Gear Box: Origo Granite Peak and Rendezvous Peak Altimeter Watches

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If you’re anything like me, you feel naked without a watch on your wrist. I rarely walk out the door without some kind of timepiece on, whether it’s a dress watch when I’m heading out on the town or a sports watch when I’m going for a run. When I was planning for my Himalaya trek I knew that I wanted to take an altimeter watch along to help track my progress. Turns out, thanks to Origo, I took two watches, their Granite Peak and Rendezvous Peak models.

For the most part, the functionality of these two watches is pretty much identical, and even the interface is the same. In addition to the standard watch functions, such as time, day, and date, the Grantie and Rendezvous also offer an altimeter, barometer, temperature, digital compass, and weather forecast. They also include a lap timer that stores your performance in memory, and a similar memory function that keeps track of altimeter data, recording height gained with date and time. Both watches display barometric trends and altitude changes over an 8 hour period while offering dual time options and two separate daily alarms. In short, they’re both perfect companions for your next hike or backpacking excursion.

Where the two watches differ greatly is in their cases. The Granite uses a titanium case while the Rendezvous plays it a bit safer with a solid, well constructed plastic case, each of which has their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the Granite definitely has a more solid, rugged feel to it thanks to the titanium shell, but that metal casing adds weight and cost to the package. The Granite is nearly twice the weight of the Rendezvous, and it costs $100 more as well. On the other hand, the Rendezvous is a lightweight watch that doesn’t compromise on the options, and while it’s plastic casing isn’t as fancy as the metal one found on the Granite, it is still very strong and sturdy.

If you’ve ever used an altimeter watch before you know that they need to be calibrated from time to time with a known altitude and/or barometric reading. These two watches are no different of course, although I was continually impressed with how well they held their accuracy. Once calibrated properly, they not only reflected the changes in altitude, both up and down, but they also held their calibration over a couple of days time. Other similar watches that I’ve used generally needed to be calibrated every day, and didn’t always stay as accurate over time.

Another plus of these two watches are their ease of use. After familiarizing yourself with their functions, it is very easy to jump from time to altimeter to barometer and back. It is also easy to switch between metric and english measurements, something I found useful while traveling with trekkers from a variety of places around the world. Adjusting the time, setting the alarms, calibrating the altitude, and using the compass are all a very simple affair, and there is no need to carry a manual with you to use either of these watches. Something that is appreciated while in the field.

In short, both the Granite Peak and Rendezvous Peak watches are excellent timepieces. In functionality, they are pretty much identical, so it comes down to whether you want the heavier, more costly, yet more rugged Granite or the more cost effective, lighter weight, yet still sturdy Rendezvous. Either way, you can’t go wrong, and you’ll have an outdoor watch that will serve you well for years to come. (MSRP: Granite $299, Rendezvous $180)

Kraig Becker

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