When my old Timex Ironman 150 lap watch lost its faceplate, I bought a new one.  When the battery on the second one died, I replaced it.  It then shorted out the first time I jumped in the pool.  Apparently I didn't do a good job on the seal.

When the second one blew up, I went back to the old one.  After all, it was just the pretty blue plate that was missing.  The watch worked great.  I used it for quite some time until the clasp that holds the strap down broke.  I figured it was time for a new one.

I started doing some research and found that Timex moved to a new style, the "Tap" watch shown above.  The face is touch sensitive, meaning you can start the chronograph and advance laps simply by tapping the screen.

Reading about the watch, I was impressed.  First, the numbers are huge compared to other watches.  Second, not having to search for the lap button offers an advantage.  Finally, it was the only 150 lap watch I could find.

Then I got to the reviews.  While the design and layout got very strong reviews, the tap technology got a big thumbs down.  The biggest objection I read about centered on the watch "randomly" lapping out during swims.  One person said they went for a 2000 yard straight swim and wound up with 87 "laps" at the end of the workout (without ever actually tapping the screen).

That concerned me.

Then again, I had a quandary.  I was having no luck finding a suitable 150-lap watch.  So, I decided to give it a go.  I bought the watch from a local retailer with a very good return policy and headed home.

I have to say that I do love most aspects of the watch.  The large display is outstanding.  The interval timer is set up so you can establish a variety of different "alerts," including workout intensity (warm up, slow, medium, fast, cool down).  All in all, it has several improvements over past models.

Then we get to the "tap" technology.  Unfortunately, Timex gets an epic fail on this feature.  There is no way they can convince me they fully tested this function prior to release.  Even at the hardest "tap" setting (there are three, Lite, Medium, and Hard), the watch "taps" in a variety of situations.

Swimming is when it is most noticeable.  In this morning's 2000 yard workout, I should have had 39 (40?) laps, counting rest intervals.  Instead, I had 88 laps, the majority of which were unintended.

Initially, I believed the extra "laps" were the result of water slapping the face of the watch.  It took me only one hour of wearing the watch in a real situation to understand that is not the case.

The extra laps are actually the result of the back of the watch "tapping" against the wrist.  I discovered this wearing the watch to time runners at camp.  Just moving my wrist to point at something often resulted in the watch lapping out.  After experiencing that several times, I took the watch off and simply tapped the back plate.

Imagine my surprise when the watch advanced laps.

Apparently, whatever drives the "tap" technology works on both the face and the back of the watch.  The sensitivity settings do help, but the force of my wrist bone pushing against the back is more than enough to count as a "tap."

The only work around I have found is to start the watch, then shift modes back to the regular watch function.  Effective for a 100-mile bike ride.  Useless for a swim workout involving 30 or 40 intervals.

In all, I think Timex totally dropped the ball on this one.  Not only did they completely fail to test the watch prior to shipping it, they seem to have stopped production on 150-lap watches WITHOUT the tap technology.

Sad, as every other watch I've checked out falls well short of any of the past Timex Ironman watches I have owned.  I bought this one based on customer loyalty.  It will go back, and I only hope the store can find something that will be a suitable replacement.

8/18/2010 01:55:00

Fair warning!


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