Retail price: $179.95
Reviewer: Chris Minguez of Chugiak, AK
Findings: In the battle to cram more gadgets into less gear, Casio has got to be the winner in the watch category. One of their models even boasts a moon phase indicator, as well as a tide calculator for monitoring tidal swells. In the ruggedized arena, they’ve made steps forward by combining the alti/baro features with the G-Shock line of nearly indestructible impact resistant resin cased watches. It’s the closest watch yet to combining the desirable outdoors features of the Pathfinder and Pro-Trek watch lines, such as altitude, barometer, compass, and thermometer inclusion, with the impact-, water,- and vibration-resistance of the G-Shock line. They’ve made some sacrifices, including only the thermo/alti/baro features, but adding the Solar feature, which incorporates a solar cell on the face of the watch, as well as adding atomic clock reception.
The watch wears light despite its rather large size, with thin resin double buckle bands supplied with the watch. It sits tall on the wrist, but with the G-Shock legendary durability, its getting whacked on the doorframe is a moot point. I personally handed a G-Shock quite a few years ago to our military school baseball pitcher and had him hurl it at the wall like a fastball. Watch functioned flawlessly before and after. Wall had a large chunk missing, though.
Most of the other reviews on the watch explain the features; this one will highlight my experiences with it. I use the watch when I’m working on the Jeep, projects on and around the house, basically anywhere I don’t want to whack my Suunto Core up against something. Vibration from the sawzall, chainsaws, heat from drip torches, the few days I left it outside in the vain hope it would get a signal from Ft. Collins, which doesn’t sound like much, but I live in Alaska, so it’s a mite cold. Even after being subjected to all that, the watch is still accurate, with +/- 2 deg F from the inside weather station, and +/- .05 inHg from the Ted Stevens Intl Airport, which is the maximum resolution of the watch barometer. I’ve since removed the resin band as a matter of personal preference, and added a Suunto watchband compass, and a Timex Expedition fast wrap Velcro band, making it a relatively true ABC watch. All in all the watch has functioned perfectly, syncing with the atomic clock when I lived in NC every day or so, but not syncing here in AK, which is a problem of location, not malfunction.
One thing to note is a lack of barometer lock: it’s a rather esoteric feature, since most ABC watches rarely get used to their potential, but significant for the outdoorsman using the features of the watch. In non- baro locked watches, increases in altitude show up as decreases in the barometric weather trend because air pressure decreases with increasing altitude. Baro locked watches lock out the barometer and switch to the altimeter mode with increases and decreases in altitude, without affecting the barometric trend stored in the watch. Again, for most general ABC watches, not a huge factor, but mountaineers or SAR, or hunters who want an accurate weather picture need to be aware of this.