Remember when James Bond wore a high tech digital LED time computer, the Hamilton Pulsar P2? Forty-seven years later you can buy 007’s actual watch, or its modern remake. The former is bound to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, while the latter runs a grand in the hand. Or you can buy the digital Structure Thermometer Watch for $15 and . . . take your temperature . . .
That’s all the rage right now. Everywhere I go, people want to shoot me in the head with a pyrometer before allowing entry. Some fitness trackers have a body temperature feature. But can you flag your non-fever to others with an itty bitty Fitbit?
Seeing the vague listing for the Structure thermometer watch on Amazon, I was intrigued. The listing gave no dimensions, there were no reviews, and the price was right. I pulled the trigger, opting for the red band in homage to both Kevin O’Leary and the coronavirus.
When it arrived, the packaging was delightfully efficient. The paperboard box is basically the volume of a cigarette pack, but narrower, thicker and taller. Every function and virtue of the item is laid out on the outside of the box in an admirably no-nonsense way. It also lets you know that this is a private label item via A Classic Time Watch Company Inc. This fact led me to an instruction video showing the operation.
Thermometer Watch Manual from Helena on Vimeo.
I opened the box to discover a little clear plastic cookie tray holding the watch. A single vinyl cling protector on the dial reads PUSH HERE.
You can indeed push on the cling wrap and it will work. Presumably this allows potential in-store buyers to play with it and drain the battery. Try it before you buy it! I’m not sure what store that would be. I think I bought a pair of khakis with the Structure name from Sears a decade or two back, so maybe there?
The visible portion of the watch is all dial/display in all its black domed plastic glory. From the online photo, I expected the structure thermometer watch to be the size of an old wall thermostat, just a giant bubble. It’s actually a very reasonable 38mm that merely looks bulbous relative to the narrow 17mm unisex strap.
The translucent black plastic case back is equally sterile, by which I mean unmarked. There is zero printing to be found. Four little eyeglass screws secure the two pieces of this sandwich. There is a groove between them, so the strap slips over this like a gauged ear piercing. Also on the case back: the temperature probe, smaller than the rivet on the pocket of a pair of jeans.
One touch! Yes, there is only one point to touch, so everything is done in binary via short or long presses. Push and hold and you can start repeatedly pressing to set the time. Go too far and there is no going back, cycle through again. But don’t push too long or you prematurely advance to the next setting.
There is a year setting. I have no idea if that means this is really a perpetual calendar that knows about leap years or not. Tell me how to test that and I’ll give it a whirl. Anyone not pressing long enough at the correct year will overshoot by one and be stuck pressing 99 more times to correct this.
There is a seconds display that comes in sequence after the date. Odd placement of it, but the purpose is a mystery. You can’t actually adjust the seconds, and the display drops after three seconds. What’s the point?
You get your choice of metric Celsius or freedom units Fahrenheit. A fever alarm option exists that will check your temperature every two hours and beep if the reading exceeds 91F (32.83C). I turned that on but proved too healthy to activate it.
As the Amazon listing says, tap it four times to take your temperature. This part actually works. The first tap wakes it, with a cutesy startup that lights every segment starting from the center till all are lit before showing the time. Tappa tappa tappa three more times and it flashes the three red dashes, Knight Rider style, for about ten seconds before displaying the reading for about three more seconds.
First try it read 97.1F, which seemed plausible. I was happy. For a short while, the unmarred face of the Structure thermometer watch served as a fisheye mirror. The instructions say to touch some point at lower center.
I discovered that that wiping a flannel shirt-sleeved arm over the top worked too. Just pushing on it with other objects did not, so I guess it’s a really sensitive capacitance sensor? I found I preferred swiping the face with a shirt sleeve to playing the fingertip game. Just a few circular wipes and it’s flashing the hyphens and taking a temperature.
Within half an hour of the first workday, this pristine surface suffered a light diagonal scratch and several fainter blemishes. Toothpaste and metal polish buffed this out readily, but the plastic is so soft that it seems doomed to be forever hazed with micro-scratches. It also started listing my temperature as “Lo” which presumably means my body temperature is outside the expected living human range.
This lasted all day despite a completely comfortable climate-controlled environment well within the recommended 64°F to 90°F range, and my feeling fine. Only at night did after being in an overheated room did it resume, showing 96.8°F as I’d warmed up to its satisfaction. No fever! I read “Lo” for days on end. I may be too cold blooded for this device. However I had several other people try it with similar results. Either the stated +/-.37°F accuracy is not really there, or they are holding too closely to the old 98.6 standard. My guess is that the device has an inherently limited range.
The silicone strap’s seems to be a variation on bands as seen on the Apple Watch and the like. Pass the loose end through a slot on the other end, then pop the little button through whichever hole on the back side fits. It’s no big struggle to fasten or unfasten.
The downside is that the strap came undone so many times during wear that I can’t believe it was all user error. I wore it to bed and woke up to find it by the pillow. One time I was putting on a coat to leave and somehow it silently popped off to the floor without notice. Had a stranger not seen this and chased me to the parking lot to return it, this review would have fewer photos. I wondered if the strap could be reversed so the button end faced me instead of catching things on the backside. While the watch puck can be removed from the strap by hand, there is a little orientation tab to maintain alignment. Surgically remove that and the watch would rotationally wander.
The silicone is supple and comfortable; the watch weighs a measly 20g. Combine that with a flat and wide case back and you get a timepiece that disappears from mind. Negligible weight, no shifting, no rubbing or chafing, and no display. Under normal use it wasn’t a dust and filth magnet, but try cleaning it and the lint war begins.
Every time you touch the dial, you risk ruining the time setting. I had to reset it about every other day, as it would keep getting advanced a few hours via normal handling. There is no mention of water resistance, and I didn’t dare test it.
I loved the cheap and cheery futuristic look of the Structure thermometer watch, and it easily slid under a sleeve. Tapping it to life is a nuisance requiring moving both forearms, so it’s more work than a pocket watch. Falling off and not maintaining time settings were total dealbreakers.
The Structure Thermometer watch’s raison d’etre – displaying temperature – was almost a total loss, as either the watch or I was out of bounds. It might be a fun toy for someone else, and luckily the band has holes to fit a small child, because that’s who’s getting it next. As anything but a toy, it is total frustration.
Model: Structure Thermometer Watch Model 34260, red
SPECIFICATIONS: Case diameter: 38mm
Case thickness: 10.75mm
Lug to lug: N/A
Lug width: N/A
Case metal: Plastic
Weight: 20g (0.7 oz)
Water Resistance: N/A
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, month, day, year, temperature
Limited Warranty: 5 years
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * *
Simple as can be, a black domed wafer on a functional silicone strap. A blank slate that shows the clean elegance of simplicity.
Legibility * *
Glowing red numbers stand 3/8″ (9.5mm) tall, but only for three seconds, and only after touching the screen. Totally washed out by midday sun.
Comfort * * * *
There’s a reason silicone is used on (ahem) intimate products. Skin loves it. Weighs approximately nothing, no sharp edges, no corners, no problems. Except for unwanted openings.
Overall * *
Lovely in theory, quite imperfect in practice. Touch activation is inconvenient, as was setup, and it’s prone to unwanted inputs. Comfortable as can be, but doesn’t stay on you. The party trick of temperature doesn’t fully deliver either.
The Truth About Watches is a fully independent website.
No commercial considerations provided by the manufacturer or seller.