Ramble On

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tech-Watch Geek: New Entry by Wenger

It's been a while since I did a post on multi-function "adventure watches" - a favorite topic.  This month's Outside has a little spread that includes a Timex Expedition (although technically not a geek watch in my book because it's not a multi-function watch) and, of course, a new Suunto Elementum model; however, the one catching my attention in the article is the Wenger Nomad LED.  It's a very stylish black and red job, with a stated retail price of $375.

Now, the photo above was downloaded from the Wenger web site ( http://www.wengerna.com/ ), it is a partial shot that shows the watch in the compass mode, where the LED indicator lights up with the azimuth reading.  The company's posting says this:

"Designed for the modern nomad, the active outdoor enthusiast who’s always on the move. The Nomad Compass 70430 is a multi-functional timepiece with an attractive analog dial, and a stealthy red LED digital readout which features a compass, date, day and time, to always keep you on course."

I've also linked to an Amazon page at the end of this post, where it is offered for quite a bit less than the stated retail.

It is a very sporty watch, and looks to me like it could cross over easily from outdoor activities to casual wear.  This is confirmed by the reviews on Amazon, which give it an average of four stars - there are 3 5-star ratings, 4 4-star ratings, and 2 3-star ratings.  The most succinct review is a 3-star rating by "MMA Guy:"


-It is heavy, durable, and has a quality feel to it. It's a Wenger of course
-The compass feature is awesome and it works fairly accurately
-Easy to follow instructions
-Very weak illumination on the numbers even when charged by external light sources.
-No illumination on the hands at all, then why would you illuminate the numbers?
-No way to tell time in the dark aside from pressing the digital time. "

From this and the other reviews, the most frequently mentioned positive feature are the good looks and quality feel, but from my summary look it doesn't appear to stand up well to my Casio Pathfinder or to the Suunto Elementum on the geek factor.  Both of those offer an altimeter and thermometer in addition to the compass.  And the reviews for those brands often include one or two from users who put their watches through true-hardship (I chose the Casio because of a review from a soldier in Iraq, who said half his unit had the same watch and the other half had the Suunto!).

As for the negatives, there is a mention of some difficulty with the packaging, but this is not an inconvenience that lasts too long.  The other note is that the stock strap may not fit everybody, addressed by buying an alternative one from Wenger or elsewhere.  And there are a couple of complaints about the illumination of the analog timekeeping function - hands and digits.

So bottom line, it is a good looking watch with some functionality.  But if your looking for a harder core watch, maybe one of the other brands is for you.

1 comment:

Bob Look said...

Boy if they could either lower the price to $100 or add an altimeter, heart rate monitor and it would be a really hot watch. Actually it is fairly cool just as is.