Review: Casio “Super Illuminator” MTD-1079

The Casio MTD-1079 “Super Illuminator”

When it comes to watches, Casio is a brand Singaporeans are all familiar with. In fact for most of us, our first proper watch would have been a Casio; and for good reason. They were cheap and durable – difficult for a child to destroy, and easily replaceable if it got lost. I still remember my primary school days, when kids would show off their colourful “Baby G” watches to each other, while having a “G-Shock” earned you some serious street cred. I’m not sure if kids nowadays share this experience; they probably care more about who has the latest iPhone.

Casio remains as one of the top recommendations, if not the top recommendation, for digital watches, especially with their ever popular G-Shock series. The same however, cannot be said for their analog offerings, which simply do not enjoy the same top of mind awareness as other brands, including fashion watches. It’s a pity; some of Casio’s models pack a great value proposition, and are great choices if you’re looking into an affordable timepiece. The MTD-1079, or Casio “Super Illuminator”, is a decent contender for a small-not-very-painful slice of your wallet.

The Case & Specifications

The watch measures roughly 46.3mm across (crown included), 51mm lug-to-lug, and 13.7mm thick. Lug width comes in at 22mm. It isn’t a small watch, but it is not disproportionately large either. The watch still wears fine on my 16.5cm wrist, but is definitely noticeable in terms of wrist presence.

The crown is located at the 3 o’ clock position, with accompanying crown guards protecting most of it. At the 2 o’clock position, there is an additional pusher, which triggers the LEDs that give the “Super Illuminator” its name.

The top of the lugs have a brushed finished, while the other surfaces appear to be highly polished.

The watch is styled as a dive watch, but is not an actual diver so you might want to steer clear of the water. It does however have a unidirectional, 120-click bezel.

The case is made of stainless steel, with a stainless steel screwdown caseback. Water resistance is rated to 100M.

The watch uses Casio’s own quartz module, rated to +/- 20 seconds per month. Battery life for the movement and the LEDs are estimated at approximately 3 years.

The Dial

Dial of the “Super Illuminator”

At a glance, the dial looks relatively busy. Hours are marked out by round indices, with batons at 6 and 9 o’ clock, a double baton at 12 o’ clock, and a day-date window at 3 o’ clock. The indices are printed on and not applied.

An additional chapter ring provides 24 hour timing, while 5 minute intervals are also marked out on the rotating bezel. The chapter ring helps to add some visual depth to the watch, which is otherwise visually “flat”.

The dial is plain black in colour, adopting a black and white colour scheme, with a crosshair design motif in the middle expanding out towards the indices.

The hour and minute hands are partially skeletonised, but their relatively wider tips coupled with the contrasting white make for improved legibility when it comes to reading the time. The bright red seconds hand adds a touch of colour, and extends fully towards the seconds indicator.

Like most Casio watches, the crystal is made of mineral crystal, which is not as scratch resistant as sapphire; do be careful!

Overall, the watch gives off a sporty feel, and I can see the watch being used for everyday life or as a “desk diver” in the office.

The “Super Illuminator” LEDs Being Lit Up

There is some negligible lume applied to the indices; not to worry however, for the watch comes with a key feature: the “Super Illuminator”. There are 2 LEDs hidden at the 12 and 6 o’ clock positions, which help to light up the watch face when the pusher is depressed. Guaranteed night time legibility!

The Strap

The stock strap is made out of stainless steel with a deployant clasp. The strap makes use of folded links, which for most is really okay. It would have been nice to have solid links, but Casio had to cut costs somewhere I guess. The side pieces are brushed while the middle pieces are polished. The clasp also allows for 3 micro adjustments.

Styling Options

For those who prefer to switch out the bracelet for other bands, the 22mm lug width allows for plenty of other options.

The “Super Illuminator” on a Blue Nato
The “Super Illuminator” on a “Vintage” Leather Strap

The Price

Prices for the MTD-1079 range online from $40+ to $140. Casio’s US website states a RRP of USD$120. They are a bit harder to find online nowadays, but Shopee still has one or two sellers with stocks*. If you can get one on discount, it’s a pretty decent buy.

*Note: I got mine from Shopee from a seller who priced it at $47 pre-discount. The watch came in a Casio box, albeit for a different model. While the watch looks largely find, I noticed 2 things. Firstly, there seemed to be some dust underneath the crystal, which I assumed got stuck there in the manufacturing process, and QC failed to spot it. Secondly, the bezel was very difficult to rotate; which was not the case from videos that I saw uploaded on YouTube pertaining to this exact model. My guess is that this particular piece is from the Chinese market, or a factory reject due to the above 2 factors and hence sold at a steep discount. I have tried to establish the legitimacy of the watch, but was unable to open the caseback which was screwed down extremely securely. To the best of my knowledge however, the watch does seem to be authentic and has not presented any accuracy issues thus far. For the difference in price, I think its an acceptable trade-off, but if it isn’t for you remember to do your research!

Overall

The “Super Illuminator” is a budget option for those looking for a dive-styled watch with a sportier look. Coupled with some other straps, the watch will be suitable for a variety of everyday situations, from the office to your neighbourhood park. It also has Casio’s reliability and accuracy, along with a nifty “illuminator” feature, something you don’t see everyday in analog watches! If you’re looking for something different in a value for money package, it’s time to give Casio a serious consideration.

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