Hi folks I am attempting a novice review of the Casio MRG 7700B 1BJF. This watch was purchased direct from Japan with the help of Mr Shinya Kobayashi from Tokeikan (Takekawa Ltd) watch shop in Tochigi, Japan. I will elaborate more on his invaluable assistance in the later part of the review.
The watch is a replacement of my current daily wear, the Seiko Astron SAST 017, which goes back into the display box for safe-keeping. So there will be some inevitable comparisons between these two watches.
Attached at the bottom are the pictures of the watch straight out of the box (courtesy of Mr Kobayashi) , and also on my wrist.
I confess that I have a weakness, some would say fondness, for twisted metal time pieces which maintain a high degree of accuracy. My previous purchase of the Seiko Astron SAST 017 was predicated on some basic requirements which included;
a) Automatic GPS Sync;
b) Tough Solar self-renewing energy source;
c) High intensity Titanium Finish;
d) Sapphire Crystal Cover;
e) Ceramic Bezel;
The MRG 7700B B1BJF meets most of these criterias except for a) and e). Instead of GPS, it relies on Casio’s Multi-Band 6 waveceptor technology to sync to an Atomic Clock via radio waves from 6 emitting towers located in US, Japan, China, Europe and Taiwan. As I am located in Singapore, I am well outside the effective RC range of these towers, however I am told it is possible to achieve a successful sync on high ground in certain parts of the island. I have also found a neat JJY Simulator which can be loaded on IOS or Android to an iPhone or Android Mobile to allow the watch to sync via this app. I will again elaborate on this in the later part of the review.
As my purchase was on-line and this watch was not available locally in Singapore, I was quite concerned on how the actual watch would appear. What added to my confusion is that there is an earlier model, the MRG 7700B 1AJF which seemed very similar except for the gold highlights on the hour markings. There are very few YouTube videos of the MRG 7700B 1BJF (see link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9DXBSdnSWU ), although there are more videos of the MRG 7700B 1AJF see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8i9Wh8_O1A].
What is not apparent from the pictures and the videos is the relatively smaller size of the watch. The specs on paper state that case size is supposed to be 46.8mm, which is slightly smaller than the 47mm case size on my Seiko Astron. So I expected a watch of similar heft and size. But the actual watch itself looked and felt smaller. You can see the side by side comparisons of the 2 watches in the attached pictures. If you like big sized watches in the 48-50mm case size range, you may have second thoughts about buying this MRG and should instead consider its larger cousins.
I have to confess I was initially disappointed when I first took the watch out of the box, and this is also a reminder to all you folks to actually view the physical product itself before you commit to an on-line purchase as online pictures and youtube reviews can be rather inaccurate. But having worn the watch for several days now, I have grown accustomed to its lighter weight and heft, and find it much more comfy than the beefy Astron. This MRG has a lower profile from the Astron SAST 017 and also thankfully has no protruding crown. The buttons are embedded in the recesses of the case itself and makes for a much more comfy daily wear. The Astron’s high profile and protruding crown is an occasional discomfort and not that easy on the back of my hand. Trying doing pushups with the watch on and the Astron Crown leaves an imprint on the back of my hand. I had no such issue with the MRG.
The other feature of the watch which is not so accurately displayed in pictures and videos is the colour and texture of the watch. And in this regard this turned out to be a huge positive and pleasant surprise. The watch shows up in some pictures as being black DLC. In fact, with the actual watch on my hand now, the colour is closer to the Gun-Metal shade and matches very nicely with the DLC titanium sallaz polished alloy which is also present in the case and bracelet. Due perhaps to this finish, the watch is not a finger print magnet and holds up well after many touches. In terms of hue, colour and texture it very closely matches it larger brother, the MRG G1000, which is much more expensive and beyond my limited budget.
The watch face has hour and minute hands, there is no second hand and I have to rely on the digital display in time-keeping mode to check this. The relatively smaller case and face also mean Casio has a smaller canvas to work with, and I suspect this is why they left out the 9 o’clock hourly marking. For the average person, these are not deal breakers in themselves but if you are a pedantic watch purchaser and expect a high degree of accuracy wherein the finer details matter, these do detract from the overall presentation of the watch.
To overcome the geographic limits of the 6 Rc wave captor towers (as I am in Singapore). I was able to sync the watch using the JJY Simulator. There is an iOS version of this app for iPhones and iPad, and also an Android version and these are in the website links below.
IOS JJY Sim: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jjy-...431054911?mt=8
Android JJY Sim: http://apk4lollipop.com/down_APK_JJYエミュ_Android-5-lollipop.html
To achieve the sync I have to;
1) Set the home city of the watch to Tokyo.
2) Launch the App and start “Sync”.
3) Set the watch to Manually receive the RC.
4) Connect a pair of earphones from the phone and position these on the face of the watch.
5) Set the volume to maximum. You will hear a rather irritating high pitch beep.
6) The watch arrow on the left sub-dial will move to “W” to show it is working to receive the signal.
7) The digital readouts will go blank.
8) Once a successful sync is achieved you will see “Get” in the top digital read out.
9) The bottom digital read-out will display the time and date of the successful sync.
10) You can then reset the watch to the home time and city.
This is a rather tedious process that I would not like to repeat on a daily/regular basis, so I do miss the automatic daily GPS syncs of the Astron. The requirement to sync regularly via manual press of buttons will, over a long period of years, cumulatively result in wear and tear on the buttons shortening the lifespan of the watch. However this was a limitation that I was mentally prepared for before I bought the watch and in all fairness to this watch, the syncs would be automatic if i was within the effective range of the emitting towers.
I am waiting for Casio to launch a pure GPS sync watch (and not a hybrid GPS and Waveceptor watch) which will be more useful for users in any part of the world. In my humble view having both a GPS and Waveceptor sync in a watch is over-kill and also may result in a waste of energy as the watch may be doing syncs daily for both GPS and Waveceptor receptions when this is not needed.
The other issue which confounds me is why each of the emitting towers do not adopt a common RC frequency which can be used on one band? At the moment each of the emitting towers have individual frequencies in the 40-70khz range which requires specific tuning on waveceptor watches (hence the Multi-Band 6 configuration). We have no such issues with GPS watches as they sync to any available GPS satellite. This is not the case for Waveceptor watches.
GPS technology is not without its limitations and there are days when my Astron cannot sync when i am indoors. But unless you are a vampire, we all venture out into daylight at some point in our daily ritual and the global reach of GPS technology allows for a sync. This is the future as there are no geographic constraints which limit the sync radius of the watch.
At the risk of deviating from the review of the watch, when will Casio, Seiko and Citizen design a GPS watch which will measure distance so runners can use this as a daily running watch. I currently have to rely on my TomTom to record my daily runs. As the technology watches by these manufacturers already are GPS capable, their move into this stage currently dominated by the likes of Garmin, Suunto, TomTom etc is long overdue.
Ok, you can take comfort that we are near the end of this review. If you are still with me at this stage you exhibit infinite patience, here are my final conclusions;
1) Do I regret this purchase?
No, I have been itching for a MRG GunMetal DLC Titanium watch for awhile and this meets my basic purchase criteria.
2) Is the watch small, could it be larger?
Yes, it’s on the small side and I was initially disappointed. But this is rather personal and subjective as others have told me the watch looks great and reasonably sized on my wrist. It also helps that i do not have very large wrists (at just below 17cm).
3) Would I recommend this watch?
Well, again this is subjective. If the budget permits, go for the MRG G1000 and you will not be disappointed.
But in all fairness this watch is not in the same price range and for those with financial constraints like me, the much smaller price tag (its half the price of the GunMetal version of the MRG G1000) justifies the purchase.
4) Am I happy with the build quality of the watch?
Yes. Happy but not elated. Notwithstanding my grouses and peeves, this feels and looks like a premium product. The brush metal sallaz finish feels great on my skin.
5) Are there any design flaws or imperfections?
HELL YES, this watch is relying on and constrained by existing waveceptor technology. The smaller case also means there is no 9 o’clock hourly marker. And the absence of a second hand detracts from the premium feel of the watch. Casio, this is supposed to be a premium MRG line, you could have done better really.
Ok thats the end. For those who had the patience to read this lengthy review to its final words, thank you for your infinite patience. Please share with me your comments as well as any errors, corrections or commissions which i am sure exist in this review.
To keep the review brief my review of Mr Kobayashi and his good service level is in the following page below.