Top critical review
62 people found this helpful
A couple of reservations...
on May 24, 2012
I bought this watch because I liked the idea of Solar Power, also I wanted a stainless steel band, a light, good water resistance and the moon phases could be handy for me as an amateur astronomer.
I wanted a solar powered watch because the longer the time between opening the back to replace batteries, the less the cost and the less chance of damage to the O-ring seal that makes the unit waterproof. There aren't too many solar powered digital watches around, so there wasn't a huge choice. Casio make a watch with NO battery at all, just a capacitor to store the charge, which should NEVER need to be replaced. Unfortunately, due to the inherent power storage limitations it had no light. I needed a light so this wasn't an option. Casio's "Tough Solar Power" concept is the use of a rechargeable battery which lasts for months in dark and is recharged by sunlight. Eventually the battery WILL fail, but hopefully I'll get at least 10 years out of it before it needs to be replaced. All good!
I have read some other reviews where people found this unit difficult to set up. One even said you need a computer science degree! Let me assure you: those fools are quite wrong and if you follow the instructions you should have it fully setup in a few minutes with no sweat. IMPORTANT: set up your home time zone FIRST! The trickiest thing is setting up your high tide time for your home location. This isn't actually hard, you just need to find the tide times for your home on the internet and enter the HIGHEST of the 2 daily high tides times into your watch.
Perhaps the worst thing about this watch is the band. Unless you have a truly massive wrist you will need to take out some links (4 in my case). This is not easy, especially reinserting the link pins. If you're not worried about a few dollars you might be best advised to get your local jeweler to do it for you. Otherwise, watch this clip: [...].
Apart from the difficulty of resizing the band I found the band to be rather irritating. It catches the hairs on my wrist from time to time which is quite annoying and since it is inflexible it tends to slip around on my wrist at times. The links are a tad wide, so it may not be possible to get a perfect fit. I'm quite displeased with this band and I will be fitting another.
The next problem with this watch is the face, which is quite deeply recessed, making it difficult to get the light to fall on it directly. It many situations you will get shadows over part of the face which make reading it more difficult. The "Casio", "battery" and "alarms" small-type, embossed on the face doesn't help in this respect either. I don't know what it is about the glass, but unless you get the viewing angle exactly right it is rather grey and seems to be more relective than others I've owned. The result of these two factors means that the display is often a rather low contrast affair. This isn't a deal breaker, since you can still read it, but it's not as readable as I expected and not as readable as other digital watches I have owned.
Other than the display and band, this watch is excellent! Setup is a breeze, the controls are beautifully intuitive and the display is as uncluttered as you could expect from a watch with these features. The internal light is reasonably bright making the display easily readable in the dark. It has all the time controls you could want including 4 alarms, countdown timer, stopwatch and world time. The world time is an excellent feature allowing you to easily check the time any major time zone in the world. The only problem is that it doesn't allow for daylight saving automatically, you'll need to add an hour if your target time zone is on DS and you're not.
The moon phase indicator IS accurate. Don't listen to the fools who can't set their watch up correctly. However: there is a thin white circle around the moon indicator which makes a sliver moon appear thicker than it is in reality. This feature would have been better had that white ring been left off, it's a tad irritating but it's not a deal breaker, you just have to allow for it. There are 16 displayable moon phases here in a cycle of approx 29 days, so you can expect the phase indicator to change slighly more than every second day.
The tide indicator also works fine, but it doesn't distinguish in a mixed semi-diurnal tide (which most of us have), between the higher and lower of the 2 high tide and low tide marks. Obviously this varies from place to place and would be difficult to set, but at least they could indicate which is the "principal lunar semi-diurnal" (ie the bigger of the two). The display does adjust to show the difference between spring and neap tides however, which is good.
Overall it's a pretty good watch, especially if you're a surfer, fisherman or an astronomer, but there are a couple of drawbacks which should be considered. You can replace the watch band if it irritates you but you'll just have to live with the dull screen. You can still read it, it's just not always as clear as it might have been.