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What is a Barometer Compass Watch?

By Alan Rankin
Updated May 16, 2024
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A barometer compass watch is one of a series of increasingly complex timepieces available in the electronics market. The miniaturization of computer technology allows sophisticated sensors and processors to be installed in a device the size of a wristwatch. While this device will still display the current time, it will also show the location of the wearer and local weather conditions. A barometer compass watch may also include other features such as an altimeter, thermometer or heart-rate monitor.

Although timepieces have existed for hundreds of years, the wristwatch was not created until the 1800s. It was originally a convenience device for soldiers and, later, aviators, as it was easier to access than the pocket watches that were popular in the 19th century. After regular usage by World War I soldiers, the wristwatch became the most common personal timepiece throughout the 20th century. In the last decades of the century, high-end watchmakers began adding electronic and computer components to their luxury wristwatches. Over the years, these extras became more common as watch accessories.

The barometer compass watch is one of several watches marketed to users interested in athletics and adventure travel. Diving watches, for example, are designed for use during deep-sea diving, and will include a depth gauge. The barometer compass watch and similar devices are designed for hikers, campers and even mountain climbers. The compass can help in determining the user’s location and direction, and sometimes is augmented by a built-in global positioning system (GPS) device. Other features can include an altimeter, which reveals the user’s height above sea level.

A barometer is a device that displays local air pressure. This can be used to determine changing weather conditions, as weather often causes atmospheric pressure to change. If air pressure drops rapidly, for example, it can be an indicator of approaching rain. This information can be vital, especially to campers and others who may be at the mercy of the elements. Mountain climbers, in particular, may use the functions of a barometer compass watch to determine the safety of climbing conditions.

Numerous companies produce some version of the barometer compass watch, and prices vary widely as well. Simple models can be quite affordable, but price increases dramatically as quality and the number of features increases. Some of these features can include remote connections to GPS or satellite weather services for even more accurate local information. The most elaborate of these watches are essentially tiny personal computers that can be attached to the wrist.

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