Old directions

Been having a look at my old digital compass watch models and rather impressed at the fact they still work pretty well.  In fact accuracy wise they are still holding their own against more modern offerings and they have the advantage of being within a much neater footprint, despite later sensor size reductions.

Take the CPW-100 for example which features an early 1031 module set.  This model appeared back in 1993 and one of the first Casio’s to feature a compass sensor.  The circular digital display is still rather novel, but it shows what you need to see very well.

Casio CPW-100 digital compass 1993

Casio CPW-100 digital compass 1993

I like this model for all sorts of reasons in addition to the neat dimensions as just 40mm case diameter, though if you include the sensor it’s 50mm across.  But as the entire model is just 12 mm thick and the lug to lug is very small by today’s standards, so easily fits the smaller wrist.

Note the inner display normally shows running seconds.  The compass works as a direct read push button and after a second indicates magnetic North/south with the digital arrow pointer in the centre circular window.  The Direction is also indicated at the top of the dial as NW, ENE, etc. (here shown as WSW) in place of the Day of the week.

Compass indication - note the digital arrow pointer - to North - and the Direction of 12 position in place of the Date.

Compass indication – note the digital arrow pointer – to North – and the Direction of 12 position (WSW) in place of the Date.

It is an instant reading which does not change even if you move the watch, so doesn’t, like modern counterparts, take a reading every second.  It does however have a “navigation”mode which allows you to store up to 5 sets of measurement data in memory, along with the date and time of the measurement.  These can be recalled later to trace your progress on a map for example.  To aid navigation the outer bezel can be rotated (N mark to line up with indicated N for example).

Note – the CPW-100 has 2 x batteries – Renata 399 (LR927) held in individual holders.  Operating manual – Casio CPW-100

Another model of the same period is the CPW200 which features module 1030.

Casio CPW100 and 200 Digital Compass models. Circa 1993

Casio CPW100 and 200 Digital Compass models. Circa 1993

The dial layout is more familiar to modern Casios, plus it has a running seconds digital track around the circumference of the dial.  The module difference is only in regards to the digital display as in this instance the compass indication shows not just the North/south line, but also the other E & W cardinal points, around the seconds track.  In fact both models use their respective running Seconds track as the compass indication.

In all other respects function wise the two models are the same – Both have Compass and Navigation modes, 24 hr Stopwatch with split/finish times, Countdown Alarm from 1 m to 24 hours with selectable auto-repeat.  Also there is a a daily Alarm mode and Time signal function etc.

In comparison to the more modern Casio Compass watches these both perform really well, though neither have Compass Declination adjustments possible, so very much Magnetic North has to be used in any orienteering.  That said as the Declination where I live is just 1.3ºW and would be just 1ºW if entered into a modern Casio, so for general directional compass work, walking etc. both these models perform well enough  for me.  They are also both water resistant to 50 m and 100 m respectively, though with any of these 20+ year old resin/metal back models, this should be taken lightly.  The seals are often dried and shrunken and replacement is tricky, and whilst not impossible – I don’t go out of my way to drown them – or me these days!

In truth the fact these work at all is a bonus and both are in pretty good condition overall.  Module wise both are perfect and function as new and they both “wear” well on the wrist and can often attract comment (if noticed as they are both very neat), though at my age folks seem to take it for granted that I’ll have old things!

This from my young grand-daughter just the other day!  🙂

NoteAnother Compass model from the same period is the CPW220 ( planned for a later Post) features Module qw1286, which has the exact same functionality as Module qw1030.  This is not surprising as within this “novelty”period, Casio whilst introducing individuality in their digital range, inevitably featured similar if not identical modules, to fit the various dial designs.

Best value Casio ABC?

Been looking for something to replace the Casio PRW3000 I had stolen from luggage that went missing on a trip last year in darkest Africa.  On the bag’s reappearance my Casio was missing along with other stuff, but the watch was the one thing I missed most of all.

When I returned to the UK, I got myself a Tissot Solar Expert (my first true Swiss ABC model) which I’d always wanted anyway and to this day it’s been my alternative compass watch for my Casio. With its touch screen concept ana/digi system the Tissot is very unlike Casio and whilst really clever operationally, somehow I still miss the dare I say, “older and more conventional” familiarity of the Casio digital set up.

Casio Protrek PRG270B-3 with Textile buckle strap.

Casio Protrek PRG270B-3 with Textile buckle strap.

So that said I decided at long last to perhaps consider another Casio and whilst the 3000 series is still ongoing, I’ve instead picked another model with the same and now upgraded sensor set, but at a more affordable price.  And not tempted by the Titanium, this time went for the Casio Pro Trek PRG270B-3, in the green and black resin G shock style case.  Note that this version has the textile band as opposed to the resin band.  The reason for my choice here is important to me because of my wrist size.

Note the textile band close fit to the wrist.

Note the textile band close fit to the wrist.

The resin band versions effectively adds to the lug to lug size just enough to cause fitting issues when worn on my average size wrist.  Whereas this textile band version reduces this dimension to under 50 mm and it can swing freely 90º from the case and so fits much more snuggly.  Being G shock style of course it’s tough enough to withstand almost anything, which I suppose is a definite plus when considering the places I tend to end up in.

Great look in green/black with textile strap.  Bright display in any light conditions.

Great look in green/black with textile strap. Bright display in any light conditions.

I also selected this Casio model because it’s a middle of the road example of both the genre and price point.  It appears to offer decent value and considering my PRW3000 cost twice as much (a Japan domestic model at the time).  It also has the internal module 3415, successor to the 3414 of my 3000 model which was already very good.  I should also say that the clarity of the green (almost gold) background digital display is really excellent and one of the best I’ve seen from any Casio to date.

Note strap allows small wrist fitting (has no extenders fro case)

Note strap allows small wrist fitting (has no extenders from case)

The 3415 module set means ease of use, logical controls and function switching.  Feature wise it’s Solar Powered, World Time, Triple Sensor, (Alti, Baro & Compass), excellent full display back light.   Also the overall color scheme is definitely my favorite and looks great.  10Bar Water resistance plus Chrono, Timers, Chime etc. as usual with the Casio set up and all very easy and familiar to set up.  Note too the extreme light weight of just 62 gms including strap means this is a very practical wear and forget watch.

Good wrist fit with v3 sensor

Good wrist fit with v3 sensor

The green and black textile strap is a cut above for Casio, being very well made, approximately 23 mm wide with contrasting full stitching and with a black vinyl stitched backing and keeper.  Note the keeper stays where it’s put, which is a plus.  The buckle holes are fully metal ring edged so will not fray and a delight to wear.  The strap fixing to the case is approximately 17 mm and overall the strap appears water resistant.

The ABC feature set is as good as these get at the moment and the ease of use commendable.  Compass declination can be set in a matter of a second or two and it can just a quickly be switched off.  The compass takes just a second to operate via the direct button @2 and graphically shows magnetic North direction plus the other three cardinals, the heading @12 (where the 12 of the watch face is pointing) as N, NW, S etc. and the bearing indication or direction angle in degrees of the 12 also.  It takes reading virtually continuously each second (for 60 seconds) and directional movement of the watch will be shown immediately on the display.  It also has bearing retention memory and pretty comprehensive it is too and lining the watch face up with a map (setting the map) is easy, surprisingly clear and effective.

Setting the map with the Casio PRG270B-03

Setting the map with the Casio PRG270B-03

The Barometric function is also very comprehensive as is the Altitude mode, with plenty of Trekking and Climbing features within the programs to suit most folks I would have thought.

Other features are – a 999 hour Stopwatch, 24 hour Timer, 5 Daily Alarms, one with snooze, an Hour Time Signal (2 beeps), Auto Light function when wrist turned 40º towards wearer with OFF/ON darkness sensor, adjustable illumination time – either 1.5 or 3 seconds.  I also like the optional main display pattern.

My preferred display, showing Day, Date, Time and running Seconds.

My preferred display, showing Day, Date, Time and running Seconds.

You can have the Calendar display in Normal Time mode indicate the Day and Date OR Month and Date OR instead the Barometric Pressure Trend Graph – this in addition to the Time and running Seconds.  I prefer it set to Day and Date.

In fact there is a whole pile of stuff in this module and the instruction booklet or online version is well worth reading – and fortunately the system in use, is as about as intuitive as you can get, making this watch a pleasure to wear and use.  And finally I set the time via a Radio Controlled source a week or so ago and it’s still within a second, so accuracy is virtually set and forget in practical terms, the Solar Power means no battery issues ever and it looks as if I’ve found my new Daily Beater.

I’m very pleased!

Note – Whilst I said I wanted to get back to the familiarity of the Casio digital display system, I’m not suggesting the Tissot Touch Expert is in some way inferior.  Quite the opposite – but it is however quite different and in Compass mode actually works like a “proper” compass.  The hands aligning as one to point North and the digital display indicating degrees of the 12 position to North, including the Heading setting ie. N, W, SSE, etc.  It also takes continuous readings every second for 60 seconds.  It also has an instant Azimuth “beep” system when the watch is aligned with the heading you wish to take – very useful as a trekker and if used to map & compass, then the Tissot is highly practical.

Co-incidentally I checked the Barometer sensors on both watches today and they both read the same, exactly – and that’s a definite improvement over the old days when different models and certainly brands – meant different readings – I’m impressed!

So which ABC do I prefer?  Well that’s a difficult one to answer as my practical side says Tissot, yet absolute feature wise I might say Casio . . . . Which is why I love them both!

But best value for money?  This Casio without question!

Diesel fashion

I’ve said it before and no doubt I will again, Fashion Houses are definitely into the watch business.  Diesel is one Brand that I quite like and whilst many of their dial designs are perhaps over the top and often over-cluttered for me personally, every so often they come out with a model that is really rather smart.

The Diesel Arges DZ1660 disk date watch.

The Diesel Arges DZ1660 disk date watch.

The Diesel DZ1660 featuring a Japanese Quartz movement is one which shows off a practical dial layout and a decent build quality.  The red date wheel idea is quite striking and looks great in contrast to the dark look dial, and is complimented by the colored center seconds hand.

Class detail on this stainless gunmetal finish case

Class detail on this stainless gunmetal finish case

Well proportioned hands and markers again give a pleasing balance to the overall dial layout.  The case is Stainless Steel in gunmetal tone and measures at 46 mm diameter by just 12 mm depth.  The Tan strap is 24 mm wide with gunmetal stainless buckle closing and again in a nice complimentary tone to the case.

Tan & gunmetal Stainless steel complimentary buckle layout

Tan & gunmetal Stainless steel complimentary buckle layout

This watch is also Water Resistant to 10 ATM or 330ft.

I’ve seen it here in the UK recently discounted to £94.49 and if I was looking for a gift watch for someone, this would definitely be on my short list and to my mind looks well above it’s price point.  Very elegant and yet has that neat and rather subtle fashion edge with the red accented date wheel and the overall dial color combination really works.

For me this is a grown up Diesel model and not before time – I’m hoping for more . . . .

Hippie Chic . . .

Now OK I don’t really know what that means either – but this is the Indie Watch from yes you guessed it Hippie Chic of California.  I suppose it’s a sort of fashion accessory watch geared towards those Hippie and chic young folk out there, though “hip” for me has visions of a much needed replacement variety and “chic”? – well maybe once upon a time . . . I do remember Woodstock!

Indie Watch by Hippe Chic

Indie Watch by Hippe Chic

Anyway I can certainly see the attraction of this for the young “hippie” style guy or girl and purely co-incidentally, a friend was here recently and her daughter is I’m reliably informed into Goth? – Well whatever, but she had on her wrist amongst other stuff, a neat watch strappy affair and this was it – the Hippie Chic – and I suppose she was just that!

I have to say it looked great and suited her, so this Watch Company seems to have found a market and good luck to them.
Now the watch part is pretty basic I suppose, though it does have a Seiko quartz PC21S movement and the case is 25 mm x 25 mm x 7 mm and located in amongst the split leather strap, wood/alloy/ceramic beads and metal studs.  Only has a Water Resistance to 1 ATM (supposedly 10m) , but throwing yourself into the pool probably not the best idea, but hey it’s a fashion thing, so why should it be in the pool with you anyway.  The split strap arrangement seems to be adjustable (with snap studs) from around 19 mm/22 mm, though obviously is worn loose bracelet style.

Not the first of these modern young guy/girl things I’ve seen but it looks OK and I like the fact the little watch has a centre seconds hand – and that’s a bonus as many don’t.

Another bonus is the price at around £18.00 here in the UK and that’s cheap enough to be an attractive proposition to any youngster and is also pretty good value for a little piece of Hippie Chic fashion.

Perhaps not for me of course, even though I could look out my old buckskin outfit, with the wide leather belt (with 12 harmonicas in their respective keyed holsters).

Trouble is whilst the Hippie Chic Indie might fit, the flared tight leather jeans certainly would not!

Those darned hips!   😉