One thing Casio has certainly got going for them is their uncanny knack of making watches to suit everyone. And if you’re not a great fan of their “G” shock stuff, then what I call their hybrid plastic/resin & stainless/metalized look models could be for you. One thing is definite, they sport some great electronics, are easy to use, tough as any and make ideal “do everything” daily beaters.
I actually have a “hybrid” model already, the Casio Tough Solar WVA-470, but more of this later, as here I want to major on the Casio AQ-190W model shown above which is my newest affordable Casio to date. I like this for all sorts of reasons and not just the price, but for having none of the over muscular lumpiness and often less than easy to use pushbuttons of a “G” shock. This particular model is easy to use, easy pushers and easy intuitive functionality and pretty good dial clarity. As I said this is all at a very affordable under £40 price tag – and function for function is very decent value indeed.
It has their competitor’s Citizen Navitimer familiarity about the dial set up, though actually clearer to read and with similar separate digital displays, and it functions in in the same manner. The contrasting background layers, clear digits, contrast and clever use of tones makes this rather good clarity wise, considering the functions shown, though the sub dial is perhaps a little reflective – a matt finish would have been so much better – but perhaps I’m being over critical.
Features – Casio Module 5082
As expected with Casio the feature list is long and mostly useful in this particular model and for those who like chronographs, the 1/1000 sec stopwatch analogue counter is a bit special at this price range.
- Resin Glass / curved Spherical Glass
- 100-meter water resistance
- Case / bezel material: Resin / Stainless steel
- Stainless Steel Band
- One-touch 3-fold Clasp
- LED light
Selectable illumination duration, with some afterglow.
- World time
29 time zones (48 cities + coordinated universal time), daylight saving on/off, Home city/World time city swapping
- 1/1000-second stopwatch
Measuring capacity: 99:59’59.999”
Measuring modes: Elapsed time, lap time, split time
Other: Speed (0～498 unit / hour), Selection distance input (0.0～99.9), Best lap indicator
- Countdown timer
Measuring unit: 1 second
Input range: 1 minute to 24 hours (1-minute increments and 1-hour increments)
- 5 daily alarms (with 1 snooze alarm) – though one is enough for me!
- Hourly time signal
- Full auto-calendar (to year 2099) – always a great feature.
- 12/24-hour format
- Regular timekeeping
Analog: 2 hands (hour, minute (hand moves every 20 seconds)
Digital: Hour, minute, second, pm, month, date, day
- Accuracy:±30 seconds per month
- Approx. battery life: 2 years on CR1220
- Size of case: 50.1 × 45.4 × 13.7 mm
- Total weight: 98 g
The amazingly bright orange/yellow back light is at 3 o’clock and being just above the 3 marker, it reflects right across the dial and manages to illuminate both the analogue hands and the digital windows, which is a surprise. Certainly bright enough to read the time in the dark and maybe even to find your way to the bathroom at night! and better than expected, especially compared to some other Casio models. Note that the analogue hands and markers are also luminous and pretty decent in their own right.
The World Time feature is about as good as it gets and again very Citizen like. This makes it really easy to adjust, without continual reference to instructions, so is a practical watch for travel.
It’s easy to set the time or to select another Time Zone or indeed change from your current time to your destination time. As the digital and analogue times are linked, you first select World Time and set the destination Zone you want, then “Swap” the digital time you’ve just set on to the hands – simply by pressing buttons A and B at the same time (that is the two upper buttons ) and the hands immediately move quickly round to the new digital setting. Your previous analogue time will now show on the digital screen. On your return journey again select World Time, press both buttons A & B simultaneously again and job done – the times will revert once again. Very simple in practice.
However, whilst the functionality of this model is commendable, inexplicably the quality of the band is let down by rather sharp edges, which can cut into the wrist slightly and this is a real shame. Perhaps this was just on my one.
I say this because in other aspects the bracelet is good, specifically in how it fits to the watch case, via a standard 18 mm spring-bar and is not a moulded Casio only affair.
Because of that you would think that it could be changed for a standard 18 mm wide strap or bracelet. Well it can, but it’s not quite as easy as it sounds and in any case you really shouldn’t have to, and that’s the point.
The reason for my caution here is that whilst the spring-bar fitting is 18 mm, the actual width of the bracelet at the case is around 24 mm, so an 18 mm strap will look much too small in proportion to the watch. I managed to get round that by fitting a modified 24 mm silicon deployment strap, which wasn’t too difficult to do and it looks absolutely fine (when I get a photo of it, I’ll post it here). The watch now has the comfort it should have had at the start!
However, bracelet apart, in terms of price, functions, features, intuitive ease of use, size, weight and style, this is a very, very good buy and it even manages a 100m Water Resistance as well – So it’s really got quite a lot going for it. A friend of mine has a rubber strap version of this model he picked up in India, where it seems to be very popular (Oh had I known!).
I’ve done a brief comparison of the two Casio hybrids I have and if pushed as to which I like best – well I’m stuck – both different, but both VERY good.
My WVA-470 Waveceptor (Radio Control), Tough Solar, World Time with it’s 5053 module overall marginally might have fractionally better build quality and whilst the bracelet certainly is better, it’s let down by being a Casio fit only.
For travel you basically have to set a new Home Time, but that said, it’s actually very easy to do – press button A (top left) to first see the transmitter selection, then toggle button C (lower left) to the City code – once selected press button A twice. The hands will move to the new Home Time, so pretty fast and easy to manage. It’s a deceptively simple and understated looking watch and it’s also very comfortable to wear and use.
Any downside – NONE if you’re happy with the Casio fit bracelet.
And back to the AQ-190W model (module 5082) whilst it doesn’t have Solar or Radio Control, it does have great functionality, especially regarding the World Time feature – and I like the fact you can instantly “swap” any digital Time Zone to the analogue hand indication which is perfect for traveling. Whether the 1/1000 sec chronograph is necessary, depends on personal preference. Personally, I don’t really need such accuracy.
Any downside – The sharp sided bracelet on my model is really inexcusable from Casio and whilst a strap could used in place, this is hardly the point. Also after wearing this model for a while, I note the grey coloured hour and minute hands, in certain light lose some contrast against the background. These would be so much better if coloured white. This is something that I didn’t expect, but noticeable after use for a bit and whilst not a sale breaker, should have been avoidable.
As regards Analogue/Digital models, I was starting to think these were on the decline – but far from it. Casio alone have literally dozens of variations on a theme, from the more expensive right down to the incredible under $20 models and each with varying degrees of functionality. It’s a mark of their remarkable strength in depth that almost all of them are pretty good with just a different emphasis here and there, as to the actual featured function.
Unlike their totally resin cased range, where Casio’s quality is near unsurpassed, the composite build models are a different matter. You really do have to carefully check build quality. As seen here with the AQ-190, whilst the watch/case etc is fine, the add on bracelet in my case was not so fine. But it varies with each model and perhaps influenced by where a particular part of the hybrid make up was produced and/or assembled. Some like the WVA-470 for example are about as good as you’ll get and yet model wise only marginally more expensive than the other.
There’s no question in my mind and fortunate for my wallet, that in general with Casio, I find the low to mid range priced models represent best value. I invariably find the more expensive range such as Edifice and so on, are not best value.
The model featured in this Post and more so with it’s pal hybrid Wave-ceptor model both represent really good and affordable value.
Also getting away from the grey resin only cased models, I like the look of the composite resin/steel case structure, which effectively lowers the overall price point and they are each a sensible size and whichever one you prefer in this Post, both have exceptional functionality. And they are two of a wide selection from Casio that manage to get the balance just right, and yet I also note are rarely if ever advertised highly. Casio’s marketing hype tends to be geared towards their more expensive models, which I suppose is par for the course.
But don’t be fooled. Really good value Casio models are there, but usually just under the radar and you may have to actively seek them out.
But if you do, I can almost guarantee you won’t regret it.
Note – The WVA-470 Waveceptor,AQ-190W was featured here in my “Watch of the Week” as it still represents a great value watch. I also note there are quite a few variations of this watch (mine could be replaced by now) such as the WVA-105H, the WVA-M630D, the WVA-M640 to name but three . . . . so it appears it was and is still a winning combination and popular.