Review: Casio Pathfinder PAW-1500T watch

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I’m a mechanical man, but sometimes you need a sports watch to withstand the hard knocks associated with heavy activity like “drinking at a bar” and “sitting on the back porch with a beer.”

I’ve worn Pathfinders for years now – my first one was a large titanium model with that is basically a cousin to this one. Pathfinders are part of Casio’s outdoor line, designed for hiking and skiing. This model has a compass, barometer, thermometer, altimeter, and stopwatch built in along with a tide graph. It is water resistant to 200 meters.

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The PAW-1500T is huge – 50mm – but amazingly light. It includes a comfortable titanium band and has a large, readable face. Best of all, this is a Waveceptor watch with atomic timekeeping that lets the watch set itself automatically using radios in US, UK, Germany, and Japan. It also has a front solar panel to charge the watch, ensuring you never need to change the battery. It is, in short, completely self-sufficient.

As a long-time Pathfinder user I was slightly disappointed by the dial layout. In the non-solar models, the compass and some of the functions use the entire screen to splay data. Because the solar panel covers the front inside screen – the part with the numbers – the compass has to use the outer bezel to show the cardinal directions and the internal screen shows the current direction (S, ESE) instead of a big compass rose like the non-solar models. However, I’d be willing to take the trade-off – solar or big compass – in a pinch.

These watches are true monsters. They’re definitely not formal-wear timepieces but they look great and beefy. The light is excellent and in my tests the thermometer actually told the ambient temperature instead of the temperature of my wrist.

The three huge function buttons on the right side of the watch and the recessed mode button are easy to find in the dark. The light button is a bit small on this model and it’s right next to the Adjust button which sets the time and date – not like you’d ever have to.

* Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping (US, UK, Germany, Japan)
Receives time calibration radio signals which keep the displayed time accurate
Auto receive function (up to 6 times per day)
Manual receive function
Signal: US WWVB, UK MSF, Germany DCF77, Japan JJY40/JJY60
Frequency: US 60kHz, UK 60kHz, Germany 77.5kHz, Japan 40/60kHz
* Tough Solar Power
* 200M Water Resistant
* Tide Graph (based on a combination of preset and user input data)
* Moon Data (moon age based on current date or user input data, moon phase graph)
* Digital Compass
16 points of measurement
Measuring range: 0 to 359 degrees
Measuring unit: 1 degree
* Bearing Memory
Memory Capacity: 1 record (stored direction angle and indicator)
* Altimeter
Measuring range: -700 to 10,000m (-2,300 to 32,800ft)
Measuring unit: 5m (20ft)
Auto memory measurements
* Altimeter Memory
Memory capacity: 20 records
Measurement data: altitude, month, date, time
Max altitude memory
Relative altitude display
Altitude tendency graph
Altitude differential graphic
* Barometer
Display range: 260 to 1,100 hPa (7.65 to 32.45 inHg)
Display unit: 1 hPa (0.05 inHg)
Atmospheric pressure tendency graph
Atmospheric pressure differential grapic
* Thermometer
Display range: -10 to 60 C (14 to 140 F)
Display unit: 0.1 C (0.2 F)
* Low Temperature Resistant (-10 C / 14 F)
* Full Auto EL Backlight with Afterglow
* World Time
29 times zones (33 cities), city code display, daylight saving on/off
* 5 Daily Alarms
* Countdown (Yacht) Timer
Measuring unit: 1 second
Countdown range: 1 minute to 60 minutes
Countdown Alarm, Progress Beeper
* 1/100 second stopwatch
Measuring capacity: 23:59’59.99″
Measuring modes: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times
* Hourly Time Signal
* Auto Calendar (pre-programmed until the year 2099)
* 12/24 Hour Formats
* Button operation tone on/off
* Accuracy: +/-20 seconds per month (with no signal calibration)
* Storage Battery CTL1616
* Battery Power Indicator
* Power Saving Function
Approx. battery life: 5 months on full charge with Power Saving Function (without further exposure to light)
* Module 3134

If you need an all-purpose watch that can probably withstand a direct missile hit and still makes you look like a superhero, you can’t go wrong with the Pathfinder PAW-1500T.