TIMEX OVA WATCH A new angle on sports watches

Unique angle lets you check the time without having to turn your wrist.
When it comes to sports watch design, it seems everybody's thought of everything. And when shopping for a particular watch, your choice is usually dictated by design and color since features are nearly identical across the many brands.

So what do you do for more innovation? Do you really need multiple sets of countdown and interval timers with all sorts of memory functions that are more confusing than trying to decipher our country's tax code?

Probably not.

Personally, if I can't just put the watch on and start using it right away, I'm not interested. Part of the fun and challenge is figuring out how to set up everything without reading stacks of instructions.

I was recently handed a Timex OVA (Optimal Viewing Angle) sports watch and have to admit that, yes, there are still new ways to innovate. The Timex OVA literally turns our conventional thinking on its side. By side, I mean this watch is designed to rest on the narrow "side" of your wrist so there's no need to twist your wrist to view the time.

Some of you may recall a few years back when Nike came out with an ergonomically designed watch that tilted the right side of the watch up a little so that right handed people (or those who wear watches on their left wrists) could see the face easier. While this worked fairly well, it was useless -- actually worse -- for left-handed athletes.

The Timex OVA concept is to wear the watch sideways on your wrist so that the face points toward your body rather than on top of the wrist. So effectively you end up with a strap on top of your wrist.

While not quite a fashion statement, it raises eyebrows when sporting this around the office water cooler or local supermarket. "What kind of watch is that?" is the typical question from those that feel comfortable enough asking.

Because I have fairly narrow wrists, my test model just barely fit because I need to buckle it one shy of the last slot. There's a mid-size model for narrower wrists which I'm sure would be my correct size.

Gimmick or advantage?

Okay, so what's the deal you ask? Is this OVA thing just another gimmick or is there really an advantage to wearing a watch sideways. For runners, I'd say we've become so accustomed to tilting our wrists to view a watch that it's almost second nature and not really a bother. But, I must admit, after a couple days of wearing this watch, it was kind of nice to just glance over and check the time without having to tilt my wrist.

Did I mention I was getting lazy as I get older?

The real advantage, however, was during cycling, especially if you ever ride in an aerodynamic position using aero bars. Tri geeks will know what I'm talking about. Because I'm training for a long time trial, I slapped some aero bars on my road bike a couple months ago and -- whaddya know -- I never have to take my arm off the pad to check the time with my OVA.

When riding aero bars on a bicycle, the tops of your wrists tend to point outward making it impossible to see your watch without taking your hands off the bars. With the Timex OVA, I didn't have to move my arm at all. The watch face was right there at the perfect angle and I could stay locked down in my aero position.

Even cyclists that ride with their hands on the brake hoods will notice the watch face is staring right at them. No need to move your hands off the bars to check the time.

As much as this may seem the epitome of laziness, consider the safety issues. The less I need to take my hands off the handlebars, the more control I have over avoiding obstacles.

Timex training tips

If you haven't purchased a Timex recently, you'll be glad to know they dial you into a whole set of training tips based on their watch functions. I almost threw away the tiny foldable "Training Tips" booklet because it looked like some sort of sales tag. For beginners, the booklet gives them all sorts of definitions and descriptions on laps, splits, training logs, chronographs and timers.

One example is they let you know the countdown timer can also be a great way to remind yourself to eat or drink every 10 or 15 minutes. The tips booklet also points out that you can recall workouts, including lap times, best and average laps and total time spent training for specific days.

For geeks that can't get enough features, you'll be pleased to know the Timex OVA has a 75-lap memory, two countdown timers, three alarms and a chronograph that allows workout recall by date. A slick alarms feature is the five-minute backup alarm that goes off in the event you don't turn off any of the alarms, which sound for 20 seconds.

I especially like the fact the start/lap button is conveniently placed above the watch face, where it's easy to access and press. Other buttons are pretty standard and features seem pretty consistent with other Timex sports watches. The OVA is also perfect for swimming as it's water resistant to 100 meters.

If you're into being a little different, and like the idea of a sleek, narrow-faced sports watch, check out the Timex OVA. For more information, call 800-448-4639 or visit http://www.timex.com/ironman/ova.html.

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