Wednesday, 19 January 2005

Radio controlled watches - YES!!!

I bemoaned the lack of a day/date display on most radio controlled watches (which set themselves automatically to atomic clocks by radio signals transmitted from the UK or Germany), because I'm both too lazy and too forgetful to remember what date it is, and sometimes even what day. Hey, I like to think that I'm freeing up space in my brain for more important things...

Anyway, I've been looking for such a watch for years. But it seems now that these watches are like buses - none for ages, then three (or two, at least) come along at once. (I wonder if I should bemoan my lack of billions of pounds next, just to see?)

Argos are selling Atomium watches cheap for 7.49 pounds. Rather plastic looking too, you'll agree, but I bought one anyway. Link to pic.

Maplin, that well known purveyor of esoteric electronic bits & bobs, also sells one for 34.99 pounds - but I got one (two in the end, in fact) for less than half that price in their Xmas sale. Quite a nice rounded design, it looks much more elegant in real life than in the official pic.

Ended up returning the Atomiums (yes at first I bought several too). One of them didn't work and the shop claimed it just needed setting (hah, for atomic watches?!). When I got it home and tried everything, of course it still didn't work. Not only that, but their website is down. It's been down since mid-December, when I bought those watches and called their phone helpline to ask when it would be up (not very forthcoming or helpful staff either). Well, guess what? The site is still down. Not a good sign, so I'm glad I returned them.

I'm very happy with the Maplin. Its display is much clearer than the Atomium's, there's a good backlight you can turn on temporarily if needed, and there's even alarm and stopwatch functions as well as dual time. You can get fancier (and a helluva more expensive) radio controlled watches from well known companies like Casio, but they don't show the date/day on the face (and Casio never bothered to reply to my Webform enquiry about newer models). For those who prioritise good features and design and value for money over fashion or brand names, the Maplin is the radio-controlled watch to have, in my book.


Anonymous said...

And the Atomiumwatches site is STILL DOWN.

The time signal reception is a little bit iffy - and it can make a wrong update, often off by 10 min - if th signal is that bad, then it really shouldn't update.

I'd give the Atomiums a "not recommended", if the company is still around - couldn't find them on Argos now.

Anonymous said...

Website is *still* down.

Can't find help or support anywhere!!

Good for people who can't justify spending £85.00 on a Casio, but doesn't even work.

Improbulus said...

Exactly. Man am I glad I returned it under the Argos guarantee.

I'd offer you the number of their phone helpline but of course it was in the manual which I returned with the watch.

I'm so glad I bought 2 of the decent one from Maplin as they're not selling them anymore. 2 for the price of 1 Casio - and do Casios even display the day and date without having to press any extra buttons?

Anonymous said...

Hi, the helpline number is 01215241400 called PH services.. actaully a made up name of Peers Harding UK who commision cheap watch "brands" from chinese manufacturers. reflex is another one, and import others. website probably never existing in any form except for argos contract. you have to sen £3.50 for return postage but this is to cover the cost of a new watch they can pay around 75p-£1 from china, so they make all ways

Improbulus said...

Thanks for the info Anon. Argos don't sell that watch anymore anyway!