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Atomic Powered Wonder-Watch Heats Geek Hearts

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Strawberry or chocolate? Brunette or blonde? Porsche or Lexus? If you have trouble being the decider, the Casio G-Shock MTG-1500 could be the watch for you. Casio has crammed just about everything a geek might lust after into this attractively chunky timekeeper.

Solar powered? Check. Automatic synchronization with official atomic clock radio signals? Double check. Analog and digital? Triple check. Water and shock- resistance? You best believe it.

Like other watches in the 25-year-old G-Shock line, the MTG-1500 is forged with Mr. T levels of toughness; it can easily survive being banged clumsily against tabletops or whacked against a surfboard in a wipeout. And it's water-resistant to 200 meters. But unlike most other G-Shock watches, which are primarily plastic, the MTG-1500's body and band are stainless steel, with a few tasteful black plastic accents. It has a grown-up look that's perfectly comfortable at a VC breakfast meeting or a post work beer chugging marathon at the local watering hole.

The watch has both analog and digital readouts — which is nice — but the display can be a bit confusing. You'll definitely need to RTFM in order to decipher what the tiny mode indicator dial on the left is doing and — design flaw alert! — the analog hands sometimes obscure the miniscule digital readouts. The hands glow in the dark (for a few hours after being exposed to bright light) and there's even a tiny LED that illuminates the entire face, although its yellow light is weak, uneven, and doesn't brighten the digital section of the watch face adequately.

Once we got the hang of the MTG-1500, we half expected to find it lacking in minor features. Surprisingly, we didn¿t. It's got a stopwatch mode, dual time zone support, five different alarms and a countdown timer.

But it's the solar and atomic parts that we're most excited about. (Yes, we're nerds. Hello!) Sunlight or bright artificial light recharges the battery as you wear the watch. Once fully charged, the battery should be able to power the watch for 6 months without additional light, Casio says — more than enough to get you through a sunless winter in Antarctica.

As for “atomic" part, we were disappointed to learn that the MTG-1500 doesn't actually contain a nano-nuke. In fact, the watch has a radio receiver, enabling it to synchronize itself automatically with the precise radio signals sent out by official atomic timekeeping stations located in Fort Collins, Colorado and five other locations around the world. That means you just set the watch to the time zone of your choice, and it takes care of the rest.

That's a good thing, because nothing destroys the effect of a nice, manly watch like peering at it, fidgeting with its buttons and trying to get it set to the exact right time. With the G-Shock MTG-1500, you can have style and precision without any wasted effort. In short, it's a geek dream.

Manufacturer: Casio
Price: $500


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