Strengths: Looks cool, easy to operate with gloves on and can be worn on outer sleeve. Good function for recording number of runs etc.
Weaknesses: Battery replacement costly and frequent. Stop watch is seriously inaccurate and this is recognised by Vertech. Other functions are not accurate enough for serious outdoors activities. Casing can crack easily. Not reliable. Strap it comes with cracks after a couple of years and needs to be replaced with the elastic strap. No UK servicing station.
Cool for its day because it packed new technology at a good price but most of its functions are inaccurate and unreliable. Battery doesn't last long and is expensive to replace. Bottom line is that it is a false economy compare to a good equivalent such as a Suunto or Garmin.
Date Reviewed: November 7, 2010
Strengths: Easy to read, Easy to use, Holds daily, weekly and monthly accumulative data. Easy to reset, Love the Ski runs skied and the meters/feet skied data that is at a glance.
Weaknesses: Its big, It doesn't fit under your SKi jacket sleeve easily, It looks like its from the seventies, A light would be great for night skiing/ walking. A lack of compass on an intended to use in the outdoors is a sin.
For all the gadgets, sometimes normal folk only want to use the basic functions. See weather changes before they hit. See how many ski runs I have for the day, and accumulated for the week / month etc. Ditto for the meters / feet skied. and tell the time. For this, my Vertech avocet ski watch has never let me down. Oh by the way. Its not that bad a thing to have to send the watch for a service and battery change. Cause when it comes back it works as well as the day i got it... That's not a bad thing when your relying on the watch to get you back safe.
Strengths: Fun to use and compair with known elevations
Weaknesses: Short battery life. Same shortcomings as any altemeter. No light
This is an antique now. With today's GPS systems, using an altemeter and a map is so old-school that my younger companions look at me like I am taking readings with a sextant.
Realistically, I never used it for a serious trip. If I was going on a trip that needed an altemeter as if my life depended on it, I would bring another piece of equipment. So, at best it was an expensive novelty. It was fun to look at the storm warning come on and I could look at the sky and guess at least as accurately as the Avocet.
Oh, ya, by the way, it tells time (when the batteries aren't burned up.)
a Weekend Warrior
from des moines, iowa,usa
Date Reviewed: June 10, 2009
Strengths: Altimeter is very accurate once you learn how to use them. Works great with for trending. Good features like switchable from Alpine to Ski, Multi stop watch, Weather trending, altitude tracking and storing. Lighter then most. If damaged can get case replacements. Not as expensive as simular models that have simular featurs and test as accurate. I have beaten the daylights out it on many climbs and case was crushed once by postal service so Avocet replaced for free. Hold up to cave mud and moisture as well as alpine winter summits.
Weaknesses: The watch band is cheap. Replace it. I use the elastic one most of the time. It could use a light. Worst complaint about it.
I have been reading the reviews and seemed surprised by some of the extreme pro and negative comments. Truth be told is has some missing things. You can change the battery but be careful of the clip that hold the battery. Don't take out the main guts. There are small parts that you can easily loose. Hate sending it in to change the battery, but do most of the time. It seriously needs an internal light, but I always keep a headlamp near by anyway. I love the replacement case idea. If you are looking for something to monitor pressure, altitude, trending has an alarm and time then seriously look at this. You have to replace the batteries about every year or every other, depending on climate and use. It's a pain but you seriously can do so yourself. It takes a CR 3032 watch battery, that's pretty common. Sending it off to be redone though has a plus of a tech looking it over and recalibrating if needed. Buy an elastic band option or replace with some funky nylon one. The standard one is lame. The product if very accurate. I have been using it since 1995 and use it to nail spot on topo points. I use it to check myself as well as trend weather. Be it kayaking, climbing, riding or backpacking in remote areas I try to always bring it in the backcountry.
a Weekend Warrior
from missoula, mt
Date Reviewed: December 11, 2007
Strengths: Has actually withstood quite a bit of abuse. Have used sparingly on the fireline, due to ash, dust issues, but I have used it in the past. GPS's with altimeter and tracks have negated the use for this now. Great for skiing, hiking, biking for vertical record.
Weaknesses: Battery replacement. Although this last time it was very quick and efficient. Not nearly so good in the past.
Best altimeter watch I have used on a dollar basis, and ease of use. Keep the functions simple. I too would like to see a light, since I hate fumbling around for my headlamp in the middle of the night for those alpine starts.
Bike Setup: Unknown, I am a ultralight pilot and hang glider pilot, as well as a fixed wing private.
from Pleasanton, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: May 21, 2001
Strengths: I like most of the features of the watch. I light would be nice so you can read the watch when the alarm goes off or during apres events that go late. A built-in heart monitor would be nice too. YOU CAN CHANGE THE BATTERY YOURSELVES!!! If your warranty is up, just take it to the watch repair shop and tell them to be carefull about the rubber grommet for waterproofness. I have changed the battery 3 times myself in my car outside of the drug store where I purchased the battery. It is a very common battery... sells for less than $3.00 US. You should put some kind of water sealant (sometimes you can use a "real thin" layer of vasaline on the grommet... too thick, the watch will fog) Silicone sealant that I use for my scuba camera (available at scuba shops) is ideal. 4 small screws and you're set.. You won't be without your watch for more than a half hour!!!!
Weaknesses: water proofness, water proof grommet is very thin and easy to damage while replacing the battery. Watch could come with 5 extra grommets and not raise the price more than $1.00 $US. The watch crystal is acrylic which scratches very easily... Thermometer is worthless unless you wear it outside your gloves. Watch can break easily that way during a fall. I sometimes put the watch outside my glove on the lift ride up... gives me an idea albeit not an accurate measure of the temp.
Watch is great. I can't wait for the next version. Look into the Suunto brand. Very ruggid - top of the line wrist computers. www.suunto.com. I don't have one but am thinking of getting a Suunto when the Avocet dies for good... unless something better comes along. (Suunto uses metal-glass crystal which is virtually scratch proof although very heavy glass)
a Weekend Warrior
from Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: April 26, 2001
Strengths: The altimeter/barometer is quite accurate. If you know how to read instructions and understand how a barometer works you shouldn't have any problems. Yes, you must calibrate the unit on a regular basis to insure proper altitude readings and barometric trend. You do this by determining the elevation at your current location i.e - home residence, bench mark or other known elevations. Adjust the unit periodically at known elevations through out the day and it will be very accurate. The is especially true in winter where large changes in atmospheric pressure are common. The barometric trend feature is useful only at the elevation that you last adjusted the unit. Also, accumulated vertical ascent/descent feature is quite useful as well as accurate when used to determine the overall vertical feet ascended/descended of a given ride/climb or ski outing. This feature is unaffected by the barometer function and is quite accurate. I personally haven't found much use for the splits feature on the watch but I am sure a more hardcore rider might find it useful. The alarm feature has come in handy for getting my ass up for an alpine start in the mountains for summit bids. Overall the unit has performed very well. However, if you have difficulty reading/understanding directions or don't understand how a barometer works don't buy this product.
Weaknesses: The unit requires bi-annual battery replacement and recalibration at a cost of around $20. It should be more like $10. The unit is not very water resistant. I had one go dead on me in a light rain during a Mtn. ride. Avocet replaced it with a new one at no charge. The temperature feature is only accurate in limited circumstances ie- inside a tent and out of the sun. When on the wrist it reads closer to your body temperature than the outside temp. As far as a light is concerned I really don't see the point. If it is dark out I am either sleeping or wearing a headlamp. Besides adding a light will more than likely require replacing the battery on a more frequent basis, another $20 charge, no thanks!
Accurate, functional, keep away from water, read and understand directions, know how a barometer works and you will like the unit. I use mine for Mtn. bike riding/skiing/ and alpine climbing and it works great.
a Cross Country Rider
from Pocatello, ID
Date Reviewed: February 15, 2001
Strengths: Can track altitude climbed which is a great way to track training progress. A group of us at work tracked our climbs & went over 1 million feet for the summer.
Weaknesses: Not reliable. Has a 1 year waranty & broke within the 1st year. Fixed under waranty & it broke the 2nd year. Avocet wont back up the product either. Plus no light. The temperature adjustment didn't seem to work either.
Cool watch if it worked. Plan on paying to get it fixed every year.
Similar Products Used: I got it as a gift to my friend and he gave it back. I wondered why and decided to try it out. Then I figured out why he gave it back.
a Weekend Warrior
from Pasadena, CA
Date Reviewed: October 13, 1999
Strengths: The ski functions are great and it records up to 300,000 vertical feet. Then you have to clear the memory. It has a daily lof that can be cleared with out loosing total vertical feet skied. The elastic band works great, I never used the plastic band.
Weaknesses: You have to send the watch in to have the battery changed. The altimeter is not very accurate at high altitude. No light
I never had any problems with mine and it worked well for both backpacking and skiing. You have to recalibrate daily if you want accuracy. The battery will last about 18-24 months and I ski about 600,000-800,000 vertical each year.
a Cross-Country Rider
from Mountain View
Date Reviewed: June 18, 1999
Strengths: The Altimeter is accurate. The run-counting feature is nice for downhill skiing.
This would be a great gadget if it would keep working. Mine has died twice due to moisture. (Both times skiing, so maybe it is ok for biking in nice weather.) I found Avocet to be pretty good at fixing it but I am still going to try one of those Sunto watches next time.