27 September 2013

Casio Diver's Super Illuminator

The Casio Diver's Super Illuminator was my first acquisition as a (very small) watch collector. No longer in production the then called Casio Scuba Duro 200 Super Illuminator (model nº MDV-102-1AV) was - history tells us - apparently a sales hit worldwide.
If we look at the Internet, and particularly at the Amazon.com page related to this particular model, we can be quite amazed with the amount of information related to this Casio.
Probably the main reason for this celebrity status lies within its low price tag. Diving watches in the sub-one-hundred dollars category are not that easy to find. And the vast majority of them are from obscure watchmakers, raising some doubts regarding their reliability.
That's not the case with Casio products. In the watchmaking industry since 1974, Casio is no longer an apprentice. In fact, they revolutionized the digital watches so much that it's quite probable that you, dear reader, have, at least, one Casio product at home. With them (in a responsibility shared somehow with Timex) watches became a product for the masses.
And a product for the masses is this Casio Scuba Super Illuminator. And there's nothing wrong with it.
The Casio Scuba Duro Super Illuminator.
A cheap price tag is not, necessarily, a bad thing. In fact this battery-propelled quartz watch is a reliable time measuring machine. But, like everything in life, you only get what you pay for. So, don't be expecting four digits Swiss quality. In fact, it's not even a true Diver's watch. At least according to the industry standards. It's a diving watch, which is a little bit different concept. However, for such a small price, it's packed with some nice features: a one way counter-clockwise turning bezel with a luminescent dot at the sixty minutes mark, a screw-down crown, a date window at the four o'clock mark and an elegant slightly domed crystal, normally only present on very expensive watches. One silly detail, however, are the sub-second marks around the dial. It's an attempt to emulate the mechanic watches and their "sweeping" seconds hand chronometer philosophy. The Casio Scuba Duro, however, is a quartz machine. Therefore its seconds hand doesn't "sweep" across the dial. It "ticks", jumping from second to second in a single movement called "true beat", and thus rendering useless those additional decorative markings. The luminescence of the hands and dial marks is OK. Not exactly up to the Citizen or Seiko Diver's standards, but you can read it in the dark. If you can't, you can always use the last resource...
... and press that mysterious button above the screw-down crown. The watch dial has two leds (one at twelve o'clock and the other at six o'clock) that emit a strong white light, enough to lit the dial and eventually to lead you to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Believe me, if you can't read the dial with this light, you certainly need glasses.
The screw-down case back of the Casio Scuba Duro Super Illuminator. Mine is still running on the original battery, four years after I've bought it. Casio's secret Eco-Drive?