st. moritz titan II chrono
A watch review might seem a little out of place on a fly fishing site but St. Moritz was a sponsor of the Healing on the Albany 2008 event earlier this year and they provided a Momentum Shadow II Chrono as a gift for Alan Cheeseman for his generous contribution to the Project Healing Waters event. The watch they provided was a sturdy and very beautiful black dive watch with both a leather and a metal band (which we had engraved) We really wanted to reward a Canadian businessman with a worthy Canadian designed product and the folks at St. Moritz stepped up and made it happen. One catch... they wanted me to test out one of their watches during the event. This was a pretty brave suggestion on their part. I am very rough on equipment and just chuckle whenever anyone gives me a lengthy warranty on equipment. Chantaal Regan from St. Moritz encouraged me to really put it to the test. I had been looking to upgrade my timepiece anyway and had a pretty long list of requirements. After looking at the St. Moritz Momentum product line I decided that an older model, the Titan II, would be the best bet for my real world fly fishing test. After two weeks; one in downtown DC and one in the boreal forest of Northwest Ontario here are my needs and how the watch either met them or fell short.
The watch should be waterproof
The Titan II is water resistant to 10 ATM. This feature is non-negotiable as this watch will be dunked, splashed and sprayed on a regular basis. 10 ATM is more than enough for me. The watch does require that I screw down the crown tightly to prevent water from entering the case. So far that has not been an issue as I don't think the watch would be comfortable without the crown screwed down.
The watch should be light
I am not going to spend $600 on a 1 oz fly rod only to throw a quarter pound on my other wrist. The Titan II is made of titanium and weighs only 2.4 oz. I have a lighter cloth band field watch but nothing of this quality or with an all metal band. After a day on the water I forgot it was there.
The watch should be a small analogue with a classic look
This watch is a looker. It has a very classic field watch look with clean lines. The reflective rings around the chrono wheels are a nice touch and the watch is very understated and functional. The size is just right; not so small as to be confused with a women's watch but not so large that it looks like I am compensating for something. I am not a huge guy and I prefer a standard field watch over a chunk of gears on my wrist.
The watch should be visible in low light conditions
Although the Titan II has a glowing face, it is difficult to see in very low light. I didn't have much trouble deciphering the time at 1am on the lake but none of the other features were usable once the sun went down. I would prefer a brighter "indiglo" type face but the classy looks of the Titan will have me leaving the Timex at home.
The watch should have a compass
This isn't a deal breaker. Most watch based compasses don't work that well anyway but a guy can dream. No compass on the Titan II so I will have to just use the dial and the sun to find my way home (or maybe break out the GPS?)
The watch should have a chronograph
If you need to time drag races or 100 yard dashes look elsewhere. If like me you need to time steaks on the grill or parking meters, this chrono will work for you. The dials are a bit small and tough to read but the operation of the stop watch feature is very simple. It is very precise under a minute but after that the minute hand is tough to read.
The watch should have an alarm
When I am on a fishing trip I frequently have to plane-hop to get to my destinations. One missed plane and I may not be making it to my final destination. Oversleeping is not an option. The Titan II has an alarm but it isn't loud enough to allow me to wear the watch on my wrist. Placing the watch on the nightstand next to my head made it loud enough to get me out of bed though. The alarm will repeat about every minute so if you set it a little early it should do the trick. The alarm is accurate to about 3 or 4 minutes. Heavy sleepers beware, this watch isn't for you. If you need it to be more precise with a louder alarm I have an ugly, old Suunto I will sell you.
The watch should have a date feature
I have a very difficult time remembering what day of the week it is. The date is even more elusive. I really need a date function. I prefer a perpetual calendar but the calendar on the Titan II will do. I haven't had the watch long enough to determine how much of a problem this will be but right now the watch is on the correct date.
The watch should have a sapphire crystal
I will be taking this watch into some pretty extreme environments. One look a the face of my Suunto or my GPS and you will see that this watch will be beat. So far it has survived without even a ding. The super hard synthetic sapphire crystal is much harder than the rocks I am slamming it into. I understand that this crystal may be brittle but it appears to be pretty indestructible so far.
The Titan II is a sporty and durable watch that would complement the finest Hardy reel and bamboo rod. This is a sweet timepiece! The smaller dial may be tough on older eyes but if you are use to watching a size 18 Adams bob through whitewater, I don't think that smaller dials will be a big problem for you. I wish the alarm were a little louder and the date was a perpetual date but the comfort, weight and appearance easily outweighed any negatives. The troops that were along for the trip were digging the appearance and were glad to hear that St. Moritz has become an official sponsor of Project Healing Waters (they get a big discount for their service). I am very curious to see how St. Moritz plans on getting this one back from me. After just two weeks on my wrist I don't think I can part with it. It is already like an old friend.