High Gear Axis Watch

09 February 2004

For Christmas, I got the High Gear Axis compass, thermometer, barometer, altimeter watch. It's the coolest gadget in the world, but it's not perfect.

I've had it go nuts on me twice though. The temperature usually reads 13 degrees high just from my body temperature, but when it goes weird, it'll drop to reading 30 or 50 degrees...inside. The pressure sensor seems to be tied to the temperature as well, because the altitude will shoot up from the usual 320ft in my living room to 10k ft! After a few hours it comes back down.

I went to Eastern Mountain Sports, and they kindly replaced the watch. The replacement last night did it again, but not to the degree the other one did. It had climbed maybe 1000ft beyond where it should have been, and the temperature was reading 10 degrees low.

I love this watch, and it was a very thoughtful gift from Claire, but it's just a tad expensive to just accept that it'll bug out every once in a while.

Timex and Casio make watches which are comparable with all the features, and not quite as expensive. I'm curious if they are more or less reliable, though. I'm thinking it may just be a good idea to abandon the gadgets, as they can tend to be unreliable. The Timex and Casio watches also don't have the nice style of this one.

The altitude/barometer feature does seem to be a weird device, since they both depend upon air pressure, and it just decides which is changing by the rate at which air pressure changes. Slow changes are generally weather, and fast changes are altitude changes. The other issue is that I really don't need any of these features. I'm not climbing anything or even spending much time outdoors. It almost feels like a waste of a good watch.

Otherwise, I'm stuck on my old gadget watch issue -- I just can't find a watch that I really want more than this one.

Update (9 February 2004): The backlight broke on the Axis Saturday morning. I searched Saturday evening for Timex Helix watches, but found none, and I returned the Axis to EMS on Sunday. I've come to the conclusion that the Axis is just junk, unfortunately. In a couple weekends, I hope to run out to King of Prussia mall to try to find the Timex Helix WRKS at the EMS out there. The guy in Lancaster checked inventory and told me they have it out there, and that I could return it in Lancaster if I don't like this one either.

In the worst case, I may just stop wearing watches, or maybe just fall back to the Helix TS (Temperature Sensor), which is considerably cheaper. I'd be comfortable ordering that one from a web merchant.

Conclusion: EMS is a great place, since they're really great about returns. The High Gear Axis should not be purchased. I hope I'll have much better things to report about the Timex Helix, though I don't understand why availability is so severely limited.

Filed Under: Technology Toys