Review: Nixon Supertide Watch


A watch that can tell the tide?  Who in the heck needs one of those?  Well, for your information, sailors, clam diggers and surfers, that’s who!  And while I can proudly brag I’ve done all three, surfing is the only activity I have done more than once.  In fact, my life revolves around surfing, so it makes perfect sense for me to package the time and tide together around my wrist.


Over the years I have owned three different tide watches and have found problems with all three:

  • Rip Curl’s Tidemaster was a pretty watch, but I couldn’t figure out what the moonphase and other dials did, and it always seemed to be off on the tide prediction.
  • Shark’s Tide 3.0 ($90) had nice functionality, but I broke three of them before I finally called it quits.
  • Nixon’s Lowdown ($125 and my current watch).  I’ve been generally happy with the Lowdown, but there were a few features that I often found myself saying “if only Nixon would have done this…” 
  • Enter Nixon’s Supertide ($200).  It was if Nixon knew exactly what my complaints with the Lowdown were.  They even thought of a few improvements that hadn’t occurred to me.  Maybe that’s why I don’t make watches for a living.

Here are the improvements:

  1. Less buttons.  Three to be exact, and they somehow manage to do everything you need the watch to do.
  2. Actual time and tide height predictions on the screen.  You are just one click away from knowing the time and height of the next for low/high tides.
  3. Higher screen resolution, which allows the Supertide to display the tide fonts on the screen in a very clear format.

Side by side of the Lowdown (left) and Supertide (right). You can see the size difference and increased visibility of the Supertide from the high-resolution screen.

New features:

  1. The tidal graph represents daytime with light graphics and night with a black screen.  Since you cannot surf in the dark this makes total sense and helps you figure out what the tides are doing during the day and the next day.
  2. A sunrise and sunset screen.  This is simply brilliant, and I love it for two reasons.  Since I work during the day, I really only have two options to surf: before or after work.  Knowing when the sun rises helps me set the alarm so I maximize my surf before work.  Maybe their next version will have a feature where you can press a button and have the watch’s alarm sync with the sunrise!  As for the sunset information, I can now, after receiving 30 text messages at work from friends letting me know how good the surf is, rush home and negotiate with the wife for an evening surf session.  When she asks when I will be back, I can click the sunrise/sunset feature up on the watch and show her when the sun sets.  WA LA!  Now, just like when your mom used to say you had to return home when the street lights came on, you have a clear time when you have to return from surfing.  Any surfer knows this is the #1 way to stay out of the doghouse.
  3. No stopwatch.  Yep, you heard me, no stopwatch.  I was confused at first too, but think about it, this is a surfing watch, not a jogging watch.

Improved tide feature of the watch. You can now easily see when low/high tide will be, and the light part of the graph represents daylight hours

Functionality – I’ve never been a fan of big watches, and the Supertide somehow pushes the limit without quite breaking it.   Let me just say I wouldn’t want the watch to be any larger.  The soft silicone band feels good, and I was able to get my wetsuit over the watch no problem.  In fact, the larger watch face seemed to help when I lifted my frozen fingers out of the 50 degree ocean and tried to pry the wetsuit sleeve up to check the time.  I was able to read the time no problem in the water, and the light was bright enough to read the time at night.

Screen Modes:

The normal screen has the day, month/year, time and graphical representation of the tide for what appears to be about a 30 hour period.

  • Click 1 – Enlarges the tidal graph and shows the time and height of the next four high/low tides.  The time and date remain on the screen.
  • Click 2 – Shows the sunrise & sunset times.
  • Click 3 – Is a countdown timer for surf contest heats.
  • Click 4 – An alarm.

Final thoughts – When I opened the box, the bright white of the watch threw me off a bit.  I’m all about fashion, but I do work with elected officials on a regular basis and have to fight the surfer image as it is already.  Add a watch that sticks out like a sore thumb (what does that mean anyway?) and I’m gonna hear Spicoli jokes all day long.  Fortunately the watch also comes in black, green, blue and red, so there seems to be a choice for every taste.  This is the fourth Nixon watch I’ve worn over the years, and I have always appreciated Nixon’s ability to balance functionality and fashion.  For some reason, I always get compliments when I wear a Nixon, and imagine the compliments will come soon enough with this watch (remember it is bright white so people can’t miss it!!!)

Overall, the watch delivers as advertised and is priced competitively with other brands. If you are in the market for a tide watch, take the time to check out the Supertide.  If you cannot decide between the Lowdown and Supertide, spend the extra $75 bucks on the Supertide.  It is worth every penny.



Review: Nixon Supertide Watch

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  1. Vincent

    What a nice story about this great looking watch!

    Could some one help me with the list of beaches and tide-charts? Does the list contain beaches or tides in the Netherlands (Europe)?
    Thanks for your reply!

    • White Glossy

      Hey Vincent… Good question. I’ll shoot this over to DonkeyFish to see if he knows. I will say the customer Svcs at Nixon is pretty top-notch and they may be able to answer as well.

  2. Chris Wilinski

    I’ve had mine for five months and then it went haywire. These watches have been recalled because the batteries are too weak to run it. 4-6 months for the new ones to come out. In the mean time Nixon has taken care of me by either letting me trade for another watch or get a Lowdown as a loaner until the problem is fixed. Great customer service.

  3. Monica Reynaud

    When we will find it? I want to buy it, but I can not find it in any where…I know it was recalled, but when will be ready?

    • White Glossy

      Sadly… we don’t even know ourselves! We are in contact with Nixon and hope to know very soon!

  4. jené

    Thank you so much for your amazing review and insight and fabulous anecdotes. I have been really torn about buying the Supertide as a gift but I keep reading these reviews about both Nixon watches breaking 🙁 Is this still the case? It os January 2014 ….at this point in time, would you still recommend the Supertide as a great watch and tide tracker, or is there anything else you recommend? LOVED THIS page…thank you so much. Cheers from NYC

    • White Glossy

      From DonkeyFish: If the malfunction is fixed, it’s the tide best watch on the market. I actually miss not having it.

  5. Cam

    Hi everyone!
    I’ve had a lodown for about four years and I’ve had a few problems with it, even though when it was working it was a preety good watch… I’ve had leakage problems, then after I had it changed, I had the persistent “ROM FAIL” problem (wich seems to be quite common…), and also, tides predictions for Bali were complete fantasy, which is according to Nixon’s CS, “perfectly normal”, as Bali tides are supposed to be unpredictable…(?!?). Also I read about reliabilty problems all over the internet about the lowdown, which was supposed to be one of the “flagship” products from Nixon…
    Does anyone know if the Supertide (the new one, after the recall) is more reliable? It seems great, but I don’t want to buy a 200$ watch (190€, actually…), only to find out it looks great but it is useless because of its flaws… I really miss having a Tide watch, and I’ve also seen the Vestal Brig, but like it less. I have a G-shock, which is extremely reliable, but the tide features are extremely basic.
    Thanks a lot for reading me, thank you even more for your reply!

    Camille (France)

  6. Edd Carrington

    I have just been bought a supertide watch for my birthday… All excited I set the tide times for my local break only to find it a full hour and a half slow I have looked at other spots and have fund the same. Has anyone else had this problem??


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