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  Tidemaster UK Tacticel Pilotage Tide Watch Review

Tidemaster UK Tacticel Pilotage Tide Watch

Produced by: Yachting Instruments Ltd

Available at: (No longer available)

Movement: Quartz

Our overall rating: 8.5/10

  • Case quality: 10/10

  • Fit - Finish - Hand alignment: 8/10

  • Accuracy: 10/10

  • Bang for the buck: 7/10 (explained below)

The Tidemaster Tacticel is a well known timepiece in the UK, where the Tidemaster line (produced by Yachting Instruments Limited) has been sold for over 30 years with a good deal of success. Many strap selections are available, including velcro, leather, or stainless bracelet. The Tacticel is available in white dial as well.

The Tidemaster arrived in it's black plastic "egg" type box, complete with instructions. The instructions were straightforward, and easy to read. We  accomplished setting the functions, including a second time zone, within about 5 minutes. The "egg" type box itself was disappointing, as we would expect a bit more from a watch in this price range.

The Tacticel now features a resin case, and is no longer available in aluminum alloy as of 2004. If you're thinking "cheap plastic" material - think again! The case was very impressive. Like the entry level "Talisman" model, this case is tough, and dense. Obviously, it's waterproof as well. The case was also light in weight, which made it surprisingly comfortable to wear. This is a big plus if you like a larger watch, but don't care for the "bulky" feel. The tidal bezel was well fit, and easy to read.

While we did not test the "guaranteed working depth" of 25 fathoms, the construction and case suggests it to be well within tolerance.

The case back is of stainless, however, it was not a polished stainless, to accomodate the double seal. The stainless steel bracelet was of a lighter grade stainless than we would have expected on a watch of this quality and price range - but was still acceptable. 

The watch face is a busy, well organized place. All functions are clearly labeled and easy to find. The digital sub-display was also easy to read, and contains all the digital functions of the watch, such as stopwatch, 2nd time zone, etc. as well as the date display. Hand alignment was satisfactory, with the second hand being slightly off.

One of our favorite features on the Tacticel, is it's "Indiglo" function for night use. Unlike most watches employing a "backlight" or LED, which leaves hard to read dark spots on the face - the Tacticel achieves lighting by applying a small electrical charge to the face itself. The result is an even, easy to read illumination - including the digital display. This feature  is easily set to automatic mode, which activates the illumination for about 5 seconds anytime a button is pressed. A great feature for it's intended use as a pilotage, watchstanding, or diving tool.

Timekeeping accuracy is the true test of a high quality timepiece - and the Tacticel proved outstanding. While not COSC certified, the Tacticel  delivered on it's claimed "chromometer" accuracy.

We tested the Tacticel for 100 days (12/8/03 - 3/17/04) against our standard - the Oregon Scientific RM-103A (radio controlled clock syncronized with the NIST atomic clock signal from WWVB @60Hz). In our test period, the Tacticel lost only 12 seconds. 

To put this in perspective, a typical military specification for accuracy of a quartz chronometer is (+/-) 1 minute per year, or (+/-) 5 seconds per month. Based on our test, the Tacticel exceeded this standard, performing at (+/-) 43 seconds per year, or (+/-) 3.6 seconds per month.

BOTTOM LINE: We give the Tidemaster Tacticel high marks. It's "user friendly" mix of classic analog styling, digital function, and toughness, is well suited to a wide range of use - from the bridge to the boardroom. We would however, like to see this model in all stainless.

To explain our "bang for the buck" rating: While the price of the Moonphase is currently inflated by about 35% due to the devaluation of the U. S. Dollar against the British Pound - we still gave it high marks, because of it's uniqueness in the marketplace.


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