Timex Expeditions Are Watches For All Seasons

 By: Kris Headland
IN THE age of discovery, explorers were saddled with sextants, compasses, thermometers and barometers to navigate their way into uncharted territory.

These days things are a lot easier.

Not only is our path mapped out for us by GPS, rather than the stars, but clever watchmakers have also crammed all the essential navigation tools into a few grams of plastic, metal and glass.

Perhaps if Scott of the Antarctic had had the benefit of a timepiece such as a Timex Expedition, he would have beaten the Norwegians to the South Pole.

And, just think how many days Phileas Fogg could have shaved off his epic journey with the advantage of an altimeter - which measures altitude - temperature gauge and weather report on his wrist to plan ahead.

There are scores of watches aimed at the adventurer on the market but perhaps non which can boast everything needed for a major expedition while still looking cool, except the Timex Expedition range.

At the top of the range is the WS4 which retails at around 120 pounds (US$195), although there are other more affordable Expedition options that should still get you through your adventure.

It's difficult to fault the WS4, although it will only be truly enjoyed by people with a sense of adventure or a passion for gadgetry.

Despite being crammed with features the screen is uncluttered and easy to read with reasonably large digits.

Perhaps more importantly, it costs less than half the price of some of the competition in the outdoor market.

It is also lightweight, 50 metre water resistant, features an Indiglo night-light and comes in six colour formats including a sleek black number and yellow with black trim.

Some serious adventurers may see the relatively low price as an indicator that this is really a watch for city dwellers with a mere whimsical desire to be more adventurous.

But anyone who questions the ability of the Timex Expedition to perform under the extremist of extreme conditions need look no further than the investigations of Conrad Anker.

The American rock climber, mountaineer and author of Environmental Activist, has spent his climbing career in some of the toughest terrain on earth in Alaska, Antarctica and Patagonia.

He recently tested the WS4 on an attempt to climb a 6330-metre peak in the Himalayas and, although sceptics may argue that he could have been motivated by a fat cheque from Timex, his findings gave a fairly glowing report on the watch.

At night he used the watch's Review Mode to check his party's accumulated altitude, scan the barometer and even check the exposure of the camp.

The compass also allowed him to align his transmitter with an orbiting satellite, allowing him to use a satellite phone.

Meanwhile, the barometer showed drops in pressure which indicated an impending storm and he and his colleagues were able to stay low to avoid the worst of it.

In fact, Anker's only criticism of the watch was that the buttons weren't as heavy duty as they should have been for that environment.

But Timex responded and his suggestions for improvement were incorporated into the final design.

It may be that you will never be in such dangerous situations as the likes of Anker, and perhaps a ramble through the countryside is as adventurous as you get.

But anyone who enjoys their days in the great outdoors would be hard pressed to find a more useful watch at such value for money than the WS4. And, it certainly makes telling the time more fun.
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