Casio’s adventure-focused PRO TREK line is often overshadowed by its flashier sibling, the nigh-indestructible G-SHOCK. But if your adventures take you further into the rough or you’re in the market for a bit more functionality than what the G-Shock can provide, the PRO TREK line is certainly worth a look. PRO TREK watches are built specifically for those heading out into the wild, with many featuring attributes designed for specific outdoor pursuits. Case in point: the Casio PRT-B70, which was designed as a fishing watch. So, do you need a connected fishing watch, especially when all the same information is readily available on your phone? Of course not, but then again, the same argument can be made regarding any watch. So, if you’re into fishing, why not have a watch that tells you when to grab your gear and head to the lake?
Full disclosure: I don’t fish. I could probably count the times I’ve done so in my life on one hand. Living in interior British Columbia, I (apparently) live in an amazing part of the world for fishing, but I have my hands full with other hobbies, so it’s just not one I’ve picked up. That said, even though this is marketed as a fishing watch, the PRT-B70 is more than a one-trick pony. I’d argue that the PRT-B70 is an outdoor watch that just happens to have a cool fishing feature. Casio seems to agree and hasn’t gone overboard with marketing this feature, offering only a small amount of text on an inner ring between 9 o’clock and 12 o’clock and a line of text on the strap that give away its intended purpose. Since Casio isn’t exactly known for restraint, this was a welcome design choice.
One of the selling features of the PRT-B70 is the ability to connect with Casio’s Bluetooth app. And honestly, to get the most out of this watch, it’s worth your while. In case anyone with sharp eyes noticed, I recently reviewed a Casio G-STEEL in which I argued that the Bluetooth connectivity was largely superfluous. I stand by that assessment, but it’s a different story for the PRT-B70.
First off, if you’re into fishing, the first thing you’ll want to do is connect to the app and specify which of the roughly 3,3000 ports and fishing spots worldwide you plan to visit. Once done, your watch (and the app), will give you information on the best times for fishing, a tide graph, sunrise and sunset times, and moon data. If you do manage to catch something, push the record button on your watch and the app will record your current fishing location, time and date, and environmental conditions. Managed to snap a good pic of your catch? Load it right into the app. Finally, all your information can easily be exported and shared.
Those fishing-specific functions are largely irrelevant for me; however, I do spend ample time in the outdoors tromping around BC’s forests and grasslands. And this is where the PRT-B70’s versatility shines. The PRT-B70 features Casio’s Quad Sensor, so you get a compass (complete with a rotating compass bezel), barometric pressure, altitude, temperature, and even a step counter. And, of course, a super-durable case and 200m of water resistance. Where it becomes interesting is when you pair these sensors with the app. By pushing a button on the watch, you can log your current location and, as you head off, the second hand will indicate your bearing back to your starting location while the digital display will show the distance back to the start. Definitely a nice redundancy, though I certainly wouldn’t recommend setting off into the backcountry with this as your sole lifeline — a proper GPS, compass, and maps (and the knowledge of how to use them) should certainly be your primary navigation tools. Alternatively, if you’re not hiking far off the beaten track, being able to toss your phone in your pack, but keep track of distance and elevation on your hike is a nice feature.
Even if you don’t plan to do much more backcountry adventuring than heading out to your local park, pairing to the PRO TREK app is still useful for enabling/disabling display modes on the watch, automatically adjusting your home time and world time, or configuring your world time settings to any of the 300 cities on the app. And, if you’re so inclined, you can use the step counter and altimeter to get a rough estimate of calories burned. So, even though I’m not typically a fan of having too many connected devices, this one certainly justifies the Bluetooth connectivity.
Once on your wrist, navigating through the different functions on the watch is intuitive and easy to do. Maybe I’m just easily entertained, but I love the fact that a push of the button transforms the watch into a compass… that’s just such a cool little trick, and I’ve played with the compass more than I’d like to admit. The friction bezel is smooth to turn and has just the right amount of resistance so as not to be budged out of place. Functionally, it’s a Casio PRO TREK, so it’s just as robust, simple to use, and practical as you’d expect.
Function is all well and good, but the watch has to look good on your wrist. Personally, I really like what Casio has done with the color scheme. It’s subtle and not overbearing and feels more purpose-built than other watches in Casio’s more famous G-Shock line. When I tried to think what the color scheme reminded me of, the two watches that popped into mind were both orders of magnitude more expensive: the Sinn EZM 7, designed for German firefighters and search and rescue, and the Richard Mille RM 25-01 (yes, that Richard Mille watch — the >$1million tourbillon and water-purification tablet-equipped watch designed with Sylvester Stallone). I’m not sure if those comparisons say more about me or about the watch… Regardless, this is easily the most practical of the three and the one that you’d probably feel most comfortable getting bashed up on a fishing boat or backcountry camping trip.
Like most watches in Casio’s PRO TREK line, the PRT-B70 is a large watch at 50mm in diameter and 57mm lug-to-lug. No question it’s a bulky watch, but it’s light enough to forget about when wearing out on adventures. The pliable rubber strap is quite comfortable and a good match for the watch. One thing I was very happy to see, however, was the non-integrated strap and even the use of quick-release spring bars. So, if you don’t want to wear the watch on rubber, it’s easy to swap it over to a NATO-style strap or whatever works best for you.
The PRT-B70 comes in three colorways — black, blue, and khaki/green. I could certainly see the blue appealing to those spending time on the water, but I’m personally most partial to the black and khaki/green. Regardless of colorway, legibility is excellent. The analog display with large markers and hands is easy to read and the luminous hands are legible in any light. Plus, there a high-brightness LED light if you need to see the digital display at night. With the enormous popularity of the Seiko Arnie (SNJ025), the Seiko reissue originally made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando and Predator, the super-functional (and visually interesting) ani-digi display is making something of a comeback. For those who are thinking about adding an ani-digi watch to their collection, the Casio PRO TREK PRT-B70 offers an interesting option that’s especially functional once paired with the Bluetooth app.
The Casio PRT-B70 is available for $240 USD; for more information, be sure to visit the brand’s website.
>Model: Pro Trek PRT-B70
>Price: $240 USD
>Size: 50mm-wide, 16.4mm-tall, 57mm lug-to-lug
>When reviewer would personally wear it: During longer outdoor pursuits as a useful backup for navigation.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Outdoorsy type who’s into fishing, camping, and heading out into the backcountry.
>Best characteristic of watch: Thoughtful connected functionality.
>Worst characteristic of watch: It’s lightweight — but still quite a large watch.