Casio MTP-M305. Could this be the cheapest moonphase watch?

No I didn’t upload the wrong images of an Apple Watch. What you’re seeing is indeed a playful release from Casio. At just SGD139, it seeks to troll both the smartwatch community as well as the high horology enthusiasts.

H. Moser & Cie may be the first to come up with this concept but it was Casio that managed to bring this idea down to accessible level for us mere peasants and I can’t thank them enough for it.

The MTP-M305 was first announced in 2023 with much fanfare. Video reviews started popping up on my YouTube algorithm and I began consuming them while reading up various review articles. There was a problem though, it seems to be perpetually out of stock everywhere in Singapore. I decided to be patient since this isn’t a Rolex afterall and look what happened to the CasioOak after the first year or two.

Finally by some sheer luck, I spotted one piece sitting amongst the budget Casio watches on a rotating display at Causeway Point (suburb shopping mall). Lady Luck has finally smiled upon me as someone must have been rotating it earlier and this watch was now facing inside the shop, away from all but the eagle eyed members of the public.

This was the only piece and the only colourway available, boring but also the safest choice. 10 minutes later 2 things happened - Mr. Lume didn’t live up to his reputation and has bought a watch without any lume, and the entire Singapore probably ran out of stock for this watch once again.

That was 2 weeks ago. In that 2 weeks I was expecting more reviews on this watch to start popping up like mushrooms all over the internet given the improved stock supplies worldwide. But no, that wasn’t the case and with too much time on my hands (figuratively and literally), here’s my humble contribution back to this lovely community. If I were to do my first ever proper watch review on WatchCrunch, I might as well do it on a timepiece that’s more unique.

Dimensions

Width: 34mm

Length: 38mm

Lug to Lug: 44.5mm

Thickness: 9.5mm

Lug Width: 20mm

Weight: 55g (with Leather Strap)

Accounting for the black border, the dial is further reduced to 27.5mm x 31.5mm. On my 6.5” wrist, it looks perfect. Not too gaudy, not too flashy (I’m looking at you Apple Watch Ultra). These dimensions and light weight allows for the watch to feel perfectly well balanced on my wrist. Sometimes I’ve even forgotten I was wearing this watch, especially during my hours long cycling sessions (please don’t wear a leather strap and do any sporting activities if you don’t want it to stink).

The entire Stainless Steel case has been given the well polished look so this actually sits closer to the premium offerings from Apple Watches compared to their entry level aluminium offerings. The dial has a vertical brushed finishing in silver tone, giving it a nice contrast against the entire watch case. This tasteful execution reminds me of the more expensive Mistflake offering from Grand Seiko and to a lesser extend, the Omega Railmaster. From some angles, the dial colour looks like a faint creamy white while outdoors it looks silver.

Legibility is fantastic for time telling purposes. Date reading does pose some challenge, especially if you’re not keeping still and staring intently at the dial. So for you brisk commuters or hyperopia sufferers out there, just pretend the date complication doesn’t exist. The day complication works just fine and bless the lord for creating the world in a mere 6 days followed by a sprightly 24h rest cycle, giving us an easy to read heptagon sized spacing sub dial.

The addition of the moonphase complication was a very nice surprise for me when I first came to know about this watch and its asking price. This isn’t JLC Reverso quality, but I’m sure it will bring a smile to any owner of this watch just the same. A watch this good looking paired with one of the cheapest moonphase movement - that’s like dining at the cheapest restaurant in town and the food just happens to taste like the Michelin starred restaurant right across the street.

But alas, you do get what you paid for. You can never compare Dory against a Dover sole for fish and chips, in the same way one needs to manage our expectations on the built quality for this watch. This is where we find basic specifications such as 50m of water resistance and a mineral glass display. Personally I don’t find this a deal breaker, it’s just a reminder that I have to be more careful in my daily activities. Perhaps no cycling in the heavy rain wearing this afterall?

Then we come to the leather strap…let’s just say the lug width was 20mm for a reason. It incentives you to do a strap change immediately. The straps are very thin and too soft with crease lines easily showing up just after 2 wears. However this is a really small issue for me since watch straps can always be swapped out. You still require some form of dexterity doing so though, since there are no lug holes and no quick release spring bars. Always apply some tape on the lugs before removing spring bars especially for us ham fisted individuals. If some corners has to be cut to maintain some semblance of healthy profit margin in order to keep this product line afloat, I’m glad it was done on the leather strap and not on the watch case itself.

This watch is a cheap thrill that punches well above its weight. At SGD139, it is THE perfect Christmas gift, so you better starting hunting for them to get ready for the next few months. Affordable, unisex sized, mostly neutral colourways with a symmetrical dial layout, Casio knew what they were doing with this one. It could even be the watch that ignites the passion for watches amongst the younger generation who grew up wearing Apple Watches.

Maybe Casio wasn’t trolling the Smartwatch camp afterall, but a subtle declaration of war against the big Apple. I guess that makes my purchase going towards the war funding effort.

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I think they most certainly hade Apple in mind with that case. My first thought was that people probably keep asking you what’s wrong with the screen on your smartwatch.

I suspect I’m not alone in thinking this is much better than another smartwatch.