Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Quicksilver QAW001 - Tide Meter

Today's watch is an unusual one. I've blogged a few watches which have tide information, but they've all been digital, while this is analogue. It is also a model which gets absolutely no web search results when using the brand name and model number. I've had watches I've not found online, but I think this is the first which has had 'your search didn't match any documents', so I guess that it is quite a rare model!

The watch in question is by Quicksilver and is the model QAW001. The Quicksilver brand is one of the world's largest surfwear and boardsport equipment manufacturers, so to have a model which is unknown enough to not appear online is unusual. The brand was started in 1969 in Australia, but is now based in California.

At a glance, this watch looks like a normal analogue watch. It has a 3 hand dial design with 2 smaller dials on the face (at the 3 and 6 o'clock positions), and there is a date window at the 12 o'clock position. The watch is heavier than you'd think, with a thick steel screw-fit back, but it is 100m (330ft) water resistant so not completely unexpected.

The unusual part of this watch is revealed when you look at the markings of the two small dials which are called Range and Height. These dials are to indicate the state of the tide for use in water sports like surfing or sailing. The Height dial shows where you are in relation to the high and low tide and so will have a rotation of 12 hrs 25 min per full cycle. The Range dial covers they type of tide, showing whether this is a spring or neap tide. The Spring tide is when the moon aligns with the sun and Earth (syzygy) and the gravitational forces are a peak giving the highest tide, while the neap tide is when the sun and moon are at 90 degrees and the forces cancel. The time between spring and neap tides is around 7 days, so the Range dial has about a 14 day cycle. I've seen the function on LCD watches where there is a database of locations, but with this analogue version, the watch needs to be calibrated to your location to read the right tides.

As for date, I have no definitive answer. It could be an early model from before the technology was capable of a digital version, or it could have been made as a simple indicator, so the watch could be anything from 80s to 00s. My guess would be 90s, as this is the period which seems to be the least reported online.

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