This is my first Casio watch and up until the time of purchase, I had been one of those "$5-$20 cheap-o sport watch" buyers. So if I were going to spend anything around $90 for a sport watch I would need to make sure it was worth the cost. After reading an article on a men's health/lifestyle website about fashion ([...], I think), they recommended the g-shock series by Casio since they offer a lot of functions and good quality for around $90. I found the GW6900-1 on sale for around $70 and I decided to buy it figuring I could always return it later if it didn't work out. Here are my observations on the two main selling points...
Design: The GW6900-1 is very basic. It's modeled off of the original DW6900 (Casio Men's G-Shock Classic Digital Watch #DW6900-1V) which is apparently G-Shock's best-selling case design. Personally, I feel that the numbers on the display are a little small. But I really like how it's not too crowded or junked up by unnecessary frills. The three circular dials above the time/day/date display are quite simple and indicate 1) the battery strength, 2) which functions are enabled (alarm, snooze alarm, hour signal beep, auto EL and button mute) and 3) a 10-second count indicator. The case/band isn't the sleekest looking - there are more modern styles out there - but it's not ugly by any means. Also, it's a little on the bulky side (doesn't exactly fit under a shirt cuff), but I don't feel it eats up my entire wrist. The 4 function buttons are easy to press and their labels are nice and straight-forward with alternate operations shown just inside the frame. Very easy to follow and operate.
Functions: The product description above pretty much lays out all the cool stuff this watch has going on for it, so I'll try not to be redundant here. I do want to highlight some of the operations that make this worth the price tag. - Auto-EL (electro-luminescent): One thing that impressed me about this watch even before I put it on was the "smart" back-light. As I removed it from the box, I noticed the back-light come on. I thought something was wrong with it at first, but as I read through the manual I learned that this nifty function is *supposed* to happen. The watch's light turns on for about 1.5 seconds (or 3, your choice) in a dark room when you tilt your wrist towards your eyes without the need to press the button. How cool is that?! You can disable this to save on battery life if you want, but I doubt it's all that necessary. Which brings me to... - Battery Life: This sucker is equipped with a solar powered battery that lasts up to 10 months on a full charge. Further exposure to light will keep it going and that goes for everything from direct sunlight, to light filtered through windows even to fluorescent lighting found in most buildings. Chances are good that given the amount of interaction most humans have with the sun or other light sources, you won't need to worry about this dying on you anytime soon. (That is unless you're a vampire or really into the goth scene.) Also, it has a power-saving mode you can apply that causes the watch to go into "sleep" mode during the hours of 11pm and 6am. - Atomic Timekeeping: Like pretty much every cell phone, this watch calibrates time automatically. But it does it in 48 cities across 31 times zones all while taking daylight saving into account. And it runs about 5-6 times in the wee hours of morning just to make sure. (You can set time yourself too if you'd like.) Also, it's classified as multi-band 6 which means it automatically receives signals from pretty much every main radio point around the world (U.S., England, Germany, China and Japan). - Waterproofing: This is probably a moot point, but I found it neat to learn that with a 20BAR/200M rating, you can pretty much use this while scuba diving. - The rest: It's got 4 regular alarms and one snooze ("persistent") alarm. A stopwatch that lets you measure elapsed time, split time and two finishes. A countdown timer (which is a non-negotiable for me given that it comes in handy whether your cooking something or doing laundry). Full auto-calendar (pre-programmed until the year 2099) and optional 12/24 hour formats.
That's about all I can really think of. I'm *extremely* pleased with my purchase and intend to have long, happy relationship with this watch!
*** REVIEW UPDATE *** 11/8/10 - A few months ago, I noticed that my watch was not holding a charge as well as it had during the first, several months of ownership. I was especially concerned when I encountered the flashing "LOW" battery indicator several times. Since there's no ideal place in my home to place the watch in sunlight to charge (lots of trees and bushes blocking windows), I would resort to setting it on my car dashboard when I went shopping or under a fluorescent lamp at work or home. Usually, this would bring the meter back up to (at least) medium strength. But the process would need to be repeated in 2-3 days. Frustrated, and thinking I picked the watch with a bad battery, I contacted Casio G-shock customer support and explained my predicament. Here is part of the response I received:
"...Solar G-Shocks must be charged, preferably using sun light rather than fluorescent lighting. You would have to leave it under the light for 73 hrs before it even reaches level one. The sun can charge it in about 17-23 hrs total. A watch that isn't charged will last about 9 months before flashing recovery. You can try letting it charge for 2-3 days, it is normal for the watch to stay on Med. If its on High and quickly goes to Low or flashes recovery, you may need to have the solar cell replaced...."
So apparently I was under the impression that charge times were far shorter than what the customer service rep told me (the result of a gross underestimation found in the instruction manual that comes with the watch). Thankfully and happily, I can report that after 3-4 days of leaving my watch in my car to charge during an 8-hour workday, the battery level indicator is once again showing a level 3 (high) charge.
I felt the need to share this update since there may be other users/potential customers who find themselves in a similar situation. (I noticed at least one very negative review which may have been prompted as such). Bottom line, you may need to be patient to get the results you expect from this timepiece.