engineer-in-wonderland

Rooting around in the fascinating stuff at the bottom of a draw labelled 'Engineering - Junk Miscellaneous'. Delving amongst the delightful...

An Engineer in Wonderland – A watch for all seasons

w59lite.jpgSee all ‘Engineer In Wonderland’ posts

Those that buy watches with hands, in my opinion, are fashion victims.

If the designer of the first watch had had access to digital technology, I am fairly sure he or she would have gone straight to digits.

And those with too much money buy mechanical watches.

It impresses me that firms still design mechanical watches – and it pleases me that those that buy them support a thriving and innovative niche engineering industry.

So if you have lots of money, please buy an expensive mechanical watch.  

For me, a simple digital watch is sufficient, and I have now had three of Casio’s evergreen W-59 design.

And I would still have number one or number two if I have not crushed and lost them respectively.

Why the W-59?

Well, first of all, it is not too big or thick.
There is a similar one in the range with an electroluminescent backlight, but it is 1mm thicker so the simple space-saving incandescent side illumination wins.
Over the years, this light has changed from white to green, and I am surprised the firm has not swapped to an LED to save a little power.

2. Although it seems to have disappeared from the web, Casio was the only company I know of to publish a simple rule-of-thumb guide that said what its water resistance figures meant in practice.
For example ’50m’ meant 50m static water pressure which equated to so-and-so metres with the added dynamic pressure of swimming, and so-and-so other metres if you wanted to press the buttons under water.
I never have one leak.

3. They are cheap – about £12.

4. The batteries last for at least 5 years, I have never replaced one.

5. Replacement original equipment straps are available from some repair shops. Admittedly they cost £8, but they last so much longer than the £2 types.

6. They are rugged, although the glass does scratch and I did break the face on one of my three.

I suppose my dream watch would also have a countdown timer and an altimeter, and probably GPS and a compass in the same.

And a switch to an E Ink electrophoretic display would increase the viewing angle and clarity which would be nice in marginal lighting.

But overall I think the W-59 is a classic good piece of good engineering.

‘Alice’

Respond below, or to alice@electronicsweekly.com

Tags: dynamic pressure, original equipment, side illumination, water resistance, Wonderland

Related Tech News

2 Comments

  1. Barney
    September 25, 2008 12:44

    I’ve never had a digital watch that lasted more than a couple of years before getting broken! A side effect of the cheap digital age is cheap plastic straps and cases…
    I was given an analogue watch by my grandfather when i was around 8 years old. 25 years later that watch still runs, keeps time, hasn’t gat a scratch on it, and has glow-in-the-dark hands to see the time at night! OK i have to wind it occasionally, but i love it and will give it to my son when he’s a bit older.
    Can anyone honestly say they have a digital watch they would pass to their childeren?

  2. September 25, 2008 11:43

    My choice too for a long time but being a brutal male I kept finding the straps broke long before the watch was ready for disposal. Spare straps are 1/2 the cost of the watch and I ran out of straps I could scavenge from broken old (mechanical) watches. A stainless strap from my old Rotary lasted longest but was too heavy for the weaker resin casing and eventually ripped one of the shoulders off. I went up-market and spent an extra £10 on a W-102 with a stainless strap.
    This has been really good (6 yrs so far) but I am reluctantly looking for a mechanical again. The problem is age: ever stronger prescriptions and the legibility of the LCD readout when I’m not wearing glasses, especially early in the morning in a strange hotel. The rich set of scratches on the glass doesn’t help of course and contributes to the inherent lack of contrast of the LCD.
    Mostly I don’t need more than 5mins accuracy and the hands of an analogue watch are that little bit easier to see. You can still get the extras on mechanicals these days – alarm, chrono, etc.

Share your knowledge - Leave a comment