Monday, February 13, 2012

5.11 Field Ops Watch

Item: 5.11 Field Ops Watch
Price Range: ~$170.00-$250.00
Make: Foreign
Dimensions: Outside case diameter, 35mm
Weight: Hefty
Time in Testing: 4 years
Design Intention/Application: durable outdoor watch with ballistic calculator 
Features: high- density polycarbonate frame, ballistic calculator, polyurethane wrist band, digital compass, digital readouts, omni-directional bezel, backlight, water resistant to 100m, optional extended band for wearing the watch over gloves or clothing, day, date, three time zones, alarm, chronograph, countdown timer, hourly chime, countdown timer features in audible town every minute, Crystal diameter is 35 mm, outside diameter of the case is 50mm & two year warranty

The saga of the "Field Ops" began in August of 2009 when I first purchased the watch. Within four weeks of its purchase, the plastic housing which holds the band connecting pin cracked. Foolishly I did not contact customer service, as it still held the watch rather firmly. I continued to wear the watch every day until ten months later, when the other pin housing cracked. At this point I laid the watch aside, to tend to it a few months later. 

When I finally made the decision to call 5.11, they instructed me to send that one in, and a few days later, there was a brand new watch sitting on my porch. This watch too was worn every day, untill once again, the pin housing cracked. And like the time before, I held out, only to have the adjoining pin housing face the same demise. It was a rainy summer's day in June 2012, nearly a full four years since its purchase.

I hate to say it, but the watch did not flatter me and I would not buy another one. There were several downsides; it was large, expensive, and had cumbersome controls. While large and robust, it didn't have the durability even a Timex would posses. If you search the comments on 5.11's page (link below), you can see others had similar issues with the band. Similarly, manipulating the features on the watch was complex. While I can't give specifics from memory, I do remember being very frustrated when scrolling through the menus. 

The one feature I can't vouch for, is their ballistic calculator. As an individual who does not have an experience with long range shooting, it is not my place to do so. 

The 5.11 field ops watch is promising however, needs major improvements in future versions before my recommendation can be given. It must be more durable and have a less complicated user interface (Timex Ironman series would be a good reference) in order to justify the cost. If those problems could be fixed, I could even see the production of quality outdoor watches featuring altimeters and barometers. These would be competitive with Sunnto and Casio watches, especially at that $200.00 price point. 


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