Ramble On

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tech-Watch Geek: Casio Protrek and Pathfinder

Half Dome from Glacier Point, Yosemite - highest altimeter
reading on my Pathfinder was here: 2,315 meters...
(give or take)
As I was departing Japan last January, I saw a display of Casio “Tech-watches” in Narita Airport. Since they were branded “Protrek” – as opposed to the Pathfinder I wear – I was interested in learning more about them, with the idea of eventually getting a post up here on the blog about my new discovery…unfortunately, I did not save the photo I took in the airport (but I’ll liberally sprinkle in some archived action shots of my Pathfinder!).

What I’ve learned, and I’ll stand corrected if anyone comments with more information, is that the differences between the watches is essentially a marketing issue; namely, there was a copyright in the US on the brand name Protrek so this label was reserved for other markets. The brand for markets where the Protrek copyright was in place became Pathfinder.

Taking a Pathfinder reading in Death Valley -
later that day I recorded the lowest reading
on the Casio of -110 meters.
Now, although my discovery of this brand was recently, in January 2011, apparently the marketing extends back as early as 2008. My experience in Japan had been that the technical features, such as the triple sensor altimeter/barometer/thermometer feature, time and tide info, and even solar charging, were similar, but there was a distinct fashion emphasis on the Protrek line that I don’t associate with the Pathfinder – and that led to a bit of a price point difference, with the Protrek being a little more expensive. Again, this is my impression, glad to post differing views on this one. 

I did a little further research on the differences, and found a YouTube video that demonstrated one of the Protreks – embedded below; there was also a post on the “Poor Man’s Watch Forum” that compared the experience of using the two brands on hunting expeditions (black bear and white tail deer, for the record!) The link to this review is here, and the YouTube embed follows.

Okay, here's another:

Now, I got my Pathfinder (similar to the ad over there in the right column ) as a holiday gift from Mary a few years back. I am delighted with it and use it all the time, especially for altitude readings and a quick check of bearings with the compass. Click the Tech-watch Geek label at the end of the post for reviews of it and other watches with these features.

But the thing that sold me on the Pathfinder was a soldier’s review…the link to the post where I discussed that review is here:

I’m not going to pull punches. I love this watch. Still, I thought with the holidays nearly upon us (“Respect the bird!”) that I might break into a quick survey of the popular Tech-watch brands to see what’s happening with the lines this year. There’ll be a few more posts on the topic…!

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