My present watch is a cheapo Timex that has proven to be simple and reliable, but when the duct tape holding my Timex together became a little too embarrassing, I figured it was time to get a new watch, recession notwithstanding.
I’ll admit that I’m vain, and began a search for an outdoor oriented limited edition timepiece. I also wanted a watch with built-in compass and altimeter functions, which will surely come in handy for the upcoming Tour de Timor with its massive hills.
Here’s a short list of what I found:
Suunto XLander Military Edition
Two of my previous Suuntos had issues with waterproofing. All my previous Suuntos had plastic faces, which tend to scratch easily. The military edition addresses both these issues with 'stinger' push buttons that can be used underwater (same technology as Suunto dive watches) and the use of a scratch resistant glass face. If you’re into the stealthy military look, this watch has a black negative face, comes encased in a black aluminum housing, and is equipped with a durable black rubber strap. Way cool!
Casio Protrek (Pathfinder) PRW-1300WFJ-7JR World Wildlife Fund Limited Edition
I got my first triple sensor Casio ‘Protrek’ watch in the early 90’s (80’s?). It was super reliable and super chunky. Back then, the limit of the altimeter was only 14,000ft. I suppose that was fine for Japan and most of the contiguous USA, but pretty useless once you’re in the big mountains of the Himalaya. It was still working great when I gave it away.
Casio has come a long way since then. Casio’s altimeter now works to 32,800ft (10,000m), more than enough for any terrestrial pursuit. The key feature is the built-in ‘tough solar’ panel, which recharges the internal battery so theoretically, you’ll never need to change batteries.
I ended up ordering the The Casio Protrek (Pathfinder) PRW-1300WFJ-7JR World Wildlife Fund Limited Edition from www.amazon.jp. The watch is white (which is still a cool color, though may not be for much longer :o), super slim and ridiculously expensive. Well, I hope I’m getting what I pay for: This watch is a limited edition Pathfinder/Protrek and Casio’s only made 1000 pieces.
The problem with black stuff for the outdoors (except in snowy conditions) is that they become difficult to locate once dropped. E.g. ever dropped a black valve cap on the grass or worse, in the undergrowth, whilst changing a tire tube? They are near impossible to find. FWIW, I never had that problem with the red valve caps that Specialized use, or yellow ones that Continental employ.
The tour sounds like a blast. Have fun!
Good choice, the Suuntos in general have a terrible light for night time and a feeble alarm. In addition, the solar powered Casio means that your battery will not die at a critical moment.
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