Origo OC-024 Digital Compass Watch

  • First things first, this is a good watch. For the past few years, I’ve used two watches: an analogue with a rotating bezel and illuminated hands for work and a digital watch for fitness training. Both are still going strong but now have some serious competition from this beauty. When I first opened the box, the thought ‘what a monster’ sprang to mind. In comparison with my other watches, the Origo is big (as you can see in the pictures – it’s the one with the cardinal points on it) and this is what it can do for you:

    The display is clear and easy to read and the backlight illuminates the whole face well. For someone used to luminous hands on an analogue watch, it did seem too bright at first but it is pretty tolerable. The stopwatch and the countdown timer work well and I especially like the count up feature: when you reach your end time on the countdown timer, the alarm sounds and the timer then begins to count up, showing you how far past your planned end time you have reached. This is useful when doing DST measurements on navigation legs as it very clearly shows you if you are over time.

    The compass is simple to calibrate and operate, if a touch sensitive. To set bearings and follow them is a simple operation and easy to do. I would agree with the manufacturer’s recommendation that the compass be re-calibrated prior to going out into the wilds and using it, as I had have had to calibrate it twice in four weeks. As this takes 30 seconds, it’s no great issue. I would not care to use this as my only compass unless I really had to. It is an effective compass but the habits of the years are too ingrained and I’ll use my Silva compass first and have this as a handy reference/reserve.

    Main Functions:
    • Time Mode
    • Digital Compass Mode
    • Alarm Mode
    • Stopwatch Mode
    • Stopwatch Data Mode
    • - Countdown Timer Mode
    Features:
    • One touch direct access of Digital Compass on main time display for easy viewing
    • Digital Compass with digital direction in 16 cardinal positions with degree, adjustable Declination angle for improved navigation
    • Compass Bearing tracking function for easy path finding
    • 1/100 Sec Chronograph with 99 laps memory, 20 runs
    • 2 Daily Alarms
    • Count down and count up timer
    • Selectable 12/24-hour display format
    • Power saving feature for 0,1,2,5 hours auto display shutdown
    • 3 second light up EL backlight
    One very practical point I liked is the power management. Although it sounds odd for something as simple a digital watch to do this, the power shutdown feature is very useful and will extend the battery life significantly. If you don’t like it, it can be switched off but I would view it as worthwhile. Also, the OC-024 uses a CR2032 lithium battery (available in the high street) and it can be changed by the user quickly and simply. This for me added to the watch’s utility as this could be done in the field.

    In value for money terms, this scores pretty well. At a retail price of £55, this is affordable for most people, and you do get a fair amount of bang for your buck. Although a lot of the features may seem pretty basic, it is a good combination in a simple package.

    Also, this is a tough watch. The initial tests were passed with ease – both the dog and the toddler were unable to even scratch it (no matter how many times it was smacked against the wall). It handled time on the hill, out running, at work and in the water (both fresh and salt, although I must confess I didn’t take it to a depth of 50m!) with ease and still looks much the same as when I first took it out of the box.

    A couple of things do annoy me about this watch. Its size, for starters, can be a bit of pain and it does look enormous on my wrist (perhaps I should spend longer in the gym…). I’ve caught it on bergan and webbing straps a few times and wondered which was going to break first. Also, the straps are fixed permanently at some 90° from the watch itself and this can make it a bit awkward at times. Setting the watch is not entirely intuitive (or maybe I’m just retaining the habits from my other watches) and takes a little bit of getting used to. Finally, the alarms are not loud at all and I would defy anyone to be woken up by them. I would argue that these are designed to alert someone is already wide awake.

    That said, this is a good solid watch that is tough, comfortable to wear, reasonably priced, has a good range of functions and is clear to read. I recommend it for pretty much anything from ops and exercise to adventure training to sitting in the pub comparing watches (although it probably wouldn’t go well with black tie). As a result, it gets a high 4 out of 5.


    Origo OC-024 Digital Compass Watch kindly supplied by RVOps

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