# How does my Casio watch know the altitude in flight?

Wrist watches usually use the barometric pressure sensors they have to calculate the altitude. I have also confirmed this from the manual of my watch, which states that:

The watch displays altitude values based on air pressure readings taken by a built-in pressure sensor.

Fine that's understood and makes sense and has always worked for me wherever I go.

Question

But then how does it know altitude during flight? The cabin of all commercial airliners are pressurized and hence the air pressure is not changing inside the cabin with the change in altitude (as happens for descent or ascent on ground). I know that even the aircraft itself uses pressure sensors for many calculations but those sensors are mostly usually on the Pitot tube and they sense the real outside pressure and not inside an pressurized cabin

I would also like to mention that yes the altitude reading it takes during a flight is not always close to what the real value is but still it does track the altitude difference when pressure inside the cabin remains same, how so?

That I didn't include the exact details of my watch because neither am I promoting any special model or a brand nor am I asking specifics of how a watch works, focus is on air pressure inside the cabin, not on watch. If needed I can provide the model and manual reference links.

• But you should be more specific regarding what value it shows. – Jan Hudec Aug 24 '14 at 10:12
• The pressure inside the cabin does NOT remain the same. That's why you need to equalise the pressure in your sinsuses, usually during descent. Your watch will be showing you the cabin altitude, probably somewhere around 2500 metres. Pitot tubes are not used to measure static pressure. They are used to measure dynamic pressure and calculate airspeed. – Simon Aug 24 '14 at 10:27
• This may be interesting for you, too: What's the relation between cabin pressure and altitude? – sweber Oct 22 '15 at 7:00
• I assume your watch doesn't give an altitude reading above 10,000 feet or 3,000m, whereas a typical commercial flight cruises at over 30,000 feet or 10,000m. That means it shows the cabin pressure (which isn't constant) rather than the correct outside pressure. – Thomas Oct 23 '15 at 4:00
• @tas that is correct – Hanky Panky Oct 23 '15 at 4:13

• This note by Boeing can substantiate this answer: Today's airplanes are pressurized to a typical cabin altitude of 6,500 to 7,000 feet (1,981 – 2,133 m), with a maximum certification altitude of 8,000 feet (2,438 m). boeing.com/paris2013/pdf/BCA/bck-787%20interior.pdf – Hanky Panky Aug 24 '14 at 11:58