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Thread: Wrist watch-altimeter-thermometer-etc.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mad Townie's Avatar
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    Question Wrist watch-altimeter-thermometer-etc.

    Since people on this board have experience with just about everything related to the outdoors, someone must have opinions, based on experience, about the various wrist computer thingies out there.

    I'm wondering particularly about the Timex altimeter one that Campmor has on sale. Anyone ever use one?
    Mad Townie

    Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary. - H. D. Thoreau

    Easy trails, nice days and comfort are good, too. - M. Townie

  2. #2
    Senior Member JimB's Avatar
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    Do a search and you'll find lots of info on these watches. I've had a Helix for almost 3 years and it has worked pretty well for what it cost. I've changed the battery a few times.
    Nobody moves.... nobody gets hurt!









  3. #3
    Senior Member king tut's Avatar
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    I believe you're looking at the Timex Helix watch. I bought that one this summer from campmor, i used it once up in Baxter and it got a little wet from the weather, and then just stopped working altogether. Before it broke, the readings on the watch did not seam to be very accurate. The barometer gave some way wacky readings. The altimeter was normally a couple hundred feet off, no matter what. I had it in my apartment(i live maybe 70-80 feet above the ocean) and the readings would say 0 feet one moment and then 200 feet a few minutes later. I actually walked to the ocean front and set the altimeter at sea level, and that did absolutely no good as far as accuracy later in the mountains. So, long story short, it is kinda fun when it works, but mine did not work that often correctly and then it broke when it encountered a small amount of rain. I sent it back to campmor and they refunded my money, but i still had to pay 2x for the shipping.
    The Land of Tut

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  4. #4
    Senior Member MattC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by king tut
    So, long story short, it is kinda fun when it works, but mine did not work that often correctly and then it broke when it encountered a small amount of rain. I sent it back to campmor and they refunded my money, but i still had to pay 2x for the shipping.
    Interesting. I bought a Helix a little over a year ago, and the piece has failed and been replaced no less than three times. The first time it seemed the indiglo got stuck on and the battery burnt out. The second was similar to King Tut's in that the watch became wet due to 'whacking through wet brush and blowdown. The third time was really weird. I wore it for two days, it didn't get wet or anything, but the second night, the readout on the watch face was all of a sudden missing some of the black lines, making reading certain numbers impossible. I have no idea how this happened.

    Timex replaced it each time it failed. I paid postage the first time, but didn't have to the other times. In spite of the headache of the failures and returns, I was fairly happy w/ the service, until just about a week ago. At that time I received an unexpected bill, for the last replacement which was apparently out of warranty. I had not been told that I would be responsible for this bill. When I called to ask I about this, I was told that I had been told to expect the bill, which was simply not true. I was pretty annoyed, so I asked if they had a complaint department. They transferred me to a manager's voice mail, so I left a message asking for a call back. He hasn't called back after a week.

    So, in short, I agree w/ King Tut-the Helix is a decent piece for the price, when it works. I know others have had a lot better luck than I have. However, after the recent development w/ Timex, I'm frankly pretty disgusted w/ the company. As always, your mileage may vary.

    Matt
    "...a man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone." - Henry David Thoreau

  5. #5
    Senior Member prino's Avatar
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    There are some more answers here.....

    wristwear
    What am I doing on this damn computer.... I should be out on the trails!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member BIGEarl's Avatar
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    Past Responses

    I posted a similar question a while ago.

    I ended up purchasing a Thommen TX-18 with a case on eBay for under $90. These normally sell for $300 - $400 plus $50 for the case. It is like new, easy to use, no batteries, and seems to be a top rated unit. It is only an altimeter/barometer, but I already have a watch on my heart rate monitor, and I really prefer a separate compass. The Thommen fits my needs perfectly.

    Here is the previous post....

    http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthrea...eferrerid=2296

    Earl

  7. #7
    Member Tuggy's Avatar
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    I had a Timex helix. It was junk, inaccurate and then just went blank, a new battery did nothing for it. Its sitting in a drawer not worth fixing. I got a Suunto Vector at an REI garage sale for twenty bucks. It had a scratched face. It worked ok for two years. Altitude readings were fine although the compass readings were always a bit iffy. In the end its screen also went blank and now its keeping the Timex company after trying new batteries in it too.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Raymond's Avatar
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    I have the Helix without the compass.

    It's worked fine for about three years. A week or so ago I got my first low-battery warning, but I haven't gotten a new battery yet because I don't know what kind it uses (I couldn't find a word about it in the instruction booklet), and the low-battery symbol has since disappeared anyway, so I'm not worrying about it anymore until it reappears.

    Anyway, my biggest complaint is that the altitude fluctuates wildly for no apparent reason, even just sitting on the shelf in my bedroom. I suppose it makes sense that anything that is sensitive enough to detect a ten-foot change in elevation by the change in barometric pressure is going to be hyper-sensitive to any change in barometric pressure, whether that change is a result of an actual change in elevation or merely a weather-related change in the barometric pressure (does that make any sense??), so perhaps fluctuations are to be expected. I don't know. I've been wondering all the while I've owned it if a "real" altimeter similarly fluctuates, but I haven't had the occasion to ask before. (Does it?)

    It's useful for keeping a rough eye on your progress. I try to set the altimeter at the trailhead elevation when I begin a hike, and although the altimeter almost always needs to be reset when I arrive at the summit, it's usually not very far off. On my descent, it lets me know that, no matter how far down I think I've come, if I'm still 1000 feet above the trailhead elevation, I'm not almost down yet.

    I think it was well worth the 60 bucks I paid.

    I wore it when we climbed Slide Mountain in September in a downpour, under my Gore-tex jacket. It kept on electronically ticking.

    There's a lock on it that is supposed to keep whatever function you're showing from switching to another one, but after a few days it always defaults back to the "time" face, although I prefer to keep it on the altitude/temperature face.

    Additional: I just checked that other thread. I might have known that it was active when I was on vacation. From now on, when I return from holiday I'll have to start looking back several pages' worth of posts so I don't miss anything interesting, which has happened a lot this year.
    Last edited by Raymond; 11-22-2005 at 05:43 AM.

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    Thumbs up gittin high????

    there's some info here http://www.thealtimeterstore.com/ that might answer some of your questions.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mad Townie's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone. I guess the answer is, "You get what you pay for . . . and you pay for what you get!"
    Mad Townie

    Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary. - H. D. Thoreau

    Easy trails, nice days and comfort are good, too. - M. Townie

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bluethroatedone's Avatar
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    Buy Suunto

    You won't regret it. They are trusted where they most need to work - on big summits. They work great in the white mountains. They're as accurate as you will get with something that measures pressure not location. Sure they're a little more pricey, but in the end they're cheaper as they'll last you forever. You can sometime find the Altimax on sale for less than $150....If you see it get it!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Jay H's Avatar
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    ...and Campmor sometimes has the Vector on sale for $150. With the 10% TC discount, you can get one for $135 then. I bought one on Nov 5th, have used it on the AT in NJ and in the catskills so far. Pretty good, IMO, so far, if you recalibrate often and at known elevation points.

    I was intending to buy it from EMS with the $20 GC from the Upgrade your gear day, but fortunately, checked out Campmor first (next door to EMS) and they had it even cheaper than retail - $20 so I bought it there.

    I can't say I've tried the compass out and have only glanced at the barometer so far to see weather patterns.

    Jay
    You must go and you must ramble
    Through every briar and bramble
    Till your life is in a shambles
    Maybe then you will know
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Gris's Avatar
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    MT - Check out the Brunton Sherpa, now replaced by the Brunton ADC Summit. They are not wristwatchs but I have seen true mountaineers use them...
    Buy my new book 'Zen and the Art of Pessimisim,' or not. I guess it doesn't really matter if you read it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    Avocet Vertech

    I've had good results with the a couple of the above for 10 years. Got my present one about four years ago at Wilderness House in Boston - don't remember the exact price but not too expensive, I think. The altitude, with 5-foot sensitivity, is on permanent display with the time, which is convenient. I always adjust at the beginning of a hike (I know the altitude at my home) and if the weather doesn't change too much it stays reasonably accurate.
    There are also stopwatch and barometer settings. The fourth setting has "Hike" and "Ski" alternatives. On "Hike," it keeps track of vertical feet, which is especially useful on longer hikes with many ups and downs. It also purports to measure fastest rate of ascent or descent (in feet per hour), but that doesn't seem to be reliable.
    "Ski" mode does indeed track number of downhill runs. Useless for many, no doubt but I like it. After a long day, I like to divide what I paid for my lift ticket by number of runs to figure my per-run cost. Don't ask me why - just a peccadillo. More importantly, it tracks fastest rate of descent, in feet per minute. That's dangerous but fun.

  15. #15
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    Smile

    i rock a polar metron and after i learned how to use all the functions, it's a great piece of equipment. the altimeter is way accurate if ya set it every now and then at known elevations. the electronic compass has gotten me out of the woods a time or two as well. also has a heart rate monitor (which i actually use when i'm goin' fast) as well as a logbook that will record all your stats. plus it looks cool.

    if i can use this thing anyone can.

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