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Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

06.04.23 08:23 64Text: Erwin Haiden (translated by AI)Photos: Erwin HaidenA brief foray into the history of watches and the analog-mechanical intermediary world, in which the Garmin Instinct Crossover shines as a new fixed star lighting the way.06.04.23 08:23 75

Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

06.04.23 08:23 75 Erwin Haiden (translated by AI) Erwin Haiden
  • AI generated translation
  • AI-generated translation refers to the process of using artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning models, to automatically translate text or speech from one language to another. These systems, such as neural machine translation models, analyze large datasets of multilingual content to learn patterns and associations between languages. The generated translations are based on statistical probabilities and context learned during training.
A brief foray into the history of watches and the analog-mechanical intermediary world, in which the Garmin Instinct Crossover shines as a new fixed star lighting the way.06.04.23 08:23 75

Finally, the time has come! Finally, a watch manufacturer has managed to combine analog and digital technology in such a way that the result is a sensible and visually appealing tool.
While it's not that other renowned manufacturers haven't tried their hand at the matter, why this should suddenly be such a sensation, I would like to explain to you on my journey into the liminal space, in this undefined realm between analog and digital.

 The mechanics do not encompass the foundation, nor a part of the world, but rather an aspect of it. 

Ernst Mach
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
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  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

Ode to the Analog

It actually got me a bit. Specifically, it was the moment when I wound up my grandpa's old pocket watch and got it ticking again. Imagine, in our world, where apps and software are outdated the moment they are programmed, in which many electronic devices have a half-life of just a few years, this mechanical wonder begins to tick again through the simple tensioning of the spring, dividing time as precisely as a hundred years ago into units understandable to us humans; as if it had never stopped running, just taken a short break. What are decades compared to eternity.

  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

The Toolwatch - Analog Computers

On this journey into the rabbit hole of mechanics, there is so much to discover. The sound of old vinyl records, the silver-brushed, heavy knobs of a Hi-Fi amplifier, the analog and lovingly designed gauges of a classic car, the patinated cylinders of an old motorcycle, or the detail-obsessed constructions of old watches.
At the beginning of the digital age, in the middle of the last century, analog watch technology reached its provisional climax. From the end of this era comes candidate number 1 of my journey.

When Heuer was still a Heuer without Tag, the Heuer Regatta Yacht Timer Ref. 134.601 was designed to enable sailors to start the regatta precisely. While the rocket-shaped, orange second hand unwaveringly makes its rounds in 4Hz beats, the sailors get ready for the pre-start. Ten minutes before the start, a signal sounds, and at the same time, with the press of a button, the so-called Flyback Chronograph (Lemania 1345) of the Heuer Regatta starts its 10-minute countdown. The second hand jumps to zero, five orange circles appear, turning blue first, then black, precisely indicating the amount of time left to maneuver into the ideal starting position.
Thus, the watch is an ideal tool when you are about to start a sailing regatta. In all other phases of life, it shows the time, and you can use the timer to cook 10-minute eggs or check a rocket launch on TV.

  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

The Current Pinnacle of Sports Watches: Garmin Epix 2

It is not surprising that with the invention and commercialization of the quartz watch and its capabilities, led by Casio and Swatch, an entire industry was dragged into the abyss. The quartz crisis, which indirectly also claimed the brand Heuer through the acquisition by TAG, left a deeply shaken watch industry. The cards were reshuffled.
Initially, it was primarily Japanese manufacturers who were given an unprecedented boost by the new technology, while the Swatch brand, with its cost-effective, fashionable, and accurate watches, dealt a death blow to many traditional mechanical watch manufacturers.

A similar thing happened in recent years, as the advancing digitalization and miniaturization made so-called smartwatches increasingly popular and especially more powerful. This opened up opportunities for newcomers in the watch market like Apple, Garmin, or Samsung to become a significant player in the battle for a prominent spot on the wrist.

  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
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  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

Indeed, the Garmin Epix in its 2nd version is, for me personally, something like the pinnacle in terms of functionality and outdoor suitability, and after years of inner conflict, it is the first smartwatch that I have also purchased privately.
The sheer number of features, from the razor-sharp map display including contour lines to the nightly HRV measurement on the wrist, leaves little to be desired. In addition, the watch plays all the right cards in terms of hardware, from the titanium case and sapphire glass to the barometric altimeter, 32 GB of storage, 10 bar water resistance, a reasonable battery life of about 16 days (or 6 days in Always-On mode), and so on and so forth...
Anyone looking for the ultimate outdoor tool cannot overlook the Epix 2 on their list of candidates.

 z=(RL·Tv/g)·ln(p0/p) 

The barometric altitude formula as the basis for an analog masterpiece by Oris

z=Height, p=Air pressure at height z, p0=Air pressure for z=0, g=gravitational acceleration, RL=specific gas constant for dry air, and Tv=average virtual temperature between the air pressure levels of p0 and p

  • Oris ProPilot Altimeter with Carbon Case, Ref. 01 793 7775 8734-Set, Photo: Oris.ch
    Oris ProPilot Altimeter with Carbon Case, Ref. 01 793 7775 8734-Set, Photo: Oris.ch
    Oris ProPilot Altimeter with Carbon Case, Ref. 01 793 7775 8734-Set, Photo: Oris.ch

The In-Between World - Ambitious Attempts

Only nostalgia remains a bit on the sidelines with so much high-tech. The ticking of the escapement, the movement of the hands, the analog, three-dimensional optics, are something completely different than looking at a flat, arbitrary display. This is of course also known to traditional watchmakers, and so there have been some more or less ambitious attempts over the last few years to unite these two worlds. Here is a small, incomplete selection in alphabetical order, all of which have classic hands in common:

Brutal: Casio Master of G
The classic among outdoor quartz watches, the Mudmaster, for example, offers solar power as well as a compass and altimeter. The look is brutal, the menus are minimalist and without GPS.

More Elegant: Casio Pro Trek PRW-61 Series
A bit tidier than the G-Shock, also with solar, radio-controlled watch, compass, and altimeter, but like its colleague also without GPS and with very rudimentary menus.

Information Overload: Citizen Promaster Land
Respect to Citizen for the approach to solve everything with analog hands. Unfortunately, also the biggest weakness of this model - as if all the instruments of a Cessna cockpit were packed into the dial of a wristwatch.

Mechanical Altimeter: Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter
What a piece! Somehow the coolest way to combine a mechanical altimeter with a wristwatch. Powerful alarm on the wrist, unfortunately also with all the disadvantages of mechanical timekeeping (precision, maintenance, etc.). Similar models are also available from Favre Leuba (Bivouac) or Revue Thommen (Airspeed Altimeter). Complex mechanics that surely bring joy to the skilled watchmaker.

Seiko Astron Series
GPS differently: The time is accurate to the second thanks to the satellite receiver. Unfortunately, no track recording or similar features. Otherwise, the watch offers little in terms of outdoor suitability in an appealing look.

Tissot T-Touch Solar
Visually exactly to my taste, very appealing. Solar-powered with a 6-month runtime. In the new version with a nice display and connect features. GPS and many more functions are unfortunately only available via smartphone.

Unfortunately, all candidates have one thing in common: Even with the very emotional approach to analog technology and the bonus of mechanical hands, the compromises far outweigh the benefits. In one watch, it's the lack of GPS or radio receivers, in another the mechanical inaccuracy of altimeter and timekeeping, in others the brutal look.

  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

The logical consequence - Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar

And then suddenly Garmin comes around the corner with the Instinct Crossover Solar, showing not only the digital competition but also the established watch manufacturers how a best-of from both worlds works; how a nice, slightly nostalgic idea becomes a real, useful tool with relatively few compromises and even some advantages compared to conventional smartwatches.

Indeed, Garmin achieves something with the Instinct Crossover Solar that I have never seen from any manufacturer, whether traditional watch producer or computer corporation: combining analog hands technology three-dimensionally, casting shadows in the sun, shining in backlight, audibly moving, with a smartwatch including an LCD display into a tool that does not need to hide in outdoor use.

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  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

In everyday life

In everyday life, this primarily means reliable and second-accurate timekeeping due to GPS synchronization, housed in an extremely robust, waterproof case. The solar support doubles the battery life in smartwatch mode (at 50,000 Lux) and theoretically ensures more energy in power-saving mode than the watch consumes.

However, the killer feature compared to all other hybrid watches is the sensors, especially the GPS reception and the ABC sensors. This allows one to see at a glance not only the current date, month, and day of the week, but also the pulse, current altitude, the time of sunrise and sunset, and much more.
The software of all Garmin watches has now become very sophisticated and intuitive to use, especially considering the multitude of options the watch offers. Here is a small excerpt in pictures:

  • Photos: Garmin
    Photos: Garmin
    Photos: Garmin

The list of features is so long that I would like to refer you to the Garmin page, which is also always updated with the latest firmware: Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar Tech Specs.

Roughly speaking, the features range from health monitoring (pulse oximeter, sleep monitoring, heart rate variability, and more) through GPS functions, app connectivity with Komoot and others, music functions, weather, calendar, notifications, live tracking and emergency assistance, step counter, various gym features, training control (intervals, training condition, training zones, ...) and various running functions to specialized sports like golf (scorecard, …), swimming (distance, pace, strokes, heart rate underwater) or even cycling (MTB Grit, Flow, Vector, Varia-radar and tail lights, routes, profiles, routes etc.). Oh yes, and of course, there’s also the classic stopwatch and an alarm clock included.

Tech Specs General

Material of the watch glass Power Glass™
Material of the bezel Fiber-reinforced polymer/stainless steel
Case material Fiber-reinforced polymer
Compatible with Quickfit™ watch band yes (22 mm)
Strap material Silicone
Physical size 45.0 x 45.0 x 16.2 mm
Suitable for a wrist circumference of 135 to 230 mm
Display size Custom; with hole in the middle: 23 x 23 mm
Display resolution 176 x 176 pixels
Display type Monochrome, sunlight-visible, transflective MIP display (Memory in Pixel)
Weight 65 g
Water resistance 10 ATM
Battery life Smartwatch mode: Up to 28 days/70 days with solar charging*
Power saver watch mode: Up to 71 days/unlimited with solar charging*
GPS: Up to 25 hours/31 hours with solar charging**
Max battery GPS mode: Up to 111 hours/553 hours with solar charging**
GPS expedition activity: Up to 40 days/327 days with solar charging*
* With solar charging; assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux.
** With solar charging; assuming use in 50,000 lux.
Charging method Proprietary Garmin charging clip
Memory 64 MB
Sensors GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO
Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate technology, Barometric altimeter, Compass, Accelerometer, Thermometer, Pulse Ox acclimatization
Price € 599.99 (MSRP for Solar Standard Edition)

Anyone who owns a Fenix, Epix, Forerunner, or another current watch from the Garmin universe will be immediately familiar with the menu navigation. The operation of the Instinct becomes intuitive after a short period of acclimatization, despite the lack of a touchscreen.
Newcomers might lose track of the plethora of possibilities and options, but ultimately, watches like the Instinct are serious tools that one must come to grips with initially. In the end, you own not just a simple watch, but a tool that should help in worst-case scenarios, such as when fog suddenly sets in on the glacier or when you need to make decisions about continuing your tour based on your current position and altitude.

By the way, heart rate monitoring with my body hair is not always accurate, but it is generally a good trend indicator. And above all, the data from the stress level, sleep, and HRV measurements make a quite valid impression on me.

  • Here are a few examples of how simpleHere are a few examples of how simple
    Here are a few examples of how simple
    Here are a few examples of how simple
  • Configuring the Garmin devicesConfiguring the Garmin devices
    Configuring the Garmin devices
    Configuring the Garmin devices
  • thanks to the app, it now worksthanks to the app, it now works
    thanks to the app, it now works
    thanks to the app, it now works
  • Activity data pages can be set up in secondsActivity data pages can be set up in seconds
    Activity data pages can be set up in seconds
    Activity data pages can be set up in seconds
  • set up just like alarms, notifications, or auto-lap set up just like alarms, notifications, or auto-lap
    set up just like alarms, notifications, or auto-lap
    set up just like alarms, notifications, or auto-lap
  • The evaluation with Garmin Connect is also working better and betterThe evaluation with Garmin Connect is also working better and better
    The evaluation with Garmin Connect is also working better and better
    The evaluation with Garmin Connect is also working better and better
  • just like adding and arranging favorite sportsjust like adding and arranging favorite sports
    just like adding and arranging favorite sports
    just like adding and arranging favorite sports
  • or the controls on the central screenor the controls on the central screen
    or the controls on the central screen
    or the controls on the central screen
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

Outdoor Use

I will not go into detail here about the advantages of a sports watch in training, from a simple diary for training control to a navigation aid, many things are possible. With the Instinct Crossover, these possibilities are available for the first time in a watch with mechanical, analog hands, and that is a very fine thing.
The display is easy to read, even loading and riding tracks from Komoot works surprisingly well with the simple black-and-white screen. The watch makes a very robust impression.
As a perpetual critic of Garmin usability, I must say that it has greatly improved. Not only is configurability via smartphone now top-notch. Once accustomed, most menu items and settings are where you would expect them on the first click. If a hand is in the way, for example, pressing the "Back-Button" is enough, and the hands make room for the display.

In daily use, the Instinct Crossover Solar feels refreshingly light and playful. Quickly setting an alarm, starting a timer, walking a perimeter, recording a route, checking plus values, glancing over new WhatsApp messages, paying with Garmin-Pay, or simply relying on the watch to keep time to the second ... all this makes the watch much more useful than, for example, a comparable G-Shock.
Even navigation without a real map works reasonably well. It feels a bit like going back to the times of the Edge 500, where dotted, dashed lines and an arrow dictated the MTB path; but it suffices and works surprisingly well.

  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
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  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar vs. Garmin Epix vs. Garmin Fenix and Make a Wish

A hybrid watch can only ever be a compromise. So if you're looking for the most useful tool, the ultimate smartwatch for all situations, you're probably better off with something like an Epix. The advantage of the Instinct's long battery life is offset by its black-and-white display. A sharp map with contour lines is irreplaceable, and the dual functionality of the Epix via buttons and touchscreen also has many advantages. Additionally, OLED and LCD can naturally be configured in any way, while the hands are bound to their axis.

Another minor disadvantage of the Instinct is its thickness. A few millimeters less height would suit the Instinct well, even though I am aware that these millimeters are due to the hands. Unfortunately, the hands and indices with luminous material also have the disadvantage of being less readable in complete darkness than a display.

  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds
  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both WorldsGarmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds

Conclusion

Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar
Model Year: 2022
Review Duration: 2 months
Price: € 599.99 RRP
+ Mechanical Hands
+ Battery Life
+ Nearly endless features
+ Usability
+ App Connectivity
+ Quickfit Strap
+ Robust
o Hands at Night
o Case Thickness
BB-Verdict: The first usable hybrid watch, a joy-inducing milestone in technology

The Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar is a very cool device. Finally, a manufacturer has managed to combine mechanical hands with modern technology in a way that makes it a sensible and useful tool.
In terms of application range and usability, classical smartwatch alternatives like Epix or Fenix with their color touchscreens clearly lead the way. A crisp, color map with contour lines is hard to compare with a black-and-white display. But that's not the aim of this watch. The mechanical aesthetics, the three-dimensionality of the hands is simply irreplaceable. If you want to combine this with a modern sports watch, the Instinct Crossover is the best of both worlds.

Compared to all other attempts to implement hybrid watches, starting from Seiko over Casio, Citizen, and others, the Crossover Solar is a milestone and relegates the competitors in this segment to nice gimmicks.

Maybe it's a kind of playful curiosity or my fascination for everything that moves; in any case, it's fun to wear the Instinct Crossover, to see that behind all the menus and functions there is still something that actually moves, casts gentle shadows in backlight, giving the whole thing more depth. In short: I like!

  • Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar - the Best of Both Worlds