Garmin / BigTime

BigTime Users Guide

Thank you for using BigTime.  Please note that I don't get paid to develop this software, I wrote it for myself but decided to share it with the Garmin community free of charge.

I'm a dedicated runner, passionate about my health/fitness and been an owner of many Garmin devices over the years (305, 310, 910, 920, vivofit, 935 to name a few).

Please use the latest firmware, Garmin connect app and version of BigTime.


The icons along the top indicate the following :

  • Bluetooth connection to phone
  • Vibrations enabled
  • Tones enabled (tones are not supported by the vivoactive hardware)
  • Sleep mode enabled
  • Alarm set
  • Notifications pending
  • Activity tracking enabled
  • Do not disturb (not all devices support do not disturb)

The battery image and text (see note below) changes colour depending on the amount of charge :

  • Green : 41 - 100%
  • Orange : 20 - 40%
  • Red : 1 - 19%

If enabled in the settings, when the battery level is in the red zone a red border will be drawn around the outside of the watchface to indicate that the device needs a charge soon.  See battery warning option in the user customisation section below.

NB: The battery text will only change colour to match the battery colour if the battery text setting is set to DYNAMIC

Please also see the battery option in user customisation section below to change the appearence of the battery.


Steps, Steps Bar, Floors Climbed Bar, Movement Bar, Activity Week Bar

If the activity tracker is enabled on the watch (and the activity tracker option is enabled in BigTime's settings) these will be displayed. 

Steps / Steps Goal

If the steps or steps goal count exceeds 10,000 they will be displayed as 'nn.nk', i.e. 10,300 steps will be shown as 10.3k

Steps bar - green

This shows you your progress towards your daily goal. The daily goal is auto calculated by the Garmin watch, not BigTime. If you exceed the step goal the total percentage exceeded with be overlaid on the step bar.

Floors Climbed - grey

This shows you the number of floors climbed for the current day.

Activity bar - blue

This shows you your activity minutes for the week progress towards your weekly goal.

Movement bar - red

The first, larger section denotes a period of inactivity of 60 minutes. The subsequent sections denote periods of inactivity of 15 minutes

NB: Activity and Floors Climbed are only available on Garmin devices that support CIQ 2.x or greater!


User Customisation

BigTime offers a lot of customisation via the Garmin Express app on Mac and Windows or the Garmin App on tablets and phones. There is a basic guide here

Month Day or Day Month

Show in US or non US format

Numeric or text date format

Show the date in text or numeric format


Shows / hides the day


Shows / hides the seconds.  

NB: Please read!

When "show" is selected, seconds only show when the watch exits low power mode, i.e when the wrist is lifted. The watch returns to low power mode after 8 seconds and the seconds are no longer displayed.  

When "always" is selected, seconds will always show if the watch support 1hz updates.   Check your Garmin device manual to see if it supports 1hz updates.   This mode may drain battery more quickly!


The hour/minute separator can be solid or outline

Time Fonts

There are nine fonts to choose from :



NB: For the VivoActive HR there is just the original font

Data Fields 1, 2, 3 and 4

Select either distance, calories, heart rate, speed, altitude, floors climbed, meters climbed, dual time, elevation, pressure, temperature or OFF

NB: Not all devices support all the above options, this is a limitation of the hardware NOT BigTime! Also not all devices support data fields 3 and 4 due to the limitation of the screen size.   Data fields 3 and 4 are only available on Fenix 5, Fenix 5X, 935, Descent Mk1, Vivoactive 3, D2 Charlie, Approach S60, Vivoactive HR, D2, D2 Bravo Titanium, Fenix 3 and Fenix 3 HR.

Dual Time

Set this is the offset from UTC for the time zone you want to show, i.e -4 hours from UTC, or +5 from UTC etc

Kilo joule / kilo calorie

Shows the energy used in kilo joules or kilo calories

Activity Tracker

If this is disabled the activity tracker data (energy, distance, steps and step/movement bars) will not be shown but the activity tracker still collects this data. If the activity tracker is disabled in the watches setting then the activity tracker icon will not shown. This offers the best of all options :

  • Track data and show (enable activity tracker in watch and BigTime)
  • Track data and don't show (enable activity tracker in watch and disable activity tracker display in BigTime)
  • Don't track data and don't show (disable activity tracker in watch)

When activity tracker is disabled in either the watch or BigTime then a larger day and date is disabled instead of the activity tracker data.


You can change the colour of the following items :

  • Background
  • Icons
  • Battery text (set this to DYNAMIC if you want it to match the colour of the battery)
  • Time (hour and minute)
  • Separator / seconds
  • AM / PM indicator
  • Date
  • Activity text
  • Activity labels
  • Step goal achieved (when the step goal is achieved the step count and goal change to this colour)

Show icons

You can disable the display of each of the icons if for some reason you don't like them!

Step Goal

Shows / hides the step goal. 

Abbreviate Steps

If this is enabled if the step count or goal is greater the 10k then it will be shown as nn.nk, for example 12,345 steps will be shown as 12.3k


Show battery icon and battery text %, battery icon only or battery text % only

Battery Warning

If enabled, when the battery is in the red zone (less than 19%) draw a red frame around the screen to warn you that it's time to change soon!


Please don't leave bug reports and feature requests when leaving feedback, please visit the Bug Tracker


If you like BigTime and want to help me make these rather splendid watch faces and apps for the community please click the button below. Give what you think it's worth. Anything you kindly donate is very much appreciated.


What do the different sections on the move bar signify?

The first, larger section denotes a period of inactivity of 60 minutes. The subsequent sections denote periods of inactivity of 15 minutes

Cannot see BigTime after you have installed it?

Make sure that you have enabled BigTime in the watch's settings. You can find it here: Settings -> System -> Clock -> Watch Face Select BigTime to set it as the current active watch face.

Cannot see some of the elements on the watch face, for example date?

Make sure in the watch face settings that the color of the missing item is not the same as that of the background. For example, if the color of the date is black and the background color is black as well, then the date will be effectively hidden.

Cannot see activity tracking information? (This applies to step counter, progress gauge)

There are two places where you need to enable activity tracking: The first is in the watch's settings. You can find it here: Settings -> System -> Activity Tracking The second is in the watch face settings. Make sure that you have enabled activity tracking and that you show the progress gauge.

Cannot install because you need to update your firmware version?

This issue happens when you use Garmin Express to install BigTime, but instead you get a message saying that you need to update the firmware version and Garmin Express reports that the version is already up to date.

There is a synchronization issue between Garmin Express and your watch at this point

Garmin Express has only copied the update file to your watch, but not installed it. This need to happen manually on the watch itself. You first need to disconnect your watch from the computer. You will then see a prompt on the watch's screen to install the update. Once you have done that, you can connect the watch to the computer and attempt the install of the watch face again. Please see this Thread for more information on resolutions.

Cannot uninstall watch face?

You cannot uninstall a watch face using the Connect app if the watch face is actively being displayed. You first need to change the screen temporarily by navigating to a widget (up / down buttons), or going into the menu. Then while the watch face is not displayed, you can delete it.

You have upgraded to a newer version of the watch face, but the new features are not working?

After upgrading the version of BigTime, you may often find that new advertised features don't work. You just need to power off the watch and then power it back on. This is similar to rebooting the watch.

You upgraded your forerunner 235 firmware to version 4.70 and BigTime is crashing or not working as expected?

There are known issues with firmware 4.70 that seem to affect only 235 watches. Fortunately Garmin fixed these issues with firmware 5.20. Update your firmware to resolve this issue.

You have enabled the display of seconds, but it disappears or shows inconsistently

Always on seconds are ONLY available if your watch support 1hz updates (check your watches user guide).  If your watch doesn't support 1hz update then this is NOT a bug. It works as expected and is a limitation by the firmware to only display the seconds when the watch is in high-power mode. High-power mode is when you lift your arm to your face as if to look at the watch. This triggers high power mode wherein a watch face can do certain battery intensive operations like animations, or displaying seconds. High-power mode times out after about 10 seconds and the watch then enters low-power mode after which the animations or seconds stop displaying. Garmin designed this to preserve batter.   If you want always on seconds go buy a watch that support 1hz updates and BigTime will then show them!

Why is my heart rate not displayed?

The heart rate is only for compatible watches with a built-in optical heart rate sensor at the bottom of the watch. The current supported models are: fenix3 HR D2 bravo Titanium vivoactive HR FR 235 FR 735XT, 935

My heart rate is not updated in real-time

The heart rate displayed on the watch face is only a historical reading approximately every 2 minutes. This is another limitation by Garmin to preserve battery life, and therefor it is impossible to display a real-time value for the heart rate. This also explains why the HR reading on the watch face does not always compare to the reading in the real-time HR widget. You cannot compare the two as the one is real-time and the other not.