today I want to show you my latest watch purchase, a casio sea pathfinder model, unfortunately officially not available in the united states but in the european market.
first of all, here is a stock photo I took from a german ebay seller:
and a picture of mine:
in my humble opinion, this model ( there are four different available for the german market, if you like have a look at here ) is one of the most underestimated casio watches, perhaps one of the most underestimated watches in general.
as you all know, pathfinder (pro trek) watches are very popular in this forum, especially the PAW1300 series and the new available PAW1500 series. all the more I wonder, why the sea pathfinder series seems to be rather unpopular or - perhaps I should say - seldom to find here. but maybe this will change after you read my review.
the main reason for purchasing this watch was simple: I kept looking quite a while for an analog watch that suits my taste aesthetically, but even more important in functionality. good functionality on an analog watch starts with an actual very basic, yet nevertheless seemingly hard to achieve thing: illumination.
when it comes down to analog-only watches the solution is pretty simple: buy a H3 (tritium vials) watch, and you never have to worry about legibility in whatever light condition. unfortunately, no H3 ana-digi watch with all the functions I'm looking for has been made to date and even worse - casio, as a japanese company - never ever will make a H3 watch, simply because they are not allowed to by government law.
nevertheless, I simply want to be able to read the time - and everthing else what might be important - at any given light condition, whether be it good, bad, bright, dim, or pitch black. in this regard I consider myself a lumehunter and intransigant. as some of you probably know, I'm usually the one guy who is ALWAYS complaining about the crappy lume of ana-digi g-shocks, when a newbie or whoever comes across here with questions about this specific design.
here is what the SPF-60S-1VER can do better, than any other analog-digital watch that I have seen to date: it just illuminates the entire display with established el-backlight technology, just known from any digital-only g-shock. the hands and markers are not luminous (would be a waste of paint anyway as you know) and they don't even have to be, because they appear as clearly silhouettes in front of the display. it really doesn't matter if the hands/markers are illuminated itself or the background behind, so it works basically as every regular digital watch with el-backlight. to show you what I mean, here is a nightshot I took:
sorry for the quality, its a bit hard to press el-backlight button with one hand and take a picture with the other at once but I think you get the idea. apropos lightbutton: yes it has my beloved fifth (dedicated) light button and unlike the small fumbling button next to adjust button found on the PAW series, this one is big, chunky, all alone and very easy to find and to press, even if you wake up drowsy in the middle of the night.
the sea pathfinder series has (A)ltimeter and (B)arometer functions, but unfortunately no (C)ompass, which would have made this watch almost perfect in my opinion. regardless, you can of course use the analog hands as compass if you know how to and the sun is shining. its not a real accurate measure procedure or rocket science, but better than nothing in a possible life and death situation when navigation is essential. one very nice detail is that the bezel is rotatable (60 clicks, left only), which makes it easier to mark a bearing when the hands are used as compass.
besides the altimeter and barometer, the watch features also a thermometer and a depth meter. yes this thing is considered as a divewatch and records diving depths down to 35 meters, including water temperature and lenght of the dive. the watch has a (very slightly) domed crystal for enhanced pressure withstanding, but is nevertheless not higher rated than 100meters (10bar) which is way enough for 99,99% of all divers and which also puts any further discussions about absurd depth ratings on dive watches to shame.
I haven't been able to test the depth meter yet, but I can tell you that the thermometer and barometer are highly precise and really give you great informations - spot on. the altimeter is always in relation to the barometer, so altitude is always in fluctuation, but when calibrated properly and air pressure stays constant, it shows the correct altitude (which is 115 meters in my case). for hardcore mountain climbers however, the watch is maybe not the best choice, because the altimeter measure range is limited to 4000 meters.
a few more pics before I proceed:
the watch is fairly big. besides my g-shock "gaussman" (aw-571), it is the thickest watch I have owned to date with 18 mm. this makes it even one millimeter thicker than the PRG-80 protrek models, which are infamous for their huge appearance. the sea pathfinder certainly has a serious wrist presence that can be seen good in those pictures:
the other dimensions are impressive as well, it measures 49mm from side to side and 56,5 mm from lug to lug. please note: this measurement are not some abstruse numbers, taken from a casio website, but I made them myself with a sliding caliper.
despite its size the watch is pretty lightweight, only 62 grams:
the strap is pretty comfortable to wear, it was a little stiff at first, but some boiling of about 20 minutes got rid of that and now I would say it is comparable with the strap of the G(W)9000 mudman series.
one great thing about ana-digi watches is, that you always can see the current time, regardsless what mode you might have chosen. this is even more pleasing since casio decided to spend a 24h countdown timer on this one, that can be set to the minute:
furthermore it is equipped with 5 daily alarms, one hourly chime, a 24h stopwatch and a second time zone. well, its not really a second time zone implemented, but the analog time and the digital time doesn't synchronize (with exeption of the seconds) and so the digital (or analog) time can be used to show any time, whatever you choose. since it is a lot easier to set the digital time, it is save to presume this is the one that most people will alter when necessary. this comes in handy for people who travel alot across the globe or simply if you want summertime (DST) and wintertime at a glance for instance.
I got this watch now since eight days and couldn't bring myself to take it off my wrist. I have a feeling that this will be a long time keeper and probably my favorite watch of all my casio watches. I even think about to get one or two of the other models avaible from that series. this watch is simply awesome, it does almost everything one can ask for a modern day watch and it has an outstanding good legibility (both at day and night). usually I'm rather restrained with such comments, but in this case I only can highly recommend to give the sea pathfinder series a try if you are out for a great looking, very functional no-nonsense analog-digital sportwatch.