Yes – I can be bought! For the price of a watch, WatchCo.com have bought themselves a scattering of links in this review. I was given a budget of $200 which still left me with a huge selection of watches to choose from on their website. My main criteria for a watch is that it tells the time, and the right time at that. Consequently, I found myself looking at what the site calls automatic watches (solar or kinetic powered) and atomic watches (radio controlled – not nuclear powered!). The overlap between those two categories is unfortunately rather small (particularly once you’ve taken out the watches that are incorrectly labelled as atomic). I eventually settled on the G-Shock AWG100 from the range of Casio watches. Sadly well under my budget at $130!
Of course, you may need to factor in customs fees when buying from overseas sites like US based WatchCo.com. It cost £25.23 to retrieve the small package from the sorting office: £17.23 in VAT and £8 in Royal Mail international handling fee. Thankfully, in my case that was refunded as part of writing this review. Having unboxed the watch, I was generally pleased with the look of the watch. I have pretty slim wrists and some watches just look far too big and bulky. This one doesn’t although, as you can see from the second photo, the end of the strap does stick out a bit as I’m nearly on the smallest setting. The strap is consequently something I might look at replacing.
The watch very nearly met my main criteria: it was showing the correct time… for NYC. Seemingly you have to manually tell the watch your location, at which point the hands chugged their way round to the right time. By default the watch only adjusts the time from the radio signal once a day at one of six preset times throughout the night but you can force it to perform an update which I duly did. One of the small digital ‘dials’ on the front of the watch tells you which transmitter it is receiving a signal from which seems rather a waste of screen real-estate. Bizarrely, it seems the signal from Germany is stronger here than that from the UK! The manual gives detailed instructions on how to position your watch on the window sill to receive a signal which seemed a bit of a faff. The watch does tell you when it performed the last update and I was therefore glad to see that it seems to manage to do so from the comfort of my bedside table.
Only time will tell how the solar charging works out. The manual cautions you against keeping your watch out of sight under your jacket. Not a problem for me as I’m almost always have my sleeves rolled up! The only real evidence of this aspect of the watch (beyond the patterning on the dial) is that, after a period in the dark, the digital part of the display is turned off to conserve power until it sees the light again or you press a button.
The other two digital parts to the display generally show the seconds (the watch has no second hand) and the time or day/date. The dials are also used for viewing the battery charge, world times, countdown timer (not less than a minute), stopwatch (one lap time), alarm (only beeps 10 times so not one I’d want to rely on after a heavy night) and, if necessary, manually setting the time. Unavoidably for this design of watch, the hands can sometimes make the display hard to read. It also isn’t possible to read them in the dark as the LED light just illuminates the hands.
All-in-all, a reasonable looking watch which does its main function of telling the time accurately competently. I’m not sure I’d fork out £80 for the watch (not counting the import costs) but I’m generally a cheapskate when it comes to watches. It will, therefore, probably be replacing my previous timepiece that came free with a running book! Thanks WatchCo.com!