for 5am but mistakenly chose Time-2. It went off at 1:30am, so I realized that my Time-2 needed to be set!
There is a countdown timer that can be set for up to 99 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds. While it is counting down, it also shows in smaller font at the top the total countdown time, i.e. 99:59.59. Also at the bottom the time of day shows.
The battery life display and weather indicator show in every mode. There were times that the battery indicator showed 2 bars versus a full 3 bars while I was using the watch for a period of time. However, it always changed back to 3 bars when I stopped pressing buttons. There is also a setting to choose to have the watch beep every time you press a button. I set this to off.
There is an option to hit the upper right button to go directly to the compass function or to hit the lower right button to go directly to the altimeter function. This is really convenient versus scrolling through the 9 modes using the lower left button. The upper left button turns on the backlight.
I plan to use the watch on all of my hiking trips as well as for running. I have been wearing or carrying it with me everywhere for now just to get a sense of how it works. I'll also have to go swimming to check out the water resistance although I will not be going to its maximum depth! I will also use it with gloves to see how well the buttons operate.
The Origo Traverse Peak watch seems high-quality and as advertised on the website with the exception of the altitude graph showing the past 8 hours trend. It actually shows the past 1 hour.
Ease of Use
Size on wrist
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have used this watch during my daily activities to monitor the time, temperature and weather forecast. I have used the chronograph on my morning runs and even used it for an entire backpacking trip (counting down from 99:99:59). Fortunately I remembered to turn it off before the timer alarm sounded in the middle of the last night on the trail. I checked elevation on many drives where I was the passenger and compared the watch reading to elevation road signs. I used the watch while mountain biking and compared the elevation to my bike computer altimeter. When traveling, I used the alarm as a wake-up alarm. Overall, I would say that I have used the watch every other day for some function.
Some examples of hiking and backpacking trips where I've used it are as follows:
Mount Rainer Northern Loop (Washington): 50 miles (81 km); 1,700 to 6,740 ft (518 to 2054 m) elevation; 55 to 65 F (13 to 18 C); variable weather conditions.
New Dungeness Lighthouse, Sequim, Washington: 11 miles (18 km); sea level; 55 to 70 F (13 to 21 C); cloudy to sunny conditions.
Foothills of the Sierra Nevada (California): 1,500 to 2,000 ft (450 to 610 m); 60 to 70 F (15 to 21 C); partly cloudy conditions.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
At one point, I was inside a building at high elevation and noticed that the weather forecast indicator had changed from sunny to rainy. This seemed ridiculous since it was sunny, dry and very hot when we went inside. I was impressed to see thunderstorms forming and rain in the distance when I went outside. However, the storms cleared, the sun came out, the barometric pressure rose and the indicator continued to show rainy for many hours afterward. I finally reset it to sunny the next day. At other times, the forecast would change to rain when I knew that there was no chance of rain for weeks to come. Once it showed cloudy during an entire weekend of rain.
On the Rainier trip, the watch did a great job with weather forecasting. It varied from sunny to threatening rain and the watch was accurate. However, it was slow at returning to a sunny forecast.
On a road trip, I reset the altitude to match a sign showing 7,227 ft (2,203 m) and then tracked it at each road sign from that elevation to home at 1,900 ft (579 m). The road signs indicate elevation at every 1,000 ft (305 m). The altimeter read approximately 100 ft (30 m) too high for every 1,000 ft (305 m) that changed. So, by the time we got home, it was reading 500 ft (152 m) too high.
On the Rainier trip, I reset the watch at the start which zeros the maximum and accumulated altitude. I also calibrated the watch at the Carbon River Ranger Station to the elevation of 1,700 ft (518 m). I stored the altitude at some key points on the trip and compared them to the actual elevation.
Here are the results:
Grand Park..................................5,511 ft (1680 m)....5,640 ft (1719 m).....-2.34%
Skyscraper Pass..........................6,643 ft (2025 m).....6,740 ft (2054 m)......-1.46%
Winthrop Creek...........................4,583 ft (1397 m)....4,600 ft (1402 m)......-0.37%
Mystic Camp..............................5,495 ft (1675 m).....5,570 ft (1698 m)......-1.36%
Unnamed pass.............................5,987 ft (1825 m)....6,100 ft (1859 m)......-1.89%
Carbon River crossing..................2,946 ft (898 m).......2,840 ft (866 m)...........3.60%
Ipsut Campground......................2,447 ft (746 m)......2,320 ft (707 m)........5.19%
Carbon River Ranger Station........1,945 ft (593 m)......1,700 ft (518 m).......12.60%
Overall, I was pleased with the altitude accuracy. At the return to the starting point, the reading was quite a bit off, but for a weeks' worth of hiking, it was overall a useful tool. However, the maximum altitude and accumulated altitude was not accurate at all. The maximum altitude on the trip was at Skyscraper Pass but the maximum reading on the watch by the end of the trip was 8,200 ft (2500 m). The approximate accumulated elevation gain is 8,500 ft (2590 m), but the watch read 19,500 ft (5944 m). I thought that possibly it was counting downhill as well, but the manual clearly states that the accumulated altitude is read as the total vertical rise.
For the most part, the compass reading seems to be accurate. However, I have had a few occurrences where it did not read correctly. The compass once showed the direction to be off by 90 degrees, i.e. showing North when it was known to be East. The manual says that a large error can result if the watch is not held with the face parallel to the horizon, but this was not the problem during this reading. Then as I continued checking, it read DISTORT at the top. The manual states that this will happen when the watch is in an abnormal magnetic field. I re-calibrated it when I got home.
Calibration of the compass is done by slowly rotating the watch 360 degrees over a period of 30 seconds. Afterwards it gives the option to set the declination. I found our exact declination at home to be 0.5 degrees different than the closest city that I had picked from the owner's manual. Since the watch sets declination in increments of 1 degree, I never bothered changing it.
I have worn the watch on my wrist about half of the time and strapped it to my pack or belt loop the other half. The temperature reading seems to be accurate when I have it strapped to my pack or belt loop. While wearing on my wrist, it picks up body temperature and thus is incapable of being accurate. It is mentioned in the user's manual to remove it from skin contact for 20 minutes to get a correct reading.
I expected this watch to be large for my small-boned female wrist, but it is more uncomfortable than I expected. It seems that the thickness of the watch interferes significantly with the movement of my wrist. If I bend my wrist back, it jams the back of my hand into the watch even if I leave the strap a little loose. This can be very uncomfortable or just plain painful until I can get it freed. Once I was carrying armloads of things and wasn't able to move my wrist without dropping something. It hurt my hand until I could set the things down.
I often used the watch by hanging it from my pack by its straps. The straps are fairly rigid and shaped to fit a wrist, so they don't allow the watch to hang down. I wish that there was an alternate strap that could be used in place of the wrist band.
This watch has taken a beating because I have used it on so many occasions and because I have strapped it to my pack numerous times. Its size tends to lead to hitting into things. But, I can only see a few slight scratches on the face that are so light that photos could not pick them up. The rest of that watch shows no wear at all. The battery level is holding at 3 bars (full) but continues to go to 2 bars when I'm using it for the higher drain modes or if I'm toggling through several modes for awhile.
I wore the watch for swimming of a few occasions. I dove down as far as I could in the lake but probably only got to a maximum depth of 10 feet (3 m). There was no indication that any moisture got into the watch. The only thing that I noticed was that water continued to leak out of the buttons for several hours after the swim.
The backlighting works well, but it only stays on for 3 seconds with every button press. The only way that it will stay on is for adjusting the operations in the TIME mode. In other modes, I couldn't find any way to keep the light on. This is pretty annoying because unless I am only checking the time, the light isn't on long enough for me to see what I want.
I have mixed opinions of the accuracy of the watch performance throughout this test period. I would not rely on the compass as my sole tool for direction but it makes a good reference. The weather forecasting was fairly accurate when changing from clear weather to cloudy or rainy, but it was not accurate at returning from a cloudy or rainy forecast to sunny. The altimeter was somewhat accurate but has to be re-calibrated often to maintain an accuracy that could be relied upon.
Weather forecasting for rain
Lack of method for hanging from a pack
No constant on for the backlight
I will continue to use the watch for all of its functions primarily focusing on the accuracy of the weather forecasting, elevation and compass indications. I plan to use the watch operation with gloves during the Long-Term test period.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have continued to use this watch every other day for consulting the time, weather forecast, altitude and/or temperature. I used the alarm function on a weekly basis while traveling. Some examples of my uses are as follows:
Point Reyes National Seashore (California): 3 days; 0 to 854 ft (0 to 260 m); 39 to 60 F (4 to 15 C); sunny to foggy conditions
Foothills of the Sierra Nevada (California): 743 to 1,262 ft (226 to 385 m); 60 to 70 F (15 to 21 C); dry conditions
Lake Margaret, Sierra Nevada (California): 7,400 to 7,700 ft (2,256 to 2,347 m); 55 to 65 F (13 to 18 C); sunny conditions
University Falls, Sierra Nevada (California): 3,450 to 4,100 ft (1,052 to 1,250 m); 31 to 37 F (-1 to 3 C); deep snow conditions; sunny
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
My experiences during this test period were similar to those during the field test period. The altimeter is fairly accurate but requires re-setting on a regular basis to maintain good accuracy. The weather forecasting is sometimes spot on and at other times very slow to respond to changing conditions.
At one point, I had the altimeter in a location that was 73 ft (22 m) and it was reading over 4,000 ft (1,219m). Another time, I recalibrated it for a hike at 7,700 ft (2,347 m) and when I got home to 1,900 ft (579 m), it was reading 2,300 ft (700 m). However, there were times that it retained its accuracy well. For the Point Reyes backpacking trip I set the elevation at the trailhead and it remained accurate for the entire trip. It even showed the correct elevation upon arrival at home a few days later. The watch has an altitude lock feature for use in camp to hold the elevation despite variations in barometric pressure. I didn't have an issue with this happening overnight, but I can see that it could be a factor with weather changes. Overall, I found that if I set the altitude at the start of a trip, the accuracy was reasonable for the entire trip. My longest trip was for a week.
I had used the countdown timer previously but hadn't noticed that once the alarm goes off, it begins to count up. This seems like a useful feature to me since I could see just how long it had taken for me to respond to the alarm. In cases where the timing was critical, I could simply add that time to the countdown time to know the exact elapsed time.
I was able to test the watch to near the end of its battery life. After about 18 weeks of use, I set the wake-up alarm. It did not sound. I saw the battery indicator flashing and consulted the instruction manual. It says that once the battery indicator flashes, the alarms will not sound and the backlight will not work. It recommends changing the battery immediately. I did not replace the battery so that I could see if the watch remained accurate although the battery life was waning. The functions did seem to remain accurate and continued to work fine for another two weeks. It never went completely dead during the test period.
I left the watch outside overnight on my backpacking trip so that I could get an accurate reading of the temperature in the mornings. There was extremely heavy dew overnight and the watch was completely soaking wet but the moisture never caused any problems.
The durability of the watch continues to be outstanding. There are a few very light scratches on the face and the Origo logo on the back is smeared from reacting with sunscreen. But considering that I rarely wore the watch on my wrist, it really took a beating from hanging on my pack and shows little sign of wear.
I used the watch several times while wearing my winter gloves and had no problem operating it. The buttons are large enough and spaced enough that even though my gloves are fairly stiff, I could press the correct button without accidentally hitting the adjacent button.
My opinion of this watch did not change during this testing period. The Traverse Peak watch has some cool features but the altimeter, weather forecast and compass seem best suited as reference and not features to be relied upon with certainty.
Weather forecasting for rain
Lack of method for hanging from a pack
No constant on for the backlight
I won't plan to wear this watch due to the large size. But I may remove the watch bands and devise my own way to hang it.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
This concludes my Long-Term Report and the test series for the Origo Traverse Peak watch.
I would like to thank Origo and BackpackGearTest.org for choosing me to participate in this test.
Read more reviews of Origo gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith