Everyone has a smart phone these days, so the once-practical wrist watch has now become nothing more
than a fashion statement–for most. But I am old, my eyesight isn’t that great, and sometimes I want to know what time it is without trekking my phone around. I’ve been known to go for hours without my phone at my hip.
|Casio MDV106-1A Diver’s Watch Product Link|
Because of the above, I am always on the lookout for a simple, nice looking and easy to read watch that I can turn my wrist and see what time it is. Another fallout from the watch-as-fashion trend is that case sizes are getting HUGE. For the most part that’s fine by me. I want a slightly bigger case so that’s it’s easy to read the watch, without getting into “arm clock” territory, so I’ve been looking at case diameters around the 40mm-ish range. My review sample was purchased from Amazon for about $40 with the usual 2 day Prime.
This is a “diver’s watch” which is water resistant to 200 meters, which is accomplished via a screw-down crown, which I’ve never seen on such a low end watch–kudos to Casio. It also features a stainless steel case with a rubber (they call it ‘resin’) band. The rest is pretty standard stuff: mineral crystal, Japanese quartz movement, etc. What really drew me to this model is a case size of only 40 mm, and not the ridiculous case sizes I was seeing like 48 mm and 50 mm. I’m not a petite guy, and I would almost wear those larger case sizes if they were more comfortable.
Official Specs (From Amazon)
Opening up, first off, it looks beautiful. At first glance this could easily be a Rolex or Omega, and it takes a second or third glance to see that this is a cheap watch. I certainly wouldn’t think this is a Casio at first glance.
The case size is listed at 40 mm and it’s a big 40 mm. Update: probably because it’s actually 44mm. The band has a good feel, and it’s surprisingly comfortable for a watch of this size. The case is beefy as expected for a largish diver’s watch and made from a decent looking stainless steel. I’ve been reading lots of reviews on Casio watches and some of the ones with the resin case/band combination have been plagued by issues with the band. That and a lot of their models use proprietary bands that cost most of what the watches cost new. The case on this watch looks very standard.
Another thing I noticed– and was mentioned in the reviews– is that the watch is a little confusing to set. I think it’s just that the crown doesn’t have an ideal feel to it.
Fit and Finish
It’s hard to find anything good to pick on about my review sample. The watch came with no scratches, smudges, nicks or tool marks which are almost guaranteed at this price point. My only gripe is that the second hand doesn’t hit the markers dead center. It hits all the markers a little lower than center. My OCD isn’t very strong and doesn’t really bother me. If I didn’t look at it specifically for the review, I wouldn’t have noticed myself. The bezel is also off by a hair, which I also had to seriously scrutinize to be able to detect.
Overall I would rate the fit and finish as very good, especially given the price point. Someone in their QC department is paying attention.
The dial of this model has a classic diver’s watch look. Simple, functional, I’m a big fan of this style dial because it is so easy to read. All 12 main markers on the dial feature GITD material, as well as all three hands. The GITD material may be on the cheap side, but they are very liberal with it.
A date marker is featured at the 3 o’clock position on the dial. The Casio name is prominently placed, as well as a little marlin symbol with “WR 200M” below it.
Glow In the Dark
A cheap, well made watch has to cut corners somewhere, and one of the things that this model gives up is the quality of the luminous GITD material. Clearly this model uses the cheap material. In fact, it uses the cheap-cheap material, which is also mentioned in a few of the other reviews I read. In fact, it was hard to get a good photo of because even with a 1,000 lumen flashlight charging it for a few seconds, it still took a few tries to get a photo of it semi-freshly charged without having to crank up the exposure time.
Having said all that, as long as I charge it before bed a few seconds with a flashlight, I can usually read it just fine in the middle of the night. So it’s not horrible.
The case has a very nice polished stainless finish to it, and it’s beefy and solid looking. It’s almost too polished to be a natural finish, so we’ll see how it holds up. Certainly no complaints out of the box. This is a standard looking diver’s watch, and the case reflects that fact.
Crown: Screw-down crown, which is how it achieves its 200 M rating.
This is a typical rubber diver’s watch band. The MVD106 is not a $500 watch, and the band reflects this fact. It looks fairly sturdy but a little on the cheap side. As a rough guess, you’d probably get about 1-2 years daily use out of it, which is more than acceptable for a watch at this price point.
Because this watch doesn’t use a propriety band, the one it came with is just fine for me. If I wear the band out, it means that I really like the watch, and if I really like the watch, putting an aftermarket band on it won’t be an issue.
Not quite as good as I’d expect, but not terrible either. It seems to lose about 45 seconds a month in the couple months I’ve owned it. Sometimes even quartz movements take a little time to break in and stabilize, so we’ll see how it goes.
This model features what Casio calls an “anti-reverse bezel” which means that it can only be turned counter-clockwise. Most watches with a bezel like this one can be turned either direction to sit on the minute hand, which gives you a rudimentary timer. I’m not a diver, so I don’t see the point in making it “anti-reverse”.
The bezel features a glob of GITD material at the 12 o’clock position.
Setting the Time
It works how you would expect except that it’s a screw down crown, so you have to loosen the crown before you set it. Then pulling the crown out a half click .sets the date and a full click sets the time. It’s very touchy though, and really easy to miss the date detent and wonder why the minute hand is moving when it felt like a half click. I read a couple reviews that said the same thing. It’s not so bad once you know what to feel for when you pull the crown out, but it can be confusing the first time you go to set it.
Day to day this watch is pretty comfortable. Not quite as comfortable as some of my smaller watches, but not bad either. The watch sits at an angle where the crown doesn’t get pushed into my hand like some watches with the larger cases do, which means I can wear it for a week at a time without having a crown-shaped indentation in the back of my hand.
The main reason I bought this watch was because of the simple, easy to read layout. It can be easily read without my reading glasses, even in the dark.
Another thing to note about wearing it daily is that the band seems to pick up dirt and other crud. It’s easy to see it though and keep it clean.
|Yep, its water resistant!|
So far I am very pleased with my purchase and impressed with the quality I got at this price point. I have a couple minor concerns about how the case finish will hold up, but if this is a legit stainless steel finish and not some cheap chrome plating, then this watch may just be with me in a long time. Forty dollars is certainly not much to risk.
Casio makes some really neat models, but one of the problems I have with their overall lineup is that some models use plastic, “steel-looking” cases and lots of models use proprietary bands you can only buy from Casio, which are usually most of what the original watch cost. This is one of the few analog models they make that feature a classic look. Hopefully they will make more classic looking models like the MDV106.
|Shown with a Citizen and Invicta for scale. The Casio has a big case but it’s not huge|
|The weight is reasonable given the watch’s larger size|
Update: Here’s a link to a company that sells replacement parts for this watch. Their shipping prices seem really high, but it’s worth having as a reference at least. I got a battery from eBay for about $1.50 delivered, and I’m still looking for a cheap o-ring.