Tech News on G4

Timex Expedition WS4 Widescreen Wristwatch

Nov 13, 2009

By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin’ - G4 Canada

back to -|- Tech News index -|- Greg Gazin column archive


When you think you’ve seen it all, another innovation hits the big screen- literally. But the Timex Expedition WS4 is not for watching movies, but rather a timepiece that goes beyond - like the names says- for expeditions – wherever they may take you.
The WS stands for widescreen and the “4”, refers to its 4 major functions. Just think A,B,C,T – A for Altimeter, to measure Altitude, height above sea-level;, B for Barometer – to measure atmospheric pressure a predictor of changes in weather patterns; C for Compass and T for Thermometer, which are self-explanatory.

Timex Expedition WS4 Widescreen WristwatchDynamic Functions

These functions go beyond just reporting static numbers. The altimeter can track not only your current altitude settings; it tracks the total change in altitude as well as the highest peak reached. It can also display your progress in a graph and trigger an alarm at a predetermined level.

The Barometer measures the current level, the highs and lows for the past 36 hours to be able to predict (if one can really do that) changes in the weather.  The Compass can be displayed with the traditional needle indicator or by the actual degrees and angles. And the Thermometer of course is Celsius and Fahrenheit selectable.

Let’s not forget that it’s a full-featured watch too - with a calendar and alarm and  it tracks 2 time zones, too! It’s also a chronograph that can be used to track laps and function as a stopwatch. The WS4 also utilizes the chrono for it’s 4 special functions – and while it’s engaged, it keeps track and records stats from all of the functions that you can see in Review mode.

And because it’s a Timex, it features its famous INDIGLO night-light and is water resistant to 50M. It also has an easy access battery compartment and uses standard coin batteries so you don’t need a jewelers certificate to change it.

Oversized & Lightweight

The watch took a little getting used to. Its “ginormous’ oversized rectangular shape by wristwatch standards makes this one that Inspector Gadget would be very proud of. Despite the size, it’s actually quite light. The unit is sealed in a lightweight composite casing, and fortified with a stainless steel bezel for the ideal combination of mass and durability and after wearing it for a while it eventually feels like a natural appendage. It does however attract the gaze of curious onlookers if you are wear short sleeves or a T-Shirt.

Timex Expedition WS4 Widescreen WristwatchFamous World-Class Tester

Now while I did not trek to conquer Mount Columbia – the highest peak in Alberta, nor submit myself to any extreme incline to test the watch but Timex sure did.

They got real serious developing this puppy, engaging Conrad Anker, an American World Class Author, climber and mountaineer as their ambassador. But beyond just being a spokesperson, Anker performed field tests in September 2008 on a WS4 prototype unit. According to the report, they attempted to a 6330-meter peak in the Garwhal Himalaya Range to test the watch. Anker reported that “Cold temperature, extreme altitude and a variety of weather conditions all conspired to make our journey an epic –and the WS4 held fast.”

He did however offer some suggestions for improvement that Timex included in the final product. Check out the photo gallery to see photos of Anker on his trek.

I must admit that overall, it’s an impressive little unit if you need all of that functionality. It can be especially handy if you are going out in the mountains or trekking off into the Canadian wilderness. The alarm and alert functions can be particularly useful when you are busy doing other things.

Now if it could only show movies….

On the other hand, it is an attention grabber and fun to play with.

If you are interested in this type of unit, I’d suggest getting familiar with it ahead of time. Read the manual and calibrate the settings. One thing to note is that since it is a watch sitting on your wrist, the temperature gauge could be a little off since you body heat could affect that sensor.  I noticed that Anker wore it over his jacket sleeve – I guess it would be more accurate and easier to get to while climbing. Because everyone is different, adventurers can choose between a rubber
strap for traditional usage and an expandable XL elastic strap to wear over performance gear.

But remember, don’t play with it while driving.

Timex Expedition WS4 is available in 5 attractive colours and retails for $299.


Greg Gazin can be reached at  gadgetguy “at” telus “dot” net Or

About G4 in Canada
G4 launched on September 7, 2001 as the ultimate television resource for technology news, information and entertainment. Co-owned by G4, Rogers Media Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc., G4 is Canada's first television channel 100% dedicated to technology, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The channel features the latest technology news, information and entertainment in an exciting and high-energy format. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite.