on August 20, 2006
Having owned the GW500AJP-1AV for a week, here are my thoughts on some of the points raised by the reviewers of this and other G-Shock models:
1. In my opinion, concerns about the thickness of the watch have been overstated. Certainly, if slimness is an *important* criterion for you, this isn't your watch. But you'll have no trouble fitting it under your shirt cuff. [Though the manual cautions that doing so will hamper the solar function.] Even my ridiculously slender wrists support it - physically and (I hope) esthetically - without difficulty.
2. The G-Shock models are advertised as rugged. I'm not about to use mine as a hockey puck to put that to the test. But it certainly *feels* sturdy. [The thickness helps here.] And from what I've read about them elsewhere, they do shrug off a considerable amount of punishment.
3. Everyone's experience with receiving the timekeeping signal from Fort Collins will vary depending on the particulars of their location and the attention they pay to the manual. I live only 350 miles from the transmitter but with modestly sized mountains in between - which can be a dealbreaker. Although it took a longer period of motionlessness for the watch to lock in than the manual had told me to allow, it has received a strong signal ever since. [And keep in mind that the watch is accurate to 15 seconds a month even without synchronization.]
3. When I first unpacked the watch, the battery level was at Medium - which you would expect after it having been in a box for who knows how long. After 3 hours of direct exposure to bright sunlight [which you should do in the early morning to keep the watch from roasting], the battery level has remained High ever since.
4. The four control buttons are slightly recessed - for decreased vulnerability, I imagine. This means you will need to operate them with a directly perpendicular press by the edge of your fingernail, rather than an angled mashing under the meat of your fingertip. I can see why this irritates some people. [It did require a small mental adjustment on my part.] However, I think it was a legitimate design decision.
5. The leftmost of the three circular "gauges" at the top of the display is meant to mimic the sweep of a minute hand on an analog watch. Speaking as someone whose attachment to that visual "pie-slice" style of time reading has been my main reason for sticking with analog watches until now, I think it's a terrific idea. In practice, though, the gauge is too small to be useful for that purpose. [For my eyes, anyway.] However, I don't mind particularly - since I think the three gauges look cool simply as decoration.
6. Someone else commented that the black resin wrist band is not replaceable. I'm not sure if that's true. However, replacing it would be no casual affair. So if you won't be content with this kind of band, you should look for a different watch. I prefer leather bands myself. But this one is in keeping with the toughness of the rest of the watch and certainly comfortable enough to wear.
On the whole, I'm very happy with this purchase. If you enjoy having an accurately set timepiece - and who doesn't? - it's difficult to overstate the satisfaction of radio-synchronization. A good mechanical watch is accurate to 5 seconds a day. A good quartz watch is accurate to less than 1 second a day. As long as it's in signal range, this watch will be accurate to less than 1 second for the next 60 million years [[...] - or at least until the US government stops broadcasting, at which point you'll probably have other things to worry about. When someone asks you for the time, you will be able to give them *The* time.
on June 18, 2006
I first bought a Casio G-Shock type watch back in about '82, a DW-1000, actually a precursor to the G-Shock. Still works great to this day, though I've replaced the battery twice and replaced the resin band with a metal one. This watch has served me well over the years from hiking to scuba diving. So I decided it was time to upgrade to the latest technology - a solar powered G-Shock with "atomic" timekeeping.
This new watch performs great so far. It synchronizes to the Fort Collins signal every night without problems. I live roughly 700 miles from the transmitter. In the good old days I used to dial in the time signal on a shortwave radio to synchronize my watches. It's great to have a watch I can forget about setting.
I was a little concerned before I bought this watch that Casio was relying on the time sync and the watch might not be accurate without it. This is important to me because I frequently travel internationally. Not a problem. My watch had last been synced about 6 weeks prior to my receiving it, and was off about 12 seconds. That's 2 seconds a week or less than 2 minutes a year.
The other feature I especially like is the easy world time - a couple button presses and I can show time at whatever time zone I am in. Other functions like the stopwatch are easy to use without constantly referring to the manual.
There are 3 round dials at top. The left acts like an analog minute hand. The center shows the battery charge, and the right shows if any secondary functions are active, like the alarms or stopwatch. The text on the right dial is almost impossible to read regardless of how young your eyes are.
I think this watch looks great, but it is thick - almost 5/8 inch thick. So if you like svelte watches this isn't for you. The resin band is integral to the watch, so replacing it with a standard band is not an option. This is probably the only weak point.
The manual is small and thick, but can be downloaded in PDF form from the Casio web site.
on March 18, 2010
I usually don't give a product a 5 star rating unless there are no cons whatsoever, but the cons on this watch are just nitpicky stuff anyway. I have always been a Timex Ironman buyer and this is my first Casio. I will never go back. This is the coolest watch I have owned. Just the feature alone where you can turn on the light just by tilting your wrist makes everyone say "Wow! That's Cool!". Below is my list of good and not so good, some I have experienced and some came from others.
1. Tough as Hell! Can't hardly hurt it.
2. Charges the battery with light! You got to love that! (Cool Feature #1)
3. Sets itself every night. It is ALWAYS within 1 second of the official U.S. time. (Cool Feature #2)
4. Can be set so the light comes on in the dark just by tilting your wrist. And yes, the watch knows when it is dark! (Cool feature #3......really cool!)
5. If you take the watch off at night and put it on your nightstand (because you will turn the light on a lot as you roll around in bed), it will go to "sleep" to conserve the battery. Yes, the watch also knows when it is not moving around. (Cool feature #4)
6. It is comfortable and surprisingly light for its size.
Not So Good:
1. The band that comes with the watch is the ONLY band that will fit it. I have not had to replace mine nor does it look like it will happen any time soon, But I am sure it will not be an easy process.
2. Most of the words and functions on the watch face are very difficult to read, and I have excellent eyes. The left dial gives you an analog version of where you are in the current hour. People who like analog watches for this reason will like it, but for the most part it is just a filler feature on the watch face.
3. So far, nobody has made a rechargable battery that does not eventually wear out. This battery will wear out at some time and I understand it is quite an ordeal to replace it. This will not likely happen until about 5-10 years of use.
4. If you wear long sleeves and don't get outside much in the winter, the battery charge level may get too low and it will go to sleep. Easily fixed though....just set it in a sunny window for a day.
5. My biggest gripe......there is NO lap feature on the chronograph. Hard to believe that somone would put a chronograph on a watch without this but it is not there. I would also like to see a count-down timer. The Timex Ironman has this and I used it all the time.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this watch. I love it! In my opinion, it blows the Ironman out of the water for everyday use.
First off, I agree that this watch can be found in retail stores for about that price or less and you can try it out while you are there. Once you own this watch, you can forget about needing to change a dead battery when you least expect it. This is due to the built-in solar panel. Also, it can update itself to the atomic time (USA) by using a signal that is automatically obtained by the watch early in the morning while you sleep. This watch has a tilt sensor that will automatically turn on the indiglo light when you go to look at it. I have had this watch for a few years now, and there is not a scratch on it. The band is still in perfect condition, but a little dirty. This is a watch that you can forget about replacing for many, many years.
on November 1, 2005
This is an excellent watch. It is virtually indestructible, feeds on sunlight, and "phones home." The common criticisms of this and its atomic G-Shock siblings are that they are cumbersome and ugly. Admittedly, it is not the slimmest, sleekest watch in the world. And no, it isn't the most elegant either. And clearly, style and comfort do indeed enter into the equation when you are shopping for a watch. But this is not a fashion watch, nor was it ever meant to be one. It is a functional one. You might wear a sleek, beautiful Movado watch to the opera, but you are not likely to subject such a watch to all the stresses and strains of an active lifestyle. This watch will take whatever you can throw at it and then some, and it will be accurate to the atomic second. So, it is a very different kind of watch from a stylish Movado. My Movado sits quietly in the darkness of my jewelry cabinet most of the time; it is "too good" to wear every day.
I have worn my atomic G-Shock for over a year now, and have grown to depend on it. However, I recently decided to purchase another. Here's why: The watch does indeed feed on sunlight. You never need to hassle with a battery. You may have it fully charged in October. But as you go into the dark months of winter, without adequate exposure to sunlight, the watch will slowly begin losing its charge. Eventually, in the middle of winter, you may find it going into a state of hibernation if its charge falls below a certain threshold. In that event, all you can do is take it off and leave it in the feeble winter sunlight for a number of days until it is recharged. During that recharging time, you will need a backup watch to wear, if you have one. I didn't. I was originally going to buy a cheap stand-in, but decided instead to buy a second atomic G-Shock, so impressed was I by the first one's resilience and dependability.
In summary, this watch is not meant to replace the stylish watch you wear to the opera or other dressy occasions. This is a functional, everyday watch, resilient, self-sufficient, and intelligent.
on April 19, 2007
The watch performs as advertised.
Atomic clock. I live 2k miles from Ft. Collins and the watch automatically syncs every night, even if I don't put it near a window.
Solar recharge. The watch arrived with a low battery. It charged up to full after sitting in the sun for an afternoon. Since then it has been on full charge with no special actions on my part.
The watch is big and heavy. I take it off when typing because it slides down to the end of my wrist and knocks against my hand.
The watch's user interface is unintuitive. This is the first watch I've owned where I had to read (and re-read) the manual to set an alarm or the hourly charm. I find the Timex interface and the old-style Casio interface much easier to use.
In the interests of saving battery power, the alarms are short and quiet. I can't count on this watch's alarms to wake me up. It'd be nice if the watch had a power-hog mode with loud insistent alarms and long illuminations.
All in all, I like the watch. It is nice to have a digital watch that sets its own time and doesn't run out of batteries. I wish the user interface was more intuitive, the alarms were more effective, and the watch was smaller.
**UPDATE** I've had the watch now for two months and have grown to appreciate it even more. If I could change my rating, I would increase it from 4 stars to 5 stars. It is the first watch I've ever owned where I can be 100% sure that the time is accurate and 100% sure that the battery won't run out on me and 100% sure that I won't crack the bezel by accident. Recently I realized that the Casio G-Shock is the first watch I've ever owned that gives me complete timekeeping peace of mind.
on April 2, 2009
I got this as a gift from my wife, who paid over $100 for it about six years ago. Like others here I had very good experience with this watch. I had to be careful where I left it in the house, or it would not get a time lock. That wasn't a problem, because the time could not drift much in a day or two. It was a little annoying that it tried to reset the time at 5AM, because I was awake and wearing the watch at that time of day, and the display would blank as it tried to get a signal lock. Touching any of the buttons would bring it back to life. I'm sure it would be even more annoying for anyone who works graveyard shift.
I did not have any problems with the battery life. For the people who complain about the battery dying, completely discharging any battery causes damage to it. No rechargable will last long if it is frequently discharged (even car batteries). If you keep it in the top 1/3 of its charging range, the battery will last practically forever.
I loved this watch, and wore it all the time. But I haven't been able to wear it in a couple of months, because the band broke. Casio seems to be the sole supply of bands that will work with this watch, because it's an unusual shape, but they seem to be treating this as a disposable watch. The watch itself will probably last for another fifteen years, but without a band, it's garbage today. I would gladly rate it 5 stars, but the fact that it is a disposable watch gets it knocked down considerably. With Casio's attitude that $100+ watches are disposable, I don't know if I'll want to buy another one of theirs.
EDIT: Before I wrote this, I had ordered a replacement band from casiosalesandservice.com which does not appear to be directly affiliated with Casio. They listed the OEM band as "out of stock" but said they would collect orders for a future order, so I placed an order. A month went by, and I decided it was futile. Within THREE DAYS of posting this review, I get an Email saying the band has shipped. Interesting timing? In any case, they have the band in stock, now, and I'm VERY HAPPY to have my favorite watch back.
UPDATE 2015: I still have my watch, and I'm on my third watchband. For those who have trouble with the batteries dying on their Tough Solars, all I can say is, if you keep it fully charged and never let it run down, the battery will last a long, long time, just like my Sony cordless phone that is still on its original battery from 1988.
on November 2, 2006
My third Casio may be the best. I own the Triple Sensor Casio, the G-Shock Illuminator, love them all, but this one could be the best. Never having to buy another battery is the number one catch, it's rugged/clean looking style is a close second. I really don't mind the small triple dials they used, the main thing you need to know is the time and maybe the date, and they're both there. The backlight is not as bright as my G-Shock Illuminator, but, just to see the time at night, you shouldn't need too much more. Like the other buyers of this watch, you'll love it right out of the box. Mine was charged enough to go, and adjusting any modes wasn't a problem with your common sense of pushing a few buttons. Of course for the price to buy here at Amazon, you can't beat it!! I almost bought the all black version, but decided against it, since I have an all black Luminox Navy Seal one for that. Now with 8 watches, I'll have to start rotating the uses. LOL.
on November 8, 2006
I've only had this watch for a weeks time, so I cannot report on longevity,My watch came with the battery at the medium level, but sfter spending a couple of hours outside in a sunny location it climbed to the high level and has remained there ever since, as for recieving the atomic time signal, it hasn't missed yet, the instructions say to leave the watch by a window at night to recieve the atomic signal, I have yet to do this, the watch spends every night firmly attached to my arm, and every morning it has recieved the atomic signal,I'm located in the SF bay area of CA, that's quite a ways from FT. Collins, CO.
on May 8, 2007
i HAVE OWNED THIS WATCH FOR ALMOST 4 YEARS.
IT replaced a Steel case Luminox Navy Seal watch.. I have owned 3 Luminox's over the years because they were very rugged, and took a beating well. I wear my watch 24-7, do my yardwork, home repairs and improvements, fix my cars, everything with my watch on.
First, the reason I switched:
The one problem I had with the much more expensive Luminox was the fact that the crystal was high and above the casing..Even though they say the crystal is scratch resistant...it aint.... The G Shock's crystal is recessed and has no cracks or scratches (after 2 years!!!)
I also prefer digital..I just want to know what time it is Quick!, not impress everyone with my fashion sense (though I am not considered an "unfashionable type"). The G Shock is smart and masculine looking, yet not overdone like some watches.
My Luminox watches bands would break or wear out...not my G Shock. This watch is well constructed.
As far as time is concerned , It keeps amazingly accurate time with a second or two.. I love the fact it requires no battery (another "pain" with my Luminox), and the Atomic cLOCK IS THE ONLY WAY TO GO!
Now, MY friend had a problem with his keeping a charge..I have never had that problem.
I have never wore a watch so long, beat on it as much as I have this one...yet, it still is completely intact, looks good, and keeps incredible time.