Authored by David/Neobassman
Review of Casio Edifice EF-318 (modem burner)
Casio Edifice review for SCWF. This is my first attempt at a review, so, guys, please let me know what you think and share any suggestions (too long, something I didn't cover, etc.). Thanks! David
This Casio EF-318AVDF appealed to me for a few reasons. First of all I love watches with subsidiary dials and other complications, and this one has a pleasantly busy face that appealed to the gadgeteer in me. Second, I thought the package was particularly attractive ? a sporty, ?masculine? watch that also had subtle colors that could work well with most any but the most formal setting. Not good for a tux, but probably fine with everything else. The Champagne dial, orange highlights, and stainless seemed to work well together. Third, I was also curious about the Edifice line ? what is Casio?s market target for this line? Given that this watch can be found online for about $50 or less, how did it compare with comparable modest models from Seiko and Citizen? This is clearly not a flagship model for Casio. Instead it represents the heart of a modern watch company?s business ? modestly priced, everyday watches for people who can?t tell a Pathfinder from an Speedmaster from a Sumo, and really don?t care. I snatched one up on eBay and
have owned it for about two months. I have worn if frequently for both work and weekends, so here are some comments and conclusions.
It has been challenging to find documentation of this watch on the Internet. None of the Casio sites (USA, Europe, International, etc.) list this watch, or perhaps no longer list it. However, listings on eBay and other sites for European, South American, and Asian sellers show this watch in other color schemes, including dark brown, satin blue, and grey/silver. Casio appears to sell no other watch model that has this configuration, with the jump day on the left, though some other current Casio Edifice models have secondary dials for day and date and have retrograde mechanisms for other information.
Description/Aesthetics: Steel sword-shaped and lumed hands, and an orange center seconds hand, establish the face. (Note that the hands appear black in the pictures - this is because the edges angle down and therefore do not reflect light back to the camera well - the finish is actually mirror-polished silver metallic.) A jump day indicator (also known as retrograde, flyback) dominates the left side of the dial, a date wheel occupies the 3 o?clock position, and a 24 hour dial occupies the 6 o?clock position. The two subsidiary dials are finished in the same satin champagne color as the rest of the face, but they are guilloched so that they catch reflections and stand out somewhat from the rest of the face. Casio elected to not highlight the fan shape of the day indicator on the left, and I feel this was a good decision. The day abbreviations and hand draw plenty of attention to this part of the face, and to emphasize this with guilloche or a heavy applied chapter ring arc, like many Seiko and Citizen dials, would, in my opinion, undo the subtlety of this dial and make the face appear cluttered. The garish, stick-on, blingy look of some Seikos and Citizens has kept me from buying some otherwise desirable watches! The "Casio - Edifice - WR 100M" logo at 12 balances the overall effect.
Applied, lumed hour markers are silver but accented with orange in a way that gives the overall face some zing. This also makes the watch much easier to read without the brute force approach from typical diver?s watches. Hours are not labeled, but the chapter ring indicates hours 13-24, and the silver, stationary bezel has engraved seconds numerals at every 5 seconds. A crown guard and machined indentations at 3 and 9 help give the watch, a purposeful, mechanical look. The dial is easy to read in daytime, even for my aging, bifocal-enabled eyes. The case measures 41 mm without the crown, 43 mm with the crown, 50 mm from lug tip to lug tip and 11 mm thick at the center of the flat crystal. The watch does not feel this big on the wrist.
The watch has an attractive lume but it is not long-lasting. My testing method is admittedly crude, but at least provides some repeatability: Before going to bed I charge the lume for 20 seconds close under the same bathroom light, and then wear the watch to bed. Strong lumes (such as Seiko dive watches are still perfectly readable after five hours. The EF-318 was not readable by the wee hours of the morning. The small area of the lumed hour markers is one likely reason. However, the hands were also not visible in spite of the larger coated area. Given the low contrast between the hands and the dial to begin with, this is a checkmark in the negative column. Unless the lume is well-charged, the dial becomes unreadable in dim light.
The band is brushed stainless steel with narrow, polished stainless bars at each link. The band has a mix of solid segments with bent metal connectors, utilizing split pins for the several removable links on each side. From the side, the band appears to be a ?solid? bracelet. The band has plenty of room for larger wrists. I still had to remove two links and shorten the micro-adjust one step for my muscular (i.e. fat) 8 inch wrist. The folding clasp locks closed with latch buttons on both sides ? a much superior system to the snap-fit clasp used on some watches of the same or even higher cost.
The bracelet is integrated with the watch case using drilled lugs and connecting links that widen to match the outside width of the lugs. Some forum frequenters will not like the integrated bracelet. One could probably substitute a leather band (orangish-brown would be nice), but the 14 mm lug spacing is pretty narrow and would probably require modifying the leather band. Personally I prefer bracelets and am fine with well-done integrated bracelets, so the design of this Casio is a plus for me. The integrated end links curve downward from the lugs in a way that helps the watch hug the wrist nicely. Overall, I would rate this bracelet a 7 out of 10. For the cost of the watch, it is attractive, sturdy, and mostly comfortable. It is, however, not the most comfortable bracelet because of the bent links - it is not a hair-puller but the additional texture on the inside can become noticeable over time. My standard is measured by how tempted I am to take the watch off when I?m working at my desk for extended periods ? I tend to take this one off less than average but more often than my most comfortable bracelets, such as those on the Sawtooth, Orange Monster, and my Ebel Sport Wave anniversary watch.
The case has a conventional screw-on stainless back and indicates ?Japan Mov?t ? Cased in China ? DW.? The crown does not screw down. A screw-down crown would fit with the overall theme of the watch but probably would not fit with Casio?s price point ? it is one of the compromises made, I imagine, to keep this watch affordable. The crown has two operating positions: The first position sets the date wheel when turned counterclockwise and has no function turning clockwise. The second position sets the time in the conventional manner. The watch does have a hacking feature. The jump day indicator must set by turning the hands back and forth between11 pm and 4 am until the proper day is found. Not the most convenient setup, but at least this does not need to be set very often with a quartz watch. The 24-hour hand was a bit of a mystery. There appears to be no way to set it independently; if so this watch cannot function as a dual-time watch. This makes the 24-hour hand something more for show than go, a disappointment. As a result, the 24-hour dial becomes just an am/pm indicator since all other information is duplicated by the main hands. The manual includes no documentation of the 24-hour dial. I am researching this with Casio, but for the purposes of this review, the lack of documentation is itself noteworthy.
The watch is run by what Casio calls a Module No. 4752 movement, using an SR920SW battery. Casio claims a three-year battery life. Opening the back (with care ? the indentations are shallow) reveals a customary square quartz movement held in a plastic movement ring.
As can be seen in the picture, the movement is marked ?S. Epson Corp. VX3SE.? Forumers will know that the S stands for Seiko, so this Casio beats with the heart of a Seiko! This 10 ½ ligne movement is commercially available from Seiko-Hattori and used in watches from other labels, such as S.U.G., Jacques LeMans, Titan, Picard and Cie, Perigaum, etc. such as these below. One allegedly retails for over $1300 ? I won?t embarrass the maker by saying which one has the same movement as this $50 Casio! Note the identical functions and layout of the dials. So even though Casio does not seem to use the VX3SE elsewhere in its line, plenty of other people do:
Conclusion: It is not surprising that Casio, known for its electronics and digital watches, sources its quartz movements from another manufacturer. This is, for example, the heart of the Swiss ebauche system, and it is now commonplace in a globalized marketplace. For me, I enjoy this watch a bit more by understanding a bit more about how it fits in the 21st century watch world. For me the highlights of this watch are its attractive layout and color scheme, reasonable comfort, and value for the money. Negatives include a dial that can be hard to read in low light, mediocre lume, and a 24 hour dial of limited value. While not a ?grail? watch, this offering from Casio is an attractive, serviceable, and economical piece of wrist candy that will help hold down the Casio corner of my collection.