To understand why you need to recalibrate you need to first realize what drives the readings on a watch like this. Barometric pressure is what you're actually reading. The only difference is that the scale is set differently to reflect feet instead of inches of mercury. Inside an altimeter watch has various sensors that will pick up on barometric pressure and temperature for example.
It's a good idea to check out the printed materials that came with your watch in order to understand the exact calibration method to use - but, here, in general, are the steps you must take:
Put your watch into calibration mode - that is usually done with the upper left button on the watch.
Wait until you hear a beep or some sort of visual notification like a flashing light that will indicate it is in the proper mode you need it to be in to recalibrate.
Then, use one of the adjustment buttons - usually on the right side of the watch - and move the elevation either higher or lower.
When you're setting the calibration on a altimeter watch you need to make sure you are in the location where you know the height above sea level for sure. Really, that is the only way you're going to get it right.
Of course, you can do that most anywhere, but the most popular places are lakes and mountain ridges. You can look on topographical map and see what those elevations are and just choose different places to do your calibration at various points in the day. It's unlikely that you will be able to just set it and forget it though. As the weather changes so will your altimeter settings due to changes in barometric pressure.
The way it works is this - when your weather is relatively stable and it's going to be fair outside, the pressure of the surrounding air will be high and your altimeter very well could read high as well. Likewise, if you are in an area of poor weather, your pressure outside is can be lower or decreasing and the altimeter watch could very well read low. Hence, you need to make adjustments and recalibrate often in order compensate for changing weather conditions.
It all has to do with the density of the air and the resulting atmospheric pressure that is exerted on the watch sensor. Anything that can influence that air pressure will mess up the watch's accuracy.
Bottom line is with an altimeter watch you have to be very careful to ensure that you adjust calibration settings on a regular basis. It's not that hard to do and it does vary from watch type to watch type, but it simply must be done, so it is a good idea to get to know your watch and make sure you know how to do it right.
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Article Added on Thursday, February 16, 2012
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