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Review of the Casio Pathfinder PAW500-1V

Atomic Casio Pathfinder Ladies' Watches

Face3We have an unusual review today: the Casio Pathfinder PAW500-1V. It’s a Pathfinder for women, but surprisingly it’s a great watch for a man, too. We’ve done lots of Pathfinder reviews here on Watch Report, so we jumped at the chance to review this one.

The spec list includes:

  • 5-band atomic timekeeping (US, UK, Japan (2) & Germany), auto-receive up to six times per day.
  • Tough solar power, meaning shock-resistant with five month power reserve.
  • Low temperature rated to -10 to 60C, or 14 to 140F.
  • Altimeter/barometer.
  • Thermometer (as with all temperature sensors, it’s only accurate if you remove the watch from your wrist).
  • 100m (330′) water resistant.
  • Mineral crystal.
  • Stopwatch, five alarms, 24h countdown timer and second time zone (world time) from 29 time zones. Note that this includes half-hour offset cities like Kabul, Yangon, and Tehran. (See the manual for the list.)
  • Automatic backlight which lights up when you rotate your wrist in the dark. A really neat feature for when your hands are full!
  • 12/24 hour display, hourly chime.
  • Accurate to within 20 seconds per month in the absence of radio signal.

All of this is reduced in size compared to the mens’ flagship PAW1500T-7V: 45mm across versus 51, and 11.5mm thick vs 14mm. The weight is similarly reduced, 43g vs 113g. The biggest single difference from the 1500 is the absence of the compass — almost certainly a worthwhile tradeoff for overall size.

Here’s a comparison shot with a basic Timex Ironman men’s watch. As you can see, the pressure sensor makes the pathfinder a bit wider, but not much.

Certainly at 45mm, this is a watch with presence and quite well sized for a man or woman. On my wife’s smaller wrists, it was a bit large but quite comfortable. On my 7.5″ wrist it looks perfectly normal. The 11.5mm height keeps it nice and low-profile.

You also lose the tidal display and moonphase, the utility of which depends on your lifestyle. Werewolves and surfer girls probably want those; hikers and outdoorsy types perhaps less so.

Construction is a mix of rubber (most of the case and strap) and metal (reinforcing on the case and strap, plus caseback and front of watch) that gives it a light weight and very sporty look. The buttons (2 on the left, 3 on the right) are grooved and recessed, with small ledges to prevent accidental presses. The pressure sensor is on the left of the watch between the two buttons and is protected by a plastic shell that looks quite well designed. Leftside
As is the case with other Pathfinders, the strap is custom-fitted to the watch and can’t be exchanged for, say, a nylon NATO strap.

We quite like the combination of solar power and multiple sensors for an outdoors watch — if you’re a long way out, a watch battery is one less thing to worry about. The lack of a compass is a negative, though perhaps not a huge one given how easy this is to add – the Suunto Clipper compass clips to the watchband, glows in the dark, and sells for about twelve bucks. No battery required!

One thing I quite like about this watch is the multiple modes the time display can have. In the area about the H:M:S you can display

  • Day and date.
  • Year, month and date.
  • Recent pressure graph and date.

The digits are large and clear, and the watch reads quickly at a glance. The smaller indicators for things like battery level, daylight savings and radio receive and small, which is appropriate given how rarely you need to see them.

As noted above, there’s no hint in look, text or color that this watch is gender-specific, so I’d not hesitate to recommend it to anyone as a great, reliable, everyday watch that serves well outdoors, too. It’s a lot less obtrusive than the PAW1500, and packs a lot of functionality into a well-designed package. My wife wore it to work for a day, and no one noticed it. I wore it more than one day, and no one noticed it on me either: this one really is that versatile.

List price is $200 for the PAW500-1V. Expect to find discounts online.

The review watch was kindly loaned to use by Casio’s PR firm.

By Paul Hubbard

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