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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Watches > Timex Expedition E-Tide Temp Compass > Test Report by Andrew Priest

TIMEX EXPEDITION E-TIDE TEMP COMPASS WATCH
TEST SERIES BY ANDREW PRIEST
FIELD REPORT
July 08, 2008

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Andrew Priest
EMAIL: andrew@aushiker.com
AGE: 48
LOCATION: Perth, Western Australia, Australia
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 213 lb (96.80 kg)

I've been bushwalking in Western Australia for approximately six years. For the past five years I have been regularly walking and leading on and off-track pack carries with the Perth Bushwalkers Club. I have also got into geocaching and now off-road mountain bike touring (2008). I consider myself as moving towards being a lightweight tent-carrying bushwalker with my pack base weight in the 8 to 12 kg (18 to 26 lb) range.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Timex Expedition E-Tide Temp Compass Wat
Source: Timex Corporation
Manufacturer: Timex Corporation
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: Timex Corporation
MSRP: US$169.95
Product Code: T45601DH
Listed Weight: Not Available
Measured Weight: 5.15 oz (146 g)

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Having viewed the Timex website I really didn't have much of an idea as to what to expect other than the obvious, a watch. A watch claimed to be water resistant, provides tidal data and the temperature and its size is large. Mind you, I got this from the watch's name and the image provided. The website really provides little information on the watch and the link to the manual went to a non-existence document. Based on this lack of product information which I consider to be disappointing, I had to wait its arrival before I could get a handle on what it was all about.

When I received it, I was a little surprised. It is bigger than I expected, the face is white, whereas the model I saw initially on the website had a dark face. The band on the watch I received is two-tone metal rather than the brown strap expected. That said it is a nice looking watch. I have now found that Timex have each of the variations of the watch shown on the website. I missed this the first time I looked.

Moving on to the watch itself. As I indicated above, the watch face is quite big, measuring 45 mm (1.77 in) across the diameter of the face. It has a white face, with time indicator points around the outside of the face (no numbers representing time). Around the outside of the face is the temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. Inside the temperature, are labels representing tide levels.

There are the normal hands (big and little for time) plus a seconds' hand. In addition, there is a hand which has red and black tips. This hand is used to represent the temperature, tide and compass direction depending on the button pressed. Finally the face has a small window at the 6 o'clock position for the date (day).

To allow for viewing at night, the watch has what Timex call an, IndigloŽ night-light. This provides a pale blue light illuminating the face.

Main Features of the Watch

Tide or Temperature. The watch is designed to show the tide or temperature constantly, depending on which button was last pressed. The temperature reading is affected by body heat according to Timex so one should remove the watch from the arm to get a more reliable reading. Preliminary use of the watch suggests that the reading is reasonably accurate, that is compared to official readings.

When the tide button is pressed the indicator hand moves clockwise. This indicates if the tide is falling (pointing right) and rising (pointing left). According to the instructions, the watch uses the moon's position to predict high and low tides. I am not sure how it determines that it is in the northern or southern hemisphere or if this makes a difference. I am not big on tides so not sure I have the expertise to determine if this feature is accurate or not.

Compass The compass feature only works for 20 seconds at a time to reduce battery consumption. Unless the compass button is pressed the hand reflects tidal or temperature information. To use the compass, it must be first calibrated. This was a simple process of rotating the watch twice. The instructions given for doing this are clear and easy to follow in my view. The watch also has the option to correct for declination.

When the compass button is pressed, the hand will point north for 20 seconds. The compass hand is matched with the 12 o'clock position on the watch so that they can be used to determine direction of travel or direction one wants to travel.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

I had hoped to review the instructions for the watch prior to its arrival. A check of the product page on the Timex website indicated that a manual was available for download. However, the manual link takes one to a directory page where there does not appear to be a Timex Expedition E-Tide Compass manual. I must admit I find this frustrating and annoying. Why provide a link if you can't be bothered providing the manual?

The above notwithstanding the manual or instruction sheet provided with the watch has proved to be useful and easy to follow. It provides good information on how to use the watches' features and even provides instructions on bracelet adjustment, which I also found easy to follow and apply, having had to reduce the size of the bracelet for my arm.

TRYING IT OUT

I have used the watch daily since receiving it and whilst I will provide a full commentary on my experience in the Field and Long-term Reports, a brief initial impressions comment follows.

First, I find the IndigloŽ night-light very useful and it works well for me when it is dark (i.e., no lights on). This is great as my night vision is nothing to write home about.

I also am finding it quite comfortable to wear despite its size and weight. This has been a pleasant surprise.

On the downside I am finding the temperature numbers, particularly given the Celsius numbers are quite small, hard to read with my vision. I am also taking a little while to get used to the four hands. I initially read the time wrong quite a bit as I misread the temp-tide arm as a time arm. I do however appear to be adjusting to this.

TESTING STRATEGY

Basically I intend to wear the watch as my day to day watch during the test period, regularly comparing the temperature reading against official readings and testing the compass on walks against a GPSr and/or compass. I am unlikely to test the tide feature in the field but will compare it against local tide records to determine if it is reading correctly.

SUMMARY

Overall I am happy with the watch, I have found it easy to use once I read the instructions and adjusting the bracelet was a simple task, even with my poor vision.

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Due to work and family reasons my bush use of the watch has been very limited and hence all my usage during the test period has been limited to wearing the watch as my daily timepiece around the office, at home and out and about here in Perth, Western Australia. This has included using when riding my bike as well.

As the field reporting period has been our autumn (fall) the watch has been used in dry and wet conditions but not colder conditions. Average minimum temperature for May is 10.7 C (51 F).

Adding to my problems with testing time, I had to return the watch to the local distributor for repairs. The watch was sent to the Australian distributor on June 16, 2008 and the watch has yet to be returned to myself.

In summary I have been able to test the watch locally over approximately 37 days.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

While my testing of the watch has been locally rather than out on serious bushwalks, I have endeavoured to use the various features of the watch and hence my comments are reflective of this.

Tide or Temperature: As I indicated in the Initial Report, "I am not big on tides so not sure I have the expertise to determine if this feature is accurate or not," however, I did attempt to check its reading against some published tide data for the nearby coastal area and it did appear to be correct. That said I am still struggling to see the usefulness of this feature in my bushwalking context other than maybe needing to plan for tidal river crossing which I have had to do in the past. That said I can get the tidal data in advance and use a normal watch to tell time.

In terms of temperature, my experience is that it appears reasonably accurate against official readings from the local Bureau of Meteorology weather station. However, I do find it very hard to read the Celsius numbers and so its usefulness to myself is limited. The Fahrenheit readings are more readable but not so useful for myself.

Compass: I haven't been out bush with the watch so haven't used the compass in anger so to speak, however, I have played with when out and about locally and okay it tells me where north is etc. However, it has no means of allowing me to set a bearing off a map, so I am struggling to see its usefulness other than giving me a general east-west-north-south direction. I hope to explore this feature of the watch further once I get it back from the Australian distributor.

IndigloŽ night-light: In my Initial Report I commented that I found the Indiglo night-light "very useful and it works well for me when it is dark (i.e., no lights on). This is great as my night vision is nothing to write home about." I continue to hold this view, with the qualifier that some numbers such as the temperature readings are hard to read irrespective of the night-light.

General Useability: I have found using the functions such as the compass, temperature and tide all relatively easy as long as I could remember the correct press of the buttons and how the reading is taken. This is more a function of using the feature enough than anything else but if it is feature I don't use often, e.g., Tide, I know this will be a problem for me as I don't retain this sort of information well. Not sure what the solution is beside taking the manual with me but!

One thing I have found frustrating with using the watch is telling the time! I don't have great vision so maybe this does not help, but I find the watch face cluttered (lots of information) and the extra red arm actually often confuses me, particular when I take a quick look or it early in the morning etc. What I am saying is that I found it easy to misread the watch getting the time wrong. I suspect but haven't had the watch long enough to confirm that I may adjust to, but at this point in the testing cycle I can't verify.

Durabiltiy: This is where the watch has let me down in my view. I have had two problems with the watch. The first being the loosing of a pin out of the strap and the second being the bending of the compass button.

First the pin in the strap. In late May the watch fell off my arm on to the ground. Thankfully no damage occurred. The cause of the fall was falling out of a pin from the strap. I contacted Timex Customer Support in the USA expecting that they would send out a replacement pin, given they provide instructions on how to remove pins to shorten the strap. Alas no pin was to be forthcoming, rather I was instructed to contact the local distributor. Subsequently they advised that I send in the watch for repair and the watch has been with them since June 16, 2008. This really seems silly given all I need was a replacement pin and it is something I feel Timex needs to look at improving. That is both the way the pins are secured and provision of replacements to speed up repairs.

My second problem with the watch is the bending of the compass button. This has not impacted on the function itself nor the water resistance of the watch to my knowledge but does reflect one of the disadvantages of the size of the watch in my view.

I find that I tend to bend my wrist back, particular when riding my flatbar bicycle. This bending combined with my tendency to wear the watch a touch loose on my wrist which often has it sliding down to the point where my wrist bends. This combination of watch wearing and my wrist bending has resulted in the bending of the compass button. Interesting this has not happened to the other watches I wear which all have a smaller watch face and don't weigh as much and hence tend not to slide down my arm.

SUMMARY

In summary, I really find this watch does not have significant extra features to warrant its use, the face is hard to read despite its size and I am disappointed in the durability of the watch.

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good:

  • Ease of use of the functions as long as I can remember how the work;
  • IndigloŽ night-light.


The bad:

  • Hard to read the Celsius readings;
  • To many arms making reading the time at times confusing;
  • Too big.


The ugly:

  • Durability. Disappointing having the pin fall out and the bending of the compass button;
  • Long delay getting the watch serviced.


This concludes my Field Report. The Long-term Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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