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I've had my Gulfman for three months now and have been wearing it every day (until recently, but that has to do with a Citizen Ti EcoZilla, which is mentioned in another thread in the main forum ;) ). The video review by Doug was very thorough and covered what the watch looks like and the functions. One correction I'd make is that the countdown timer is only a 60 minute timer, not a 24 hour timer. Otherwise, Doug covers it.

When I first bought the watch I was concerned about the time signal reception. I live in a bit of a valley and we have horrible cell phone reception at my house. I asked several co-workers with atomic watches whet they do and they all said they take the watch off and sit it on a nightstand or windowsill at night so it synchs up. I tried that the first two nights and the watch didn't receive a signal. I did manage to perform a manual synch the second morning, but to tell the truth it was a pain to have to do it and I was really expecting a watch that I could just "wear it and forget it". The third night I decided to just wear the watch, since I normally wear a watch to bed, and it synch'd up at midnight with no trouble. From then on I just always wore the watch to bed and it has reliably synch'd up every night. I don't know if the watch was designed to somehow use the human body to help with signal reception, but in my case it seems to work.

In general the watch does everything I ask of it, but there are a few minor issues. First, I do wish it was a 24 hour countdown timer instead of just 60 minutes. Not that I need a 1-day timer (I'd just set the alarm for something like that), but there are times I've needed a 3 or 4 hour timer. I have ended up just setting an alarm for it, but the countdown timer seems to be less hassle than setting an alarm.

The backlight is set to only stay on for 1 second. On several G-Shock models the backlight display time can be set to a longer period. I do wish the Gulfman either had that option, or the light would stay on for 3 seconds. Sometimes 1 second is barely enough time to see what I am looking for. Usually it just means I hit the backlight button two or three times and it gets the job done. There is also an auto-backlight function, but the manual (and various online postings) warn that you can have some odd effects using the feature. For instance, it does depend on how you move your arm, so it isn't 100% perfect that it will turn on when you need it. Second, if you are wearing a jacket or dark long-sleeve shirt, the watch sensor may think it is nighttime and when you move your wrist throughout the day the backlight may keep turning on. If you keep the watch well-charged, this probably doesn't matter much, but it will definitely use some energy if the backlight is on all the time. I have never used the auto-backlight feature, so I can't say how true any of this is.

The various city and timezone feature is nice, but I'm not sure how useful it is. I guess if you are in Edmonton you would know that YEA=Edmonton, but I have no idea what half of the three letter city codes mean. There really needs to be a way to have the city name scroll across the screen somehow to make this feature more useful, or at least user-friendly.

My biggest complaint is about the display layout. I have an original DW-5600 G-Shock that is probably close to 20 years old. On the main time display screen the day AND date are both always displayed. I have come to like that feature. On the Gulfman, you have to toggle between the day or date. Heck, even an old 6309 diver displays the day and date. :) The display doesn't have enough room for day and date due to the display for which time signal the watch has synch'd with (the "revolver" as Doug puts it in his review). Honestly, if you are unsure which continent you are on, you may have something more major to worry about than what time signal your watch is synch'd with. You have to press a button anyway to see what time your watch performed the last synch, so why not display which signal was used on that screen? You would have the extra space since the "revolver" display would be absent. The extra display area might also be handy for the city/timezone feature to use more than three letters to display the city code.

Overall I do love the watch. I would certainly purchase it again even with the few shortcomings it has. I mean any watch that shows a jackhammer operator as an acceptable use in the user manual is alright by me. :))

andy b.
 
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