That would not happen to be the first review of this watch, and since quite a lot of very valuable information has been shared here, I'll try to make mine a little special by including loads of pics :)
Before going to that, a few impressions:
I'm coming from the "world" of mechanical watches. In fact I have worn almost exlusively mechanical watches since 2007. Five years of despising quartz watches. Yep, despising. I chose that one carefully.
Lifeless, blah, overdesigned, overpriced (too expensive for something that costs $5 to manufacture, lol), I could give you any reason not to fall for the nasty quartz.
Until I learned about the A1000.
I already had quartz watches. Two, in fact. One $20 Casio ana-digital that ended up in my 3yo's toy box. He loves it. And more recently an AQS810W-1AV. I wanted the solar and radio-controlled, but couldn't find a decently priced radio-controlled that I liked. Solar was more important (yay, not have to go change the battery every once in a while!). That was the watch that just tell time and that I can take to go roller skating, or cutting wood, or playing whatever sport/activity would not necessarily be recommended for mechanical watches. The beater.
But then again, the A1000. What about it?
- Aviation design. I mean it really looks like it just came out of a cockpit. Quite unlike the GW-3/4xxxx if you'd ask me. That's mostly because of the very clean dial.
- Solar powered and radio-controlled.
- Timer (what the hell was wrong with Casio to not have any timer on the 3/4000?
- THE CROWN.
Yep, the crown was the key for me. Pushers only? Yuck. I don't want a computer on my wrist. I want a watch. And the crown is the common factor between virtually ALL mechanical watches. You can find weird ways to display the time. Some watches don't even display it (cf. Haldimann H9). But there is always a crown.
Problem: There are 4 differents flavors of the A1000. So which one?
GW-A1000-AJF: Too many color accents. Especially, the temperature probe circled in red. That only was a "nogo" for me. Add to that the s/s silverish crown, pushers, buckle and keeper. Too many things going on. The red hands on the subdials played a big part too in eliminating this option.
GW-A1000A-AJF: Kind of nice, but that blue doesn't go with everything. Looking at the pictures it just felt wrong. Too bad because the crown is ip coated, and the two screws next to the crown seem so, too... And the temperature probe is circled in grey. Also, the hands are sided in black. Just the blue, really.
GW-A1000D-AJF: Grey circled temperature probe, black-sided hands, limited (but still present) color accent on the dial, here it's the bracelet that ruled it out. The watch is already pretty big, the bracelet is trumpeting "HEAVY!!!" in my brain. Too bad really. The pushers and crown are silverish but the two screws next to the crown are ip coated. Also the markings are painted, which is a bugger to me.
GW-A1000RAF-EAR(or EJR): Now, that's the stuff! Btw EJR is for Japan market, EAR is for UK market. But no difference that I know of. God why $300 more? Yeah yeah... SPECIAL edition. Whatever just take my money and let me go try to explain to my wife.
So what is it about this one???
- IP coated crown, pushers, buckle and screws
- Resin strap, lightweight.
- Minimal color splashes on the dial and case
- Subdials marking a more on the greyish side, making them still readable but more discreet compared to the A1000 and A1000D. Note that the A1000A has the grey subdials markings too.
- Smokey grey resin color, avoids the "black brick" effect. Lighter color means more discreet, which for such a big watch actually matters to my taste.
- All the same great functions as any model: Worldtime including an easy switch between timezones, stopwatch, super-cool timer (the hands go counter-clockwise), one (enough for me) alarm, solar powered, radio controlled.
- Since the watch was globally designed with the help of the RAF, better go with the special RAF edition.
- The watch comes in a nice set of boxes. When you open the box, you feel like it's a special watch.
That's for the background of my purchase of a nasty-overpriced-overdesigned quartz watch.
So, happy? Hell, yeah. The watch is a beast. If the world was to come to an end on 12/21/2012, I'd take her on my wrist. Feels indestructible. Reliable. And it's a darn good-looking watch.
The only downside would be the size. 5mm less would be just right on par to my taste, but that's a minor thing. I LOVE it.
Now let's let the pictures do most of the talking. You may click on those to open the gallery, and then click on the vignettes to open the full-resolution picture.
Having a "special" box is always great. This one is simple, very fit to the "indestructible" aspect of the watch. It does look military.
Two very common overall views of the watch. You can already see the great depth of the dial.
The "Zulu" pusher, specific to the RAF edition. Very neatly executed. Sorry for the dirt and marks. The watch IS a dirt magnet. All these angles and corners are the dirt's paradise, and the watch lover's hell.
The IP coating is nicely executed. Also, you can get a pretty good idea of the actual color of the watch by contrast with the deep shiny dark.
Here is the "Mode" button. Very well integrated into the case, and the temperature probe. Probably the less useful function of the watch to me, since you have to remove it from you wrist for about 1/2h to get an accurate reading. But that's fun to show to the buds.
Notice the slightly domed cristal. Not be best choice due to the visual deformation that prevents reading anything from a steep angle, but I'll guess it's for the sake of thoughness.
Now that's a beast. Built to last but chunky.
Very discreet markings on the strap. Not useful at all so nice that have them "stealthed". On these two views you can appreciate the resin's texture, very soft.
The very nice carbon fiber keeper. Also a specific of the RAF model. I'm curious to see if the logo wears out too quickly or not.
Note that the buckle has two different types of finish: Polished for the "pins", satin for the buckle. Very nice attention to details.
Funny thing about the dial: The subdials markings are printed on a transparent sheet of most likely plastic that protects the solar cells. This produces a nice "floating" effect. Also, the subdials hands are also above the transparent sheet but are quite large so you don't see the axis below. Again, they kindda seem like floating above the dial. Great effect.
Indexes are big and chuncky, raised so very legible from any angle. As long as the domed crystal allows it.
Here is an interesting picture showing how, despite the somewhat very limited amount of color on the watch, the different textures can create beautiful light contrasts.
The bezel with the cities names is ip coated, too. Again, clever choice to give some discreet reflections that bring the watch to life.
Subdials are clean. The hands are not the cleanest job in the world, but still very nice.
Look at that depth! The "structure" that goes from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock does add volume and depth to the dial. Without it it would be a big empty field. a purely design-oriented element, but very well done.
The back, with the 3 G's logo, is simple, clean and very comfortable.
The timer, as said above, is magic: Seeing the hands go counter-clockwise is somewhat awesome (yet so simple, how stupid am I?)
The stopwatch is very nice to see in action when coming from the mechanical world: That second hand is literally flying around. That totally makes sense with a pilot's watch. Look at the below picture in high res: You can actual see the "ghosts" of the second hand running around the dial.
The lume is very decent. Not up to the level of some I've come across, but still very efficient.
Oh boy look at that big girl. Ain't she sexy?
Hope you enjoyed the feelings and the pics :)