The face of a watch, like a person, often tells you quite a bit about what they are. Sometimes they’re subtle and restrained, and sometimes their place in the world is writ large for all to see. The Casio Pathfinder, model number PAW1500T-7V is one of those “this is who I am, got a problem with that?” sorts of watches. After wearing it for a few weeks, I think of it as the go-to watch for the outdoors, especially if things are going to be tough: river rafting, long hiking trips, extreme sports and the like. It’s probably the most capable and versatile watch I’ve yet seen. About the only thing it doesn’t have is GPS.
Features of the Casio Pathfinder PAW1500T-7V include:
•Tough Solar power (shock-resistant), 5 month power reserve.
•Radio set, five bands: Japan (1 & 2), US, UK and Germany, tries up to six times per day.
•200M (660ft) water resistant.
•Low-temperature resistant, down to -10C / 14F.
•Digital flux gate compass with bearing memory for navigation.
•Altimeter/barometer with up to 20 points in memory and trend graphs.
•Automatic electroluminescent backlight.
•World time, with 29 timezones and 33 cities around the globe.
•Five daily alarms.
•60-minute countdown timer.
•Stopwatch, up to 24 hours.
•Graph of tide and trend, based on location and user-entered correction.
•Moon graph, northern or southern view.
•Rated to within 20 seconds per month accuracy if no radio signal is received.
•L/M/H battery charge indicator.
•Display flag on main screen if it received a radio sync in the last 24 hours.
•Titanium case and band, with safety lock and pushbutton release.
•Mineral glass crystal.
•Compass bezel for a quick bearing.
•Adjust and light buttons at 6 o’clock for fast access.
•Shrouded buttons that are crosshatched and oversized for use with gloves.
•51mm wide, 14mm thick and 113g on the bracelet.
Casio calls this ‘The ultimate Pathfinder’ and I’m inclined to agree; it does it all. Despite that, the use of titanium makes it very comfortable to wear, even on very hot days. I wore it in 90F heat it was just fine to wear and use.
I’ve included a comparison shot with a G-shock so that you can judge the size. My wrist is around 7.25″ (18.4cm), and I was very comfortable wearing the Pathfinder. Obviously, its an overtly technical and outdoor-style watch, so worrying about whether it fits under the cuff of a dress shirt is kind of pointless!
Christian has covered this model before, so let me add some from my experiences. I really like the combination of solar plus ABC (altimeter/barometer/compass). The ABC features all draw a lot of power, so normally you have to worry about running your battery flat in the middle of nowhere and losing you navigation. Ditto with the backlight, and doubly so for using the compass in the dark. By adding solar power, Casio frees you from worrying about that, even if you’re hiking the Appalachian trail, visiting Patagonia or canoeing the Amazon. It’s a superb idea, and I think every outdoor watch should have solar power like the Pathfinder.
Similarly, small thoughtful touches abound elsewhere too. Just above the time, you can press ‘Adjust’ and flip between display of the day or a small graph of the recent barometric pressure – great for hiking, where a drop portends precipitation or a storm. The auto backlight lights up when you turn your wrist in the dark, and since its electroluminescent, the entire dial is evenly lit, letting you see time/compass, etc. I also like that you can configure the main time display to show time, day, date and month all at once.
The dial is initially a bit overwhelming, as there’s a lot of information on display. However, it’s logically laid out and quite comprehensible after a bit of time with the manual. Around the face of the watch, there’s a ring of segments that’s used to show seconds in time mode, and as the compass in navigation mode, and also to show pressure trends in barometer mode. Below the time, there’s a special graph to show tide and trend (in or out, high/low), icons for ‘radio signal received’, battery charge, AM/PM, moon phase, and more.
The buttons for altimeter, barometer and compass are on the right side, with plastic shrouds to prevent accidental presses. They’re also crosshatched for a sure grip, and a bit oversized for use with gloves – very thoughtful. There’s an unshrouded ‘Mode’ button on the left side as well, and two more below the dial.
The altimeter and barometer are fast and accurate, and display graphs of measurement versus time. This is nice for logging hikes and keeping an eye on the weather. I found it to be quite accurate once set to local barometric pressure. If you’re going to use this, I recommend finding the altitude of your house so that you can calibrate before leaving.
The bracelet and clasp of the watch are worth mentioning as well. The clasp is a nice evolution of previous designs, as you can see in the picture the interior pieces are beveled and cut so that the portions pressed against your wrist are rounded and comfortable – bravo! Very nice to wear.
Another new idea is that the buttons are under the fliplock, adding a bit more security against accidentally opening the bracelet. These are small details, but they really add to the comfort and are nice to have.
Overall, I’d like to congratulate Casio: This Pathfinder is obviously evolved from its predecessors, with many improvements small and large. The attention to detail, comfort and utility are remarkable and appreciated, making this the outdoor watch of choice when the going gets rough.