I've had this on the wrist for a few days now, enough to write up a descriptive review. Please feel free to correct me on anything I have mis-stated or simply missed - this is a Japan only release and the manual is not available in english or, it would appear, much other languages. Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully it is of assistance.
Sleek and shiny and very low profile. In its black incarnation with reverse display (the watch featured in this review) this is stealthy but not necessarily discrete. The finish is extremely highly polished and catches the light a lot.
A very simple watch physically – slim light weight and tapered bracelet, well proportioned to the body of the watch. The watch face is rectangular with the longer dimension on the North South axis.
The watch face is very well thought out – simple and well presented. It is extremely legible. There are three lines to the display; top is month/day and day of the week abbreviated. In the middle is Hours and Minutes (option on 12hr & 24hr) and at the bottom tucked into the right hand corner are the seconds. This was a good design in that particular regard as it allows the seconds to be depicted larger than if in line with Hours and Minutes. Also displayed is information on whether the watch is in power save mode, whether DST is turned on, whether an alarm or hourly time beep is turned on and from which station the last time reception was received.
The latter is depicted by a downwards arrow at the bottom of the display which points towards one of the five options printed just outside the true watch face in very small type. This, plus a small CASIO brandname at 12 o’clock and ‘i-range’ branding at 6 o’clock is the only type on the watch face.
What that means is that button functions are printed on the underside of the watch. There are three on the right hand side of the watch body, from the top down being ‘light’, ‘mode’ and ‘exchange’. The middle ‘mode’ button is a small rectangle, in between the two larger rectangles of the other buttons. On the left is a smaller again circular button tagged as ‘adjust’. On viewing the watch only the smaller circular button is presented on the left hand side, for a right handed user. This is visually attractive by way of being less busy when worn on that side. However, there is nothing ugly or out of line on the right hand side for those that will wear it to their left hand. The circular ‘adjust’ button is not visible from above when viewing the watch at a typical angle, and the right hand buttons barely protrude past the side of the watch. All in all the generally clean lines of the piece are well preserved in the manner in which the function buttons are presented.
The bracelet is a good piece of work. Very little play, very little gaps between links (and even then only at the sides and not at the actual connecting points) and well integrated with the watch body. The 12 o’clock connector is ever so slightly more thick and connects at a slightly angle than the 6 o’clock and this helps the flat watch body to form to the wrist and ever so slightly tilts the watch ‘up’ towards the wearer. When correctly fitted the bracelet runs in a nice, clean and uninterrupted line around the wrist.
The watch clasp is small and discrete – much smaller in the north-south axis than you expect to see on a G-Shock of any kind. A classic two button deployment is used to fasten and is perfectly secure and unlikely to open unintentionally.
There are only two fine adjustment holes on the clasp – I would have preferred more, but I achieved an excellent fit to my wrist. I would comment however that I have casios which have only three fine adjusts where I have not managed this good of a fit and an extra fine adjust would to my mind make all the difference. In circumstances where the fit of the bracelet is going to make the world of difference to how this watch looks on you, I think it’s a pity there is not more fine adjust options (I just don’t think this watch is going to look good on a loose bracelet – i.e. any looser than the ‘can I get my finger in under the clasp; yes just about’ fit’.
I have a concern that the high shine finish will make scratches or dings very visible but that remains to be seen. Also, the shiny finish is a smudge magnet which may annoy you, albeit that from a typical speaking distance the smudges are not visible.
If I was to attempt to describe where this watch design is taking its cues from, it might be the Rado watch brand – not to say that this is deliberate on the part of casio, but the high polish black finish and overall look is not at all dis-similar, leaving aside the question of analogue, digital or ana/digi modules/movements.
I would think that if you are considering this watch, the bracket into which it will fit for most will be dressy digital for the office, i.e. suited and somewhat booted, and very good it looks in that setting, if I do say so myself.
Taking it into harms way is not to my mind advisable (it’s a bit odd that the watch is advertised as having a‘shockproof’ module but its water resistance is rated only for ‘daily use’. If you think you might prefer something a little harder wearing get the stainless steel positive display over the black negative display. Neither however should be considered as overly durable watches in my opinion.
Overall comment on form – a very pretty watch which gives a nice option on a more formal casio digital piece. Probably needs a little more minding than many other casio watches.
High Points :
- 24 hr CTD
- 24 hr Stopwatch (may be more – I just havn’t run it that long).
- Local time visible all modes
- Great World Time mode
- Hourly time signal
- Tough Solar powered
- Multiband 5 reception – syncs perfectly for me; but all my atomics do and I think I am just lucky in my location to the extent that they will sync on the wrist when worn overnight, or in any given drawer I leave them. Perhaps I just conduct atomic timekeeping signals through my sinews or something.
- Reasonably intuitive to use – I don’t propose to write an instruction manual for the watch here. Suffice to say that the manual comes in Japanese only. I don’t speak or read Japanese. I had the watch set up in a matter of minutes and can use all the various functions without trouble.
Low points :
- one alarm only (doesn’t bother me – it may you)
- Buttons do require some dexterity, or sometimes a finger nail, to press.
- Poor water resistance rating (‘daily use’ despite some ebay advertisment stating 20bar WR.
- No auto EL (I think this is poor especially on a reverse display. I stress however that the display is very legible and well presented).
- As usual alarm is not loud enough for anything other than a reminder when fully awake. I don’t know if there is a snooze function on the alarm – if there isn’t this wouldn’t bother me.
Timing functions are very good – in fact almost to a superfluous degree (Stopwatch and CTD time units run to the 000’s which is I think unnecessary but that’s not a criticism). The Stopwatch and CTD will run together and continue running when the watch is not in that mode – I will give one tip here; the split button is the circular top left hand ‘adjust’ button (took me a while to figure out) and when you are scrolling back to either timer having started it you will get the text ‘TMR’ for CTD and ‘STW’ for Stopwatch for a couple of seconds before the running display is presented.
3) Who would buy this watch ?
Anyone looking for a dressy/formal type digital will not be disappointed. The form factor fits perfectly for this somewhat niche market, and the function set and technology in the module is then a very, very pleasant aspect to owning the watch. I think the watch also wears very well however outside of the corporate/suited environment in a wide variety of settings – in other words it’s a really good looking watch.
4) Who would fear buying this watch ?
People with big old wrists. I’ve never measured mine but I am not a small guy and used to play an awful lot of rugby. My wrists are accordingly big old chunkies. The proportions of this watch (edit – I will add measurements) are so good however, and the integration with bracelet when properly fitted so well accomplished, that it has a stylish presence despite not being over-sized (actually a plus for me – that it is not over-sized).
5) Who would be disappointed with it ?
Anyone who thinks it will do as a daily beater. Look as good as it may, its really not intended to accompany you to the beach, or even – according to the water resistance – in the shower.
6) Do I recommend it ?
Yep absolutely. Within the parameters described in this review, the only downsides I see on the face of this one is either one of a) if you hate the look of it – in which case I probably recommend you not to buy it but you figured that out already or b) if you are looking for durability as a prime feature.