So you have got yourself the gadget you wanted so much. Now you are starting to use it and discover its capabilities. You exercise with it and sometimes even wear it the whole day. That's all good and well, but did you happen to think about protecting your investment. It is no fun to find dings or scratches on the watch face after just few weeks or months of use. I actually experienced that first hand with the Suunto T6c Fusion I bought earlier this year. The watch suffered two dings and few small scratches on the face, even with Suunto stating that the watch has mineral glass that should be fairly resilient to abuse.
Most of the newly designed HRMs leave the watch face unprotected. Older models like Polar S625X, S725X, Suuto T6 had raised edge that protected the watch from accidental hits. The new watches like Polar RS400, Polar RS800 / RS800cx or Suunto T6c do not have this protection. While I have only the best experience with durability of the RS800 model I did not want to take any risk with my new gadgets. Looking through the discussion forums I came across ZAGG Invisible Shield protection foil. Apparently this is thin plastic foil that you install on the face of the watch and it will protect it from accidental damage. It does not protect any other part of the watch, but in my experience the glass is what gets damaged most often. Few weeks ago I installed foil protection on my new Suunto T6c and about a week later I got another foil to protect my Polar RS800cx.
The installation procedure is very simple, but you will want to plan about 15-20 minutes for it. You will also want to do the installation in the comfort of your home or office. You will also need to have very clean hands when installing the foil - it may be easy to get your fingerprints all over the foil or watch if you do not clean them up front. You will also need to clean the watch from any sweat or smudges before you begin. Then follow the instructions and apply the provided spray on your hands. Spray the foil and put it in place. Then slowly and diligently press out the bubbles out of the foil and make sure it fits well. If you do not get it the first time just take it off and start over. I had to repeat installation on the RS800cx three times before I got it right. With the angled face it is somewhat more difficult to install the RS800cx foil that the T6c foil, but ultimately they both get installed in about 10 minutes. After you are happy with the install, dry off the remaining spray from the watch and set it aside for few hours. ZAGG recommends 12 hours, but I used mine in workout the next morning after the install - so about 8-9 hours later with no issues. Below are two pictures - first one of RS800cx with the ZAGG foil and the second Suunto T6c with the foil. Note that the pictures are extreme close-ups of the watch. In reality you can not see the edges of foil on any of the watches.
The foil works fine during the day. You can not really see that the watch has a protective foil on its face unless you are looking for it. In low light conditions the Suunto T6c gets little dim as the back light seems to be weaker than to one on RS800cx. I used the watch during ride to the shop in the evening and it was little hard to see the time when I switched on the back light (note I did not even try this while running when the watch actually flickers). Otherwise I did not determine any issues with the protection foil. I have exercised with both HRMs inside, outside and wore each one of them for few days as a regular watch. I highly recommend the 10-20 bucks investment to protect the watch that is most likely 20-30 times as expensive to replace. ZAGG also makes protection foil for cell phones, MP3 players and computers. But I have not tried one yet. If I were to buy a new iPod today I would definitely put Invisible Shield on it to protect it. It would prevent bunch of scratches that I have on my iPods after the abuse they get through during the almost daily use.