One of my editors called me the other day. He had been working on the newest book (The Home Schooled Shootist) and wanted to talk about my watch. Several places in the book I mention that my wristwatch has features that indicate temperature, barometric pressure and altitude. In the context of the book, these are all variables used to adjust one’s aim point when taking a long distance shot.
“What is this miracle watch you have? I’ve never heard of one that does all that stuff.”
He further went on to suggest we put a link to the specific model in the book or on the webpage. Someone else pointed out that Bishop, the protagonist in my fiction books, has a pretty impressive watch himself. It never occurred to me that my watch was all that James Bond-ish of a timepiece; I’ve had the thing for years and it wasn’t expensive.
The watch in question is a Casio Pathfinder Tri-Sensor model. I don’t think they make my specific model anymore, but similar pieces are available just about anywhere for between $190 and $350, depending on what type of band you want. I have the cheapie synthetic band that feels like rubber. Click here to see the latest model on Amazon.
I originally purchased the watch on the recommendation of an old friend who had considerable experience in the Special Forces. At that time, the Pathfinder was about the only solar powered watch you could buy. Batteries for optics, night vision, lasers, radios and flashlights are always a worry. Anything you can do to eliminate yet another spare power cell in your kit is a positive.
Now, I am not a maven of bling by anyone’s definition and have little fear of GQ magazine publishing my image on its cover. I wear a watch for functionality – period. I’m also rough as hell on equipment. Mine has experienced an average of one hot shower per day for over five years. It has felt thousands of rifle recoils, been completely submerged in gasoline and banged into just about everything I walk by at least once. It has survived desert heat over 120 degrees and winter cold below zero.
For a prepper, the Pathfinder makes a lot of sense. I’m not an expert on “self-winding” watches, and can’t comment on which would last longer – a solar cell or mechanical movements. What I can say with confidence is that you won’t find a purely mechanical watch with the features like this Casio. (A unit with a mechanical movement might be more attractive if you are concerned about EMP strikes.) It’s almost like a little bug-out-bag on your wrist.
In absolute darkness, the dial illuminator will keep you from bumping into walls. I wouldn’t want to change a tire with it on a moonless night, but I can read canned food labels in the pantry.
The compass is surprisingly accurate for a watch. As anyone with extreme field experience knows, there will come a time when you won’t believe your primary compass. I know a lot of guys who carry a spare, believing in the old rule of 2=1 and 1=0 when it comes to equipment. Having a compass on my wrist fills that need.
For shooting long distances, the data provided by the watch is handy. As most riflemen know, after about 400 meters, you must start adjusting for wind, temperature, altitude and barometric pressure and other factors. While the Pathfinder doesn’t help with reading the wind, it has the rest of those adjustments covered. The altitude reading would come in handy for land navigation as well.
This list of features just goes on and on. Atomic time recalibration, multiple alarms, multiple time zones…the manual is almost an inch thick. I even read that newer models have depth gauges, moon phase displays and historical graphs.
If something were to happen to mine, I would purchase another one. My only complaint – I wasn’t thinking tactical when I bought mine and purchased a model with a shiny silver trim that might reflect in sunlight.
I know watches are like rock guitarists, football teams and pizza with guys. Everyone has their own point-of-view. I’m not saying this watch is the best Prepper watch available, but I can testify that it has served me well for years and should be considered an option the next time you need a new timepiece.
Joe is the author of several bestselling books on personal preparedness.