When my 2 1/2-year-old son was playing with my watches recently, he tried to put an old Accutron around his wrist and fussed about not being able to get it to stay on. I obligingly helped him slide the strap through its keepers, and he promptly complained and took it off. After finding that the vintage Accutron didn’t meet the measure of his discerning horological taste, he moved on to the next timepiece he could reach without displacing himself: the Casio Pro Trek Pendleton Collaboration Model I had in for review. He picked it up, gave it a cursory examination, held it aloft in my direction, and sonorously declared, “That’s a BIG watch!” Never one to be easily fooled, the boy was spot on. But what I fear my fledgling enthusiast son may have missed was the nuance that comes with big watches. Yes, this Pro Trek is a big watch, but it’s incredibly light, has a billion functions, and thanks to Pendleton, has unique accents that add plenty of character.
Measuring an eye-watering 51.5mm across and 51.6mm lug-to-lug, this watch is verifiably enormous, but as you can see, it doesn’t overwhelm the wrist nearly as much as you’d expect. Part of this is short, angled lugs, which do their very best to hug the wrist, part of it is the sloped city bezel, and part is the fact that when you take away the extra size from the pushers and case shapes, you’re left with a dial that doesn’t look that big because it’s so full (as opposed to some, thin bezeled dress watch that wears 4mm larger than it is). That’s not to say that it’s going to sit well on smaller wrists, but rather that it may not be as gargantuan as you’d expect.
The part you can’t see, that I can only tell you about, that my son might have been able to express if he weren’t hampered by his current developmental stage, is that the watch is light as a feather, weighing just 62g. For reference, a steel Rolex Daytona weighs about 150g and the Oris Aqiuis Date Calibre 400 weighs about 165g. You can thank the bio-based resin construction (i.e., plastic from renewable resources) for the case’s weight; presumably the gray ion-plated steel bezel and the mineral crystal together weigh about as much as the rest of the case. While the form is identical to other models in this line, this special edition gets a two-tone brown case with a bronze-tone crown, though those elements aren’t what stands out. Like those other models, it sports 100m of water resistance.
The Pendleton Collaboration model’s strap is made from recycled PET plastics and features a classic Pendelton pattern that evokes images of the American Southwest. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as soft as the textile company’s blankets. Getting a snug fit requires a bit of force, and the strap doesn’t conform very well in any case. This has been my experience with almost all recycled straps (such as the #tide straps used by many brands), which tend to be stiff and rough. I wore this watch on humid summer days, in the ocean, and in a creek, and the strap didn’t give much. The strap isn’t painful or abrasive, it’s just not as comfortable as a traditional textile (or leather or rubber) strap might be. Unfortunately, the lugs are 23mm, so strap swaps will be a challenge for most.
The Casio Pro Trek Pendleton dial remains quite legible despite everything that’s going on. The main dial is a deep gray with a glossy Pendleton design printed in the middle; the design can disappear in the wrong light but will usually show itself more often than not. Despite the busy dial and design, the watch does use Casio’s Tough Solar technology to keep charged. At 10 o’clock is a Pendleton-themed function indicator with a multi-colored hand, which is echoed in the seconds hand. The hour and minute hand, along with the printed hour numerals feature Casio’s Neobrite lume, and the watch has a small backup light activated by the small button between the 6 o’clock lugs. The lume is certainly adequate, though I’m sure if you were properly in the wilderness, you’d be happy to have the backup light. The digital display manages many of the non-time functions, including the date display, and also features a backlight. In fact, the light can be set to turn on automatically when the watch is moved to be read (from parallel to a greater than 40° angle) but won’t turn on if you’re looking at it in bright light. I guess this is a good time to tell you there’s a power-saving mode, too.
The functionality of this watch is honestly overwhelming. Even the most daring outdoorsman probably wouldn’t need everything. Using Casio’s Triple Sensor, the watch’s most notable functions are a barometer, thermometer, and compass. Beyond those, it has an altimeter (based on the barometer readings), stopwatch, timer, alarm (five of them!), and world time functions. I am not going to go into every single detail about all of these functions—you’ve already been reading long enough. You should know a couple of things, though. All the functions (and their many subfunctions) are operated through the four pushers and crown. While many of the functions are fairly straightforward, some are more complicated to set and use, and some require calibration and recalibration. For instance, the altimeter wasn’t accurate when I took a reading outside my house, but the watch allows you to manually adjust it as needed (this would be useful at the start of a hike). The barometer and thermometer had similar issues (though I can’t understand the latter’s error). I imagine most people would use this not every day, but for specific outings, and as such, they’d likely want to calibrate the sensors each time.
Other than the more unusual case shapes necessitated by their sensors, most multifunction watches like this are rather sedate in their designs, with a few limited-edition exceptions coming to mind. The collaboration with Pendleton adds a bit of panache to a watch that might otherwise be a soulless adventure computer, albeit one filled with so many functions and features I was actively discovering some as I wrote this review. The Casio Pro Trek Pendelton Collaboration Model PRG601PE-5 is priced at $400 USD and available directly from Casio. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.
>Model: Pendelton Collaboration Model PRG601PE-5
>Price: $400 USD
>Size: 51.6mm-wide, 51.5mm lug-to-lug, 14.8mm thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: In the deepest backwoods of the American wilderness, when all I have to guide me is the stars and provisions are running low
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: The adventurous friend looking for a watch with more than basic functionality for extended trips
>Best characteristic of watch: Integration of Pendleton designs, exhaustive functionality
>Worst characteristic of watch: Strap is stiff, some functions require calibration