Last year, The Verge compared smart watches to old PDAs: They’re slow, have poor battery life and try to do more than they’re actually capable of. It’s clear that digital connectivity is the way forward for the watch industry, but as of now, traditional smartwatches have a hard time making a case for themselves. Recharging on a daily basis is a pain, and you’d be hard pressed to find an app or function on a smartwatch that can’t be done on a smartphone. And that’s to say nothing of their lack of detailed design. There does seem to be something of a middle ground, though — a watch that combines the niceties of a traditional wristwatch but is enhanced by a digital connection.
That describes Casio’s new Edifice watch, the EQB501 , to a tee. Casio’s Edifice series has had Bluetooth connectivity for a couple years, but this newest iteration is one of its best so far. The most notable new addition to the EQB501 is Casio’s new Accurate Time System, which, via smartphone, automatically accesses the internet four times a day to adjust the time to be absolutely accurate. (It even compensates for Daylight Savings Time.) And connecting to your phone is as simple as hitting the Bluetooth button at 8 o’clock.
Further, the watch can automatically adjust to your location, eliminating the need to fiddle with your the crown after finishing a long-haul flight. Jetsetters will also likely appreciate the world time function, which has the correct times for 300 different cities across the globe. Aside from super-accurate time keeping, the EQB501 has a host of other functions bolstered by smartphone connectivity. Users can set the watch’s alarms via the corresponding CASIO WATCH+ app, send stopwatch times from the watch to their phone and, if you’re the forgetful type, you can even use the watch to find your misplaced phone.
Yet despite its smart functionality, the EQB501 still has the air of a traditional, analog watch. Casio’s 3D dial is comprised of distinctive layers and edges, from the elevated sub-dial rings to the slanted hour markers to the curved chapter ring. It’s an excellent antidote to traditional smartwatches, whose faces are comprised of nothing more than cold, flat touchscreens. Surrounding the dial is a handsome, black bezel with a tachymeter scale (for the auto enthusiasts who want to calculate their average speed the good ol’-fashioned way), and the whole package comes affixed to a comfortable stainless steel bracelet.
Thus, the EQB501 has the highly accurate time telling acumen of a smartwatch. But thanks to its solar-powered movement, there’s no need to recharge it every single day, and its relative simplicity cuts the inherent redundancy of a traditional smartwatch. And given that smartwatches are still in their teething stages, a hybrid between old and new timekeeping technologies seems like the ideal way to integrate the internet into a timepiece without sacrificing the look and personality that makes us love wristwatches in the first place.