Thanks for the link!
A friend brought one back from her last trip to Europe, she loves it! Actually she goes there regularly and was going to get one for me next time.
I'll compare prices and just order it online if it's not more expensive.
I've been doing a little digging of late regarding eventing watches so I'll share my 2c. Generally speaking, they are all over priced. On my arm right now is a decent digital watch i bought at K-Mart. It has a chrono stop watch that counts up, it has two timers that count down, it has an alarm (make that two) and two time displays. It cost me < $30. I've used it for sailboat races, timing cycling routes (before I got fancy), and any time I've needed a stopwatch/timer.
the Optimum Eventing Watch has and up counter, and a down (optimum time) counter, and it beeps on the min and it costs 4x as much!! The watch you are looking at costs even more then the optimum and it "seems" to do even less for $14 more. I'm not sure its worth the cost. They are special use items for a fair amount of dollars.
I also looked at GPS watches like the Garmin Forerunner 10, Timex GPS, and one other. All were around the $100 value, all captured position/pace/time data, all allowed time up and lap time settings. You could upload gps data and look at pace, altitude, distance, calories and such. I figure if I were to spend 100+ dollars I want to get as much value as I can from functionality.
I really really really want that cool big yellow watch on my arm so folks look and me and say "wow, now there's a Rider", but at the end of the day, other then big numbers it does no more then a good inexpensive digital watch ($84 vs $30) and I can wear my watch all the time. I use the watch for conditioning (count up) and will try it for the first time on course (optimum time + 30 sec, the 30 secs so I don't have to think about hitting start in the start box). I can even stop/start count down if in a hold. This is my watch.
because I'm a geek I might get the gps watch though I'd rather have the contour GPS helmet cam, and I might get the Optimum Eventing Watch just so I look like an Eventer (still working on trying to ride like one), but my research showed that a good digital watch can just as well do what's needed, not just for show day, but practice and everyday use as well and not break the bank.
JP60, I mostly agree with you, and when my big black eventing watch (the smaller version of the yellow one) hit the dust (as they are wont to do when the battery runs out!), I reverted to just using my timex ironman, which has the sorts of features you describe.
But I will say that
a) I am getting older and find that I will need to buy a watch that is bigger than my regular Timex (I have very small wrists so normally get a small women's watch) so that I can easily see the numbers on course. It is one thing when I'm conditioning -- I just listen for the beep or look down whenever I want. But competing, I need to have that info more easily visible.
b) I really, really miss the beeping every minute. It is SO useful on course -- you can hear it without, sometimes, even consciously processing that you have, and you know exactly where you are as you go around.
If I could find a big faced watch that beeped every minute of the "timex" variety I'd be thrilled.
I am doing without only because the big eventing watch NEVER makes it through a battery change without dying, and I can't justify that.
I believe you CAN set the Ironman to beep every minute. I have one too, love it, although I have not tried to use that feature because I don't have a need for it right now.
I take it back, I used to have an Ironman, but now have an expedition. If I could figure out how to make either one beep every minute, that would be GREAT. I would totally buy a man's Ironman as my event watch -- they are indestructable!
I was playing around with my Expedition and could not find a one minute beep option, that would be nice, but its not a requirement for all it does do.
Overall my view is that the few watches they have for eventing are over priced geegaws that have the same internal software/hardware as low cost watches, but sadly they know how to market to us rubes :-)
I've not done this yet though I plan for my first HT, but I'm going to set the watch to count down from optimum plus 30, if I am coming up on the next to last jump with way too much time at least I can better adjust. Running a wheel or Course walk is not really an option so I hope to use the tool to help feel the correct pace then adjust along the way. Now, if I get some extra cabbage along the way I will invest in a GPS watch, but use it both for conditioning and for xc.
I can make my Timex beep by setting the Timer to 1 minute. I press start on the Timer when the timer volunteer says "5," and then quickly switch over to the stopwatch and start it. My watch counts up (about 5 seconds ahead of time, which I have routinely done forever) and it beeps every minute as the timer runs out, and continues until I turn it off.
Same features as the big yellow watch (which I have, but the battery never lasts!) in a $25 watch from walmart that I wear every day.
The only problem I've occasionally had is that the velcro strap on your glove (like SSG All Weather gloves) can inadvertently hit the side buttons on the watch, messing up the stopwatch. I use a different pair for xc, either without velcro or with a different type velcro tab.