When I first came across Casio Tough Solar watches, I thought it would be good to have watches that were recharged using solar power. I thought there would not be any need to replace the battery since it would be continuously be recharged by the Sun. Little did I know that was a wrong choice.
I bought this Casio Phys watch in the Bugis shopping area in Singapore. It has a big number, very easy to read especially when I was doing a run in the park during the evenings, with jogging motion and swinging arms and poor daylight condition. Running the chrono function and timing my run; yep, I try my best to keep fit and with a companion like this Casio watch to keep track of my exercise. Yes, it served me quite well for the few years that I had it.
I did not know that such solar powered watches required a battery change. I thought that as long as I kept it in the sunlight, it would be continuously be recharge. Towards the end of the useful life of the battery, I noticed that a word started to flash –“recovery” – after I had pressed the backlight button or any buttons that would require making some beeping sound. I thought it odd; till I realized that the battery was getting weak. Looking the battery bar (which was in the style of an egg shape ellipse), it still showed a full bar. Strange.
Going to the watch shop, and they confirmed that the battery was weak. However they mentioned that the battery was special and that they could not do the battery change. They have to send it to Casio to do the change. They have not done it before but guessed that the rechargeable battery would be more expensive that the normal ones, perhaps about RM30 to RM50 ringgit. Though I felt it was rather expensive, I decided to go ahead with the battery change.
After a week or so, the shop rang me up and informed me that they got the final estimates from Casio. It seemed that it will cost me a whopping RM$180 to change the battery which included the battery and the rubber seal. I said, “What!? RM$180!?” Now that was really too much! So I asked them not to do the replacement and to return the watch back to me.
Terrible! RM$180 is such a rip off! Better to buy a new watch then to replace the battery. Mind you, the cost disparity is just way too much. Most battery replacement just cost between RM$8 to RM$15 depending on the type of battery used.
I guess buying a solar powered watch was a bad idea. They also said the batteries for Casio watches that can last for 10 years was also quite expensive to replace. Though they have no idea of the price, but based on the Tough Solar watches type, I guess it would not be any different in the cost replacement department.
Well, I still needed a digital watch for my exercises. I needed one that has large digits for easy viewing and backlighting, since I do most of my exercises during late evenings when the skylight is dim and with the sun is setting over the horizon. Plus the fact that digital watches are much more useful than analogue watches for accurate timing. So I looked around for suitable watch replacement. Looking at the Casio ranges, a lot of sport watches were either tough solar types or the 10 year battery types. There were also a few normal types but I didn’t like their design or their pricing.
So I started looking at other brands like Timex. Well, I like the Timex analogue watches not only for its functions but also their stylish designs. However I didn’t like the digital ones as their design looked rather ugly. Not quite my taste. One thing about Casio digital watches, they really know how to make stylish watches. So next, I looked at a few other brands and finally settled on a simple Nike watch instead.
Well, the Nike watch has a big number, the functions were rather simple. But it had what I needed. Since I have accumulated quite a fair bit of Citibank reward points, I redeemed the Nike watch. However there was no choice as to the style and I had to take the white digital on black background version. After using it for a month, I decided the black background was a bad idea too. It was really difficult to read the numbers even though it was big. So I decided to buy one more from the watch shop with a light background version. At first my wife didn’t like the Nike watch and though it was rather ugly, but after looking at it for awhile, she thought it looked quite alright and decided to take over the black one. So it wasn’t a loss despite having to buy another Nike Watch. Now we are pair when both of us are wearing the Nike watches when we go to the outdoors!
As for my Casio PHYS Tough Solar watch? It still functions; I still left it hanging by the window to absorb enough photons to keep it going. I could use it during the day. For evening exercises and walks, forget it. I shall never again ever purchase any solar powered watches or long lasting battery type watches. Watches that use ordinary battery would definitely be my preferred choice.