Stab Magazine | An Honest Review: A Watch That Tells The Time And Tide

An Honest Review: A Watch That Tells The Time And Tide

A wristwatch that merely keeps time is redundant in 2018. 

style // Dec 13, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Do you unfortunately have a job? A responsibility that requires punctuality and precision? Does your only hope of a week-day squirt tilt on the sway of the tides and the shifting of the sun? Well, Nixon has offered a solution.

The Base Tide Pro.  

Yeah yeah yeah, “there’s an app for that and I have internet” you’ll likely respond. But be honest, you never check the tides prior to a surf and probably never will. Like me, you probably estimate the tides on some rubbish mental arithmetic, what you overhead some old dog whisper out the back, or at the absolute worst, some sort of shitty aerial scan for the moon. 

In addition to being strapped to your wrist for ease, the Tide Pro doesn’t require internet access. Regardless of your location – Indo, Africa, 100 metres below sea level – the Tide Pro will function as per normal. Forgoing the need for you to risk losing your phone on a trip, or at the very least saving you from exploding your mobile data in some remote locale.

In this modern, over-engaged, and fast-paced age, optimisation and ease is key. Between work, family, kids and whatever else consumes your waking hours you probably have little time to surf, and the last thing you want to do is squander those residual hours on a gutless or bottoming-out bank. 

At a shallow glance, a tide-focused watch may seem obsolete, but after a week with one strapped to each of our wrists, we’re convinced they’re of use and worthy of the outlay. 

Here’s our honest review. 


It won’t make you surf any better, but hey, at least you’ll be able to nail the tide when surfing spots like this. Chippa Wilson product testing.



It’s a watch

It tells time, sets alarms, gives you the date; all the typical features of a digi-watch in 2018. It might not be a device you can take calls on, check emails, or monitor your heart rate, but it also doesn’t cost a month’s wage, so it’s a fair trade-off – it’s 200 Aussie bones.

And be honest, who wants to take a call in the surf anyway, I’d much rather experience the fear of returning to your desk with a missed call from the boss. 

“I haven’t worn a wrist watch since my $30 Casio succumbed to the oxidation properties of old age around three years ago.” Rick Snowden, Stab jack of all trades said. “Like many of us my phone filled the void left in its wake.

“Firstly, and most obviously, having a clock in the ocean is helpful, particularly in the morning before a day at Stab HQ – as much as I love hyperventilating down Gould Street unsure of exactly how late I am.” 

Having a watch to check in the surf is one thing, but that’s hardly a difficult feat. 

The more obvious standouts are the specifically oriented surf features. 

Blue Slate Nixon

Rick Snowden product testing at Tamarama.



Know the precise tide

Tide mode. As you’d expect, it gives you a rundown of the tides – 550 worldwide locations to be precise.  

There’s a daily tide chart in the watches main interface. Here you can tell when low and high tides are, plus their approximate size without any navigation from the home screen. And if it’s precision you’re after, then a simple single button click will take you to tide mode. 

From here you can navigate through the high and low tides of today, tomorrow, all the way through the next 15 years. You can also go backwards. A function useful for checking what the tide was doing when you happened upon that reef patch the weekend prior.  

“The two main haunts for Sydney staffers are Bondi and Tamarama, possibly the world’s most fickle, unpredictable and frustrating beach breaks.” Rick continued. “At least knowing the tide eliminates one critical variable when deciding on a trip around the corner.”

Tides are simple once understood, but as they’re such an integral aspect of our hobby, it’s tough to pass up the opportunity to hold that information on your wrist. Memorising the approximate high and low times are one thing, but having the precise time and height at your mercy is another – particularly when you’re presented with minimal opportunity to strike.

Besides, you’re better off having a cracking 45-minute surf than a three hour bloated burger bonanza. 

For those averse to night surfing

There’s another crucial factor to the mid-week surf. Sunlight.

If the lunch time squirt isn’t possible, your only other choices are the pre or post-shift paddle. Sunlight hours don’t shift anywhere as largely as the tides (and nor are there degrees of light like the height of tides), but they fluctuate enough to need to be checked.

In the transition between the cold and warm months, sunrise and sunset times change up to four minutes per week, and when you’re on the clock, every minute counts. If you’re on a 9-5 schedule, you could likely get through on memory alone, but when you’re on a shifting roster, an easy update is more than appreciated. 

Similar to the tide function, you can also scan into the future and past, as well as assess other locations around the globe. As previously mentioned, you don’t need internet connection to dial in either. The watch is preprogrammed with all the sun and tide times. So regardless of your location and accessibility you’ll have the sun and tides dialled.


Chippa opts for the lime green number.




There’s a timer, chronograph, and alarm option. All of which come in useful for everyday duties, exercise, or whatever requires your attention. 

The timer feature also comes with an added surprise – a wave counter. Here you can time the length of your session, number of rides, and if you’re desperate, how long each wave goes for. 

Additionally, when it’s flat and you’re in need of some brain-fog eliminating exercise, flick over to chronograph mode to time your run, swim, or whatever your heart-rate-raising poison may be. It keeps times to 10 millisecond resolution and features a split function too. 

There’s also an alarm, but I’ve never configured an alarm clock that isn’t my phone and I’m not about to start. 

How’s it look?

You’re not buying this watch based on aesthetic alone. And if you are, then Nixon has a range of simpler and more visually pleasing devices. Despite this, Nixon have manufactured a timekeeper that’s easier on the eye than a number of flashy wrist gadgets of late.

“In a world where everything is so polished, HD this, and 4k that – think of the Apple Watch this pretty round-edged thing with glossy perfect graphics – the Nixon watch is almost the antithesis of the smart watch with its retro interface and blocky digits.” Shinya Dalby, our creative brain said. “Even the beeps it makes has a nostalgic 2D ring to it.”

Overall, in a time where the watch seems all but obsolete, Nixon have crafted something worth your consideration. Suss out their range here and find a colour to match your flavour. 


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