Satellite-powered: Timex has scored several feature firsts through the years with its ultra-popular Ironman line of sports watches. The company has really broken through to the other side with its new Ironman Speed + Distance System, which lets runners, bikers, skiers, skaters, hikers, boaters and others answer the big questions – How far have I gone? How fast have I travelled? – Like never before.
To achieve such accuracy, the Ironman relies on a second component, a Global Positioning System tracking receiver worn on the arm or clipped to the waist like a sports radio. In fact, this device beams tracking information to the watch via a low-power FM radio signal.
Just like GPS systems available in automobiles and hand-held navigational gadgets, the Timex tracker homes in on signals from U.S. government navigational satellites.
As you jog, run, bike or ski, GPS uses time and geographic changes to gauge speed, distance and pace time.
How accurate is the Timex system? Odometer tracking is calculated to 1/1000 of a mile or kilometer. Speed is gauged to a tenth of a mile or kilometer per hour, with a maximum measurable speed of 450 mph or 725 kph.
GPS was developed by our government to help land planes and zero in on missile targets, so it should be right on. It also helps that GPS satellites are equipped with super-accurate atomic clocks. In the Timex system, any slip in your watch’s timekeeping is automatically corrected every time the GPS component is used.
There are some caveats when using the Speed + Distance System. For starters, the GPS device only works outdoors. It’s super-sensitive device and can be thrown off by people standing near you, so to measure your performance in a big race, first step at least 6 feet away from the crowd to mark your starting spot.
The GPS unit must be positioned within 3 feet of the watch and functions best when strapped (with its Velcro-type band) to your arm. And while the watch is water-resistant to 50 meters and the GPS receiver is immersible, you can’t measure underwater travel.
Colour-coordinated with the GPS device, the gray-and-black-trimmed watch is no bigger than other Ironmans and among the most attractive in the Timex line. Fully equipped with conventional watch features – multiple alarms, dual time zones, Indigo night light – you’ll want to keep it strapped on even when your only exercise is pushing the chair away from the desk.