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PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 December, 2002, 12:00am
 

WHEN YOU THINK 'GEEK', what sort of hardware comes to mind? Computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), scanners, digital cameras? Well, the ultimate in geek gear has to be the humble wristwatch. It may not be as seductive as a three-gigahertz processor or a five-megapixel CCD, but it only needs to tell the time. Anything else a watch does is a pure geek luxury.


King of geek wristwear is Casio, the electronics firm that makes some of the funkiest hi-tech gear around. Top of its wish- list are the e-data bank models. The WQV-10 series (see above) has many features you might expect to find in a PDA: calendar, name and number storage, connection to a desktop or notebook computer and a colour LCD display. But Casio has taken things a step further by adding a small digital camera. I'm not sure what you would do with a camera in a watch, but if people can find a use for a camera in a PDA ... then, hey, why not?


A Casio camera watch can be yours for $1,940 from any branch of City Chain. If wrist photography is a little too James Bond for you, Casio also makes similar watches without this snappy extra.


You can hardly think 'what's the time?' without thinking 'Timex'. Its slick Speed + Distance technology combines a sports watch with heart-rate monitor and global positioning system (GPS) receiver. It gives you all the basic sports-watch displays, such as average and current heart rate, plus various stopwatch functions, but the really cool bit is the GPS unit that consults satellites and ground-based transmitters to pinpoint your position. The Timex uses an antenna in a separate, belt-mounted unit to calculate precisely your speed, average speed and distance covered, so information you would normally only get from a cycling computer can be had when walking, running, rollerblading, surfing, rock-climbing ... basically, if you're moving it will tell you how fast and far. Don't expect much if you're into climbing stairs though - GPS units suffer from poor reception indoors. Timex Speed + Distance watches sell for $2,300 to $2,700 at Royal Sporting House in Pacific Place and other branches.


I have a collection of watches, but I am unlikely to be caught wearing anything digital. My favourite is an analogue world-time watch similar to that from Citizen, just about the last company making such an analogue watch at a reasonable price. Its $2,800 Eco-drive World Timer is solar powered and water resistant to 200 metres. Turn the marker to one of 24 cities inscribed on the bezel and you'll never again find yourself scratching your head and saying, 'Is New York 12 or 13 hours behind us?' The Eco-drive World Timer is available from Cathay Watch, General Commercial Building, 160 Des Voeux Road Central.


Polar is one of the biggest names in heart rate-monitor watches. Its latest product is a mite esoteric, but as a cyclist I couldn't resist mentioning this innovative bit of kit. The S710 displays all the usual data of a high-end watch, including speed, distance, altitude and temperature, as well as the ability to download to a PC. There are also options for pedal cadence (how fast your little feet spin around) and power output, effectively measuring a rider's physical ability. Pre-viously you had to adapt your bike to measure power output, but the S710 allows you to take power readings without new performance-damaging components. It sells for $2,530 at Bicycle World (Shop 2, G/F Connaught Commercial Building, 185 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai) and the Flying Ball (201 Tung Choi Street, Mongkok). The cadence sensor costs an additional $380. The power output sensor is $2,680.


When tracking down hot products for this page, one more brand caught my eye. Fossil's Keleido watches lack first-class geek features - they have no data banks, multiple countdown timers or GPS receivers, but check out the $580 Teal to Mirror model. It looks like a boring stainless-steel watch with a drab silver face. Then, in the blink of an eye, the face turns bright green-blue. Fossil watches are available in a variety of colours and styles and can be set to blink or remain one hue. They are also available at City Chain. And if all that's not geeky enough, Fossil has announced it will launch a PDA watch that runs the Palm operating system. It is expected to cost more than US$300 (HK$2,340).


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