The Swiss responded to the smartwatch crisis with hybrid smartwatches: watches with physical analogue hands, a digital display and an extremely limited, immutable function set. Wrong answer. The Casio Oceanus T200 gets it right. It’s not a smartwatch per se, or the liquid metal Terminator dude. It’s a tasteful traditional watch that discreetly applies high technology to the business of timekeeping and . . . that’s it. It’s available . . .
in four colorways: dark blue, medium blue, light blue, and black. I chose the dark blue, which everyone knows is the best watch dial color ‘cuz chicks dig it. The T200 could be considered a “dressy” watch – it certainly qualifies in the context of my collection of G-SHOCKS (horological heathen that I am).
The combination of brushed and polished case finishing is reminiscent of – and often compared to – Grand Seiko cases. As Ahnold might say, “it’s not Zaratsu! T-200. Advanced prototype. A mimetic polyalloy.”
The T200 lacks the functions commonly found in the Casio G-Shock line such as a timer, stopwatch, world time, alarm, hourly signal (chime), etc. Nevertheless, the simple three-hander’s appearance belies the tech powering this timepiece.
The T200 is “solar-atomic,” meaning it’s a “set and forget” watch. Featuring both Multi-Band 6 and BlueTooth “Smart Access” connectivity, the time is always right to the second. If the watch is paired to your phone, it will attempt to sync the time four times a day.
If the T200’s not paired to your phone, it will use the Multi-Band 6 to receive the atomic clock signal every night after midnight. You can also manually sync the T200 by using the button located at 4:00 on the case.
The date window underneath the T200’s sapphire crystal looks like a standard mechanical watch complication, blessedly free from the dreaded (in these parts) cyclops date wart. You don’t have to adjust the date at the end of a month with fewer than 31 days; the T200 is also a perpetual calendar.
You can easily access and adjust the T200’s settings via the Oceanus-specific phone app. As soon as you pair the watch to your phone (via BlueTooth), the watch automagically configures the time, time zone and date.
You can also use the app to monitor the battery level and track the last time sync. With a bit more effort (RTFM) you can adjust the settings directly on the watch.
The bracelet’s fashioned from solid links (not folded sheet metal). It’s light and comfortable and . . . noisy. The bracelet jingles on the wrist, serving the same function as a dog collar for your significant other.
The T200’s clasp sports just two adjustment holes, and the push-button foldover clasp lacks the flip-lock safety found in more expensive watch bracelets. Worse, the clasp sticks out with a prominent edge. It’s a major annoyance for desktop mousework.
The dial is an unalloyed delight (though not literally). The polished and beveled metallic hour indices have a 3D quality, reflecting light. They appear to be cantilevered off the chapter ring.
Sticking out like little diving boards over a deep dark blue pool of water, the indices evoke an overhead shot of an Esther Williams set. In bright light, the dial shines with a “sun-ray” pattern.
The dial offers a few subdued labels (with the second hand as a pointer) to indicate various functions, such as connection to your phone or radio signal and the DST (Daylight Saving Time) setting. This makes for a cleaner, less busy look – an uncharacteristic trait for a Casio.
The polished and beveled edged lume hands provide additional bling. The dial’s reflective features and the case’s polished element contrast with the deep blue dial, creating a rich look.
The Oceanus line is JDM (Japanese Domestic Market), only sold in Japan. Unless you can read Japanese, you’ll have to use Google to translate the official Oceanus website. The watches range in price from about $500 to over $4,000. You can get an Oceanus watch shipped from Japan through a variety of dealers directly or through portals like Amazon and Ebay. Mine arrived four days after I placed the order.
You’ll never catch me wearing a smartwatch; that which you own, owns you, and those things are demanding as hell. My horological affections are split between digital G-SHOCKs and elegant Swiss watches. The T200 represents a third way – it uses technology to enhance the traditional watch experience without ruining it. That’s me done. In fact, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so! . . .
Model: Casios Oceanus OCW-T200S-1AJF
Price paid: $456
Case: Stainless Steel
Strap: Stainless Steel with foldover clasp.
Dimensions: 41.4 x 49.5 x 10.7mm / 133 g.
Movement: Casio Quartz Module #5596.
Time sync: Multi-Band 6 and BlueTooth connectivity.
Battery life: Solar rechargeable. 5 months (normal functions without exposure to light after a full charge). 29 months (when stored in the dark with the power save function).
Water resistance: 100 meters.
Functions: Analog Hour / Minute / Seconds, Date.
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
Clean, sleek, classic are the words that come to mind. A minimalist dial (especially for a Casio) that “pops.”
Legibility * * * * *
Excellent – polished silver hands and raised metallic “3-D” indices against a deep blue dial create a sharp contrast. The second hand hits the marks perfectly.
Comfort * * * *
Comfortable and lightweight. The 10.7-mm case thickness is low profile. Minus a half star for the jingle-bells bracelet. Minus another half star for the clasp that has no real microadjustability and a trailing edge that sticks out a bit.
Overall * * * * *
The T200 is a truly “handsome” timepiece that can run with the big boys for a very reasonable price.