my fishing watch – the Casio MDV-106

m. werneburg, 2017.03.15

a review

Very simply; this watch is an entirely capable outdoors unit perfectly suited for fishing. It's big enough to see when your hands are busy, and its lume is bright enough to see in the dusk – when the fishing is best. Its water resistance is superb, and its rotating bezel serves as a great way of marking time to help you move on from a non-producing fishing spot. And with a steel case and screw-down case back, the body is rugged enough to withstand anything you're going to do to it.

fishing with my MDV-106
fishing with my MDV-106

Well; it's almost rugged enough to withstand anything. The watch has a flaw, as you might expect from something that you can buy for $50 in Canada with a bit of care. I'll get to the flaw in a moment, but first I want to stress what that price means. Canada is a land of mysterious mark-ups. At present, for instance, Timex has nothing on their site for less than $50. So whatever flaws I've found, let's keep the price in mind.

not the time to be fretting about dinging a nice watch
not the time to be fretting about dinging a nice watch

I'm writing this review at the three year mark, having worn it for 150 weekends plus any time when my $300 SARB033 wasn't suitable. That includes cleaning out a cottage crammed to the rafters with junk by my hoarder grandfather, building furniture, and many (many) fishing trips. I tend to take care of my things. I had a $90 Lorus purchased for my high school graduation last 15 years; I have a blazer from 1997 that's in wearable condition; and I kept LEGO from the late 70's in such good shape that my kids are now playing with it. I can assure you that this watch has stood up to a great deal of use in great shape. The case and the bezel appear like new. In reality, there's a blemish in the black paint on the bezel that could be an oddly squirrelly scratch or a defect in the paint application: I can't tell. But I also can only see the thing in direct and low-angle sunlight, so it's immaterial. Likewise, the case has a variety of abrasions so superfluous that again you have to play the case around under oblique and strong lighting – a pointless way of finding defects.

So it's well made. The bezel was always firm and pliant in its one-direction turning that I could confidently rely on it for timing my stays at one fishing haunt or another.

not the activity for a delicate watch
not the activity for a delicate watch

the flaw

Which brings me to the crystal. The crystal on this watch will scratch without you even knowing its come into contact with something. I mean, it seemed at time like it was scratching from the suede work gloves I was wearing, or from being inside a nylon backpack. Again, I have to stress that despite the fact that I was wearing this watch as my beater, the case and bezel are in great shape but the crystal was so criss-crossed with glaring scratches that I couldn't always make out the time under daylight conditions. As my father put it, "They seem to make some watches with window-pane glass these days!"

addressing the flaw

My advice is to live with the scratched crystal.

I couldn't, and wound up with a very different watch. When the battery died, I had the watch sent away for inspection with the idea of replacing it.

This turned out to be a non-starter. The bezel and crystal are so firmly glued together that even in separating them, the crystal cracked. This happened not under my own clueless efforts but in the hands of the supposed watch-maker to which the watch had been sent by the local watch/jewelry shop. This model just isn't designed for this kind of work.

Hearing the news on the phone, I was tempted to ask them to throw the thing away and buy another. This was at about the 2 1/2 year mark for this watch. But two things occurred to me: if I were willing to go through it all again with another MDV-106, it was clearly a watch worth having; second, I wanted to see how long this watch would keep on ticking, especially with its one flaw presumably addressed with a new crystal. So I okayed the expense (materials only) and got my watch back with an obviously superior crystal. And the bad news that the bezel had been glued in place in the process. I'll miss that functionality, but I've worn the watch for another 27 weekends and a variety of successful fishing jaunts.

straps for the MDV-106

The rubber strap that came with the watch clung to my skin, I replaced it with a one-piece NATO strap that was far more comfortable and every bit as suited to regular immersion in water while fishing. I've recently replaced the one-piece NATO strap with a two-piece, and heartily recommend the two-piece variety over the one-piece for this model. It's wide enough, at 43mm, to need a strap that will help it sit low on the wrist.

two-part NATO strap on Casio MDV-106
two-part NATO strap on Casio MDV-106

summing up

You can find plenty of watches with similar looks and quality at two or three times the price. But I've never seen anything similar to this watch at its price. I've always been pleased with the style and materials and size of this watch. Now I'm interested to see how long it lasts.

MDV-106 with new crystal and two-piece NATO strap
MDV-106 with new crystal and two-piece NATO strap


You take your life in your hands, writing product reviews. In 2000, for instance, I wrote a review of a personal organizer called the YO-520. I got comments on that for years – including numerous requests for help and even product support. I but I live for the thrill, so if I've written something that's gotten up your nose, let me know!

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