For a while, I’ve wanted a chronograph watch, which is basically a watch with a stopwatch function used to measure elapsed time. I think using a smartphone for this is much easier, but to have the chronograph “complication” (a term for extra function) on a watch is pretty cool. After a bit of online shopping, I found the Casio MTP4500D-AV chronograph watch with slide rule bezel. It looked pretty cool in the photos and I like Casio as a brand. And the price was a bargain at US ~$35!
The watch is 42mm in size, with a 22mm lug width, a stainless steel case and a quartz movement. You can compare the watch size next to the Seiko SKX007 and SNK809 in the last photo. The stainless steel bracelet feels good, especially at this price. As far as value goes, the watch is a winner.
The main dial has the hours hand, the minutes hand, and the chronograph seconds hand. There are three smaller subdials, the one at the top is the chronograph minutes counter, the subdial at the left is the chronograph hours counter, and the subdial at the bottom is the watch seconds hand. FYI, on most chronograph watches, the large second hand is used for the chronograph function, not the normal watch seconds.
Operation of the chronograph is solid and simple. The top button starts and stops the chronograph with a nice solid click. The bottom button resets the hands. Then crown in the middle is used to adjust the time as you’d expect, and with it pulled out, you can use the chronograph button to set the chronograph’s start position in case it needs adjustment. All-in-all, it functions smoothly and the hands line up perfectly.
I had never used a slide-rule bezel before, so I thought it was kind of cool. I don’t really know how to use a slide rule, but I was able to convert miles to kilometers using it, so I know it’s at least functional. And the bi-directional bezel is smooth without any wiggle. Very nice! By the way, Long Island Watch has a great tutorial about how to use a slide rule bezel.
Now onto my subjective impressions and opinion of the Casio MTP4500D-1AV:
I was so excited when the watch arrived in the mail, but upon opening it, my first thought was that this might not be a keeper. The polished, mirror-like finish is not really my style. It’s really shiny, so if you like shiny finishes, you’ll love this watch. The metal band has rounded edges which I don’t particularly like the look of. I thought that maybe putting it on a nato or plain black band would make me like the watch more, so I decided to give it a chance. I have to say, that the plain black band (see the last photo) went a long way to improving the look of the Casio, but I just cannot get past the shininess.
One thing I didn’t really like was the subdial design. The minutes subdial has a large 60 at the top and 30 at the bottom, and because of this, it’s impossible to know what minute the hand is pointing at near these positions. Also, the hand (which is too wide) doesn’t point at the markers, but rather covers them so that makes it more difficult to see. Couple that with the fact that that hand has continuous (not stepped) movement, and you’ll never know with 100% accuracy if you are looking at the correct minute. In contrast, the stepped minutes hand on this Seiko below (click for larger view) points at the minute markers on the bottom subdial clearly:
One other flaw (in my eyes) of the Casio MTP4500D-1AV is that the main minutes hand and hours hand is very reflective. It might be a cool design (they look like polished swords), but if you want to quickly know the time, it’s a terrible choice. On the black watch face, the hands are extrememly difficult to see unless they are reflecting something light colored. In my experience wearing the watch for a month, the hands are usually almost invisible and I have to angle my wrist in order to get a good reflection off of the hands to see them. Not good.
The Casio MTP4500D-1AV is normally around US ~$50, but you can often find it on sale for US ~$35.
In conclusion, I think it’s a really nice chronograph watch for the price, but if you want an easier to read chronograph watch, I’d look elsewhere, such as at the Timex Expedition.