I'm now mostly a mechanical watch wearer, having worn digital watches in my childhood, but the recent purchase of a new Casio impressed on me that they are very much under-appreciated affordables. The watch in question:
The Casio AE1200WHD
At first sight, this watch has given me delight. It has a squarish shape, similar to the calculator watches from years back. I love the tiny LCD world map and the analog hands circle. Right above the circle is a mute indicator that comes in handy, at times. The main time display is large enough for easy reading, and I appreciate that it has an irregular geometric shape, versus being simply rectangular. It's not a new release, as it appears to have come out sometime in 2012, but the look of it is timeless.
Also part of its throw-back appeal, this watch may also bring to mind the coveted James Bond watch from Octopussy, the Seiko G757.
Photo from the Watches in Movies site:
Blasphemous as it sounds, I feel that I actually like the Casio's look better; that tiny world time map really sets it apart.
Instead of the unpronounceable model name, I'm going to call this one, the "Casio Royale."
Case and Bracelet
The bracelet is serviceable stainless steel on the light-weight side, which I feel is appropriate for the watch. The links took me some time to adjust to size, using a board pin and a watchmaker's hammer. Other versions come with fabric or resin straps.
But never mind the bracelet. Unlike many Casios, this watch has standard-size lugs, meaning that instead of having to tolerate Casio's usually sub-par, aesthetically deficient straps, you can install your own. The width of the lug is 18mm; the bracelet it came with measures about 24mm across at the end-links and tapers back down to 18mm.
With this welcomed freedom, I tried a few different 18mm straps on it:
Not bad, right?
What's disappointing, however, is the case for the watch, which, unlike the strap, is not stainless steel, but some kind of softer resin in metallic silver. If Casio were to have given it an actual stainless steel case, not just the bracelet, and priced it accordingly, I'd have been glad to have paid higher.
With this resin case, in the process of changing straps, I've noticed that it is pretty scratchable, so one has to take good care during strap switches. The good thing is that loss of the metallic silver can be easily remedied with a Krylon metallic paint pen.
From my look-around, this watch appears to also come in other colors:
Black with gold screen/green map
Black with olive grey accents
Olive grey with black accents
(Stock photos from the internet)
I, personally, much prefer the silver metallic one.
Unclear. Some sites list it as resin glass. Amazon says it is standard Casio mineral.
It's rated up to 100m, so this is one that I can maybe swim with and expect it to survive.
Not only is it a nice watch to glance at, the functions are also tremendously useful for me. It has the standard features, like the stopwatch, timer and alarms (5 alarms, no snooze), and anyone with friends, family or business abroad will appreciate the world time function. I have mine in 24-hour mode, as I can easily tell day/night around the world that way.
There's a screen for World Time that lets you move across different time zones. A vertical stripe shifts across the map to show you where you are. You can also set 3 additional cities you can scroll through on the home time-keeping screen. As you do this , the LCD analog hands display your home time.
Supposedly the batteries are set to last 10 years, if I don't destroy it first.
The light button causes the screen to be illuminated a cool old-school amber. Love it.
In an earlier discussion here about the watch, I cam across someone mentioning being able to remove the "World TIme" and "Illuminator" lettering from the case. I thought it'd improve the look of the watch and proceeded to do so, as well, applying Naphtha with a brush and then polishing the lettering off with a toothpick, and, eventually, adding some toothpaste. If you decide to do it, be careful, and proceed at your own risk (and in a ventilated area).
New Digital Affordable: Casio AE1200
Currently, this watch can be had for about $25 or less. I think it's very much so worth it, whether you want to use it as a beater or as something to mix up your watch rotation. This one comes highly recommended from me, especially with its throw-back look. It's a joy to wear.
Alright, time to go on a secret mission. Long live the Queen.