We’ve reviewed several different Casio ProTrek watches and just lately, as part of the Wristwatch Day celebrations, we had another one come in on loan for a review. We’ve already talked about the Casio Edifice that came in, and in that I teased that I really ended up preferring the other watch. So, let’s see what got my attention with the Casio ProTrek PRG-600.
As you may already know, the ProTrek lineup is the one that Casio aims at outdoor use. To that end, they’ve built in some rather handy features into the Casio Protrek PRG-600 that the outdoors person may find useful. Want to know how high up the bluff your hike just took you? There’s an altimeter! Wondering if those clouds mean a storm is rolling in? Check what the barometer is tracking. (note that this has an alarm to let you know of sudden changes as well) Need to figure out which trail to take to get back to your car? There’s a digital compass. Also in the mix is a thermometer, but you’ll need to have the watch off your wrist to get an accurate air temp (otherwise, your body heat will elevate the reading). This is all in addition to standard quartz watch features of world time, stopwatch, timer, alarm, and day/date tracking.
It won’t be any surprise that all of that – most courtesy of the TripleSensor 3 – needs a fair amount of room. You’ve got a 51mm watch here that is 13.4mm thick. I know we watch writers will often talk about a watch wearing larger or small, and that can be hard to quantify. A lot of it has to do with the visuals, and with lug length and drop. The Casio Protrek PRG-600 is definitely one that wears smaller than the 51mm spec might suggest. Yes, it’s a big watch, but I’ve had some 44-46mm pieces in that felt a lot larger than this. This is helped partly by the short lugs that angle steeply down (helps to hold the watch tight to your wrist without gaps) and the very light weight (just 74g) of the watch. The light weight is great for being active, of course, and the large case also makes for a large, very easy-to-read dial.
You’ve also got a decent-sized LCD display on the Casio Protrek PRG-600 that helps you out with some information (readouts from the sensors) and telling you what mode you’re in. This is of great benefit here, and along with the retrograde dial at 9 o’clock, keeps you on track for what you’re looking at without having to refer to an owners manual. You also have some very large indices here that really do catch the light, be it what’s ambient, or from the LEDs that are triggered by the button at 6 o’clock. This, along with the luminous built into those indices and hands, means that you’ve got no problem whatsoever reading the time, day or night. You might have some troubles reading the compass at night, say, but that’s where a flashlight is handy. Of course, the LED lights up the LCD display as well, so you’d be able to read that.
Rather than the rubber or silicone strap you might expect an outdoors watch to come on, the Casio Protrek PRG-600 has a nice, tightly-woven textile strap. This keeps things very comfortable, and makes for a strap that not only fits securely on your wrist (synthetic straps can have problems with that), it won’t care so much if it gets wet from a dip in the river (or even from sweat). Sure, it’ll get wet, but it’ll dry out, and should keep your wrist from getting to be a sweaty mess.
For a watch like the Casio Protrek PRG-600, you’ll want to know what all of the various buttons do – and there are several, but you can learn them quickly:
- 2 o’clock: digital compass
- 4 o’clock: altimeter readout
- 6 o’clock: LED backlight
- 8 o’clock:
- If in another mode, takes you back to the main time
- Also cycles through all of the functions (as indicated by the retrograde dial at 9 o’clock)
- 10 o’clock: cycles the LCD display through it’s modes
That then leaves the crown, which I do want to note. This is a screw-down crown, and you need to unscrew it and extend it to use for setting some things. So far, makes sense. What you’re not going to expect is that the crown, as you turn it, is actually clicky. This feels (and sounds) weird at first, but as you go through setting things, I got to appreciate the precision that if offers. Frankly, for a digital watch, a crown is almost vestigial, but on the Casio Protrek PRG-600, they actually made it feel like it properly belongs, and not just as a design hold over.
Another thing that I really appreciated on the Casio Protrek PRG-600 was the color palette used. Sure, I like blue watches, and there are several shades used here, but that’s where things could have gone wrong. The world city (fixed) bezel is one shade of blue, the dial is a slightly different hue, and then the strap is yet another blue tone. If these were all right up against each other, it might have looked thrown together. Casio wisely separated each of these, be it with the grey bevel down to the dial or the black resin of the main case, but things are broken up enough that you just really get to appreciate, yup, this is a blue watch. And being darker tones of blue, it doesn’t feel like the watch is screaming out for attention. On top of that, the bright white of the hands and indices just pops out crisply. All in all, a rather visually satisfying watch, at least for this blue guy.
At the end of my time with the loaner of the Casio Protrek PRG-600, the conclusion was simple – while this is a larger watch than I might normally go for, I still came away with a pleasant memory of the piece. It’s well-sorted, intuitive, and supremely legible. These are good qualities in any watch, even more so for one intended to accompany you on various adventures in the great out of doors. This one, in it’s blue guise, seemed well suited for, but if this $320 variation isn’t for you, check out the full catalog, as there are numerous colors available for your own personal preferences, many packing the same great Sensor 3 package we saw in this watch. protrek.casio.com
- Brand & Model: Casio Protrek PRG-600YB-2
- Price: $320
- Who’s it for?You’re a fan of the outdoors, want a watch that works in that lifestyle, and want a splash of color while you’re at it
- Would I wear it? Perhaps a bit of overkill for my outdoors trips (mostly camping) but yes, this would be a good companion for those trips.
- What I’d change: On the strap – rather than two floating metal keepers, a wider textile one (made of the same material as the strap itself) would be an improvement
- The best thing about it: Functionality aside, I really liked how the indices just leapt off the dial.
Tech Specs from Casio
- Case / bezel material: Resin / Stainless steel
- Size of case : 51.6 × 51.5 × 13.4 mm
- Total weight : 74 g
- Cloth Band
- Mineral Glass
- Screw Lock Crown
- 100-meter water resistance
- Tough Solar
- Smart Access
- Digital compass
- Auto Light Switch