Always on the lookout for a low priced, well made, yet clever digital watch that goes that bit further.
And I’ve found the Casio AE1200WH-1AV to be such a model and one that in no way could ever be considered basic.
As far as functions are concerned and despite it’s amazing price tag (£17) this is one serious watch. And it’s many features and functions are both practical and useful.
It has large easy to read main time digits with the Day, Date, Month, Hour, minute and seconds on a high contrast display. It’s a chronograph too with a Stop watch (1/100sec) and Countdown Timer.
Unusually and usefully it also has an Analogue clock (with digital H,M and secs hands) giving your local time as a permanent view whatever mode you are in.
And this model incorporates a pretty comprehensive World Time feature, with an “at a glance” World Time zone map, 31 time zones and 48 cities, UTC and Daylight Savings settings. But in addition it also has a quick jump feature to show 4 other time zones in rotation and a selectable auto scan feature too. Another useful trick is the quick swap feature from Home time to any World Time you have selected, usually the preserve of some serious upmarket models.
If you need an alarm then your well catered for here with 5 preset and repeatable Daily Alarms and a One-Time Alarm. There is also an hourly signal which beeps twice on the hour if you so select.
A selectable duration LED light with afterglow of either 1.5 seconds or 3 seconds for easy viewing at night.
You also don’t need to bother with the annoying task of correcting the days at the end of those silly months that don’t have 31 days – the Auto Calendar takes care of all that, right up to the year 2099.
And who needs Solar, Eco-Drive, Automatic or Kinetic with it’s outstanding 10 year battery life with it’s CR2025 battery.
The light resin case and steel back plate with internal seal ensures a 100m Water Resistance, which is just great for that holiday swimming. It comes with a really quite good and unobtrusive synthetic resin flexible strap and black coated buckle. I’ve found the strap to be quite comfortable, the divers “waves” shape not really large enough to cause me discomfort. The strap is also set to 18mm spring lug bars, so an alternative strap could be used if preferred, BUT note there is little room allowed between bar and case and a NATO strap may be difficult if not impossible to fit, though a standard fitting silicon deployment style might. (I’ll update on the silicon strap at a future date).
The “glass/crystal” is a very clear resin and the dial contrast is exceptional, so this is a very easy watch to read, which is a big plus point in my opinion.
Japanese Quartz movement with +/-30secs per month accuracy.
For night use it has a two setting back light which is one of the best I’ve used yet, at either 1.5 secs or 3 secs when pressing the top right pusher. The bottom right pusher selects 4 quick view World Times in rotation, which is handy as one of them is Paris, so for us Europeans from UK very useful. The day and date display window gives the City, the month then the date (not the right order for us in UK, but I’m OK with it).
Size wise it’s neat at just 39.5mm (42mm with buttons) x 13mm Squarish case profile and a clear surprisingly tough resin crystal/glass. The lug to lug is 45mm which is neater than most and it fits my 170mm wrist just fine.
I mean WOW!
Price £17.00 – even bigger WOW!
This is a serious piece of kit – and I kid you not. What you get for your money is incredible value and as a “Holiday” watch, I could not have found anything better – anywhere?
Wherever you are in the world, just set the zone – Swimming or Snorkeling? – no problem. Need an alarm to catch that flight? – easy, you have a choice of 5!
Just a word on the highly commendable 100m WR on this model. I mean that’s really quite good, not true Diver quality rated of course, but seriously good considering a simple square steel back with 4 corner screws and internal seal – it all seems so easy. (how many watches do you meet with a paltry 5bar as their best effort?). It simply confirms my opinion that there is really no excuse for poor Water Resistance in ANY watch today.
So what are the downsides?
I have heard it said the buttons are too easy to use and inadvertent operation is possible and annoying. Well I can honestly say on this model to date, this has NOT happened to me yet! and the pushers “push” with a reasonably firm consistency. That said, I don’t wear watches at the very, very end of my wrist beyond the wrist bone, like some folks, so my hand even stretched back, simply can’t operate the buttons.
I’m tempted to describe this watch as the “ultimate”, though that might be too much praise, but frankly and from a Practical and Price viewpoint, and let’s face it what else do we need, it really doesn’t get much better!
And here’s an interesting thought. Perhaps you’re unlucky enough on holiday to have your watch stolen?
As one of my friends tells me – “Not a problem, I always take 2 of these little blighters with me”. And believe it or not he has another 3 at home, which I said at the time was a bit silly! However sometimes things said come back to haunt you, as after I got one for myself, thinking of my friend and liking the watch so much, I ended up buying another one for my wife!
So for me there are no downsides at all with this Casio World Timer model. It does everything its supposed to do, clear to read day or night and manages each function very well and at an absolutely rock bottom price.
Now whilst I may very well use this model for holidays, for which it is ideal of course – the question is – is this just a holiday watch?
The answer is absolutely NOT! – not by a long chalk!
Note – Another World Timer model similar to the above is the Casio AE1000W-1B, which has a round case, though I personally prefer the dial layout and the retro style of the above. But both represent great value from Casio.