Casio MTP-S110 Review | Is this new Casio diver better than the Duro?
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If you’ve spent any length of time browsing the internet, you’ll know that the venerable Casio Duro MDV-106 is more than a fan favourite. Often considered the best value quartz diver, its reign has been unopposed since its introduction; providing solid water performance and surprising build quality for typically well under £100, depending on the market you reside in.
I’ve seen a few viable alternatives come and go, but recently I stumbled upon an option that may finally have surpassed it in raw bang for the buck. Unsurprisingly, this one is also from Casio, who tend to dominate the lower price brackets.
Casio Duro Comparison
When I first saw an image of the MTP-S110, I instantly thought it looked like a cousin of the Duro, with an identical strap and a comparable case shape. For the most part, it looked like it could be a cosmetic variant of fundamentally the same watch. Nevertheless, there were a couple of things that stood out to me, both of which were written right there on the dial; solar-powered and 100m water resistance.
I got the impression that this was the effective trade-off you’d be making with this model; sacrificing some water resistance for a better movement in return. To be honest, for well under £100 again, this seemed like a trade-off worth making. So, I got Amazon to send this in for review. It’s affiliate linked throughout this article if you want to pick one up.
Well, my expectations were immediately subverted when the watch arrived in yet another new type of packaging. While no better in quality than the others, as if that matters anyway, this clean design definitely looks more modern.
Instantly, I noticed that the watch didn’t look as similar to the Duro as I first thought. Sure, the colour scheme was similar, but outside of that and the strap, it felt like a different beast.
Let’s begin with dimensions to start out. This one has a 43.5mm diameter, paired with a 50.7mm lug to lug and a surprisingly slim 11mm thickness. While this watch has as much chance of fitting my wrist as I have at winning a hairstyling competition, it still doesn’t fit as large as the width suggests. Without a doubt, this is much more like a 41.5 to 42mm watch when on the wrist and the thin profile certainly helps with that. It’s much sleeker than the Duro, and isn’t quite as hefty, at only 84 grams, so it is more comfortable.
The level of finishing is roughly the same as the Duro too, with a reasonable brushed upper paired with high-polish flanks; though the structure is more segmented, foregoing the gradual, swooping sections favoured by the MDV-106. Personally, I think the case on the Duro looks better, though this MTP-S110 does have a more symmetrical appearance, should that float your boat. My main gripe here is that the crown is slightly staggered from its guards, possibly reducing their effectiveness. I’ve seen much worse, but you may still notice it.
Like some of the similarly priced Edifice models, this solar piece is more of a dive-style watch, as it doesn’t have the 200m rating assigned to most regular dive watches. As a result, some associated corners have been cut. This includes the crown, which is push-pull rather than screw-down, as well as the bezel, which is frustratingly fixed in place. While most of you will likely never use a rotating bezel for its intended function, it’s still annoying as it makes the watch feel lower quality. This is my least favourite part of the watch and I’m not sure what they were thinking with the weirdly dated typeface used for the numbers upon it.
While Casio dropped the ball on the bezel, they scored a screamer with the dial. Indeed, this is a classic case of stock image syndrome. That’s my new diagnosis for when the stock images look like flat, boring garbage, despite the product actually looking much more stimulating in person.
To get the elephant in the room out of the way, yes the second-hand alignment is a bit sketchy, not terrible but not good either; which is surprisingly uncommon with Casio. Nevertheless, the dial here is just glorious for a sub-£100 watch.
That deep silver sunburst hits you straight away, even in darker lighting conditions, only ever being thwarted by reflections across the mineral crystal. This texture ensures that there is always a gradient of light to dark across the watch, adding to the allure. I also think the applied markers are better proportioned than those on the Duro, which are a little small for the large dial size. Here we have a couple of more unique ones, including a large index at 12, with a red slice in the centre and a couple that have an arrow tip pointing inwards.
Additionally, this is one of the first instances where I think that skeleton hands elevate the aesthetic, rather than destroying it. You’ll notice that the holes themselves have an arrow shape that matches the indices at 6 and 9, also forming a neat little double arrow in conjunction with the filled tips further along. They’re a little quirky, but not too offensive so all in all, it’s nice to see something fresh.
Logos and text are all printed, with most being executed to a highly legible standard, though to the naked eye, the two lines of writing above six o’clock don’t look quite as clear.
Of course, the boon of this watch is the self-charging solar functionality that is built-in. The 5272 module within does not bear the ‘tough solar’ badge, so it may not perform quite as well as the alternatives with that designation. Nevertheless, 8 months of battery life from a quick 8-minute charge in outdoor sunlight is likely more than enough to accommodate the needs of most people. This effectively means that there’s no need to replace the battery for the foreseeable future, which reduces the risk of scratching the case rear or accidentally impeding the seal and generally makes your life easier. At lower charge levels, the seconds hand starts double stepping, to let you know that the power supply needs topping up with some more sunbeams.
As with the Duro, luminescence is serviceable, with a green glow that shines brighter on the hands than the markers. From memory, I don’t think it’s quite as bright as the Duro, though I no longer have that model to hand for a direct comparison.
What I’ve really discovered is that this watch is all about compromises. If you merged this and the Duro, I’m sure you’d have the ultimate cheap diver. Picture it; the proper bezel and high water resistance properties of the Duro, combined with the slim profile, solar functionality and dial of this MTP-S110. Sounds pretty epic to me if they could keep it below £100. As it stands, you get about half of those with this watch, which is fairly decent for the current price of around £80.