How it Works: Casio Smart Outdoor Watch WSD-F10

Just about every smartwatch has functionalities that are useful in recording and tracking physical activity —  but only Casio has produced a watch specifically engineered for the rough-and-tumble of the great outdoors. Earlier this year, Casio released its WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch, an Android Wear wrist device tested to U.S. military standard specifications and outfitted with a plethora of functions for outdoors enthusiasts. Here is what you need to know about this tough and versatile timekeeper, accompanied by photos taken during its “test run” on a hike through New York’s Adirondack region.

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch - branch

The WSD-F10 model has a hefty but lightweight case, measuring 61.7 mm x 56.4 mm x 15.7 mm and weighing in at 93 grams. It has been tested for 50 meters of water-resistance, meaning it can be worn during rainstorms and in situations that involve contact with water. The watch comes on a soft polyurethane strap engineered to conform to any wrist and to be worn in comfort for extended periods.

On the side of the case are two large operating buttons with a slip-free finish for ease of use even while wearing gloves. The “TOOL” button at the top right is used to engage the watch’s outdoor-friendly functions: compass direction, air pressure and altitude, sunrise and sunset times, tide graphs and activity graphs. The “APP” button in the lower left brings up the various apps, powered by Android Wear, which measure vital stats for such activities as trekking, cycling, and fishing. Users can also load their own apps to expand the watch’s feature set. A built-in sensor on the right side of the watch reads atmospheric data such as air pressure (which can be used to predict the likelihood of rain) and altitude.

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch - compass - wrist
Useful tools in the Casio Smart Outdoor Watch include a compass (above) and air pressure sensor (below).
Casio Smart Outdoor Watch - barometer - wrist

The watch’s face, equipped with a capacitative touchscreen, has a 1.32-inch dual-layer display, with both color and monochrome LCDs; color density is 320 x 300 pixels. Users can choose to display apps and data measurements in color or select the monochrome, power-conserving “Timepiece Mode,” which displays only the watch’s timekeeping data, to extend the watch’s battery life to more than a month. Otherwise, the watch’s lithium-ion battery requires a charge of approximately two hours (from the included magnetic charging terminal) roughly once a day. Various other watch-face options are available.

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch - weather

Among the outdoors-specific apps, powered by Android Wear (but not supported by iOS devices), are the following:

  • The ViewRanger GPS app, which provides route information, navigation guidance, altitude graphs, location data, and distance to the wearer’s next waypoint; this can be downloaded from www.viewranger.com.
  • The Runkeeper fitness app, for mobile running and cycling; used by more than 50 million people, it tracks and records routes for running, cycling, walking, and trekking. (www.runkeeper.com)
  • MyRadar, a popular weather app already downloaded by more than 17 million users; it offers real-time updates showing rain or snow near the wearer’s current location and allows them to check forecasts quickly and easily. (www.myradar.acmeaom.com)
Casio Smart Outdoor Watch - multiple
Several choices of watch faces are available, including this one that combines multiple outdoor functions on subdials with an analog-style time display.

The watch can also link to the Casio Moment Setter+ smartphone app, which can be configured to send info based on previously set conditions, including speeds, distances, time of sunrise, break timing, even when fish tend to be most active. The built-in audio mic — which can be used for Google voice searches — can be used even in harsh, rainy conditions. Other Google apps and services, including GMail, Google Maps, and Google Fit, are also supported.

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch w/ iPhone
Casio Smart Outdoor Watch w/ iPhone

Like all “smart” and “connected” watches, the Casio Smart Outdoor Watch requires a smartphone to connect with, in this case an Android device with Android 4.3 or later or an iPhone 5 or later model with iOS 8.2 or later. Available in red, green, black, and orange, this wrist device for tech-savvy outdoor enthusiasts and weekend adventurers retails for $500.

Borrowed Time: Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel

Breitling introduced its first “Blacksteel” watches in 2012, and in the years since the brand renowned for its aviation roots has launched a veritable fleet of such timepieces. Nearly every one of its watch families now offers at least one model with the Blacksteel treatment, including versions of the Navitimer, Navitimer Cosmonaute, Colt, Avenger II, Super Avenger, and Avenger Sea Wolf.

I’ve long admired the look of the Blacksteel models and finally had a chance to wear one of these pieces for a few weeks recently. Even better, the model I received for review was from one of Breitling’s most iconic and historically significant collections, the Chronomat, in its big-but-not-oversized 44-mm version.

Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel - Front_2

By way of background, the modern version of the Breitling Chronomat debuted in 1984, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Breitling company. It was a descendant of one of Breitling’s most significant milestone timepieces, the original Chronomat, which debuted in 1941 and featured the now-famous circular slide rule bezel, a common element of today’s Breitling Navitimer watches, though not one present on today’s Chronomats. The 1984 revamped version introduced the hallmark “rider tabs” at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock on the unidirectional ratcheting bezel. And while I do appreciate the Navitimer in its many versions, one of the aspects I like about the Chronomat is the relative simplicity of its tricompax dial in comparison to the “busier” look of the Navitimer.

Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Front

The case is pure Breitling — masculine and martial, measuring 44 mm in diameter and 16.95 mm thick. In profile, from the side with the screw-down crown and chronograph pushers, it projects an imposing look; if you squint and use your imagination, it almost resembles artillery pointing outward. This is, of course, helped by the sleek, “stealth” finish of the blacksteel case parts, which in certain lighting has a gunmetal glint.

Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Pusher

Somewhat oddly for such an aviation-inspired watch, the bezel ratchets in one direction, as on a divers’ watch, rather than both, which would be more utilitarian for a pilot — though it’s not like I was planning on getting into a cockpit with the watch anyway. The rider tabs — as touted by the brand — do indeed make the bezel easier to grip and to turn. The tab at 12 o’clock has an inset dot filled with the same khaki-colored Super-LumiNova as the hands and indices, so it’s easy to figure out in the dark how to reset the bezel to zero. Rotating the bezel quickly produces a pleasant buzzing, made up of multiple clicks, that brings to mind a tiny motor. The stencil-type, Arabic numerals on the bezel, which mark the five-minute intervals between the rider tabs, are another nice military touch; inlaid in black rubber, they also provide a tactile treat as you run a finger over the bezel’s surface. Attention-to-detail alert: a tiny, cursive “B” for Breitling appears on the side surface of the bezel, subtly etched between 11:55 and 12 o’clock.

Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Logo
Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Bezel

The black dial picks up the case’s military tool-watch character. The dial is surrounded by a flange with a tachymetric scale in white print. The hour and minute hand, as well as the edges of the applied hour indices, are treated with khaki-colored Super-LumiNova (which actually glows green in the dark). Bright red is used for the central chronograph seconds hand as well as all of the subdial hands (running seconds at 9 o’clock, 30 elapsed chronograph minutes at 3 o’clock, and 12 elapsed chronograph hours at 6 o’clock). The red-on-black contrast is helpful in reading the subdials’ readouts, as the numerals are tiny and otherwise somewhat challenging for the naked eye to read with precision.

Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Minute Hand
Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Date
Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Lume

About those subdials: they are square-shaped (or at least cushion-shaped) for no practical reason I can discern, but somehow they work aesthetically, adding a bit of visual interest to the dial, and subtly picking up the blocky shapes of the bezel numerals and rider tabs. Breitling’s “winged B” logo soars below the triangular index at 12 o’clock, while the brand’s “anchor B” emblem forms the counterweight of the chronograph seconds hand.

Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Dial
Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Hand

As one would expect in such a watch, the crown, which is grooved and protected by steel guards, screws down securely into the case. The chronograph pushers on either side of the crown also have a security feature: screw-down rings that need to be manually loosened before the pusher can be operated to start, stop, and zero the chronograph. This may seem an inconvenience at first, but it is easy enough to simply leave both pusher rings unscrewed if you will be using the stopwatch, especially for timing multiple events, for an extended period of time. Also, the pusher rings are surprisingly easy to unscrew even while the watch is on the wrist — a consequence, surely, of the case’s relatively thick profile, which means the pushers are not too close to the wrist, leaving the fingers room to maneuver.

The sapphire window in the caseback gives an ample view of the watch’s movement, Breitling’s in-house Caliber 01. The mechanical vista is dominated by the big, blackened winding rotor, which is graced with a circular wave pattern and an engraved Breitling logo. The rotor ties together the watch’s overall monochrome-black look nicely. Other haute horlogerie decorations include côtes de Genève, snailing, and diamond-polished bevels. The movement is a COSC-certified chronometer; I didn’t expect timekeeping reliability to be an issue with this watch, and it wasn’t. What really shouldn’t be overlooked among this movement’s attributes is the 70-hour power reserve, a 28-hour improvement over that of the ETA Valjoux 7750 movements that powered earlier iterations of the Chronomat. While there were very few days during the review period in which I didn’t eagerly strap on this watch in the morning, it was a nice feeling that I could literally leave it on my nightstand all weekend and not worry about winding it on Monday.

Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Caseback
Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Caliber CU

Breitling refers to the strap as “military rubber,” which seems to be essentially a black rubber base overstitched with some kind of suitably gritty, sturdy black textile. It is definitely a rough-and-ready military aviator look, with a tang buckle made of Blacksteel and engraved with Breitling’s winged logo. It makes the watch very comfortable on the wrist, even though it’s a look more compatible with casual wear than with formal wear. (But hey, it’s still a Breitling; no one’s going to quibble if you wear this watch with a dark suit.)

Breitling Chronomat Blacksteel - Clasp

In summary — and to squeeze in one more tortured aviation metaphor — my test flight of the Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel left me wanting more time at its controls. The watch is available at Breitling boutiques and other select retailers for $9,720.

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Breitling Avenger Hurricane Now Available in 45-mm Case

Breitling’s Avenger Hurricane debuted last year in a massive 50-mm case made of the brand’s proprietary Breitlight metal. This year, in a bit of good news for those with smaller wrists and more modest tastes, Breitling is launching a version of the watch with a slightly less voluminous, but still substantial, 45-mm case, in two dial colors.

Breitling Avenger Hurricane 45 - pair

The new 45-mm Breitling Avenger Hurricane retains the Breitlight case of its larger predecessor, and also incorporates the 12-hour dial design of the most recent models launched earlier this year. Breitlight is a proprietary high-tech material that is 3.3 times lighter than titanium and 5.8 times lighter than steel but significantly harder than both. Breitling also touts the material’s exceptional resistance to scratches, traction, and corrosion; thermal stability; and antimagnetic and non-allergenic properties. Warmer to the touch than other metals, Breitlight is also notable for its mottled surface texture.

 

Breitling Avenger Hurricane-45 Black Dial - front
Breitling Avenger Hurricane-45 Black Dial - side

The watch’s case is water-resistant to 100 meters (330 feet) and has a unidirectional rotating bezel with rider tabs. The screw-locked crown and chronograph push-pieces have a grooved checkerboard pattern for a non-slip grip, a feature aimed at pilots wearing gloves. The extra-thick sapphire crystal has been glareproofed on both sides and the hands and numerals — the latter in a military-style stencil font — are luminous.

Breitling Avenger Hurricane-45 - Yellow Dial - front

 

Breitling Avenger Hurricane-45 - Yellow Dial - side

Driving the watch’s timekeeping, date display, and 1/4-second chronograph functions is Breitling’s tried-and-true Caliber B01, with automatic winding, a 28,800-vph frequency, a 70-hour power reserve, and — like all Breitling in-house movements, a COSC chronometer certification. The dial — available in “Volcano black” or “Cobra yellow” — features a date window at 4:30; chronograph subdials for 30 minutes and 12 hours at 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock, respectively; and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. The strap has a rubber inner lining and an exterior made of anthracite high-resistance military textile fiber. The new Breitling Avenger Hurricane models are at retailers now, priced at $8,390.

Breitling Avenger Hurricane-45 Yellow Dial - crown CU

5 Notable Divers’ Watches from Baselworld 2017

This week, just in time for last-minute Father’s Day gift ideas for the dads in your life, we are showcasing notable watches in five categories that debuted at Baselworld 2017. Today, we turn our focus to five new divers’ watches that particularly caught our eye.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl’s historic KonTiki expedition — which inspired the watch of the same name — Eterna has introduced the KonTiki Bronze Manufacture, the brand’s first bronze-cased timepiece. Limited to 300 pieces, the watch’s 44-mm case is made of brushed bronze, a metal alloy that has long played a role in nautical history due to its extreme resistance to rust and corrosion, and has become prized by watch lovers for its ability to develop a distinct patina over time, making each watch unique to its owner. (Dive-watch producers such as Panerai and Tudor have previously released models with bronze cases.) The unidirectional bezel, made of black ceramic, is different than most: rather than the traditional 60-minute dive-time scale, it features a “no decompression limits” scale that indicates the amount of time a diver can spend at a particular depth before he or she will need to decompress. The matte black dial has a granite-pattern finish and features the triangular, luminescent hour indices typical of Eterna KonTiki  models. A durable, dark brown, water-resistant leather strap fastens the watch to the wrist with a bronze pin buckle. The Eterna KonTiki Bronze Manufacture (it gets the manufacture designation because of its in-house movement, Eterna’s self-winding Caliber 3902A, with 65-hour power reserve) is priced at $2,950.

Eterna KonTiki Bronze
Eterna KonTiki Bronze

Seiko’s Grand Seiko family debuted as its own independent brand at Baselworld 2017, where it also introduced the first-ever mechanical Grand Seiko timepiece for divers, the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 3600 Divers. The watch’s high-intensity titanium case measures 46.9 mm in diameter and 17 mm thick. Designed with saturation diving in mind, it features the valve-free helium-resistance technology pioneered by Seiko in some of its earliest divers’ watches, which uses a heavy-duty case construction and an L-shaped gasket. The extended grooves on the unidirectional rotating bezel make them easy to use, even by a diver wearing thick gloves. The case and bracelet boast clean, mirrored edges thanks to Seiko’s Zaratsu polishing technique. The dial is made of a type of iron that protects the movement, Seiko’s Hi-Beat Caliber 9585 — with a 36,600-vph frequency and 55-hour power reserve — from the effects of magnetism. The bracelet adds an extra level of underwater functionality with its secure-locking, sliding extension that can change the bracelet size with the pressure changes. For more info including pricing, click here.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Divers - blue dial - angle
Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Divers

Inspired by the success its Planet Ocean “Deep Black” editions, the first ceramic-cased divers’ watches built to be water-resistant to 600 meters. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Deep Blue” is a GMT-equipped divers’ watch with a case milled from a single block of blue ceramic, and the first Omega watch with a case, and a dial, made entirely of blue ceramic. The 45.5-mm ceramic case is pressed into shape from a special zirconium-based powder, with the blue pigmentation added at this early stage. Afterward it is heated to temperatures reaching 1,400º Celsius in a sintering process, making it extra hard and scratch-resistant, then subjected to a three-hour plasma treatment in a 20,000º C furnace that prepares it for the final laser engraving.  The resulting case is six times harder than steel and never scratches, discolors, or fades. A contrasting orange highlight color is used for the GMT scale and hand, and on the edges and stitching on the blue rubber strap, and LiquidMetal is used for the diving scale numerals. The movement is Omega’s Master Chronometer Caliber 8906, with automatic winding and a 60-hour power reserve. Click here for more info, photos, and pricing.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue - reclining
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue

 

Rolex celebrated 50 years of its its extreme divers’ watch, the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, by launching an all-new model, with a larger case and modern caliber, at Baselworld 2017. The steel case, which is water-resistant to 1,220 meters, is 43 mm in diameter, 3 mm larger than its 40-mm predecessor. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal over the deep black dial is equipped, for the first time on this model, with a Cyclops lens over the date window at 3 o’clock, enhancing its legibility. The text “Sea-Dweller” appears on the dial in red, echoing the look of the original 1967 model. Finally, the watch is equipped with the new Rolex Caliber 3235, a self-winding movement boasting a number of innovative technical details, some of them patented. Its unidirectional, rotating divers’ bezel is fitted with a patented black Cerachrom bezel insert, in a virtually scratchproof ceramic whose color is unaffected by ultraviolet rays. The dial’s large hour markers are filled with Chromalight, a Rolex-developed luminescent material that emits a long-lasting blue glow in low-light conditions. The screw-down crown uses Rolex’s Triplock triple waterproofness system, which ensures secure waterproofness for the watch’s interior in the same manner as a submarine’s hatch. The movement powering the watch is in-house Caliber 3235, with Rolex’s new Chronenergy escapement and a 70-hour power reserve. Like all modern Rolex watches, this Sea-Dweller carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, instituted by Rolex in 2015, which ensures a high level of precision and timekeeping performance (-2/+2 seconds per day). Read our full report on the new Sea-Dweller for additional info, details, pictures and prices.

Rolex Sea-Dweller - front
Rolex Sea-Dweller
TAG Heuer founder Edouard Heuer filed the first patent for a watertight watch case in 1892, and the TAG Heuer Aquaracer collection of sporty divers’ watches has grown and evolved since its inception in 2003. This year’s Baselworld saw the debut of the Aquaracer Camouflage, a khaki-clad dive watch that combines military style with underwater functionality. The watch’s 43-mm case is made of sandblasted grade 2 titanium, with matte-black PVD treatment to reduce glare and reflections, and resists water pressure down to 300 meters, or 1,000 feet. The unidirectional diving bezel is made of scratch-resistant black ceramic and has graduations for the first 15 minutes of dive time. The opaline blue dial has an “Arctic” camouflage pattern that TAG Heuer says is inspired by the Siberian tundra, with faceted indices and faceted, lacquered blue hands, both treated with anthracite-colored Super-LumiNova. Inside the watch, and behind the solid black-PVD titanium caseback, beats TAG Heuer’s automatic Caliber 5, which powers the timekeeping and the date display, which appears in a window at 3 o’clock under a magnifying lens. The custom-made camouflage pattern on the NATO strap matches the Arctic camo look of the dial. The new Aquaracer retails for $2,800.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Arctic Khaki - reclining

Tomorrow: we showcase important chronographs introduced at Baselworld.

7 Vintage-Inspired and Retro-Look Watches from Baselworld 2017

This week, just in time for last-minute Father’s Day gift ideas for the dads in your life, we showcase notable watches in five categories that debuted at Baselworld 2017. Today, we look at seven new watches whose designs are inspired by historical and vintage models.

Blancpain resurrects a 1950s-era timepiece designed to meet the strict standards for U.S. military use with the new Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC, its latest vintage-inspired take on its Fifty Fathoms dive watch collection. The original watch — engineered specifically to pass a battery of tests conducted by the United States Navy, which was seeking a timepiece for use on underwater missions — was notable for the water-tightness indicator on its dial, specifically a large disk at 6 o’clock that changed its color from white to red if liquid leaked into the case. In addition to this vintage-inspired indicator, the watch exhibits other hallmark features of Fifty Fathoms watches, including a black dial with large, luminous indices for legibility deep underwater, a unidirectional rotating bezel covered in scratch-resistant sapphire, and a water resistance of 300 meters. Its movement is the Blancpain manufacture Caliber 1151, with a four-day power reserve. Available on a NATO or sailcloth strap or a steel bracelet, the MIL-SPEC is priced from $14,000 to $16,200. For more on the watch and its history, click here.

Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec - reclining
Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC

Bulova follows up last year’s very successful Moon Watch revival with the second piece in its so-called Archive series, the Bulova Chronograph “C,” which resurrects one of the world’s most collectible Bulova watches — nicknamed the “Stars and Stripes” and discontinued just about a year after its debut in 1970. Despite its brief time in the spotlight, the Chronograph “C” appeals to many for its “patriotic” theme, representing a touchstone to the United States bicentennial year of 1976, even though the watch was long off the market by then. The modern version maintains the bold red-white-and-blue dial design, with unusually shaped hands, and thick steel case with notched “coin edge” bezel. Unlike the original model, which was powered by a mechanical Valjoux 7736 chronograph caliber, the contemporary watch contains a high-performance quartz chronograph movement. The Chronograph “C” is presented in a special box that includes two bracelets: the mesh-metal bracelet that echoes the original, and a navy-blue leather strap.

Bulova Chronograph “C”

Based on the original Hamilton Chrono-Matic — one of the watch world’s first self-winding chronographs, first released in 1968 — the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Autochrono has a 42-mm steel case with elongated lugs, simple pump pushers, and a large, right-side-mounted crown. Its black “reverse Panda” dial has an outer white tachymeter scale, applied hour markers with luminescent inserts, two oversized white subdials for running seconds and a 30-minute counter, and an enlarged date window at 6 o’clock. A vintage-style Hamilton logo appears at 12 o’clock. The movement is the automatic Hamilton Caliber H-31, based on the ETA 7753, which stores a 60-hour power reserve. The watch comes on a sporty, black leather, perforated “racing” strap. Limited to 1,968 pieces, the watch is priced at $2,195. For a comparison of the Intra-Matic 68 Autochrono with its historical predecessor, click here.

Hamilton Intra-matic 68 - soldier
Hamilton Intra-matic 68 Autochrono