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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Watches > Origo Traverse Peak > Test Report by Wayne Merry

Origo Traverse Peak Watch

Test Series by Wayne Merry

INITIAL REPORT: 25 August 2008

Field Test Report: 1 Nov 2008

Long Term Report: 11 Jan 2009

About Wayne, the tester:

Age: 35
Gender: Male
Height: 1.8 m (5' 10")
Weight: 95 kg (211 lb)
Email address: wayne underscore merry at yahoo dot com dot au
City, State, Country: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Backpacking Background: I started overnight backpacking six years ago. I hike in various terrains from moderate/hard track walks to some off track and rivers. I like the temperature to stay above freezing, and have not camped above the snow line during winter. I enjoy going on weekend and multi-day walks up to two weeks as well as day walks. I carry a moderate weight pack, enjoying a few creature comforts at camp. I would normally do at least 2 overnight or longer walks every three months, in addition to a number of full day length walks.
About the test environment:

I will be testing the Origo Traverse Peak watch in Victoria, Australia with the possibility of some testing in New Zealand, Korea, Israel, Sweden and the United States. Elevations will vary from 0 m to 1750 m (5750 feet). The test will be conducted in the southern spring and summer seasons with temperatures varying from 5 C (41 F) to 35 C (95 F). Humidity varies widely during this time of year. Conditions could vary from quite wet to very dry. If I am able to test in the northern hemisphere, conditions and seasons will be very different.

I will be testing the Origo Traverse Peak watch on all my walks that I have planned during the test period. I have a mix of day and overnight or longer pack carry walks planned.
Product Details:
  • Manufacturer: North American Gear, LLC
  • Web site: http://www.origowatch.com
  • Year of shipping: 2008
  • Place of manufacture: China
  • MSRP - US$150.00
Traverse Peak image from Origo

Photograph Courtesy of North American Gear, LLC

Manufacturer's description:

Our Traverse Peak Series is perfect for the athlete who needs accurate information on the run. These multi-sensor watches deliver the exact information you need, precisely when you need it. The easy to read display showcases multiple data at a glance so you can keep moving. Stay competitive with Origo Traverse Peak.


Specifications for product as tested:

  • Manufacturer specified:
    • Weight: 53 g (1.87 oz).
    • Diameter: 38 mm (1.5 in).
    • Case Diameter: 53 mm (2.1 in).
    • Thickness: 18 mm (0.7 in).
  • As tested:
    • Weight: 52 g (1.87 oz).
    • Diameter: 38 mm (1.5 in).
    • Case Diameter: 53 mm (2.1 in).
    • Thickness: 18 mm (0.7 in).

Initial Report: Item Receipt & First Impressions:

25 Aug 2008

Traverse Peak box

Item Receipt: I received the Origo Traverse Peak watch in excellent condition, in the box shown nearby. I was initially unclear on which watch from the Traverse Peak series I was to receive, however the watch looks clearly to be the Traverse Peak Black Multi-Sensor. The Traverse Peak series also consists of two other watches: the Silver Multi-Sensor, and the Black with Orange Azimuth Ring. The Traverse Peak Black with Orange Azimuth Ring appears to have a slightly different display to the other two watches in the series, so it may have different operating software. It also has a MSRP of US$40 less than the watch I am testing. The Silver Multi-Sensor appears to have an identical display to the watch I received.

My first impression on looking at the Traverse Peak was "what a big face!" This should not have surprised me as my measurements of the size of the watch were spot on what the manufacturer specified on the web site. Full marks to Origo for truth in web dimension and weight specifications!

The display consists of three lines which show different information depending on the mode the watch is in at the time. The top line is a pixel array which can show text, numbers and graphics. It is used to show graphs in some of the Traverse Peak modes. The array appears to be 30x7 segments. The second line is used to display the time in the main time mode and has 6 7-segment style digits. The lower line consists of 7 7-segment style digits, with the last digit being smaller than the others. While I am yet to use the Traverse Peak on a serious walk, the main display appears easy to read. What can be a little harder to read is the 3rd line - in particular the last smaller digit, which are used to show fractions of temperature in the main time mode. There are 60 segments around the edge of the watch face. These are used to show seconds in the time mode and compass bearing in the compass mode. This can be seen in the picture below where the time was 24 seconds past the minute. 24 segments are lit up. The segments light up one per second in the first minute, and then extinguish in the next minute. The cycle is then repeated on the 3rd and 4th minute and so on. The display shown on the manufacturer's image above shows only 18 segments activated even though the seconds shows 58. I have not seen this behaviour on my watch.

The watch fits comfortably on my wrist, although it dominates in appearance due to the large face. Pictured below is the Traverse Peak on my wrist with a Seiko watch worn beside it for comparison. The Seiko is a typical sized watch - typical for the size of watches whenever I go shopping for watches. The Traverse Peak is clearly larger in the size of the face, the total diameter, and also the thickness of the watch. I did not find the size overbearing, however. The bigger face does aid in seeing the watch quickly when walking. The soft blue backlight is also effective in using the watch in the dark.
Traverse Peak face Traverse Peak from the side

Time Mode: The Traverse Peak shows the date on the first line, time of day on the second line, and the temperature on the third line. Small additional segments show the battery condition (shown in all modes), an indication of time 1 or time 2 and a weather prediction. The weather prediction shows 4 states - sunny, broken cloud, full cloud cover and showers/rain. The weather prediction is driven by the barometer. I live in Melbourne and it is said that Melbourne can have four seasons in one day - it will be interesting to see how this watch goes with the unpredictable weather. The time can be shown in 12 or 24 hour mode. The temperature can be shown in Celsius or Fahrenheit. It seemed reasonably intuitive from using the watch and reading the manual to make the adjustments to all of these things in this mode. It is also nice that the altimeter and compass can be accessed through a single button press from this mode for a quick peek. The watch returns to the time mode after a few seconds. It is a little clumsy in changing from time 1 to time 2. It would also be nice if the other time could be shown on the bottom line - but then the temperature display would need to be available through some other means - perhaps holding a button to toggle this would improve the watch. The time mode has a "lock out" feature which disables the one touch access to the compass and altimeter modes. This is handy if access to these modes is not desired and accidental presses of the appropriate buttons are to be ignored.

The time mode features a temperature display. I have used this in Celsius mode and it appears to measure in 0.1 C (0.18 F) increments. The manual appears to imply to me that the gauge works in Celsius, so when the watch is instructed to display in Fahrenheit, I do not know if 0.1 F (0.055 C) increments are obtainable. I suspect that increments will vary between 0.1 F and 0.2 F. In any case the temperature reading appears to be accurate to within 1 C (1.8 F). I cannot verify accuracy better than this as I do not live right next to a weather station! The reading is not accurate while wearing the watch. The manual suggests 20 minutes is required before obtaining an accurate reading, however I have found that 30 minutes is sometimes required.

Compass Mode: One mode press from the time mode is the compass mode. The direction is shown in the top line (N,S,E,W) down to a precision of 1 in 16 (eg down to ENE). The angle is shown on the second line to a precision of 1 degree. The third line shows the time. The 60 segments on the edge of the face are used to show N, S, E, W with 1 segment for each, except for north where 5 segments are shown. This display seems easy to read, and is also convenient as the watch need only be held level in front of the walker and one button pressed in order to take a reading. It is more convenient to me than pulling out my compass for the occasional glance.

The manual recommends calibrating the compass upon commencing each walk. Calibration requires the watch to be held level for 30 seconds while completing one turn. This seems to help keep the readings from the compass consistent, although I have not been out in the field with the watch yet. Declination can be set from 30 degrees west to 30 degrees east. I have not found it difficult to get out of mentally adjusting for declination on using the digital compass. My mind quickly seems to accept that north on this compass is true north - of course assuming the declination is set correctly!

The compass mode has a bearing sub mode. The only "gotcha" is that once in the bearing set mode, the Start/Stop button is used to take a bearing reading rather than the "Mode" button. The bearing can be adjusted by 1 degree steps before being locked in. Once set, the bearing mode differs from the standard compass mode with the bearing setting shown in degrees on the top line. The current bearing is shown in degrees, while the 60 edge segments show variance from current bearing to desired bearing. If both current and desired bearings are the same, only one segment will show at the top. As bearing error increases, more segments light up. The edge of the face has a printed rule in 6 degree steps which correspond to the 60 segments. Each lit segment means the bearing error has increased by 6 degrees. I found it easy to keep a bearing using this mode - however I have not yet tested this mode in challenging terrain.

Barometer Mode: This mode shows the current air pressure in mbars on the second line, the current time on the third line, and the top line shows changes in pressure over the last 30 hours according to the manual. I have not yet been able to confirm whether this display is indeed 30 hours, however it does not appear to be significantly different. As this display is actual measured pressure - this acts more like an course altimeter display as air pressure changes as altitude changes. The display does not show changes in estimated sea level pressure. At this time of this report I have only used this feature at home - but I imagine that it could still be useful in seeing changes in pressure due to weather when waking up in the morning or after being stationary for a long time.

There is no option to display the air pressure in any unit other than mbars. Locally here in Melbourne, the standard unit hPa is used and 1 hPa = 1 mbar = 0.1 kPa. America uses inches of mercury (inHg) at 32 F (0 C) for weather information - however inHg is not available on the display. For reference 1 inHg = 33.86 mbar (hPa) = 3.386 kPa.

Altimeter Mode: The altimeter mode displays the current altitude on the second line, the time on the third line, and a graph display of altitude over the last hour on the top line. This display appears to be for one hour rather than the 8 hours suggested by the manual and the Origo web site. The altimeter uses air pressure to deduce altitude, therefore changes in air pressure are normally assumed to be changes in altitude. The mode also features a lock mode which can be used when camping overnight. This freezes the current altitude reading - so the watch will then assume any changes are due to weather, not altitude change. There is also the ability to take snapshots of the current altitude which can be accessed later in the Altimeter Data Mode. In using this mode around home, I have noticed a tendency for the displayed around by up to 5 or so meters (16 ft) which appears to be independent of weather changes. The watch claims accuracy of 1 foot, which is 1 metre when displayed in metric mode. At this stage I am doubtful about this level of accuracy, although I don't think this level of accuracy would be of great use to me in the field. It is more handy to know altitude to within 20 metres (66 ft) when in the middle of an 800 metre (2600 ft) climb or decent.

Altimeter Data Mode: This mode shows three things:

  • Maximum altitude obtained.
  • Total altitude climbed. This measure is like a ratchet. If the wearer climbs 300 metres (1000 ft), then descends 100 metres (330 ft) and then climbs another 300 metres (1000 ft), then the total altitude climbed should show 600 metres (2000 ft). I am not sure how well this would work in practice. As I have found that the altitude tends to bounce around a few metres, this tends to over accumulate on the total altitude climbed measure when tested around my home.
  • Stored altitude data points. According to the manual, up to 75 points can be stored. I have stored a few points in initial testing. For each point the altitude, time of day and date are shown.

Chronograph Mode: The chronograph measures elapsed time in 1/100 of a second. The stopwatch features a lap mode, and can be stopped and restarted. It has confused me that the START/STOP button is used to start and take lap times, while the RESET button is used to stop the watch. A few times in initial testing I have accidently taken too many lap readings, and also reset the whole chronograph because of confusion between the buttons. Another "gotcha" is that by resetting the watch to zero, the data of that "run" is lost and cannot be stored in the watch to be accessed using the Chronograph Data Mode. I suspect that as I become more familiar with the watch, I will overcome these problems.

Chronograph Data Mode: Historical "run" data (or often in my case - historical hiking data) can be obtained in this mode. The watch stores the start time of day and date of each run, and each lap time. An average and best lap time are also shown. According to Origo's web site, a maximum of 99 laps in 99 runs can be stored. I assume this means 99 laps over 99 runs - i.e. if I tried to store 99 runs, each could only have 1 lap. I'll try to determine if this assumption is true over the test.

Alarm Mode: This mode is used to set up to 2 alarms on the watch. I found this reasonably easy to use and set alarms. I also found the alarm effective in waking me up. There is also the option of setting an hourly chime.

Countdown Timer Mode: The Countdown timer mode allows a timer to be set to countdown. The maximum time that can be set is 99 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds. The countdown timer can be stopped and restarted using the START/STOP button - see how I got confused in the chronograph mode where buttons are a little different! In this mode the top line shows the initial setting of the timer, the middle line shows the current time remaining, and the bottom line shows the time of day. The timer will count up once zero is reached and an alarm will sound.

Conclusion: Overall, I think I like the Origo Traverse Peak. The altimeter and digital compass look to be good usable features. I am hopeful that the large face has glass strong enough to handle the punishment that bushwalking / hiking can dish out in the field. The Traverse Peak has all of the core features that I want from a watch, and I also think that that the data saving feature of the chronograph will come in handy for me. I think that the weather forecast feature might be a little light on - but we'll see how well it performs during the test. In summary:

  • LIKES:
    • The Altimeter and the ability to take altimeter data snapshots.
    • The ease of access of the Digital Compass.
    • The large face makes the watch easy to read.
  • DISLIKES:
    • Setting and clearing things do not always work the same way in different modes - such as the chronograph vs the countdown timer.
That concludes my Initial Report. Thanks to BackpackGearTest and Origo for the opportunity to test the Traverse Peak watch.

Field Test Report:

1 Nov 2008

Field Test Locations and Conditions:

  • Point Nepean, Victoria. Scrubby coastal walk, on-track with a beach section. Some sections were on paved roads. Temperatures were around 10 C (50 F) with moderate humidity.
  • "Walk into History", Yarra State Forest, Victoria. Forested on track walk. Temperatures ranged from -5 C (23 F) to 10 C (50 F). Humidity was high, and there was a significant amount of rain and sleet. Track conditions were quite muddy in places and one section featured a very steep decent with no track construction.
  • "BSAR Weekend, VRA Rogaine", Brisbane Ranges, Victoria, Australia: Open forest, off track, two-day walk with elevations from 100 m (330 ft) up to 300 m (1000 ft). Temperatures were mild to warm: 15 C (59 F) to 25 C (77 F) with humidity medium. The Traverse Peak was not used on the Rogaine itself, as this would be a breach of Rogaine rules. It was used at other times on the weekend.
  • "Mungo National Park", New South Wales, Australia. Mallee scrub to open. Arid region. Humidity was low, and temperatures were mild: 15 C (59F) to 20 C (68 F).
  • "Murrindindi", Victoria, Australia. On and off track forest. Humidity was moderate. This region normally is quite wet, but drought conditions have intensified in recent months in Victoria. Elevations varied from 300 m (1000 ft) to 700 m (2300 ft).
  • I used the watch for a total of 7 days backpacking. I also used it for 3 full day bicycle rides.

Field Test Conditions and Observations: My first opportunity to use the Traverse Peak was at Point Nepean. The first sign of trouble on this walk was my locking of the altitude the previous evening before leaving for the walk. Once travelling, I forgot how to unlock the altitude. The watch would have then thought that all the changes in pressure were as a result of the weather. As there was a change in altitude from my home to sea level at Point Nepean, the watch must have thought that the weather was improving significantly, but very quickly and erratically as I drove up and down hills. This proved to be too much for the watch, which started to report a massive rise in pressure. The pressure reported by the Traverse started at about 1010 mbar (29.83 inHg) as I began the walk, and rose to 1410 mbar (41.64 inHg). This value was clearly wrong - otherwise you and all the rest of humanity would have been hearing about in the news and then experiencing the mother of all weather events!

Once I got home, I reread the manual to remind myself how to unlock the altitude. Over the next week, the pressure reported by the watch slowly declined to about 1050 mbar (31.01 inHg), which was about 30 mbar (0.89 inHg) too high. The altimeter was reporting an error of about 300 metres (1000 ft) from actual. The error from the altimeter when the pressure reading was completely out to lunch could not be determined as it was out of range.

It was at this stage that I went on my next walk. On this walk, the watch finally corrected the last 30 mbar (0.89 inHg) error, and began to report correctly. The process of this correction took place during a 500 metre (1650 ft) climb, which resulted in some incorrect readings from the altimeter. As the watch's reported pressure reading was reducing faster than actual pressure reduction was occurring, the watch over-reported altitude gain. Once I was reasonably sure that the pressure error had gone, the altimeter began to work much better. The altimeter does drift around, but this is to be expected as the altimeter is driven off pressure, and pressure changes due to both altitude change and weather change. There were no more "meltdowns" encountered in the remainder of the Field Test period.

Altimeter graphic display after a steep descent

I found the altimeter quite useful during climbs and descents. Shown to the right is a picture of the Traverse Peak after I completed a 400 metre (1330 ft) descent in about 25 minutes. The graphic display which shows changes in altitude appears to show the last 1 hour. During the descent, the watch appeared to update the altitude every 20 seconds or so. It gave me a very good idea during the descent how I was going, and how much of the descent was left.

The barometer display has a graph that shows changes in air pressure over time. I have not been able to lock down how much time is shown on this display. The graph display does not appear to make any sense unless the altitude has not changed over the last 24 hours or so. I do not feel that this graph will be of much use to me in the field.

The barometer pressure reading itself appears to be accurate. Aside from my watch "meltdown" event described above, the pressure reading appears to be within 2 mbar (0.06 inHg) of the closest weather stations that I can compare it with. The display could be even more accurate than this, however I cannot verify any greater accuracy than described.

The manual claims a 1 metre (1 foot) accuracy for the altimeter display. While the altimeter can display the altitude in 1 metre or 1 foot increments, my observations seem to suggest an accuracy of around 5 metre (15 ft). If the pressure changes due to weather, then the reading will drift, however in a short period (e.g. 10 minutes) this effect is minimized. On my walks during the test period, weather changes of up to 10 mbar (0.30 inHg) have been experienced over an 8 hour period. This introduces a 100 metre (330 ft) drift in the altimeter reading.

The altimeter altitude lock feature (the cause of my "meltdown" event) did not give me any additional trouble during the remainder of the field test period. I have now remembered how to turn the lock on and off in the field without needing to look at the manual. The lock feature does prevent any altimeter drift - it prevents any altimeter change at all. This is useful once making camp at the end of the day, however the weather does not restrict changes to periods when I am at camp. The altitude lock feature is unable to prevent altimeter drift during a multi day walk when the lock needs to be off when walking.

I understand that some compass/barometer watches have an altimeter mode that only graphs and monitors altitude changes while in altimeter mode only. The Traverse Peak continues to build the graph and monitor altitude even when in other modes. I think that this ability is important - I would not like it if the watch did not have this capability.

In my initial report, I mentioned that I did not think too much of the weather forecast feature. I think about the same of it now. Weather forecasters with supercomputers and large data collection capabilities struggle to accurately forecast the weather, so I didn't think that the Traverse Peak would do so well. I have found it raining when the watch says it will be clear skies, and vice versa. It is more useful to check the barometer from time to time, especially around camp, to see if the pressure is rising or falling.

The compass mode seems to be accurate to within 10 degrees with a Silva compass used as a reference. Within this, there does appear to be variance in readings. These variances can change with calibrating the watch, but calibration does not appear to eliminate them altogether. I do not rely on the compass mode as a primary navigational device, but it is good for a quick rough reading.

I have attempted to use the bearing mode, but after a few minutes, the watch exited this mode. Both the normal compass mode and the bearing mode appear to be heavy on the battery. If needing to take a bearing and stay on it for an extended period of time, the Traverse Peak does not appear to be suitable. The manufacturer does not recommend that the Traverse Peak be used as a primary navigational device, and I think I agree. The bearing mode does not have a great deal of use for me - if I need to take and hold a bearing I use a conventional compass - but the compass mode of the Traverse is still useful for quick readings from time to time. It is more convenient to take a quick reading on the Traverse Peak than get out the traditional compass for me as the Traverse Peak is always available on my wrist. My traditional compass tends to be hidden away in my map case, unless I am actively using it. The compass mode is also handy for me in getting my bearings when travelling. If I am in an unfamiliar city, it is handy to know which way is north when struggling with a street map.

I have found the Altimeter data mode to be of limited value. As the reported altitude can bounce around a little - up to 5 metres (15 ft) - the total altitude climbed report tends to quite dramatically over estimate how much climbing that I have actually done. The max altitude reading is a little more useful as it does not suffer from this problem.

The chronograph is quite usable in the field. I use the chronograph to record each day's walk as a "run" (in the Traverse Peak language), with notable points throughout the day as "laps". It was quite easy to use the chronograph in this way once I got use to the "START/STOP" button being start and lap, and "RESET" being stop and reset. I did not find that I accidentally activated the buttons while walking, although they were pressed by accident once or twice when using the Traverse Peak on a bike. I was able to test the watch memory capacity. A total of 99 laps can be stored - across all runs - so if I attempted to store 2 runs with 50 laps each, the second run would run out of memory at lap 49.

A gotcha that got me was the need to store a chronograph run into memory before resetting the chronograph. I lost a day's walk data because of this. It didn't happen again though.

The chronograph data mode is where previous run data can be obtained. In my case I obtain the data and store it in software provided by the Polar 610i (my heart rate monitor). The Traverse Peak is not a heart rate monitor, but the chronograph mode allows me to collect similar overall walk time and segment (lap) times that I could collect if I was wearing the heart rate monitor. Accessing the data in the Traverse Peak is intuitive enough. At this stage I have only worked out how to clear all the data. I have not determined if a particular run can be deleted from the watch memory.

I have continued to find that the alarm mode is effective enough for me in the field when used as a wake up call. Unfortunately, this finding could be highly variable for others!

I have found the countdown mode to be of little use for me in the field. The mode does function fine, it's just that I don't have much use for it.

When playing around with the Traverse Peak, I have noticed that the battery indicator has dropped from 3 bars to 2, and one time to 0 bars. The watch has not reported a low battery condition. As I write this report I am wearing the Traverse Peak and it is currently showing 3 bars. I used a battery tester to test the watch battery along with a spare provided by Origo, and the meter showed both batteries to have good - and similar charges. It is hard to know what the reported fluctuations in battery status will mean for battery life at this stage. The battery is about 2.5 months old at this stage. The manual states that the battery life is up to 12 months. I will continue to monitor this and report on the ongoing battery performance in the Long Term Test Report.

At this stage of the test, there are no obvious signs of wear on the watch body. The watch face has sustained minor buffering and scratches. In order to see these, I have to hold the watch at just the right angle to a light. There are no big scratches that would be easily seen.

Summary: At this stage, I am still happy with the Traverse Peak. It is not all singing and dancing, but it does the stuff that I think it should be able to do well. My likes and dislikes at this stage:

  • LIKES:
    • The Altimeter and Barometer modes are useful in gaining information on altitude and weather changes.
    • The ease of access of the Digital Compass.
    • The large face makes the watch easy to read.
  • DISLIKES:
    • The compass and bearing modes do tend to hammer the battery.
    • Setting and clearing things do not always work the same way in different modes - such as the chronograph vs. the countdown timer.
That concludes my Field Test Report. Thanks to BackpackGearTest and Origo for the opportunity to test the Traverse Peak watch.

Long Term Report:

11 Jan 2009

Long Term Test Locations:

  • Mt Howitt, Razor and Viking Range (4 days), Victoria, Australia: A mix of mostly on track walking with a significant amount of climbing and descending. Elevations ranged from 500 m (1660 ft) to 1750 m (5850 ft). Temperatures were mild, ranging from 15 C (59 F) to 25 C (77 F) with humidity ranging from low to high over the 4 day walk. One day had a reasonable amount of rain, while the others were fine.
  • Mazada, Israel (less than 1 day): While this was not a normal "pack carry" walk, it was interesting to operate the Traverse Peak in unusual conditions along the snake path leading to the Mazada fortress. Elevations ranged from 300 m below sea level (-1000 ft) to 120 m (400 ft).
  • I also used the Traverse Peak watch on a series of short walks throughout Israel, the United States, South Korea, Malaysia, Germany and Sweden.
  • I used the Traverse Peak for a total of 4 days of overnight pack carrying walking during the Long Term Test period. I have also used the watch over at least 20 days on other walks.

Long Term Test Conditions and Observations:

My time using the Traverse Peak was uneventful when contrasted with the "melt down" event that occurred during the Field Test period described above. I did not have any real problems operating the watch. The features I used the most are described in turn below.

Compass: It is handy having a compass available for quick looks at the press of a button. Origo does not recommend using this mode as a primary method of navigation, and I agree to a point, but I find it more convenient than a conventional compass for a quick look at my direction. For real navigation, a normal compass is still required, particularly for bearings. The Traverse Peak bearing mode is of little use for taking and staying on a bearing for an extended period. The main reason for this is the compass mode is just too heavy on the batteries for anything more than short use.

I have also found it can be useful to set the declination adjustment to zero in certain situations. During the Long Term Test period, I traveled the world on a business trip, and often had no idea what the local declination was. The compass mode was still useful in these situations, even for just getting my bearings in unfamiliar urban environments.

Altimeter: I used the Altimeter mode more extensively than any other mode on the Traverse Peak during the test period - aside from time keeping itself! It is quite handy knowing how much height has been gained in extended climbs and descents. It would take me about 1 1/2 hours to climb 900 m (3000 ft) on a good track at moderate grade and normally I have used time to estimate how much I have climbed or descended where no obvious visual cues are available. The altimeter makes this estimation much more accurate as I can see from the Traverse Peak what the current altitude is. What the Altimeter is not is a highly accurate measure of altitude. Relying on air pressure prevents the altimeter from being too accurate over any sort of time period as weather is going to change altitude readings. The altimeter lock does not help much as this lock can only be realistically employed at camp. I find that this does not matter much on the trail for estimating how much of a climb or descent I have done.

The accuracy of the altimeter is a bit rough. Readings bounce around a little from time to time. I have seen variations of up to 30 m (100 ft) from the altimeter, although normally variations are around 5 m (15 ft) or less. Variations tended to be much higher when I accessed the altimeter using a single button press from the time mode as opposed to having the altimeter mode on full time. Due to the smaller variations in the full time altimeter mode, I tended to keep the watch in this mode during climbs and descents.

I found the altimeter handled the below sea level conditions at Mazada quite happily.

The beep that the Traverse Peak makes during mode changes is different when entering the time mode than other modes. I quickly learnt that three normal beeps after the time beep would put me in Altimeter mode. This was handy, because I could tell the mode from listening to the watch rather than having to look at it.

Chronograph: After using the Traverse Peak for some time, I still sometimes get the start/stop/lap combination messed up. Sometimes I press "Start/Stop" to stop the chronograph, but this adds another lap - this is a little frustrating. I also have pressed "Reset" to stop the chronograph when it is already stopped - this clears the chronograph - a major arrrgh! It also prevents any opportunity to save the chronograph data, which increases the agro! This would have to be my major beef with the Traverse Peak. Even though the interface trips me up from time to time, I still use the chronograph extensively on my walks, and it is handy to look back at the data to see how long different segments of a walking day have taken. The data mode is where this information can be accessed, and at this stage of the test I find it reasonably intuitive to use. I would definitely suggest that Origo change the operation of this mode to having the start/stop button start and stop the chronograph!

It does appear to me that chronograph data can be cleared by clearing ALL data from the chronograph data mode. If there is a way to delete one run, it is pretty non intuitive to me.

Other observations: At this stage the Traverse Peak is still in good condition. The watch face has minor scratches, but these can only be seen on the right angle when I deliberately try to see them. They are not apparent in the field when I am looking at the watch to read something from it. The watch has taken some punishment in the field - bumping up against rocks, etc. I try to protect the watch, but stuff does happen on the walking track. I am happy with the field robustness of the Traverse Peak.

Origo suggests that the battery should last around 12 months. As I have had the Traverse Peak for a little less than 5 months, I cannot say if the battery will last that long. The battery indicator started on 3 bars, but is now on 2 bars, and drops down to 1 when I am using various modes on a walk and changing modes from time to time. When I recently set an alarm, the indicator briefly droped to zero bars, but is now back on 2. The indicator does bounce around a little. My best guess is that the battery is around 40% of full charge after 4 and 1/2 months.

I do intend on using the Traverse Peak after the conclusion of the test. The Traverse Peak appears strong enough to handle the conditions in the back country and having a chronograph with data collection, an altimeter and compass in my time piece is handy. So to summerize my feelings at the conclusion of the test:

  • LIKES:
    • The Altimeter is quite useful in climbs and descents.
    • The ease of access of both the Altimeter and the Digital Compass. The different pitch made when changing modes also allows the selection of the mode by ear.
    • The large face makes the watch easy to read.
  • DISLIKES:
    • The compass and bearing modes do tend to hammer the battery.
    • Setting and clearing things do not always work the same way in different modes - such as the chronograph vs. the countdown timer.

That concludes my Long Term Test Report and this test series. Thanks to BackpackGearTest and Origo for the opportunity to test the Traverse Peak watch.



Read more reviews of Origo gear
Read more gear reviews by Wayne Merry

Reviews > Electronic Devices > Watches > Origo Traverse Peak > Test Report by Wayne Merry



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