Cool Tool Friday: I Now Have the Coolest Watch in the Country

Ask some what the coolest watch is, and they might tell you the Suunto x9. Others will may prefer the new Timex Ironman Data Link, the old Timex Messenger (classic!), an MSN Direct enabled watch, or a good solid Seiko Kinetic Chronograph. Although I either already have, or would love to have, each and every one of these, I think the watch that was delivered to my house this morning beats them all.

I like my devices to specialize. In other words, I like them to perform one primary function, and to do that function really well. That’s why I don’t have a PDA with GSM capabilities. I like my PDA (Clie UX50) and my phone (Sony Ericsson 610) to do their own things, and to do them as well as they can. Integration is great (infrared, bluetooth, etc.), but I haven’t seen many devices that can do multiple things as well as devices that specialize.

Which is why I like Casio G-Shock. I like watches to be:

  1. Accurate
  2. Durable
  3. Maintenance free
  4. Versatile (lots of time-related features)

I recently bought a Casio Solar Waveceptor G-Shock (GW-300) which I wrote about early last month, and while I like it very much and have gotten a lot of use out of it, it isn’t perfect. It’s shortcomings include:

  1. Digital (I prefer analog)
  2. No countdown timer (one of the most useful features of a watch!)
  3. The solar panels are too small to gather light efficiently

So I decided one day that I was going to find the perfect watch no matter what it took, and although it took over a month and more money than I had planned on spending, I finally found and got my hands on the Casio GW-1100J. It has all the features of the GW-300, but it also fixes all the shortcomings. It’s analog (and digital), is has a countdown timer, and the entire face is a solar panel so it gathers light more efficiently than the GW-300. And, of course, its atomic, so it never needs to be set, and it’s shock resistant and water resistant up to 200 meters. (Naturally, it has all the other basic features like multiple alarms, world time, etc.).

It wasn’t easy to get, though. This model isn’t available in the US, and although there is one similar stainless steel version available, once I saw the all black (with inverted LCD), I had to have it. To make matters worse, this particular watch is apparently even difficult to get in Japan! I called Casio several times, and they weren’t able to help (they weren’t even able to give me a phone number in Japan that someone would answer in English). I watched eBay for weeks, send probably five or six unanswered emails, and contacted a friend of mine in Japan who couldn’t help because he was just about to leave for Palau for a month. I finally got in touch with an Australian in Kyoto who knew a supplier who had 2 left. Never having met this guy in my life, and never even having talked to him, I took a chance (he has very good eBay feedback), sent him some money via PayPal, and today, I have the 1100J on my wrist!

This may very well be one of the most exclusive watches in the entire country!