A lot of people obsess about fancy watches which areh waterproof to 300 meters, have chronograph faces, or come with diamond-crusted faces. But I’ve got news for you: nobody ever made a watch any better than the humble digital Casio.
Let me start with a disclaimer: I own a fairly expesnive Oris. I forget exactly which model, but it is a lovely piece of engineering. It feels solid, looks beautiful, and I wear it largely on special occasions.
But my other watch, in the time-keeping equivalent to a bumper sticker, is a Casio A163W. For those of you not familiar with such things, that’s the silver version of the notorious, black plastic Casio F91W. Yes, you can buy them everywhere. Yes, thousands of people wear them. Yes, it’s very similar to the one that the US Military claim terrorists wear.
Whatever. It’s great. Let me tell you why it’s great.
Firstly, like all good gadgets, it just works. It tells the time and date just fine. It has a light-up screen so I can press a button and tell the time in the dark. It has a stop watch. And that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s simple, and I like that about it.
Second, it looks great. There’s a basic quality to its design: it’s functional, understated, unfussy, but not boring. I have to admit, I think the silver A163W is far, far better looking than the black plastic F91W. It is just good-looking enough to wear with a suit. Just. But it looks fine wearing jeans and a T-Shirt, too.
Third, I hardly ever notice I’m wearing it. It’s light, slim and unobtrusive. All other watches I’ve owned have gotten in the way, caught on my keyboard, knocked into things, and weighed my wrist down. Not the Casio, though.
Finally, it is ridiculously good value. You can pick an A163W up for less than $20. The battery is designed to last for seven years, though I’ve had mine longer than that and it’s still going strong. Even if you junk it when the battery runs out, that means it costs you less than $3 per year. Its value means I don’t mind if it gets knocked or scratched — and it means I never worry about someone stealing it, either.
Sure, plenty of watches achieve one or two of these four points. But I don’t know of any other that achieves all of them, apart from my A163W. The thing is perfect. I just hope they never stop making it.