TIME TRAVELERS
American Outdoor Guide|Fall 2021
TODAY’S TOP-END DIGITAL WRISTWEAR PROVIDES ENDLESS DATA AND DIRECTION WHEREVER YOU GO
GORDON MEEHL

Throughout our entire history, humans have counted sunrises, sunsets and the phases of the moon. No part of our lives is left untouched by how we measure and enumerate the passage of time.

The human construct of organizing time into neat measurable packets has been the prime mover and motivator for creating new technologies to count, schedule and arrange our lives according to how earth is moving through space. From sundials to pocket watches to precision wristwatches that cost more than my first car, time pieces are a part of our daily lives.

If you merely want to sit back and watch the seconds tick away or if you care more about the name and bling on your wrist, then stop, move along—there’s nothing for you here. If you have high expectations from what you use and wear every day, then you’re in the right spot.

A watch should be a tool and not a fashion statement. Your timepiece should hold up to the same standards as all your other EDC choices. It should be reliable, easy to use and have functionality that exceeds your needs. Below are some of the criteria I used to select what I feel are the top choices for EDC wristwear and why I focused on digital rather than analog.

DURABILITY

To protect their delicate parts and pieces, a quality analog watch needs substantial shock and waterproofing. This usually means substantial bulk being added to an analog watch in the way of protective covers, thicker glass and the like. Because of its solid-state technology, a digital watch is much easier to protect, waterproof and harden than the thousands of small cogs, gears and springs in analog watches.

LEGIBILITY

You also want your EDC watch to be as legible as possible. Small dials, thin lines and crowded watch faces can all be problematic when trying to read information as quickly as possible. Legibility is also critical in lower light conditions; tritium dials prove to be limited as they tend to fade over long periods of time. Digital watches not only have adjustable backlighting, but many also allow you to adjust the color. Some even have a night vision compatibility mode. How’s that for legibility?

THE SPECS

GARMIN INSTINCT SOLAR - TACTICAL EDITION

LENS MATERIAL: POWER GLASS

BEZEL MATERIAL: FIBER-REINFORCED POLYMER

CASE MATERIAL: FIBER-REINFORCED POLYMER

STRAP MATERIAL: SILICONE

OVERALL SIZE: 45 X 45 X 15.3 MM

DISPLAY SIZE: 23 X 23 MM (0.9 X 0.9 INCH)

DISPLAY RESOLUTION: 128 X 128 PIXELS

DISPLAY TYPE: MONOCHROMAL, SUNLIGHT VISIBLE TRANS-REFLECTIVE MEMORY-IN-PIXEL

WEIGHT: 53 G

BATTERY LIFE: UP TO 68 DAYS (GPS EXPEDITION MODE WITH SOLAR)

WATER RATING: 339 FEET (10ATM)

MEMORY: 16MB

MSRP: $449

EASE OF USE

OK, this is one area where an analog watch may have the advantage. Time, date, a stopwatch, maybe a compass and a rotating bezel. That pretty much covers the functionality of 98% of the analog watches. Yes, there are some very high-dollar chronographs that have other more complicated functionalities, but few can match what even their least expensive digital brothers can do. While there is a learning curve on how to scroll through multiple menus and/or changing settings, the metrics and feedback far exceed the inconvenience.

It is also a good idea to make sure your EDC watch is non-reflective and a dark color. A shiny or bedazzled fashion statement wrapped around your wrist at best draws attention to yourself; at worst, a glint of a shiny metallic surface makes you a target. Practical tactical is the goal.

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