Momentum Altimeter VS-1 Watch - GearReview.com
By Matt Smith
When you think of mutli-function altimeter watches, do you think of something gargantuan and obtrusive that looks out of place anywhere instant oatmeal isn't served? Many people do, and to some degree I am among them, although most of my stuff would be equally out of place.
St. Moritz hit a home run in my opinion with the VS-1. It is small, stylish, and incredibly functional. It features a dot matrix LCD display, rather than a more cumbersome traditional LCD. This allows the VS-1 to display much more useful information in the same amount of space. The face of the watch is average...on par with most digitial watches. It offers multiple functions you would expect including altimeter, barometer (with direct readout), digital compass, thermometer, and all the standard watch features (stop watch, countdown timer, etc.). The altimeter also integrates with a Ski function to track how much vertical you covered during the day.
The digital compass is unique as far as I have seen in that the display very closely resembles what you would see if you were using a traditional floating magnetic compass. The bearing rotates and changes as you do, with the text indicating the alphanumeric direction almost being ancillary. The Sail function is perhaps more familiarly described to most as a tachyometer/countdown timer. Of all the multi-function watches I have used, the VS-1 hands down has the most accurate weather prediction based on the barometric pressure. A simple initial calibration for my base altitude and I almost never have to recalibrate.
Altimeter VS-1 (release 2)
Now to the best part. The functionality of the display. As I noted, the high resolution dot matrix display is so flexible there is a screen summarizing almost every combination of information you care to see. Without losing your traditional day/date/time information, you can display temperature, barometric pressure/weather, or altitude. The VS-1 comes standard with a sapphire crystal which has yet to sustain a scratch after nearly 6 months of use. Gone are the scratched up foggy displays of the past (and present with some watches).
There is a first and second release of the VS-1. Significant improvements were made in the function and logic of the watch in the second release. Take the time to find out which release you are buying before making the purchase. The second release watch is easy to identify because it has a user changeable battery compartment on the back (i.e. you can open it with a coin).
Summary: The VS-1 is an excellent multi-function watch. Because it is small and stylish, it is unobtrusive when you are not on the mountain. It has all the functionality you need. The Digital Altimeter VS-1 retails for $235, but can be found online for under $200 if you watch. If a unique analog altimeter is more your style, check out the St. Moritz Topograph
For more information contact:
Momentum by St. Moritz
1140 West 7th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia V6H 1B4
Matt Smith Is a contributing editor at Gearreview.com and abuses himself exploring the dark, nether regions of the Colorado Plateau. Check out his blog with his latest trip reports and product test updates.