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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was in the market for a simple radio controlled digital watch. I didn't like the chunky examples I was finding with a ton of features I didn't need. Plus, since my close-up vision is poor, I needed large easy-to-read numbers. I came across "Magellan's World Time Atomic Watch" that seemed to meet my criteria - simple, stylish, easy to read.

Here' the link to their site:

https://www.magellans.com/itemdy00....ans world time atomic watch&srchcat=SearchBox

When I got it, however, I had an issue that I was hoping someone on here might be able to advise me about. In short, you can't manually set it, it must sync up with the radio signal. So far I have been unable to get it to do so, though I have followed the directions. I have tried it indoors, outdoors, during the day, and at night. The antenna symbol flickers and maybe I get one or rarely two bars briefly and it times out un-calibrated. It came in the box two minutes off and an hour behind because of DST, both of which I presume would be fixed if it ever syncs with the signal. And, of course, I would need to sync it after any battery-changes.

I live on a hill in Newark, NJ with a view of the Manhattan skyline out my window, so I am in an urban area. I'm not sure if there is just too much interference for a radio control watch to work? The building is 1927 brick and I suspect is also an issue (I had issues with WiFi signals when we first moved in). However, I have also tried it outside in the back yard without luck.

One other possible clue is I think the battery it came with may be old. The screen is not quite as bright as I expected from the picture, even with the back-light. Would a low battery lessen its ability to receive a signal? Should I try a new battery before I return it?

If this model just won't work where I live, can anyone recommend something similar in style and digit size that might be better at receiving the signal?

Many thanks for any advice or suggestions.

Gordon
 

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Many times the usefulness of these Radio controlled watches depend on location. It's hard to tell if the watch is partly at fault or your distance from the Radio signal is the main issue. You might go to a local jeweler and see if they sell any radio controlled watches and inquire if they update properly. Remember the signal is coming from Colorado so the further away from that area the less chance of a good update.

" In the United States, the signals received by radio controlled clocks originate from NIST Radio Station WWVB, which is located near Fort Collins, Colorado. WWVB broadcasts on a frequency of 60 kHz".
 

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A new battery may help resolve the issue and if you like the watch it would be worth the small expense to change it. But as Spaceview M2 says, it may be that you are just too far away from the radio signal.

Just one further thing, i noted that this watch has pre-sets for 30 cities around the world. Perhaps given your location, you could just set it to New York ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
His mikeyt_53. I have it set for the NYC preset, but since it hasn't synced, it hasn't updated to DST, so it's an hour off. Plus the two minutes. Granted, in a week or so it will be correct again on the hour but still off two minutes. I set it to the next preset time zone that makes it "correct." But what's the point of getting an RC watch if it is at best two minutes off? And when I have to do a battery change, it will be completely off. At this point, it would likely be better to get a non-RC watch I like (and can read!) and just be diligent setting it against my phone or computer...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Many times the usefulness of these Radio controlled watches depend on location. It's hard to tell if the watch is partly at fault or your distance from the Radio signal is the main issue. You might go to a local jeweler and see if they sell any radio controlled watches and inquire if they update properly. Remember the signal is coming from Colorado so the further away from that area the less chance of a good update.

" In the United States, the signals received by radio controlled clocks originate from NIST Radio Station WWVB, which is located near Fort Collins, Colorado. WWVB broadcasts on a frequency of 60 kHz".
I am beginning to think I should forget about the RC feature and just find one I really like and be diligent about setting it against my phone or computer. It is amazing to me that they sell a product that can't really be used outside of a certain radius of Colorado...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sounds like you had already made up your mind about what to do with that watch. Given it retailed at $70.00 new, maybe its best to return it and buy a decent quartz watch.
I may still try a new battery, but it sounds like RC isn't going to work for me where I live, apparently. I still find it amazing they sell something that won't work outside a certain range of Colorado...it's not like I live in some obscure corner of the country.

Having it set itself using the RC is certainly nice, but if that isn't going to be possible, I can find a non-RC watch that will meet my needs and just set it manually. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't something I was overlooking before sending it back.

Thanks!
 

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Trouble-shooting tips if your watch receiver isn't working:
* If your clock uses batteries, definitely check it/and replace if necessary.
* If you have a desk top unit, try rotating it 90 degrees. If you have a wall clock try mounting it on a wall perpendicular to the one it is currently on (e.g. if it is on a north-south wall try an east-west wall). The antennas are directional and you might be able to improve the signal strength by turning the antenna.
Place the clock along a wall or near a window that faces Fort Collins, Colorado.
* Locate the clock at least 1 or 2 meters away from any computer monitors, which can cause interference (some monitors have a scan frequency at or near the WWVB carrier frequency of 60 kHz).
* If nothing else works, take the clock outdoors at night and power it down (remove the batteries or unplug it), then power it up again to force it to look for the WWVB signal. If it works outdoors but not indoors, you probably have a local interference problem inside your house or building. If it doesn't work outdoors at night, it's probably best to return it and try a different model.
* The shielding provided by a metal building might prevent the clock from working. For example, if you live in a mobile home or a house with steel siding, the clock might not work.


I've owned a total of 12 "atomic" watches- from $50 cheapos to G-Shocks to my Citizen A-T Skyhawk. It sounds to me like this Magellan company doesn't know doodley-squat about watches. They just buy cheap junk, re-brand the watch, and pass it off on you at a nice profit. And don't worry...at $70 they ARE making a nice profit! I really would suggest getting a refund on your Magellan, and buy from a trusted watchmaking company.
Junghans, Citizen, and Casio are highly recommended. Seiko is a possibility, but their models tend to be a bit pricey.

Have you considered an analog radio-controlled watch? Very little beats the visibility of a watch with white hands on a black dial.
There's also this: https://watchranker.com/best-solar-watches/
 
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RC Watch Synch

Trouble-shooting tips if your watch receiver isn't working:
* If your clock uses batteries, definitely check it/and replace if necessary.
* If you have a desk top unit, try rotating it 90 degrees. If you have a wall clock try mounting it on a wall perpendicular to the one it is currently on (e.g. if it is on a north-south wall try an east-west wall). The antennas are directional and you might be able to improve the signal strength by turning the antenna.
Place the clock along a wall or near a window that faces Fort Collins, Colorado.
* Locate the clock at least 1 or 2 meters away from any computer monitors, which can cause interference (some monitors have a scan frequency at or near the WWVB carrier frequency of 60 kHz).
* If nothing else works, take the clock outdoors at night and power it down (remove the batteries or unplug it), then power it up again to force it to look for the WWVB signal. If it works outdoors but not indoors, you probably have a local interference problem inside your house or building. If it doesn't work outdoors at night, it's probably best to return it and try a different model.
* The shielding provided by a metal building might prevent the clock from working. For example, if you live in a mobile home or a house with steel siding, the clock might not work.


I've owned a total of 12 "atomic" watches- from $50 cheapos to G-Shocks to my Citizen A-T Skyhawk. It sounds to me like this Magellan company doesn't know doodley-squat about watches. They just buy cheap junk, re-brand the watch, and pass it off on you at a nice profit. And don't worry...at $70 they ARE making a nice profit! I really would suggest getting a refund on your Magellan, and buy from a trusted watchmaking company.
Junghans, Citizen, and Casio are highly recommended. Seiko is a possibility, but their models tend to be a bit pricey.

Have you considered an analog radio-controlled watch? Very little beats the visibility of a watch with white hands on a black dial.
There's also this: https://watchranker.com/best-solar-watches/
.////////// Return it for refund. Buy a Casio or Casio Protek , put in west facing window at night with dial facing out(west) Time Synch should happen approx 1204am, 0104am, 004am., or 0304am. I have at least 20 radio synch watches (mostly Casio, but also Citizen & Seiko)and they all synch every night. I am in Clearwater, FL. You may want to check eBay and Amazon , as Casio especially, but also Seiko and Citizen have many options, Good Luck, judg69
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quick update - the new battery improved the clarity of the numbers but did not fix the reception issue. I've returned it for refund. I am partial to digital over analog and, as a matter of personal taste, I just don't like a lot of the other radio-controlled digital watches I've seen. Of course, if I just can't get a strong enough signal here, it's a moot point. So I think I am back where I started - looking for a non-RC digital watch that meets my basic criteria of style and readability and just being diligent about keeping it set against a reliable source. I am guessing the clock in my computer or on my phone should be accurate enough for this purpose?

Thank you to everyone who weighed in here!
 

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From personal experience, I believe you're right, Mike. Going back a few years, I was using Cricket for my cell phone server. Their time signal was a good 3 seconds slower than my internet clock. Three seconds doesn't sound that bad, but when you consider the source.....
I trust my laptop over cell phone signals.
 

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IF you are still looking for a good radio controlled watch, here is a link to a Citizen RC / Eco Drive that is on sale for an excellent price and its in Cdn $$ so you get the added benefit of the favourable exchange rate. I've dealt with them before and they provide excellent service.
 
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