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Casio MTS-100L-1AVEF Review – The Best Casio Watch For £50?

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If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you may remember the mysterious Casio Sapphire watch that I featured in at least a couple of articles. That watch was fantastic value for money and felt like the king of low-cost fashion watches; I even gave it the title of Daniel Wellington killer, given its minimalist aesthetic. Unfortunately, Casio decided to discontinue that model at some point in 2019 and it’s now been dropped from most retailers.

So, when recently browsing Amazon I was stunned to see that ‘Casio Sapphire’ logo reappear on a different analogue watch. Not only was the logo there, but the same positive sentiment was present too. One reviewer went so far as to call it the ‘best £50 watch you can buy’.

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Do you really think I could resist? I’ve been trying this watch for the last couple of weeks and it’s time to give you the inside scoop on whether this watch lives up to the hype, or if it’s a swing and a miss from Casio.

Currently, this watch retails for a very competitive £50-£60 on Amazon UK. As with a couple of recent posts, they covered the cost of this watch, so I’m pointing you there in return. If you can find this watch in the US, it’s probably a chunk cheaper.

Aesthetically, it takes a rather different approach to the old ‘Casio Sapphire’ that I’m familiar with. This MTS-100 has a slightly sporty look to it, with a traditional dial that reminds me of some Seiko models.

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Reviewing 'The Best £50 Watch You ...
Reviewing 'The Best £50 Watch You Can Buy'...Does It Live Up To The Hype? - Casio MTS-100L-1AVEF

Watch Size

Size-wise you’re looking at a fairly standard 40mm diameter, excluding the crown, paired with a 46.9mm lug to lug length. When combined with the relatively thin 9.3mm thickness, it feels great on-wrist and I think overall the watch has a set of crowd-pleasing dimensions. I have a skinny 6 ¼ inch wrists and the watch looks a tiny bit on the large side, but it’s certainly wearable. For a more average wrist, this is going to look spot on.

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Construction

Unlike some of the similarly priced Timex models, which incorporate brass in their construction, this case is made fully of stainless steel. It features a glossy finish across the majority of the surface, including the bezel and lugs, though the case edges aren’t as sharp or defined as more premium watches; which is a sacrifice to expect at this low price point. Nevertheless, you’d only notice if you were looking closely and I still like the overall shape this provides. The crown even features some added protection in the form of guards, to shelter it from impacts and give a more sporty look.

Dial

Wow, does this dial look good! If I was a watch newbie and you handed me this, the dial alone would give me the impression that the watch was worth at least double, possibly triple the current retail price. This colour variant features a black dial, with a subtle matte grey ring that passes behind the hour markers. This is far less visible than the poor product images suggest and looks much better in person, as it seems to disappear into the darkness at certain angles. If this dark colourway isn’t for you, they manufacture this in blue and silver too, the latter including a steel bracelet in place of the leather strap.

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Tiny second indicators inhabit the circumference and a white date window sits at the 3-o’clock position. Despite the dark dial, this one doesn’t stand out nearly as much as you might expect from the images, I think the thin white border and the black inner make it feel a little smaller for some reason.

It features applied hour indices, which include a sliver of lume down the centre. The 12-o’clock has a typical double-width marker, whilst the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock markers are also slightly thicker than those which occupy the rest of the chapter ring. This is impressive for such a cheap watch and whilst the luminescence is far from the brightest, it’s a nice-to-have bonus.

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They match the dauphine handset perfectly, which are themselves very neatly done and feature long strips of lume. Impressively, the ticking second-hand hits every single second marker, showing the quartz movement within is precisely aligned. Far more expensive watches are truly hit and miss with this, so it’s nice to see that Casio’s quality control has clutched up with this unit. I can’t promise yours will be so accurate, but my experience with this brand is certainly better than others in the industry.

Watch Movement

The movement in question is the Calibre 2719. Unfortunately, I was unable to find much information about this movement, as Casio likes to keep these things fairly secretive; though it does seem to be present in many of the popular and more expensive Edifice watches also produced by the brand. This watch retains the date window functionality, so there are no ghost positions. As the dial indicates, the battery within the movement has an advertised 10-year lifespan, which is very impressive and means you won’t have to mess around removing the back.

That snapback rear is also stainless-steel and provides a reasonable 5ATM of water resistance, which is enough for short-term submersion. That’s nothing spectacular, but pretty good for a £50 watch that isn’t a diver. Whilst only having average grip, the crown is tremendously responsive and it’s easy to make minor alterations if needed.

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Glass

Another of the key selling points is positioned front and centre; the Sapphire glass. So many fashion watch brands claim to be providing ‘industry-leading value’, yet choose to include cheap mineral crystal on their £150 quartz watches. With this MTS-100L Casio isn’t pulling any punches and they’re giving you what’s often considered the best material in the business. This crystal will be fundamentally scratchproof, which can keep your watch looking new for longer. We’ve seen a huge influx of Chinese brand watches that are rewriting what should be expected from low-cost watches, therefore it’s nice to see Casio moving with the times and implementing Sapphire on some budget pieces.

Watch Strap

Unfortunately, the only area that lets the watch down is the strap. It features a black crocodile pattern and is constructed of genuine leather but as you might expect, it’s not great quality. Considering the retail price, it’s hard to criticise it, though you’ll notice it feels plasticky and overly firm at first. This 20mm strap also lacks the quick-release tabs that are present on rival offerings, which is a shame; nevertheless, it’s still wearable and the stainless steel buckle seems like it won’t break any time soon.

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Is The Casio Sapphire Any Good?

On reflection, I think the overall value proposition is just as good as the previous Casio ‘Sapphire’ that I reviewed last year. The watch looks great on-wrist and at the current retail price, it makes for a great everyday choice that will suit casual outfits as well as more formal ones (with this black version, at least). I often hear people say oh just get a Seiko 5 if you’re after a low-cost watch and while I agree they are good watches, not everyone wants a mechanical watch. Therefore, at such a low price and with the benefits of solid glass, water-resistance and looks; I think this fits the bill for a lot of people. Also, many of the budget mechanical watches are far more expensive in the UK than across the pond, so we tend to have fewer options.

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Is it the best £50 watch out there? I think it’s up there, though I now have my eyes on another Casio that recently dropped to a similar price. That one is part of the Edifice line, so we’ll have to see how that one stacks up against this.


BEN’S WATCH CLUB RATING (4.5/5):


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