There aren’t a lot of non-mechanical watches that have inspired excitement among collectors, but Casio watches – particularly the famous G-Shock — are among the rare exceptions. And even diehard fans of Swiss mechanicals are impressed with Casio’s technological prowess. Casio has never made, and has no plans to make, a traditional, mechanical watch. However, what makes Casio watches so important in the evolution of the modern watch market? Find out in this journey through the history of Casio and the birth of the Casio watch!
The story of Casio starts in 1946. Today, Casio is one of the biggest Japanese electronic giants with headquarters in Tokyo and factories throughout Japan, producing calculators, computers, cameras, and, since 1974, Casio watches. The company takes as much pride in its electronics expertise, and its innovations to quartz timekeeping technology, as any Swiss purveyor of haute horlogerie takes in its tourbillons and minute repeaters. In our in-depth feature story, we visit the Casio watch facility in Yamagata, established in 1979 and located in a beautiful agricultural area of Japan and trace the evolution of Casio watches beginning with the first, the original Casiotron digital watch. This early Casio watch displayed precise minutes, hours and seconds, along with the date and day, all on a small LCD screen. It was the world’s first watch with a digital automatic calendar.
Casio continued to produce digital timekeeping inventions, such as its Casio calculator watches, but achieved pop culture status with the launch of the most famous Casio watch, the groundbreaking G-Shock. Today, Casio G-Shock watches are popular all over the world, achieving collectible status and worn by stars like Kayne West. The Casio G-Shock line has grown to include dozens of styles, colors and sizes, and even several limited editions.
The first G-Shock watches, officially designated with model number DW-500C, debuted in 1983, a time when most watches were thin, analog, and compact. But the big, bulky, proudly digital G-Shock, a bold departure from the prevailing trends, struck a chord in the U.S. The tough, utilitarian design of this sporty Casio watch, which also carried an accessible price point, influenced the look of other sport watches, even expensive mechanicals, that would follow it.
The birth of the Casio G-Shock
Casio watches’ technical innovations
How Casio watches influenced the watch industry