More Than A Week Without A Watch, Or Was It?

Until today, I have been laying low the last couple weeks, largely because I was planning for and ultimately heading to the great outdoors to get away from most civilization. As one should every now and then. The planning of such an adventure lead to the inevitable; Which watch to bring?

I went back and forth; EXII? While I would be spending some time in caves, I am not a spelunker. Plus the area I was heading to, it was going to draw the wrong kind of attention. Khaki Field? Too lazy to change out the leather strap. An Alpinist? I was close, but the two I have are fairly limited, and if I inevitably beat the crap out of it, it might be hard to track another down. Lastly, I tend not to carry more than a single watch if I am on any adventure-based trip

Then came a decision I have been thinking about for a bit; is it finally time to upgrade my trusty Fenix 5 to the Apple Ultra? I thought of it briefly, then put it back of mind until I was at a Best Buy (an overpriced and poorly run electronic store in the US where everyone window shops and gets a better deal elsewhere). I had the opportunity to play with the new Ultra. And while cool, it was not $799 cool. A quick scan of the web, saw slightly better prices, but still $700+. However, Target had the red series 8 for $279 on sale. Is the Ultra 185% better price-wise? I did not think so, so I pulled the trigger with no care in the world if I destroyed it. This was going to be the watch I experimented with for the week.

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I can already hear it, but CB, it is not a watch, it has no soul, my microwave has a clock on it, if I strap it to my wrist does it make it watch? In order; Yes it is. Assigning any inanimate object a soul is just weird, never mind the larger existential questions, and yes if you can rock a microwave on the wrist including a mobile power source, you have a very specific quartz tool watch.

Let's be honest, we have heard all the arguments. The fact is, if Abraham-Louis Breguet or Warren Marrison (inventor of the quartz movement) could have invented a smartwatch, they would have. I cannot understand the dismissal of progress, but to each their own in that regard. I will never be the guy yelling at the elevator inventor when perfectly good stairs exist.

At the end of the journey through at least 9 parks I was very grateful that I opted for the smartwatch approach. It helped me keep pace, measure distance and altitude, but also monitored the progress throughout. None of which any of the watches in my case could have done. For some, they may not care, but I can go back and review my maps, time, etc, and I find value in that data. The best part; I did not care how much I knocked it around. Not that I baby my watches, but there is something nice about not having to worry about an unsightly ding on an otherwise nice polish. I am in the minority, but I do not equate dings and dents with experiences.

The entire time, I was free to enjoy the hikes, take photos, occasionally chat with others on the trails, it was great. No level of self consciousness about what I was wearing. Most folks either had no wrist or were also wearing some means of smart/digital watch.

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Now this is all easy to say because I camp like Bear Grylls, that is I spend the day in the woods and when the cameras are off, I head to a well-appointed hotel. If I was actually camping (not going to happen) the Apple Watch would have been a total failure because of the battery and I think I would have opted to change out the strap on the Khaki for a nice sailcloth for the week. Or who knows, perhaps a G-Shock.

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Either way, I am grateful for the experience and it proved its worth as a watch and a tool. I will now migrate it over to my workouts until something better eventually comes along and I can donate it like most timed obsolescence objects many of us have.

TLDR that may have new details:

  • Went on vacation and opted for a smartwatch

  • The Ultra is not almost 3x better than the 8

  • Smartwatches are watches

  • I would rather buy a whole new watch than consider a NATO

  • I dislike camping

  • Look, pretty pictures of the journey

  • The first watch I put on when I got home was an Omega.

Hope this was a fun, mostly tongue and cheek, piece regardless of our individual takes.

I have nothing against an Apple Watch, but having to charge it everyday is a bummer. I always wondered why Apple couldn鈥檛 invent a micro-rotor and integrate it into the Apple Watch to give extra charge, or slow down battery drain during strenuous activities with trackers on.

SpecKTator

I have nothing against an Apple Watch, but having to charge it everyday is a bummer. I always wondered why Apple couldn鈥檛 invent a micro-rotor and integrate it into the Apple Watch to give extra charge, or slow down battery drain during strenuous activities with trackers on.

The charging every other day or so absolutely stinks. I go alert free on mine, but it is still a lot for the battery. My Garmin lasts more than a week, albeit with far less functionality. It serves its purpose, aid me in workouts, particularly ease of music with no phone when on the trail. :-).

if you can rock a microwave on the wrist including a mobile power source, you have a very specific quartz tool watch.

I thought they work by using the frequency of the power grid (which is why they suck so badly) 馃槵 meaning that wouldn't work.

Also, I agree with the smartwatch-take and happy you had a nice trip. Those are some lovely pictures, I'm sure in reality it was even more beautiful.

Gorgeous pics CB! Looks like an amazing trip. I鈥檝e never been to an environment like in your pictures.

Can鈥檛 really relate to 鈥榦ff grid but hotel at night鈥 ..but it sounds lovely to have that option.

So I鈥檒l play counter point 馃榿 you should link that sort of epic experience to one of your favorite watches , not a disposable bit of tech that鈥檚 tossed aside in a year or 2 without a thought. Hear me out:

I鈥檒l dual wrist, or carry with me, a Garmin 945 for tracking distance. occasional GPS or compass functions , and for pace/distance.

And I Take it off as soon as it鈥檚 not serving those roles. It鈥檚 a critical piece of kit that鈥檚 important like my thermarest or my little Ti pot for boiling water. I have no attachment to it, I鈥檒l upgrade it at some point and feel zero nostalgia for it

A highly legible dive watch with excellent Lume stays parked on my left wrist at all times while adventuring. Nothing that needs charging will be depended on as primary time telling device!

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For checking the time, It鈥檚 so much easier to instantly perceive the time, vs. my Garmin, which is showing several variables like pace, timer, distance, etc鈥

Unlike the Garmin, my watch stays on when I鈥檓 stopped, setting up a campsite, eating a relaxed dinner, getting an early start for a long day, and for an overnight- with no lightswitch in a tent so a divers supercharged lume is perfect for seeing time but not hurting night vision.

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I鈥檝e used the Alpinist Ginza for a few trips and it鈥檚 been great choice.

my last trip was with a 鈥榤oonlight on the ocean鈥 Prospex LX SNR043.

Love building memories and any scuffs are part of the treasured memory (my blisters are still healing, it鈥檚 a recent memory!)

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Just wanted to give a different perspective!!

Not to abandon electronic pieces of kit (I also keep a backup iridium satellite Emerg beacon with me as well!) but just recognize they are tech that will come and go, while my favorite watches are staying with me.

I鈥檓 all for an Apple Watch.

I wear a mechanical or quartz with an Apple Watch every day 馃檭

Remember you have two wrists馃榿

When I hike/backpack, I always wear Sinn EZM3 on left and Garmin Epix on right.

Main reason is me being a watch nerd but there鈥檚 also a practical reason. I don鈥檛 fully trust anything running on battery especially in extreme cold. iPhone dies quickly. Even Garmin InReach said 鈥淚鈥檓 about to die.鈥 several times at around -20*c. So Epix could die. Not knowing time out there is life threatening. Sinn says EZM3 is reliable down to -45*c 馃槼

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I love my Apple Ultra, and the series 4 and series 1 before it, and consider myself a power user maximizing useful complications on dial. Charging has never been a problem since I don鈥檛 wear a watch while I sleep. The fine tracking GPS, waypoints, altimeter, compass, and flashlight on ultra can be very useful outdoors, though for spelunking not sure a smart watch is helpful. It鈥檚 so easy and common to scrape wrist in a cave, that I鈥檇 say saphire crystal and good lume are the primary features I鈥檇 look for if you鈥檙e doing serious spelunking.

Regardless, I love my automatic/mechanicals too which these days are always on my left wrist.

After years of sleeping on tree roots and rocks I moved on to a light weight camp cot. A few years ago the siren song of the well appointed hotel became too much for me to ignore. Thank you for the well thought out essay on modern trekking and watches. I disagree about the Apple watch, but respectfully so.

Now this is all easy to say because I camp like Bear Grylls, that is I spend the day in the woods and when the cameras are off, I head to a well-appointed hotel

Best line I have read all week! And that鈥檚 saying something, because I been reading 50 Shades of Grey!

Puffin

if you can rock a microwave on the wrist including a mobile power source, you have a very specific quartz tool watch.

I thought they work by using the frequency of the power grid (which is why they suck so badly) 馃槵 meaning that wouldn't work.

Also, I agree with the smartwatch-take and happy you had a nice trip. Those are some lovely pictures, I'm sure in reality it was even more beautiful.

Ha ha. I Imagine if one had a microwave oven plugged into a mini generator, they could probably run the LED a while. Not sure how many meals they'd get out of it.

Fieldwalker

Gorgeous pics CB! Looks like an amazing trip. I鈥檝e never been to an environment like in your pictures.

Can鈥檛 really relate to 鈥榦ff grid but hotel at night鈥 ..but it sounds lovely to have that option.

So I鈥檒l play counter point 馃榿 you should link that sort of epic experience to one of your favorite watches , not a disposable bit of tech that鈥檚 tossed aside in a year or 2 without a thought. Hear me out:

I鈥檒l dual wrist, or carry with me, a Garmin 945 for tracking distance. occasional GPS or compass functions , and for pace/distance.

And I Take it off as soon as it鈥檚 not serving those roles. It鈥檚 a critical piece of kit that鈥檚 important like my thermarest or my little Ti pot for boiling water. I have no attachment to it, I鈥檒l upgrade it at some point and feel zero nostalgia for it

A highly legible dive watch with excellent Lume stays parked on my left wrist at all times while adventuring. Nothing that needs charging will be depended on as primary time telling device!

Image
Image

For checking the time, It鈥檚 so much easier to instantly perceive the time, vs. my Garmin, which is showing several variables like pace, timer, distance, etc鈥

Unlike the Garmin, my watch stays on when I鈥檓 stopped, setting up a campsite, eating a relaxed dinner, getting an early start for a long day, and for an overnight- with no lightswitch in a tent so a divers supercharged lume is perfect for seeing time but not hurting night vision.

Image
Image
Image

I鈥檝e used the Alpinist Ginza for a few trips and it鈥檚 been great choice.

my last trip was with a 鈥榤oonlight on the ocean鈥 Prospex LX SNR043.

Love building memories and any scuffs are part of the treasured memory (my blisters are still healing, it鈥檚 a recent memory!)

Image

Just wanted to give a different perspective!!

Not to abandon electronic pieces of kit (I also keep a backup iridium satellite Emerg beacon with me as well!) but just recognize they are tech that will come and go, while my favorite watches are staying with me.

Thanks Alan! Just caught up with your post. Many of the places I went were largely remote and the hotels were sparse. Essentially off grid during the day, drive 20-30 miles grab a hotel in a remote town to sleep. Wake up, repeat. I used to enjoy camping and while I love the lifestyle, I like a warm shower and plumbing a little more. Plus after spending all day in the woods, it is nice to grab a quick bite to eat in a small town before crashing for the night.

Anything on the water I have my go-to watch, I do not care if it is diving or just canoeing, it is a trusty companion. Like I just mentioned in your post, I think I will tweak my hiking approach for a two watch approach.

parechute

Remember you have two wrists馃榿

When I hike/backpack, I always wear Sinn EZM3 on left and Garmin Epix on right.

Main reason is me being a watch nerd but there鈥檚 also a practical reason. I don鈥檛 fully trust anything running on battery especially in extreme cold. iPhone dies quickly. Even Garmin InReach said 鈥淚鈥檓 about to die.鈥 several times at around -20*c. So Epix could die. Not knowing time out there is life threatening. Sinn says EZM3 is reliable down to -45*c 馃槼

Image

Excellent point and one I am more likely to do next time. Beautiful shots BTW.

skydave

I love my Apple Ultra, and the series 4 and series 1 before it, and consider myself a power user maximizing useful complications on dial. Charging has never been a problem since I don鈥檛 wear a watch while I sleep. The fine tracking GPS, waypoints, altimeter, compass, and flashlight on ultra can be very useful outdoors, though for spelunking not sure a smart watch is helpful. It鈥檚 so easy and common to scrape wrist in a cave, that I鈥檇 say saphire crystal and good lume are the primary features I鈥檇 look for if you鈥檙e doing serious spelunking.

Regardless, I love my automatic/mechanicals too which these days are always on my left wrist.

Great point Dave. For a while I would say I was a power user of the Fenix, but when I kept my routine to running, it was a bit overkill, but I still enjoy it, but it is not as great in terms of music. As others suggested, I think the double approach is likely the way for me next time, I just have to get over the sensation of one on each wrist.

Aurelian

After years of sleeping on tree roots and rocks I moved on to a light weight camp cot. A few years ago the siren song of the well appointed hotel became too much for me to ignore. Thank you for the well thought out essay on modern trekking and watches. I disagree about the Apple watch, but respectfully so.

Thanks Greg! I love the idea of camping and I get why people love it, but to your point a hotel is hard to resist.

HotWatchChick69

Now this is all easy to say because I camp like Bear Grylls, that is I spend the day in the woods and when the cameras are off, I head to a well-appointed hotel

Best line I have read all week! And that鈥檚 saying something, because I been reading 50 Shades of Grey!

We need to talk about your book selection Brian! :-)