Out of Casio’s multitudinous offerings, the G-Shock line always tends to garner the most attention among watch enthusiasts. No question that attention is well-deserved; yet, the über-tough G-Shock’s aesthetics aren’t for everyone. That’s where the G-Shock’s two sister lines, the ProTrek and Edifice, come in. If ProTrek is G-Shock’s flannel-clad, outdoor-adventuring sibling, then the Edifice is the globetrotter, more at home in bustling city streets. Like all Casio watches, the Edifice line is eminently functional, but the design language of this series is based on speed and intelligence. Given that you get solar charging, Bluetooth connectivity to Casio’s app, and plenty of technical wizardry, intelligence makes perfect sense. But where does speed come into the equation? In the Edifice ECBS100D-1A, reviewed here, the dial is inspired by grilles of race cars, with automotive cues sprinkled throughout.
Making a racing-inspired watch comes as no surprise, seeing as Casio Edifice has been a sponsor of the Scuderia AlphaTauri Formula 1 team since 2016. With some racing-inspired watches, the aesthetics can be a bit over-the-top for my taste, but Casio doesn’t push the racing theme too far here. The black metallic mesh that forms the backdrop of the dial may be inspired by grilles, and that’s easy to see when blown up on a computer screen, but on the wrist, it simply comes across as an interesting texture. Likewise for the 9 o’clock register; while I can see it evoking a speedometer, the effect isn’t overdone.
There’s plenty going on with the dial, with the countdown timer at 9 o’clock and digital displays at 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock. More on what those displays do in just a moment, but if your primary concern is reading the time, Casio ensures that’s easy to do with oversized lumed markers and broad hands. But the hands… they’re simply too short. Many brands invoke the design philosophy that the minute hand should just meet the minute track, while the hour hand should just reach the hour marker. That’s certainly not a hard-and-fast rule, but it’ll get you close. I’m not sure if the designers had to sacrifice the hand height in order to account for the raised elements on the periphery of the dial while keeping the case height nice and slim, but whatever the reason, they look disproportionately small.
The ECBS100D-1A is powered by Casio’s Tough Solar technology. This system has come a long way over the years, and the advances allow the Edifice ECBS100D-1A to now incorporate complex dial textures, digital and analog displays, Bluetooth connectivity, and an incredibly long battery life. Even stowed away in total darkness, the solar-charged battery will last 7 months (18 months in power-save mode). But what’s important is what that battery powers.
The two analog displays provide quick access to useful functions like day/date, world time, stopwatch, and alarm. And, in a neat party trick, the hands shift out of the way when using the digital displays so you don’t have to worry about the hands impeding your view. Speaking of visibility, nighttime legibility is provided by lumed hands and markers, and an LED backlight for the digital display, along with a super-illuminator (a small LED light that lights up the entire display) that’s activated by a quick tap to the pusher at 2 o’clock. The watch comes pre-loaded with 38 time zones, but connecting to the Casio app allows you to access 300 cities. Connecting to the app also allows you to quickly manage the alarm settings, transfer stopwatch data, find your phone through a quick push of the app, map your time and position, and will automatically sync your watch to the local time while traveling — definitely a nice feature if you’re frequently hopping between time zones.
At 9 o’clock, the watch features a countdown timer that can be set to measure anywhere from 1 second to 60 minutes. The timer can be quickly set manually or through the smartphone app. Personally, I quite like the presentation of the countdown timer. It adds a needed touch of color to the dial and is easy to quickly read at a glance.
The ECBS100D-1A is by no means petite, with a 46mm diameter and 50mm lug-to-lug distance, but that size is tempered by a slim design (9.8mm in height), and an easy-wearing weight of 138g. In other words, it’s a large watch on the wrist, but easy to wear all day, even on my 6.75” wrist. The stainless-steel construction of the case is solid, as expected, and the mix of brushed and polished surfaces, gently curving midcase, and chamfered edges are nicely executed, especially when considering the sub-$300 price point. Most importantly, the pushers offer just the right amount of resistance and a reassuring feel.
The ECBS100D-1A comes on a stainless-steel 3-link bracelet that starts at 22mm at the lugs and tapers down to 20mm at the clasp. The good news: The bracelet’s comfortable, and the push-button clasp is secure and easy to use and, overall, it’s comfortable on the wrist. The bad news: the links use a pin-and-collar system, which is a bit of a pain for resizing, and it has a light, jangly feel and sound. For the price point, it’s hard to complain too much, but I could see myself preferring an aftermarket leather or rubber strap.
The Casio Edifice ECBS100D-1A is an interesting watch; it offers plenty of functionality for travel but also practical considerations like 100m of water resistance for everyday wear. As you’d expect with any Casio, you’re getting a whole lot of watch for the money. If the sporty, automotive-inspired aesthetics work for you, then this could be a great, affordable option for a travel watch. The Bluetooth connectivity will be a bonus for some users, but I appreciate the fact that Casio doesn’t make connecting with the app a necessity (a bonus for those of us who already have enough connected devices in our lives). The Casio Edifice ECBS100D-1A is available for $260 USD; to learn more, be sure to visit the brand’s website.
>Model: Edifice ECBS100D-1A
>Price: $260 USD
>Size: 46mm-wide, 9.8mm-tall, 50mm lug-to-lug
>When reviewer would personally wear it: City-hopping when I want the functionality of a GMT (and more) without the stress of wearing an expensive mechanical watch.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking for an affordable watch for frequent travel.
>Best characteristic of watch: Thoughtful connected functionality.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Undersized hour and minute hands.