Top positive review
201 people found this helpful
Fits my needs and works well
on November 24, 2010
Update - I have now had this watch for four years and it continues to operate flawlessly, as described below.
This is the least fancy and has the fewest functions of this variety of Casio watch. Thus, it is also the least expensive variant. This watch is very accurate, not too bulky and is inexpensive. A five-star watch for me, but it might not be for you if the concerns mentioned below are a problem for you, particularly with regard atomic time reception at your location.
There are many different variants of the Casio "atomic" watch to choose from, so I will discuss some of the watch properties and why I chose this one. Then I will discuss some of the quirks and potential difficulties that new owner should be aware of. Sorry about the all caps headings of the following sections. I am not shouting, but this is the only way that I can highlight the information provided in each paragraph.)
WATCH PROPERTIES AND WHY I CHOSE THIS WATCH.
PLASTIC CASE AND BAND - least fancy but you do not have the problem of removing links to size the band. It is also much lighter than a watch with a stainless steel case and band.
NOT A SPORTS WATCH - This watch is not a sports watch with a high G force rating or deep depth water resistance (it is rated at only 50 meters). This was not a problem for me as I do not use it for sports or underwater. On the plus side the case is only 11mm thick versus 15mm for a Casio sports watch (the 4mm difference equates to 5/32 of an inch).
BATTERY POWER NOT SOLAR POWER - In speaking with people with solar variants of this watch I found that, while the solar power was generally quite reliable, there were times when the watch could not be used unless it was first exposed to direct sunlight for several hours. This might occur if the watch was left in a drawer for a while or if it constantly was worn under a long sleeve shirt.
QUIRKS (WHAT THE PROMOTIONAL LITERATURE DOES NOT TELL YOU).
ATOMIC TIME FUNCTIONALITY - There are only two transmitting stations for the atomic time synchronization, Ft. Collins Colorado and Rugby England. Under the best of conditions the Ft. Collins transmitter has a 2000mile (about 3000km) range and the Rugby transmitter a 1500km (about a 900mile) range. However, under adverse transmission conditions this drops to only 600 miles for Ft. Collins and 500km for Rugby. Thus, under the best of conditions there are regions of the world where this feature will not work and a much larger area where it might only work sometimes. As I live well within 600 miles of Ft. Collins this is not a problem for me. So far, I get a good signal all the time, but sometimes signal reception could be a problem for most of the largest population centers of the US (Southern California, Eastern Seaboard of the US, Southern US). However, as discussed below, time synchronization every day, or even once a week, is not necessary, so periodic disruptions in the signal should not adversely affect the functioning of the watch. I do not know if the same limitations hold for all of the Casio Atomic watches. Please note that the TIME SYNCHRONIZATION DOES NOT FUNCTION FOR THIS WATCH FOR SOUTH AMERICA, ALMOST ALL OF AFRICA, AUSTRALIA AND MOST PACIFIC ISLANDS, SOUTHEAST ASIA, INDIA OR ASIA.
SIX TIME SYNCHRONIZATION RESETS A DAY - According to the promotional literature the watch automatically obtains a time signal six time a day. This is true, but the six times are all during the night: 12AM,1AM,2AM,3AM,4AM and 5AM, and the reset will not occur a second time if successful previously that night. I got the impression from the instructions that the synchronization is done at night because the watch is more likely to be stationary at that time, but several people have commented that it is due to the superior reception of the time signal at night. For whatever reason, my watch synchronizes at 12:04 AM every night. It is also suggested that the watch should be stationary during the reset process and ideally in a specific position. Do not throw out the plastic stand that the watch comes on as this is an excellent stand to hold the watch during the reset process. I do not know what you do if you work at night. The auto reset may not work, but you can manually synchronize to the atomic clock whenever you want, so this should not be a reason not to buy a Casio atomic watch. Also, as mentioned below, I do not think that even a daily reset is necessary to keep the watch accurate to within one second, which is the display resolution.
BATTERY POWER, BUT NO BATTERY CHANGE INSTRUCTIONS - This watch works on a lithium battery. The type battery is specified, but there are no instructions for its replacement, but there is only one way this could be done. The back of the case is removed by 4 very small screws. The only problem with this type of case is that it is very difficult to get the o-ring that provides the water resistance back in place, and the feature is generally lost when the back is removed. The alternative is to send the watch to Casio for repair, or to go to a local watch repairer, but this would likely cost more than a new watch. I generally just replace the battery and hope that I can still get the o-rich back in place properly. The upside is that a special tool is not required to remove the back.
DIFFICULTIES THAT I HAD AND HOW I OVERCAME THEM.
When I received the watch I noted that it was 8 seconds slow (versus the atomic clock signal that I get on my computer) and when I checked the last time that the watch was synchronized to the atomic clock, I found that it was about 5 months before. There is a button that allows one to check the day and time of the last synchronization. This meant that the watch drifted only about 0.05 seconds a day (in 160 days this yielded the observed 8 second error). This means that resetting only once every 3 weeks or so would keep the watch accurate to within one second. However, it also meant that the atomic function might not be working. Please note - had I read the manual more closely (not easy to do since the manual is only 1x2 inches in size) I would have found that the watch ships with the time synchronization turned off, so the lack of a recent reset is normal. I tried the manual atomic synchronization reset and this initially did not work, further pointing to a possible defect in the watch (but also according to the manual this is normal). I then (following the manual) placed the watch near a window, properly oriented in its cradle, and left it there for about an hour and the signal reception icon then became apparent (it initially was not). The watch did not reset at this point (nor should it since the auto reset only occurs at night), but when I went through the manual atomic reset procedure it did do it, eliminating the 8-second error. That night, at 12:04 AM, it reset again. To date, the watch synchronizes even when it is in my night table draw, in a random orientation. Thus, at my location, which is within 100 miles of Ft. Collins, I do not need to specifically orient the watch to get it to synchronize. However, in a less favorable location it may be necessary to carefully follow the orientation directions in order to link up with the time set signal. The moral is to be patient, read the manual, and follow the instructions before you give up and send the watch back. It may take time to locate the signal and more time to synchronize the watch.
I hope that this level of detail is helpful in deciding if this watch is for you. I like the watch a lot. I have had Casio watches for many, many, years (at the present time I have two other functioning Casio watches) and like this one I find them to be excellent, both in their general quality, high degree of functionality and for their low price. You may not be getting fancy jewelry, but you get an excellent timepiece.