I've never had a fly-by-wire watch before, so there was a simple childlike pleasure in watching the minor hands whizz round in dutiful accord with some unknown algorithm. It's clever, and while it may be old hat to many, I can be impressed by things like that.
Cleverness comes at the cost of complexity though. It takes five motors and seven hands to deliver timekeeping, date, world time, stopwatch and alarm. It takes some careful reading and fifteen distraction-free minutes to set it up and get it on your wrist.
Would I have bought it if it hadn't been on sale at a remarkable £37.98? Probably not actually, but it gives me a chance to look at a different kind of watch and have a bit of fun.
Now that I've told it the time, the date, the season, where I live and where I travel to, what's it like as a watch? It feels solid, more so than some G-Shocks. I like the colours - silver, black, pale jade, a couple of red highlights - very smart. Fit, finish and attention to detail are more than up to the mark for an affordable watch. In fact, from a build quality point of view, it's immaculate. The metal section of the outer bezel is presumably not as thick as it appears, but you would need to be familiar with G-Shock construction to know it. They've even brushed the horizontal surfaces and polished the vertical. The dial design is neat and well balanced, and the date at '4' looks absolutely right when it can often look so wrong.
I like the way the five-minute markers seem to 'hold' the subdials. The hands are big enough. I'm sensitive to 'short hand syndrome' in the way that some are sensitive to misaligned seconds hands. The minute hand meets its markers - a simple requirement that is lacking in many watches (the GA-100 and a number of Seiko divers being prime examples). Crucially, the hour and minute hands stand out from the background of the dial, which they might easily not do in a seven-handed subdialler. It helps that Casio has largely kept to black and white, and has not included secondary function labels (nowhere to put them, I guess).
Issues. There are two, but I knew about them in advance. I doubt if even my younger eyes would have allowed me to make serious use of the stopwatch (and the small seconds hand only really tells you that the watch is working), but resolving that problem would entail scaling everything up to improbable proportions. And there's no way I could remember the button combinations required to adjust some of the settings, even if I wore it regularly. If travelling, take the manual.
I like it very much, but in reality I’ll be using it as a two-handed watch that happens to have seven hands. I might take advantage of the home time / world time swap feature, if I can remember how to use it. Curiously then, it's my cleverest and most useless watch, but I wanted an all-analogue G-Shock and I'm very pleased to have got one for £37.98!