Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Intermezzo #8: The ultimate Edifice Sports watch: EQW-M1000DB-1ACR

Well, the main focus here is of course on G-Shock. G-Shock is my life and passion, Protrek also has my interest, but it's good to look further than the length of your nose (Dutch proverb). This review will also be published on WatchUSeek.
Although many people Casio probably know as the manufacturer of cheap plastic quarts watches, I think you as reader know probably better. Even the cheap Casio watches are known for pretty tough. Just think about the infamous F-91W model.
Beside the basic watches, Casio has the Oceanus, Protrek, G-Shock, Baby-G and Edifice sub-brands, which are developed for target markets. Of course I am known as a collector of G-Shocks, a line watches that can withstand abuse of extreme sports, which is also pretty popular at rescue workers, police and military.
In the press kit of Baselworld there is an invitation letter of Yuichi Masuda, Casio's Corporate Vice President and Senior General Manager Timepiece Product Unit. Under the theme"It's Time for Technology", he writes about the new Tough Solar "Multiband 6" technology used in the newest models. The main focus in 2009 are the G-Shock and Edifice line.
The photo of a study model of a Multiband 6 Frogman (G-Shock) circulated on internet a few weeks ago. We will have to wait for more details of this model, but the Edifice EQW-M1000 models have been released already. Time to put our hands on it.
Edifice is the full metal sports line of Casio. Designed for people who like speed. All models have a have a 10 BAR water resistant rating (equivalent of 100m water pressure). Designs on the case and dials of the models often refer to motor sports. For instance, I own a EF-514SP-1. The dial is made of carbon fiber, a compound used a lot in racing sports.
Edifice combines smart chic design with a sporty look. The brushed metal and the bracelet with solid links gives you the feel you have an expensive watch in your hand. With all the links the watch weighs 185 gram, which is pretty heavy. From the MRG and the vintage screwback G-Shocks I know heavier watches feel more solid and tough. The Clasp does have the brand name and the logo etched in it. The buckle opens with two wide pushers. These pushers feel pretty solid. The buckle won't get easily open by accident.
Actually the EQW-M1000DB-1ACR I got and me had a false start. When I opened the box, the first thing I wanted to do is receive the Atomic signel, since the watch was still set to US time.
The EQW-M1000 has the 5061 module. The manual is quite thick, but fortunately it is printed in three languages.
I followed the manual fore manual receiving. First I had to set my timezone (Paris). If you follow the manual, it is not very hard, but if you start off with this watch, you are nowhere without the manual. So I started the manual receive operation. While pushing the right button, the seconds hand should move via Y (Yes) or N (No) to R (Ready) or W (Work). If the seconds hand points to R or W, it is busy to get the Atomic signal. Well, on paper that was...
Instead of the expected movement of the second hand, it went to somewhere between the 4 and 5, stopped for about 5 seconds and then happily went to time mode. So I started all over again (about three times), trying to receive the Atomic Signal. No satisfying results what ever I tried.
Then I tried the functions and finally found out the seconds hand didn't return to the 12 o'clock position, but was about 5 seconds off. Now I was getting a bit in panic. Here I have quite an expensive watch and before I can use it, the most important hand is offset.
This is where the term RTFM needs to pop in. I looked into the manual at the "trouble Shooting" section. To my surprise there was a part about offset hands, pointing to a page in the manual, that I did overlook, about adjusting the hands to the Home position.
The manual mentioned that the hands can become offset if the watch was exposed to heavy shocks or very strong magnetic fields. When I looked into the tin where the watch was packed it, I noticed it had a little bump. Probably something went a bit rough during the shipment to the Netherlands.
The watch is able to receive the Atomic Time signals from the transmitters in Japan (2x), US, China, Germany and the UK. As you can see above, maps with the reception range of the transmitters is included. After setting the correct timezone again, the watch synced pretty quick with a European transmitter. You can't see which signal the watch used to sync (I live about the same distance from the Mainflingen transmitter as the Anthorn transmitter).
R Position:Ready, preparing for atomic time reception
W Position: Work, busy with the receptionY Position: Yes! The watch has successfully synced with Atomic Time.
With everything working fine, I felt happy. This is a great watch!The dial is has a very smart 3-D design. The three sub-dials are located on the lower dial plate, while the upper dial plate is half open on the bottom part. The date window is located at the 7 o'clock position.
The hands and sub-dials are independently operated with 5 motors. One for the minute hand and hour hand, one for the seconds hand, and one for each sub dial.
In Timekeeping mode, the seconds hand moves forward every second. In my photo's you can notice this, because most photo's an exposure time of several seconds is used. The minute hand moves forward every 10 seconds, the minute hand of the right sub-dial (in Dual Time mode) moves every minute.
A watch meant for speed and motor sports has beside timekeeping, one other important function. The Stopwatch function. When entering this function (by pushing the bottom left pusher) the left dial, which normally shows the day of the week, goes to the red mark at the top. Also the seconds hand goes into the 12 o'clock position and also the hands on the sub-dial on the right go to the 12 o'clock. If the seconds hand is in the top position, you can start the Stopwatch by pressing the big (oversized) upper right button with the Edifice logo on it.
For the first 30 seconds the right dial turns pretty nervous it's rounds for the 1/20 seconds. The right dial shows the hours and minutes. If the time is stopped, the 1/20 seconds dial shows it's time, even if has stopped rotating.
Since I am used read digital time, I always find it a bit anoying if dials block partially the sight on the sub-dials. The 1/20 seconds sub-dial also shows the mode you are in, so it is a bit difficult if the hour and/or the minute hand is blocking it (see photo above). You can also use the watch as Tachymeter in the first minute. If you have a 1 km track to measure, just measure the time as a stopwatch. If the car rides this kilometir in say 20 seconds, the dial shows the speed is 180 km/h. For 1 km you can actually use any lentgh unit, if the time to travel this unit is between 10 and 60 seconds.
The watch also has a 24 hour countdown timer. Just set the right sub-dial to the hours and minutes and press start. It is pretty funny to see a seconds hand move backwards.
You can set the Alarm also with the hands of the left sub-dial. The seconds hand shows if the Alarm is turned on (above) or off.
The bottom sub-dial is a smart 24 hour clock that shows the home time in every mode. One hand points outward, showing the time between 23:00 and 10:00, the other hand points inwards showing 11:00 to 22:00. Its design looks like a disk brake of aF1 car, which gives the wearer the feeling of speed.If you still want to know what function each button has, it is etched on the back including Edifice text logo, module number and model number, etc.
The watch had a pretty good lume for a Casio. It's much brighter and gives light longer than any analog Casio I know. Of course it is not a Seiko Monster, but I would love to see more of this lume on a Casio analog watch.
Overall I think this is a fantastic watch. It feels heavy, tough and solid. Still it looks chic with a suit. You get pretty fast used to the functions. It's maybe a bit a pity you have to wait a while to set all hands when changing modes, but without the 5 motors it would have taken probably much longer. Setting the hands back in home position after they are off set was a very nice surprise to find on this watch and a big plus.
Something I didn't like (not actually edited out of the photo's) is that the easily scratches. I have handled the watch with coin gloves and used soft undergrounds for observing and taking photo's. Still I noticed some scratches on the clasp. Still I pretty much regret I can't keep this great looking watch. In Europe the retail price is €330.-, in the US the retail price is US$450.-. The EQW-M1000 was released in April 2009.


Unknown said...

This is a pretty cool line of watches.

Slowly I am coming around to the idea of a non-digital Casio. I have Neil's MR-G 100 incoming and that will be my first all-metal G... I'm sure it's only a small step from there to a metal analog G.

Thanks for the great pictures as always!

Unknown said...

Ha ha Craigory,

So it was you Neil was talking about :-D

I am not a big fan for ana-digi models, but full analog is great. The MRG-121 is one of my favorites.

The Gaussman is also very nice. From that model I only use the analog part.

Kind regards,


Philip Christian said...

Hello Sjors,

Really great pictures and very informative review. I was having trouble deciding if I wanted an Oceanus or an Edifice but I after reading I think I will go with the Edifice. The difference between the two lines seems negligible aside from the higher cost of the Oceanus line. Thanks!

David said...

Great writeup of an Excellent watch!! I have to try and find one in person now.

Rick said...

Excellent review. Thanks so much for your detailed instructions. I bought this watch last weekend and was SO FRUSTRATED in getting the date set...found out (as you did) that the home position for the second had was off 10 sec. RTFM, re-set the home position, BAM! works like a charm.
If you are considering this watch, buy it!! You will NOT regret it.