Home General Hunting For A Tide Watch Pt II; the Analog Solution

Hunting For A Tide Watch Pt II; the Analog Solution


Rip Curl Tidemaster Eclipe
Rip Curl Tidemaster Eclipe

And Success! An analog tide watch that meets the need.

The Rip Curl Tidemaster watches have what a body needs on the beach. When you’re carrying your fins, mask, and snorkel or your surfboard out the the jeep, you don’t want to have to run back to check the tide charts. Rather than bother with the chart in the newspaper or on the web, carry the current tide information with you.

The Rip Curl Tidemaster Automatic Tide System (ATS) gives you an easily read and intuitive display of tide data. Two sub-dials provide tide information. The one at 3:00 indicates the current tide and is marked in thirty minute intervals. High, low, coming or going out is discernable at a glance, and with only slighty more effort you can read the time to or since the tide you’re interested in. The second subdial at 9:00 is for spring and neap tides, indicating how great the difference between high and low tide will be (spring tides are the extreme of difference, and neap are the least change between high and low). Comparing the two dials give you a good idea of what sort of tides and water levels are waiting for you on the reef and allow for some degree of planning for the day.

The watch is a bit on the chunky side at 43-44mm w/o the crown, and not quite 12mm thick. The hands are silver. Because of this, you may prefer the black dial to the silver dial as the lack of contrast makes it a little difficult to read. The luminous material on the hands is adequate, but there is no luminous reference on the dial, making it less friendly at night. The date is a little small but legible. The moon phase display is easily read and adjusted. The unidirectional bezel is calibrated as a conventional dive bezel, but also has markings to help track surf heats (gives you the time remaining out of twenty minutes). And the crown is well protected by ears on the case. The polyurethane strap has an excellent feel to it, solid and comfortable despite the weight of the watch, but I’ve had bad experiences with PU straps and and adopting the “wait and see” position on that.
On the plus side, the strap will fit over a wetsuit, or can fit your little grom’s wrist.

There are several traits to quibble over on this watch, but it fits the need for a tide watch well and is solid and comfortable, and there are several other models with this movement (including the titanium case and bracelet… Nice!)


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  1. As good as the Rip Curl watches are, you’d be prudent to check out the line of analog tide watches from Nixon as well. My sister and I are proud Channel T owners, in addition to a few other variants as well. The 42-20 (the main chassis for most of their current line) includes an analog tide variant, and it replaces the equally-useful (but slightly more bulky) Super Rover series, which offered many of the same features. Most tide enthusiasts typically end up deciding between a Nixon and a Rip Curl, deciding mainly on style and how the features are applied.

    That being said, were I to cross over to Rip Curl, you can bet this Tidemaster Eclipse would be the one I’d do it with. Fantastic watch.

  2. I was chasing another one but was given this one first. Orient makes a tide watch but doesn’t export it (http://www.roachman.com/orient/tidal/CRVAA001.html). It looked like the same functionality as this one, but in a much more conservative design. The downside; it is all stainless steel, and well polished. Not necessarily the best choice for snorkelling over reefs. The all titanium Eclipse is awesome, but as I said, I was given this one.

    The Nixon and Rip Curl camps seem pretty polarized. Not being a surfer (yet…), I feel like there is history behind this that I don’t know. As an outsider, Rip Curl’s products feel more solid and appear less trend driven than Nixon, but I’m open to different perspectives.

  3. I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s a polarizing aspect between the camps, but people do prefer certain builds. The Channel T is an instant winner in my book for two reasons:

    1. The tide function spans the entire face of the watch, as opposed to being a small dial. Accuracy probably isn’t a huge issue either way, but it’s just my preference.
    2. The locking mechanism on the Nixon polyurethane straps is a proprietary design, and holds amazingly solid in both dry and wet conditions. Most watches feel sturdy until the moment they slip off into oblivion — with the Nixons, you never have to worry.

    Bear in mind, however, that I have yet to test a Rip Curl in extreme conditions. My watches tend to go through average surf and whitewater, plus periodic scuba diving up to 50 feet. I agree that stainless is undesirable in wet climates (even if your watch is fitted snugly), and I hesitate on titanium because it scratches so easily. A friend of mine had the Nixon Tide Rover Ti and was forced to baby it, despite the killer feature set. Not exactly preferred behavior for a $400 watch intended as a daily driver.

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