We all have so many things that have to be plugged in that remembering to charge a watch is extra drudgery. Casio has been working their lab-boys overtime on this along with other new tech issues lately and we are starting to see the result of their latest groundbreaking efforts. Also, they’ve been collaborating with developers to get there faster – (according to ABTW) Sony was a co-conspirator on some of the tech in this new watch – this blogger applauds Casio for their vision and direction. Yea, it’s a GPS watch – whoopee – but the real news is it is a GPS watch that does not have to be plugged in and recharged.
How does it do this?
Well, the GPW-1000 watches use, in a single module, new ultra-small motor technology for the movement which drives the hands, it’s ceramic circular polarized GPS antenna and a new low-power consumption, high-performance GPS LSI leaving room for all it’s other goodies, (here comes the magic..) solar collection panel, battery, and even the padding and extra durable (fine resin reinforced)Triple G Resist construction – it does, under all that plastic, have a stainless steel case.
In Japan, the GPW-1000 products will be in the “Sky Cockpit” line. The USA iterations will be “Aviation Series” and perhaps a little less expensive. This blog is not recommending the purchase of these models (while, of course, not not recommending them either). The technology will show up all over the place in the more exoteric Casio lines and these first wave units are not indicated as limited or special editions. In fact, it is anticipated that Casio will figure out a way to stuff all their tech into the next generation of products and will likely make better use of the GPS capabilities.
(Sidebar: Casio can’t sell Atomic watches into African and South American markets – the signal doesn’t make it that far. I’d love to know how well this thousand dollar watch sells in the jungle and desert villages)
What this watch is not..
Actually, for the wearer, it is not a GPS watch. It uses the GPS tech inside to continuously reset the time, but there is no read-out to let the user know where he is. That means that it is not a sports watch outside of it’s simple inclusion of a stop-watch and countdown timer. While it can put up with almost any abuse you can pile on it (it being officially a Triple G Resist) it can’t tell you about your laps, your heart rate, or your calories burned. It can’t be plugged into your computer to log and analyse your bike-hikes and if you get lost, ..well, you are on your own.
It does not have a compass, temperature indicator, barometer, altimeter or any of that new stuff that is showing up all over the Casio catalog. It does have the “Smart Access” crown which helps reduce the multi-button confusion that other G-Shocks styme us with.
Again, this is not a GPS watch – that is, not completely. It receives but it does not send. So you can’t track it back to the bar that you left it in. You can’t strap it onto your kid at Disney World and use an app on your iPhone to find him lost in the tunnels of Pirates of the Caribbean. This timepiece knows where it is in the world, but unless it is on your wrist or on your dresser, you won’t.
It ain’t cheap..
For the $1,000 you invest, you are getting a self-powering, very impressive looking (but, plastic, nonetheless) timekeeping watch that is insanely accurate (and corrected to where ever you are). It sports a sapphire lens and super-tough carbon fibre-resin laminated band. And you will never have to set the time, wind it, or change a battery – short of taking a sledgehammer to it, you will never have to fix it. Wash it if it gets dirty, but don’t worry about dropping it off to your friendly neighborhood watchmaker for a yearly tune-up like your Rolex – it just won’t ever need it.
Below, find a couple glam videos by Casio that actually shows some of the components of this model.
Final note: If you think Casio is getting into the game of GPS a little late, consider the model pictured below – released in 1999 (yea, 15 years ago), this Protrek was a pioneer.
ProTrek PRT-1 – the read-out gave the location co-ordinates and the ungainly hardware went up your arm a bit. Check out MyGshock and Watchuseek for more of this historic stuff.