Time is Money.
And Quality Timepieces are a Little Pricey.
Currently I am running quite a few watches. 6 to be exact. But I will forgo explaining the IWatch-2 Biometric data tracking device.
Considering a possible embargo on microchips, I don’t think my recent purchases are crazy.
What if China decided to stop selling us microchips? That would be a problem…
The Mudman series by G-Shock is great and there are a few variations of the same type depending on the source. There are two pieces I have, and will wear, during outdoor activities.
Same with Sunnto, I have two, and the reasons for having 4 digital watches (Total) are fairly obvious once you hear me out.
You have a spare watch, or two, to coordinate chronography in case of thoughtlessness, loss, damage, or a dead battery. Cellphones have ruined the watch market, so watches are an oft forgotten piece of equipment. You’ll gonna need one.
Addressing the G-Shock Mudman series of watches first. The G-Shock by Casio is queen of the digital watches. And the Mudman is king of the G-Shocks.
They are second to none. But there are many other nice options out there that aren’t Mudman series, or G-Shock. But the Mudman series is tough because of the number of failures they had from… you guessed it… the “Tough Mudder” sports competition. Apparently nothing survives the Tough Mudder. Which is a good metric. Kinda like the citizen version of the ‘Best Ranger Competition” for guys, gals, and their gear.
Let’s talk about specs. There are two primary models to consider. An analog premium model and supped up Japanese model exist, but they are darn expensive and I have no use for them. (I only linked the two I own and have used)
Some of the specs are as follows.
The batteries last a long time in G-Shocks, are commonly available, and cheap. The average rated life, depending on options, is about 2 years (as per the manual). One of my two watches is focused towards time: Alarms, stop watches, and timers are all extremely useful and easy to access. The buttons are also VERY hard to push. Which is nice because it seals out the muck and the mud, but also prevents accidental wrist activation during strenuous activity. Like rucking or wrestling. The Mudman series was designed to survive the Tough Mudder, and the Mudman series of G-Shocks are seriously sealed against dust, dirt, and clay, which is why the buttons are so hard to push.
Do you know your pace count? Day, Night, Brush Beating, Road Marching?; Is that Uphill or Downhill? Are you wearing snowshoes, tennis shoes, or boots? Ruck or no ruck?
Those are important metrics because you can time yourself once you are familiar with your speeds. Keeping a lot of information in your head, especially numbers, is difficult. After years of practice and training; I can hit my marks within 5 minutes on the hour, and I tested this as recently as early June this year and I am still on target.
Just as I was when I was a younger, dumber, and more wild version of my current self. (Imagine)
The first linked of the Mudman series is a little more pricey than the Standard Chronographic oriented Version. Not only does it have a compass; activated with the quick push of a button that is as easy to reach as the illuminate feature; But it incorporates some environmental data which is important for obvious reasons that require a discussion. Namely, the moon phase and the Thermometer. Because of these functions, I am not required to carry a moon calendar on me, as it’s preloaded based on the time/date group.
The Features of the Mudman Digital Dial With Compass (About $150-200)
- Tough Solar Power, Shock Resistant, Mud Resistant Case & buttons are sealed to prevent mud, dirt and dust from getting into the watch, 200M Water Resistant
- Digital Compass, Thermometer, Moon Data (moon age of specific date, moon phase graph), Full Auto EL Backlight with Afterglow
- World Time, 4 Daily Alarms & 1 Snooze Alarm, Hourly Time Signal, 1/100 Second Stopwatch, Countdown Timer
The other one, the less premium model for about $100-120 (Without the Compass, and a larger face) Features the ability to have two times dialed in, with the ability to switch back easily, and a UTC mode. A good feature for Amateur radio work. There are a couple different flavors I found searching the Web. Of which Casio is famous for. Regardless of which one you pick up, the Mudman Series is nice because of the hard to push buttons. A feature, not a flaw in my opinion.
I keep one as home time and one as ZULU with the UTC correctly set. Keeps things easy in case of fatigue, saves time explaining stuff to the new guys, or a head injury (Conscious or Unconscious).
Pay attention. This is on the Final Exam.
What is Coordinated Universal Time Wikipedia Link
Knowing your Moon-phase is good for planning which days have high visibility at night. Or if you have NOD’s or NVG’s you can go full dark with zero moonlight highlighting your position.
The Suunto Brand.
Suunto’s are great. And you don’t need to break the bank. Which is pretty easy for a Suunto. The basics and another for the basics (plus instruments) are all you need.
They had a reputation for being a little pricey and using more battery power than a G-Shock, which is true, but they work great and the face is excellent. One gripe I have about Suunto’s, which is kind of a pain, is during strenuous activity when you accidentally activate the compass and allow it to function on the “mode” option and not the hot button option(The dedicated Compass button that lasts 5 seconds or so). The mode option drains quite a bit of battery, and lasts indefinitely.
The solution to this quirk? Put the watch on the wrist that DOESN’T activate the Compass modes key, and will only accidentally push the timed use function.
Suunto’s have a large face, big digital numbers, a selectable Bright or Dim backlight (which the G-Shocks also have), and the compass is quite accurate. Surprisingly accurate. And being digital, the compass appears to automatically adjust for magnetic azimuth in your area.
Which is a feature, not a flaw in my opinion.
Recalibrating the compass, after replacing the battery or moving to a new area very far away from you rmap, requires a steady hand and a few spins around while watching your bubble level. Which is built into the face of the Suunto and should be used in conjunction with with compass for a more accurate reading.
Should you use a Suunto digital compass over a proper military or citizen grade compass?
But what if you need a quick bearing? Push the hot key button.
Bingo. Orientation achieved. Communicate and Move.
No need to dig around in your pocket. Have you ever tried to find your freezing cold compass with your freezing cold hands in the dark? It’s A LOT harder than you think; Panic inducing, actually.
The barometer gives you meteorological data as well. Namely, you can tell it’s gonna rain, without having to burn battery on the radio using the NOAA frequency. Which is a SWEET feature. Something I wasn’t certain I would use, but have used every single day since.
Push the button to the Barometer mode, check the stats, Set up the rain tent? Yes or No?
95% accurate in my field testing. And I tested this thing for 8 years in the field.
They work. Period. Just gotta learn how to read it. Which isn’t hard. Rain Checks are pretty easy.
How to Read A Barometer
Get on time gentlemen. Imagine if our ancestors had all these cool tools in their pocket. You have a multitool right? Shovel? Axe? Saw?
Why don’t you have a thermometer, instant compass, stop watch, alarm clock, moon phase calendar, Date/Time group, and a barometer?
Honestly when you factor it all in you can divide each tool into a $25 dollar value per instrument.
No excuses for being significantly late or less informed than the situation dictates. Or confused as to where, when, how, what, or why. Also, some of this data can make you a better shooter. Like the temp.
And, remember this. Most watches function on the same 4 buttons and a combination of two of each side. High and low diagonally. It’s pretty easy to give yourself the quick and dirty lesson on the operations and functions of any watch. Including analogs. Which typically are unscrew, pull, and twist, and push and turn.
Let’s talk about the Citizen Watches,
Although many brands earn their reputation, the Citizen is pretty badass. Specifically, the Titanium construction models. First, they are light, immune to the heat and cold (as in they don’t ever feel hot or cold on your skin; Which is nice) and the Eco-Drive system is pretty awesome. No batteries to charge and they have a dive timer bezel. One draw back, the capacitor can go bad if you store the watch improperly or leave it in the direct sunlight for extended periods. Leave it on top of the gun safe; Not in it. NOT IN THE SUN, or else you will degrade the capacitor storage and burn out the charging matrix. Which is $160 to replace by a Citizen certified dealer/smith.
Ask me how this genius figured that one out.
So why two watches? Isn’t that a little too tacticool there Elmer Fudd?
Well, No… Hear me out.
You can mix and match the options on two different watches, or run both of the same. Since one watch that held every instrument would be huge, bulky and not very comfortable or practical, and possible cause injury due to the pronounced size. One on each wrist makes sense. And you have double the reliably for extended operations.
Sending up a time call, being on time for a radio check, or time sensitive report is extremely important.
Ever missed a date with a beautiful woman? Hurts Donut?
If you and your brothers have one watch set for the proper UTC/ZULU times, you can communicate with outsiders easily in the real world. Coordinating your efforts between you and others. Including those who are not in the know about your personal Crypto-Chronography. So one watch can be set to the cool guy times; And the other is set to the Citizen time.
You can say “Hey Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird and Roger Rabbit moving BLAH BLAH BLAH at 1:59 PM”
Which would sound like meaningless nonsense to them. Creating more work and confusion.
Which is hilarious. But the lack of a proper time stamp, which you can easily translate from one wrist to the next (False time to real time and/or back), will make them seriously reconsider where you are transmitting from, especially on the HF band. Unless the Signals-Intelligence team is sitting right on top of you (You are dead… in case of Airborne SIGINT overhead…)
My two cents. You can also use triangulation of possible know points(But not exact) to confirm friendly. Especially if you get create and say something like “Face Right, And Recall”. “Where are you now trooper?” and combine this with an agreed lie or two between the two of you.
During Operations, you specific shouldn’t use names, locations, or anything else that can identify you.
Only Code Words. Don’t mess this up. They are ALWAYS listening. And so should you.
That way, when you coordinate something serious you can use that fake time, and cross check the fake with the real. Instantly and without any writing or maths. And, without having to memorize anything, write anything down, or screw anything up.
Rotate time plans when you link up in person. Or have a planned push-to-shift signal. And don’t use anything personal, relatable, or written down.
Something silly, sexy, or stupid is ALWAYS easy to remember.
But don’t use anything psychologically, sociologically, of philosophically standardized. Like a movie, Song, or other form of common art or idea. Those can, and will, be researched and returned.
The “G” in G-Shock stands for Guerrilla…
Thanks for reading.
What time is it?
It’s time to win. And I mean WIN.