The Casio digital watches from the 90’s are one of the most iconic, popular, and recognizable gadgets ever made. The retro digital watch models are now exactly 30 years old, and those who were not even born before 1991, are scrambling everywhere to buy this timeless timepiece.
I became aware of this absurd trend the moment I purchased a Casio a159w model from a local Casio store and started wearing it. Whenever someone saw it they exclaimed the same two phrases:
- “OH! That casio watch is so trending these days!”
- “Where did you get that?! I want one too!”
I tell them I was with a friend who wanted to replace the battery on his Casio watch. So I accompanied him to the Casio store. Meanwhile, I browsed the selection of Casio watches, and asked the store owner for “that popular Casio watch”
The store owner let out a big laugh and placed a stainless steel Casio a159w model in front of me. “This is the one you are asking about”
There it was, in all its glory, the watch I had seen my entire life on the wrists of security guards, peddlers, drivers, chefs, janitors, and my classmates from elementary school. Back in the 90s, whenever someone said watch, this is the watch that would come to our minds, or its plastic cousin, the f91w. Read about the differences between these two iconic casio watches here.
This was the watch of the people. Fun fact; the Casio f91w is the most selling watch of all time. It is the watch that made Casio known all over the world. The a159w is known as its metallic cousin, and it was the watch I saw growing up. Due to this nostalgia I just bought the watch, which was fairly inexpensive at the time. Now its value is on the rise due to this sudden demand. But what is this demand all about.
Most of the people I asked “why do you want this watch” and they simply replied “because its trending”.
This was not a suitable answer for me, so I investigated some more. Through my research I learned that these Casio watches are literally timeless. In other words, they are indestructible. The waterproofing, now standard with all modern watches, was a novel feature back then. But in addition, nothing happens to it when its dropped or thrown around. Maybe that is why I saw it mostly on the wrists of those who work in generally tougher conditions and require a watch that is durable.
Second I learned that it is highly functional. It keeps time quite well, and has utilities such as a stopwatch with lap, 24 hour time format, alarm clock, hourly beep, date with month and day, and a hilarious slime green light that barely illuminates half the screen. With all these great features, of course it was a great product for the 90s. But WHY IS IT TRENDING NOW? WHO NEEDS ANY OF THIS STUFF ANYMORE!
Then I learned the coolest part about it. Or should I say the bad-assery of the Casio watch. Specifically the f91w and a159w. These watches were commonly worn by wanted persons including Guantanamo Bay inmates, and groups such as the Taliban. While all the previously mentioned features about Casio watches are great, it turns out that these people knew how to use these watches at timers for their improvised explosive devices, aka. time-bombs. The fact that the components of this specific watch can be re-engineered for a lethal purpose just proves how versatile this watch was and will always be. But I am sure most of the people buying Casio f91ws and a159ws do not intend to blow stuff up. So why are they chasing it.
Some girl told me that the real trend is not simply popular Casio retro watches. In fact its a specific variant of the a159w; the one in gold. She said that girls are after the golden Casio a159w because it pairs well with other bracelets and shiny ornaments that go on girls wrists. Suddenly, the iconic Casio watch went from being the choice of the Taliban to the choice of fashionista girls. Suddenly, my 159w makes me feel like I should pair it with girly jewelry and show it off on instagram.
Someone started this trend. I have no idea who. And I am not that determined to dig in any further. All I know is this: Casio has became famous once again from the same product that made it famous 30 years ago. That makes it a damn good product. A timeless timepiece that will stand the test of time for all times to come.