A classic from Casio – the ATC-1200 Altimeter, Barometer and Compass model with the QW1170 movement Module introduced in 1989, might be a little old, but still looks good and very high tech, but more importantly it’s still going strong today. As with many older models such as this it’s wise to check the automatic calendar function, to ensure it remains correct today – this model is OK until 2029, so will probably see me out! (Month/Day cycle ratio pattern is repeated every 28 years – so could be corrected).
This however is one serious bit of Casio kit, incredibly well put together and beautifully fitted out with the almost science fiction style sensor housings and a very neat dial set up that manages to look just right. Dimensions are good too at just 50 mm lug to lug, so fits smaller wrists, though the case (with the sensors) width is larger at about 56 mm – however, this lies along the wrist so not really an issue. The watch case depth is the success though at under 15.5 mm, so the watch doesn’t feel big at all and in fact wears well on my average to small wrist.
The watch has a Casio flexible resin rubber buckle strap which fits with standard spring-bar fixings (I like) and measures maybe 19/20 mm, so easy to change to any kind of alternative strap should you so wish.
The standard view on the display shows on the top line – the Day of the week. The main display lower part shows the Time (12hr or 24hr) Year, Month, Date and Seconds plus a mobile seconds track around the perimeter of the dial with black segment markers against a green background which looks rather good and very clear.
In addition to the digital compass (with 5 memory settings available), this model has Altimeter, Barometer and Thermometer sensors, 5 independent Alarms and Stopwatch with split times and 2 finish times settings. It has a warning indicator for low battery and a magnetic fields abnormality indication plus a Sensor malfunction indicator. Not at all bad for 1989/90’s.
2 batteries are used in this model which are the SR927W series and these have an approximate life of up to 18 months to 2 years depending on function use. Note after replacing the batteries the display may remain blank, so it’s important to do a reset. This will empty old memory/counter settings and this is quite simple to manage – touch the AC contact and the battery (+) side OR short out the two copper “spots” on the circuit board just below and the the left of the AC mark, with metallic tweezers or similar for around 2 seconds. The display should then fire up.
I attach images to illustrate –
Note – An odd but useful tip with some of these older models is after a battery change when nothing seems to happen – push the “light” button and the display will often activate ON. But note on these complication Casio models be aware that unless reset, the display whilst it’ll look right, odd results are very likely as the memories have not been cleared.
Water Resistance is 100m – assisted by the rubber seal (you can just make out it’s recess around the case body) under the flat metal plate which is held with 4 x screws.
In amongst the many functions of this watch is the neat facility to get back to the main page – whatever screen you’re in – simply press C button (lower left) for 2 or 3 seconds and the display will revert to the main Time screen.
The late 1980’s and early 2000’s was a great time for Casio innovation and there are in fact many “odd” function style models from this time. Not only are they often well before their time and the pre-cursors for much of the technology you see today, but are viewed as quite rare collectors pieces. And this is not so much due to their age, but owing to when they were produced, as at that time it was an amazing period of technological and miniaturization experimentation, the likes of which you will probably never see again.
Another function I like is the alternate calibration of the Compass. So often these require fiddling around with rotations and button pressing at the same time, known as bi-directional calibration. You can do this on this model if you like, but I prefer the Northerly calibration, which is simpler.
Set the watch on a level surface and face the watch bezel N towards your known NORTH (check this beforehand, at home with a real compass). Hold down ‘A’ to clear the display to show –1–, then press ‘C’ ready to start. N will appear in the upper display and then press ‘D’ to start calibrating. After a short time OK appears and that’s it.
I love it and they don’t make ’em like this anymore – which is a real pity. Awesome design and fun to wear.
Instructions – Casiopathfinder_1170_owners_manual