Most people nowadays take watches for granted. They’d much prefer using their smartphones for everything that they’ll need. However, when you’re out camping or hiking, those batteries can drain fast, and you might not want the added weight of bringing chargers with you.
Instead, you can invest in the best ABC watch you can find. Not only will you be able to tell the time, but the added features of such an advanced watch could save your life.
Watches have come a long way, and have been built with so many more features to provide assistance to even the most experienced outdoorsman. But before you go out and buy the first one you see, here are some things to keep in mind when you’re comparison shopping.
What Is An ABC Watch?
Firstly, it’s important that you understand what an ABC or altimeter watch is. It is a watch that is designed to measure the atmosphere around you to determine how high you are.
This can be especially useful for those avid hikers who are interested in knowing how high they’ve scaled a particular summit. However, it does require some calibration beforehand so that your watch can provide you with accurate readings.
Your watch has to be calibrated first to the Mean Sea Level Pressure, where the ground is level with the sea. Thankfully, that’s all you need to do, as the watch can calculate the rest all on its own.
As you move higher from sea level, the altimeter in your watch will provide an accurate reading as to how many per thousand feet or meters you are above sea level. However, there are some ABC watches that don’t allow for this calibration, and only allow you to adjust the altitude. For these kinds of watches, you’ll have to look up the altitude you’re at and adjust it to that location.
It’s All About The Movements
The is also known as caliber, which is the mechanism inside the watch. The caliber is what keeps the watching functioning. With the help of technology, there’s now a couple types of calibers inside a watch, let’s take a look.
- Quartz: Quartz watches are battery operated watches. So, basically, it’ll be working 24/7 until the battery dies out. It keeps the time precise regardless of the temperature and will be able to last 1-2 years before changing the battery.
- Automatic: Automatic watches are self-winding. It’ll keep the time while you’re wearing the watch, however, if you take the watch off, it’ll stop working after approximately 2 days. You’ll need to wind it before wearing it, however, they last longer than quartz and need to have a maintenance checkup every 2-3 years.
- Lithium-iodine batteries: The watch is designed with a titanium lithium-ion battery that’s charged by a silicon solar cell. It’s ideal for people who needs a watch for outdoor activities. Fully-charged lithium-iodine batteries can run 30 days to 3,175 days.
- Eco drive movement Thermo: They’re fairly new on the market and work by using the temperature difference between the wearer and environment as a way to power the watch.
How to Pick The Right Watch
Know your budget
The worst thing you can do is try on a watch that you love and then find out it’s $10,000 out of your price range. Before looking for a watch, look at your price range and then research reputable brands which create watches within your budget.
However, if you’re looking for a watch with all the features but only have a budget of $100, you should know that you get what you pay for.
Choose your style
Ask yourself why you need a watch and what you’ll be using it for. Then, choose between the three main categories: formal watches, sports watches, and artistic watches.
Each category offers various features that are cohesive with the watch and its duties. Look at the style of watch and then select the brand that fits your style.
Choose your brand
After choosing a style of watch, then you can go a look at the various brands that design your style of watch. It’s important to look at the brand and the reputation behind it. Read reviews of the watch you want and if you know someone who knows one, ask for their opinion.
Also, you can go on forums dedicated to watches and ask any questions you may have. Point is, you want to know what you’re buying.
Pick the right size
There’s nothing worse than seeing a beautiful watch that’s not properly fitted on a man. Or a watch that just doesn’t suit him.
So, when looking for a watch you want to get the right size.
- If you have a larger build, you want to choose a watch with a larger face.
- If you have a smaller build, try to stay away from watches which are large in size. It’ll look like you’re trying to overcompensate and end up looking childish. Choose a watch that’s compact.
If you think size isn’t important, it is. So, get a second opinion when buying a watch.
Look at the features
There are some features you’ll want to consider when choosing a watch.
- Time: This may look obvious, but if you’re looking for a altimeter watch, you want one that’ll clearly display the time. Many altimeter watches will also include a stopwatch, countdown timer and alarms. You’ll be needing these in case you lose track of the time or want to time your activities.
- Water Resistance: Most of the watches on the market are water-resistant. However, depending on the treatment, they vary in the levels of water resistance. So, depending on what you’ll be using your watch for, make sure to ask for the level of water resistance. Some watches will be able to handle a couple drops of water while others would be able to handle 100 meters deep.
- Battery expectancy: You need to look at the various types of batteries and the longevity of each one. Quartz will need to have their battery replaced every 1-2 years. Automatic will need maintenance every 2-3 years and lithium-iodine batteries have a lifetime of 8-10 years.
- Barometer: This will save your life if you’re up on the mountains. By measuring the barometric pressure, you’ll be able to foresee when a storm is coming, which is crucial when you’re up high on the mountains alone.
- Compass: In case you get lost, do you know which way is north? Compasses are a great tool when you’re out in the wild. All altimeter watches have a compass incorporated into their watches, so you’ll never get lost.
- Watch Strap: You have two types of watch straps: leather and stainless-steel. Stainless-steel lasts longer than leather, however, if you’re looking for a minimalistic and classic design, then a leather strap will look better.
- Display: Depending what you’re using your watch for, you need to kind in mind of the display. A large, clear display is great if you’ll be using it for sports. A smaller display is ideal for classic watches or everyday watches. You can also decide if you’ll be needing a backlight or not.
- Multiple Time Zones: If you’re a traveler and always on the road or have business on another continent, then perhaps a watch with multiple time zones will be a good feature to have. You’ll be able to keep yourself aware of the various time zones.
- Light: A light feature is a great option and though you can use your flashlight on your cellphone, they’ll be times when you won’t be able to use it. The feature is a small button, that when pressed, will light up the display so that you’ll be able to read the time.
Now that you know the types of watches available, how to pick a watch and the features you should keep an eye on, it’s time to look at the best altimeter watches on the market.
Review of Top ABC Watches
So, if you’re looking for a reliable and durable altimeter watch, here’s a review of the top abc watches currently on the market.
Garmin Fenix 3
Weight: 2.88 ounces
Dimensions: 0.6 x 2 x 2 inches
Best Use: multi-sport
Description: Garmin is a great brand for a multi-sport watch. Garmin Fenix 3 comes with a Chroma display that’s 1.2’’ sunlight-visible and high-resolution color Chroma. It’s truly a sports watch as its features are focused on fitness training such as the VO2 Max and Recovery Advisor, the outdoor navigation features like 3-axis compass, altimeter, TrackBack, Sight’n Go and barometer.
As you can see, an optimal watch for those that’ll be using it for outdoor activities. It also comes with a GPS technology tracker, so you can mark your locations, as well as plan your adventures on BaseCamp.
This watch really encompasses technology so that you’ll be able to get the most out of your watch. It’s also connected to Wifi and an app that’ll allow to receive emails, texts and alarms directly onto your phone.
Related: For extra protection against the elements, you’ll want to get the Garmin Fenix 3 Screen protector. It’ll shield your display and prevent any scratching or dust from getting inside.
Weight: 8 ounces
Dimensions: 6 x 4 x 4 inches
Best Use: multi-sport activities, specifically for climbers
Description: Suunto Core is a great option if you’re a snowboarder, climber, mountaineer, or hiker. This watch has an altimeter tracker which measures your altitude, as well as has a barometer that informs your of air pressure and a compass.Suunto is an exceptional company for outdoor watches as it tracks both weather and the sun.
The weather graph will inform you of the weather as well as an alarm you of any storms and sunset/sunrise so that you can plan your activities safely. Many people who want an outdoor watch are also looking for something stylish as well as functional.
The Suunto Core is minimalistic in design, so you’ll be able to wear this when you’re off the mountain as well.
Related: Suunto is really an exceptional brand for watches with an affordable price tag. However, if you’re looking for something cheaper, you can go with the EZON multi-functional outdoor watch, it has the features of Suunto, however, without the app and wifi features.
Suunto Ambit 3 Peak
Weight: 3.14 ounces
Dimensions: 1.97 x 1.97 x 0.71 inches
Best Use: Multi-sport activities, specifically for climbers
Description: The Suunto Ambit3 Peak is a great option if you’re into outdoor activities. It has all the features that you’d want in a sports watch as it delivers its users an accurate altitude, weather updates, and full navigation.
That being said, it includes a barometer, compass, GPS, water resistance up to 100m and altimeter. If you’re wanting a battery that’ll be able to last you, this one comes with 200 hours. It can also connect to your smartphone and sync your activities to the app, as well as receive updates on your watch. You simply need wifi and the Suunto Movescount App to sync your activities. This watch will support you during your adventures, especially if you’re an avid outdoors person.
Related: If you want to measure your heart rate, you can get the Suunto Smart belt. It’s a great addition to your watch and will be able to measure your fitness levels. If you’re going hiking, grab your watch and smart belt – you’re all set.
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Dimensions: 2 x 0.7 x 2 inches
Best Use: multi-sport activities
Description: If you’re into discovering new trails, you’ll be safely supported by the Suunto Traverse. This is a great option if you’re into off-road adventures as it has topographic maps, integrated GPS and GLONASS navigation – all tools that’ll be used to track and map out your trails.
You can also follow your progress as the Traverse will track your distance and altitude, save your points and retrace your steps – you’ll never be able to get lost. The barometric trend also will alert you to upcoming storms and weather changes.
It also comes with the sunset and sunrise times, alarms and incoming calls and texts. With this watch around your wrist, it’s virtually impossible to get lost during your adventure.
Related: The Suunto Elementum Terra is another great watch from Suunto which includes all the features like the Traverse, however, has a stopwatch as well.
Casio Protrek Manaslu
Weight: 4.96 ounces
Dimensions: 6 x 5.1 x 3.6 inches
Best Use: multi-sport
Description: Casio Protrek Manaslu is a beautiful watch if you’re looking for a sports watch that doesn’t look extremely sporty. In fact, with this design, you’ll be able to wear this watch at the office or during the day. Aside from its aesthetics, this watch can reach altitudes of 8,000 meters above sea level.
The Triple Sensor Ver. 3 technology from Casio allows it to act as a barometric reader, thermometer, stopwatch, countdown timer, alarm, compass, and water resistance.
Another great feature of this watch is that it runs off of Tough Solar which is a high-capacity solar charging system. All in all, Casio is a brand that’s highly reputable and designs watches that’ll last you a lifetime.
Related: Another great watch from Casio is the Casio Protrek Black Titanium. It’s similar in design to the Manaslu, however, is slightly more sports-like in aesthetics.
Casio Protrek Tough
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 7 inches
Best Use: multi-sport
Description: The Casio Protrek Tough is a watch that is going to last you through where ever you’re hiking. It works off of Tough Solar Power, which is a high-capacity solar charging system that all Casio watches are designed with.
That means this watch will last 5-23 months without sunlight. It’s packed with features such as the multi-band atomic timekeeping, water resistant up to 200 meters, duplex LC display, Tide graph, moon data, digital compass, altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. It also comes with a power saving function as well as a backlight.
So, if you were ever worried about having a watch that wouldn’t be able to assist you through tough terrain, this isn’t one of them. The Protrek Tough will be by your side, helping you out with whatever you need.
Related: If you’re looking for something similar, all the Casio watches mentioned in this review are just as exceptional as the Protrek Tough.
Weight: 16 ounces
Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches
Best Use: multi-sport
Description: Like all Casio watches, Casio Pathfinder is another watch that won’t disappoint you. It’s a solar-powered, self-charging sports watch with a triple sensor that’ll provide you with a barometer, altimeter, thermometer and compass information.
Now, these are just the basic features that are provided, however, the Pathfinder also gives you sunrise/sunset data, countdown timer and a 48-city world time. This watch is amazing because it doesn’t look like a typical sports watch. It’s clean cut and chunky in design, giving it a casual and masculine appeal.
The titanium band has a double push-button fold-over clasp that’ll ensure it’s not going anywhere. The display has a backlight for and it can display the time in either 12 or 24-hour format. Of course, the watch is water resistant up to an exceptional 100 meters deep. If you wanted a watch that’s chunky and masculine but also has all the gadgets, then this is the one for you.
Related: The Casio Protrek Multiband6 is another watch that’s fully equipped with all the gadgets and features you could possibly ever want. It’s not as sleek in design, however, it’s very masculine.
Casio Protrek Sport
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches
Best Use: multi-sport
Description: The Protrek Sport by Casio really is a watch that has it all. However, this watch is even more designed for sports enthusiasts. It’s extremely sporty in design and includes multiple features that’ll you’ll appreciate when wearing this watch.
It has a multi-band atomic timekeeping, low-temperature resistance up to -10 degrees, altimeter, digital compass, barometer, sunrise/sunset data, five daily alarms, 1/10 second stopwatch and a countdown timer. As you can see, it’s fully loaded.
In addition, it also has an auto calendar with a battery indicator and power-saving function, which many of the other watches do not include. The battery will be able to stay charged up to 7 months without exposure to sunlight.
It’s also water resistant up to 100 meters, so it’s ideal for those who snorkel and swim, however, not for diving. Like all Casio watches, it also comes with a one-year warranty.
Related: The Casio watches listed within the review are very similar to the Protrek Sport. If you’re looking for a watch that’s cheaper, there are watches such as the Palada Men’s outdoor watch, however, you will not get the same quality nor the same features.
Casio Protrek Triple Sensor
Weight: 12 ounces
Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches
Best Use: multi-sport
Description: Casio’s Protrek Triple Sensor watch is another great addition to the Casio family. The watch uses Casio’s original technology, however, minimized their sensors by 90% for better power consumption.
Though they’re smaller in size, the sensors are more accurate and efficient. It can measure altitude in 1 meter increments and provide compass readings within 60 seconds. In addition to these features, it also includes barometers, daily alarms, temperature resistance, thermometer, hourly time signal, etc.
It’s large display allows you to easily see and access your information without having to struggle. The design itself is very clean and sleek, without bulk. A perfect watch if you want something more subtle in appearance, however, fully loaded with features.
Related: If you’re looking for a Casio watch that also shares a similar design and has the necessary features for a safe adventure, look at the Protrek Triple-Sensor Tough.
Now that you’re well-aware about the types of features available on watches, the types of watches and which watches you should consider purchasing, we recommend you go a store and try them on.
All these watches listed above are fully equipped with the essential features you’ll be needing. Now, it’s just a matter of what you think suits your wrist the best.
Have an ABC watch that you’ve had great experiences with? Feel free to share your stories with us in the comments section down below.