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Living with Casio: A look at one of the most familiar watch brands


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A brief history of Casio the watch brand

Casio started life in 1946 as Kashio and soon after started to produce electronic calculators. However they did not produce their first watch until 1974, the Casiotron. The Casiotron featured a LCD with the days of the week permanently etched onto the glass, the LCD would then be used to display the hours and minutes and a marker that underlined the current day.

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We then have to fast forward 9 years to 1983 for Casio's next big step in the watch world with the release of the Casio G-Shock DW500C (top photo)- their first shock resistant watch - a claim they tested by dropping them from the roofs or third stories of buildings! The now classic design of this G-Shock is still very much in favour today with the current DW-5600M  taking style hints from the DW500C and the more expensive GW-M5610 (bottom photo) almost exactly copying the DW500C (with just a few modern tweaks to the aesthetics)

 

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One year on and Casio releases the Databank Telememo 10 (CD-40) , a watch with a keyboard and a databank memory allowing you to store peoples names and telephone numbers, eliminating the need for a phone book (or so they hoped) The CD-40 was a massive hit and Casio sold six million of them in five years!

 

1989 sees the release of the BM-100WJ - a weather predicting watch. The watch had an internal barometer that measured atmospheric pressure every three hours and translated these measurements to a bar graph displayed on the LCD of the watch. A rising bar graph meant a rise in pressure and better weather, a falling graph meant a drop in pressure and deteriorating weather.

 

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The beginning of the '90's seems to have been a quieter period for Casio on the watch front, however 1994 saw the launch of the Baby - G , a G-Shock aimed at Casio's female customers. It also appears that in 1995 Casio set up a separate division of the company, Casio Electronics (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., to concentrate solely on designing timepieces and procuring the parts needed in manufacturing them.

 

Fast forward a few more years again and Casio releases a PC compatible watch, the PC-UNITE in 1998.

 

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And then only a year later in 1999 Casio launches yet another new watch to the market, this time the worlds first GPS watch the Satellite Navi.

2001 sees the release of the Casio WVA-300 a solar powered radio controlled watch, and in 2002, 'The G' , the ultimate G - Shock watch.

Casio then releases both the Oceanus and Lilana in 2004, both of which have full metal cases and are solar powered and radio controlled.

Oceanus has a new model added in 2005 with the addition of the Oceanus five - motor chronograph to the range.

The next significant release for Casio is also another Oceanus, this time the Oceanus Manta in 2007. The Manta was a slim solar powered radio controlled watch, again housed in a full metal case.

 

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2008 sees the arrival of the G-Shock Riseman, the worlds first 6 multi-band radio controlled watch.

The next big innovation in Casios watch world arrives in 2012 with the launch of the G - Shock GB-6900, a G-Shock that can link to the wearers smartphone via Bluetooth.

2014 sees the arrival of another G - Shock the GPW-1000 featuring GPS.

In 2016 Casio launches the Smart Outdoor Watch, a smart watch that runs the Android operating system.

And lastly Casio's most recent launch (according to Casio's own timeline) is the G-Shock GPW-2000, a watch that has a 3 way time synch system.

As you can see from this brief (!) history Casio has certainly been no slouch on the watch innovation front with some interesting innovations along the way, and some design classics too!

 

Casio's current line up

In this section I will just briefly name Casio's current main sub-divisions of watches and their characteristics, I won't go any further than this for each one as we could be here for days!

 

G-Shock

The G-shock first appears in 1983 and is a concept thought up by Casio engineer Kikuo Ibe. Mr Ibe wanted to create an unbreakable watch. To this day that is the base principle of G-Shock watches - to be the toughest watches of all time. The design, aesthetics and technology employed in G-Shocks means they are ideal for people who enjoy active outdoor lifestyles and for people who want a watch that will work in harsh environments.

 

Baby - G

Baby G's, first appearing in 1994, are essentially G-Shocks but in sizes suited to women's wrists with some more feminine colours in the line up.

 

Edifice

Edifice are a range of chronographs that take styling inspiration from the world of motor racing. Some of the range also incorporates technology such as Bluetooth and Tough Solar.

 

Sheen

Sheen are a collection of women's fashion watches.

 

Pro-Trek

Pro-Treks are another range of watches from Casio aimed at people who enjoy an outdoor life. However with Pro-Trek the emphasis is not just on toughness (although they are tough watches) but also on technology to help you when out and about in the great outdoors. To this end a lot of the watches in the range will feature functions such as barometers of compasses.

 

Oceanus

Oceanus are a range of high end timepieces from Casio that unfortunately don't seem to be available to the UK market, all of the official websites and literature I could find for Oceanus seems to be for the Asian market. As the name suggests the Oceanus watches seem to take their styling tips from a lifestyle centred around the ocean with lovely sleek metal straps and cases highlighted with accents of blue. The range has some truly stunning watches in it.

Now we move on to the more subjective side of watches, actually living with them,

 

Living with Casio

This section is really going to just be my personal observations of the brand as an owner of several Casio watches, and as such is all purely opinion.

 

I have to say first off I have never personally come across a bad Casio, sure I've had the odd few I didn't particularly like because of styling, size etc, but I have never had one that has let me down with a failure of either the movement or case/ strap materials. Casio's seem to last forever! On the same note I have always found the finishing on their watches to be excellent in comparison to their price bracket, I obviously don't expect a £100 Casio to have the same attention to detail or finish as a £2000 watch, but neither have I ever picked a Casio up and thought 'That feels/ looks cheap and nasty'

 

As for build quality/ toughness I have found Casio's to be generally very tough irrespective of the collection the watch is from. I'm sure you have all seen the picture of my work watch - if not here it is: 

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This Casio was just one of their cheapies bought from Argos as an almost 'disposable' work beater. This watch has had everything thrown at, from having petrol spilt on it, to being trodden on, caught on things and all the other whacks and abuse associated with a physical job and it still keeps going without a single complaint, even the strap is holding up well!

 

One of the other things that keeps me going back to Casio time and again is the diversity within the range, you can go from a simple quartz analogue with a very plain face all the way up to a solar powered digital with what seems like a hundred different functions on display at any one time! There truly is a Casio for everyone!

 

As for pricing Casio seems to have all bases covered with watches available for under £15 to high end offerings of several thousand pounds. Pound for pound Casio seem to be able to offer a lot for the money, as an example on the watchshop.com the cheapest mens Casio they have (as of 01/06/207) is the MQ-24-7BLL at only £11, whilst the cheapest solar powered Casio available on the site is the AQ-S810W-1A2VEF at £35.

 

Keeping all of this in mind if someone was to ask me 'Should I buy a Casio?' my answer would be 'Why don't you already own one (or several)??' Everyone needs a Casio!

Edited by graham1981
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Very interesting write up, thanks for sharing it. I didn't realise how innovative Casio were, although I have bought three of their 80's digital in the last month as they are such amazing value for a cool retro watch. Do many people collect the important ones in the same way that say Seiko's are collected?


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5 minutes ago, Pip said:

Do many people collect the important ones in the same way that say Seiko's are collected?

I honestly don't know @Pip , they don't seem to have the same sort of following on here or other watch sites as Seiko. I certainly think they would be worth collecting though :yes: 

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5 hours ago, Sir Alan said:

I have quite a few Casio watches.

G-Skock, MR-G, MT-G, Oceanus and quiet a few of the LCD models from the 80's and 90's.

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Wow fantastic collection :notworthy: 

And I'm extremely jealous, I really, really, really, want an Oceanus, really :laugh: 

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I honestly don't know @Pip , they don't seem to have the same sort of following on here or other watch sites as Seiko. I certainly think they would be worth collecting though :yes: 

 

Can't remember the username, but we had a member a few years ago who was obsessed with the G-shocks, up to getting a rare model (a "Frogman" for a South American country's military or somethign) and showing it off. Also had a translucent model. His posts were eyeopening and instructive to me.

 

Dunno what happened to that user…

 

 

Thanks for the great write up. I know it's not a wrist watch, but you didn't mention the very cool CQ-1 (?) combination calculator, alarm clock, desk clock (with angled display). I had one, took great care of it, discarded somewhere along the way (probably the great Possession Purge prior to enlisting in the USCG which in retrospect was a dumping of likely hundreds of dollars of future collectables that I didnt' think to keep in storage), and now wish I still had. Would still work (maybe; LED display), still look cool, still be useful.

 

Casio innovated quite a bit, IIRC. I bought my mother one of those ani-digital models, she loved it, used the chrono and alarm. Wish I still had that, too.

 

I think at one time Seiko and Casio were in a sort of friendly competition as to who could come up with the new, innovative application of digital timekeeping on the wrist. Calculator watches, weather tracking watches, computer memory watches (I had one of those Seikos, threw that out, too, d'oh!!), you name it. Lots of opportunity for collecting.

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Nice article, thanks for taking the time to write it. :thumbsup:

I'm in the minority here as I simply can't understand the attraction of G-Shocks, but I do have a few other Casios, including my favourite solar powered, radio controlled, analogue, digital, chronograph jack-of-all-trades :

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