Product Review: Soleus 26.2 Large Face Chronograph

A few weeks ago, Soleus watches, www.twitter.com/soleuswatches, requested to follow me on Twitter.  I had not heard of Soleus until then and checked out their web page. Now let’s get this out of the way: I am a watch freak. Ask my wife; I am rife with watches of all kinds. Can’t get enough. Of course, like most of us runners, I started out with the basic Times Ironman chronograph watch. Easily found at any Wal-Mart or Target.  So the Soleus line fascinated me.  I emailed them, told them about the blog and the show and asked if they’d send a sample for review.  They did, so I offer this review after receiving a free product for review.
The item sent to me is the Soleus 26.2 100-lap large face Chronograph. Soleus touts this as the largest viewing area in the market and I don’t doubt them.  I am nearsighted and slowly getting to the point where I need bifocals, yet when I run, I do so without glasses.  I’d found it easy to see the display, even sans glasses. Nice.
Soleus offers a variety of watches, from basic chronographs at the 30-lap size or this one with 100 laps, and watches with HR monitors. 
So, I tested this watch out in a variety of situations.  First, it has been my everyday go-to-work watch. While the watch comes in a variety of color trimmings, I have the basic black shown below. Subdued enough to wear with dress clothes and with casual clothes alike.
I ran a 5K with my son using the watch.  The watch face was large enough for me to see it during a twilight race, while my son wore my Garmin.  I’ve been swimming laps in the watch, and I’ve also used it on my bike to do speed pickups in an interval timer. 
It is a good looking watch, that won’t draw too much attention (of course, I love crazy colored watches so I like attention, LOL), and one would be safe to wear it to work and play.
So, what’s different about this watch and my basic Ironman?  I thought the same thing when I first received the watch. But as I read the instructions and the features, I found that this watch allows the user to set up top 5 intervals in the interval function (not available on some models), so you can set up a run-walk interval, for instance.  This differs from a lot of simple chronographs in that they often let you only establish a single interval. The Soleus will allow you to set up an interval of 5 minutes, then 1 minute.  Some models allow you to set up 5 intervals in this way, with a 100-lap capacity on the 26.2 model for example.   
The watch also does something kind of cool.  You can set a predetermined pace time in the watch and as you reach the end of each lap, the watch will compare your actual time to your goal time.  This is kind of like having a pace sheet for your race actually in the watch.  No more pace bands, or pace tattoos, or in my case, index cards covered in ink that gets sweaty after a few miles!
So, thanks to Soleus for sending a sample for me to review.  If you are interested, check them out at www.soleusrunning.com.

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