Despite being known, the world over, as a “NATO”, the ubiquitous nylon watch strap we all love and admire is in reality a product of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) and it’s proper name is the G10 – named after the form used to requisite the strap.
I too am guilty of calling the G10 a “NATO”, probably because everyone else does! No excuse I know. So where exactly does this “NATO” business come from?
You have to hand it to Casio, they make some fine watches. Not just expensive ones either. There are plenty of real bargains to be had that are easy on the wallet, but still packed with features. One such gem is the Casio AQW-100. This is a really interesting sports watch incorporating both digital and analogue timekeeping.
I was drawn to this watch because it has tide and moon data, not for any other reason (well, in all honesty the price played a part). I’d call this an impulse purchase in as much as I hadn’t really delved into the spec beforehand so there were some surprises in store once I opened the box!
NATO watch bands inspire a love-hate relationship amongst watch enthusiasts. There is no middle ground. Some despise these nylon creations simply for their cheapness, especially when worn on, dare I say it a Rolex or Omega, while others appreciate all they have to offer.
I had been wanting to add a G-Shock to my watch collection for some time and I only had eyes for one model – the Gulfman.
Unlike other watch purchases, this for me anyway, was a simple choice. I didn’t have an exhaustive criterion to adhere to – barring a few features I required – the obligatory tide graph and moon phase.
I just wanted a Gulfman!
Things are never that straightforward though. I originally planned on getting the Casio G-9100-1ER. This is best described as the entry level Gulfman, primarily because it lacks solar power and atomic timekeeping. This aside, its a perfect daily wearer without a budget busting price tag.
I was pretty much set on this model until I saw the GW-9110-1ER.
The Casio Protrek PRW-2500 is one hundred percent function. It is definitely not a dress watch or simply for telling the time, no this is a rugged “man watch”, packed with features and tools – wholly designed for outdoor pursuits, such as hiking, climbing and kayaking.
The wife and I are keen hikers and its this pastime that got me browsing for ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) watches in the first place. I quietly whispered to myself… I don’t need one… I have managed perfectly well all these years without a fully fledged weather/navigational aid strapped to my wrist. Then I saw them. All neatly lined up flaunting their technological prowess. I’d stopped nibbling the bait. Now positively hooked and reeled in, I had to have one! Would you like a cup of tea dear?
Information gathering would be required. I take an analytical (some might say anal) approach to research, prioritising the “must have” features. Sometimes a compromise somewhere along the line has to be made – losing some functionality over a more worthy feature for example.
The leading ABC wristwatch manufacturers are Casio’s Protrek division, Japan and Suunto, Finland. Suunto is recognized as the go to tool for sensor accuracy whereas Casio Protrek for “G-Shock” like durability, atomic timekeeping, 200m water resistance and solar power. This is where the compromises start to creep in.
The battleground: Suunto Core vs. Casio Protrek PRW-2500.
As a watch collector its always handy to have a selection of precision screwdrivers to perform general maintenance such as battery and strap replacements. I’ve had a few sets over the years – nothing fancy – definitely not any Swiss made jewellers tools. Its often said you get what you pay for, but with this Stanley set you really do get the best of both worlds. A quality tool for a low price.
Visually the 6 piece set is a bit garish. I mean, a bright yellow case and matching screwdrivers… really?! As an initial impression goes, and for something labelled “precision” its not that good – almost toy like. Upon closer inspection and in the hand they are anything but – and when your work area is covered in electronic “carnage” the screwdrivers instantly stand out (arhh… so that’s why they are yellow?!).
Sure, the shafts are plastic and not metal as is common with similar, more expensive screwdrivers, but they do have some well thought out features: the ergonomic comfort shape, black rubber ribbed grips and swivel head handles really do assist in the removal of stubborn screws.
As watch manufacturers go Casio is prolific. Their range encompasses all manner of styles, functions and price ranges from affordable to luxury. They are notably famous for their hardcore G-Shock series and more recently their comprehensive Pathfinder/Protek ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) watches.