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Authored by David/neobassman


Casio Redline RL300LA-9AV: Another Everyman?s Watch

This is the second in a series of reviews of inexpensive watches for the SCWF. Feedback on these reviews will be greatly appreciated ? let me know if you find these interesting, too long, or missing something you would have wanted to know.



Overview: I was curious about the Casio Redline series because it seemed to offer good value for not much money. This and similar models are currently available on eBay for around $35 or less (box says $70.00 retail), so it is a good price competitor with other inexpensive watches such as some of the Seiko 5?s, Timex, etc. This particular one has a yellow dial and three black subsidiary dials, making it particularly attractive to me (I love yellow dials). Stylistically, it evokes racing car graphics ? bright primary colors, hands that allude to the spokes of a steering wheel, and subsidiary dials reminiscent of automotive gauges. Even the italic 12 at the top reminds me of NASCAR racing car numbers (Note: I?m not a NASCAR fan, but I still like the look). This watch came with a wide ?leather? band that I am not fond of, but the price was right so I figured I could change the band later.



Case and Dial: The stainless steel case is a round generic, uh, ?wristwatch? shape with a screw-in back, rated at 100 meters water resistance. The case is machined so that it appears to have a separate bezel with a brushed surface (in the radial direction) to help break up the otherwise ho-hum mirror polished expanses. It?s an attractive watch overall, but most of the fun is in the dial. The subsidiary dial at 3 o?clock indicates the date, the dial at 9 indicates the day of the week, and the dial at 6 indicates 24-hour time that is not independently adjustable. The watch has the appearance of a chronograph, but it is really just a sporty day/date timepiece. The position of the three guilloched secondary dials provides a balanced look. The Arabic 12 and the hands are the only parts coated with luminescent paint. It is not a long-lasting lume.

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The lugs are thicker and more narrowly spaced (14 mm) than typical, which would make fitting a generic bracelet a challenge. Other models of this watch sell with a matching bracelet (but not the yellow dial model, apparently), so I found another model with a bracelet for $29 on the ?Bay. I?ll swap the bands and probably post the spare combo FS.

The case measures 40.7 mm across without crown, 42.6 mm with crown, 46.4 mm top to bottom, and 10.6 mm thick at the middle of the flat, mineral crystal. By today's standards this is pretty much mid-sized. The crystal has a slight raised, polished edge that helps give the watch its mix of classic and go-graphic looks.

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Band: The band on this watch is budget black with a wider patch under the case. It reminds me of those wide leather studded bands that were popular in about 1974. It?s not a flattering reference. The band seems sturdy enough but looks cheap. I?m not even sure if it is actually leather or vinyl ? the surface feels like leather, but the edges look heat-bonded like plastic. It?s on the thin and mushy side, in terms of thickness. There are rectangular metal plates on each side of the band highlighting the ?Red Line? logo. The band is secured with solid 1.0 mm pins (not spring bars) that swell to 1.1 mm at one end. Close examination revealed that one of the holes in the drilled lugs was slightly smaller than the other, giving a clue as to how to drive out the pins. Even so I had a devil of a time getting them out to open the back.



With the solid leather band covering the back, battery changes are not convenient. Speaking of the battery (SR621SW), mine died about three weeks after receiving the watch, which (after a fit of annoyance) gave me a good excuse to pull off the band, break out the wrench, and pry the thing open. I imagine the price reflected the fact that this was ?mature stock.?

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Back and Movement: The stainless back says ?Red Line ? Casio ? Japan Mov?t ? Cased in China ? DW.? It looks much like the back on the Casio Edifice EF-318 I recently reviewed, though the back seems thicker, and it has deeper, more secure indentations for the case wrench. Opening the back reveals the typical plastic movement ring holding a Miyota 6P29 movement. Miyota movements are made by Citizen. So, while the Casio Edifice beats with the heart of a Seiko, this Casio Red Line beats with the heart of a Citizen. Follow this link to technical information about the 6P29: http://www.citizen.co.jp/miyota_mvt/download/index.html#6P29

A quick Google reveals watches from other manufacturers using this movement, including some retailing for four or five times as much. I guess it?s the engineer in me that tends to measure value from the movement and functions, instead of - well ? whatever makes another watch with the same movement cost four times as much!



Conclusions: I?m looking forward to seeing this watch on a bracelet. The band seems to be a major source of cost savings (I?m hopeful the bracelet will be passable quality). Otherwise, the watch seems to offer a great deal for the money ? all stainless steel case, reliable Miyota movement, attractive styling, and a usable day/date.

David
 
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