The Retro Digital Casiotron Makes a Comeback

A faithful remake with upgraded fit and finish.

Half a century ago, Casio unveiled the Casiotron QW02, the brand’s very first digital watch. Showing the time, month, date, and day of the week – with the calendar being “perpetual” – the Casiotron was a landmark and the ancestor of the G-Shock, one of the bestselling watches of all time. Now it has been revived Casiotron “50th Anniversary”, a limited edition that preserves the looks of the dinky original but enhanced with modern build quality and technology, including a solar-powered movement with smartphone connectivity. It is essentially a cutting-edge electronic watch in vintage dress.

Initial thoughts

As a Casio fan, I recognise the importance of the Casiotron, even though it is an inexpensive watch. It established the benchmark for digital electronic watches with its clean display and multi-functionality. Casio got it right by resurrecting this iconic retro design with contemporary upgrades, particularly since the 1970s styling harmonises with current preferences for integrated bracelets.

The remake wisely retains the original design, right down to the fluted inner flange and applied logo. But the electronics are entirely 21st century, with the movement featuring the same solar-power module found in many modern-day Casio and G-Shock models.

The Casiotron remake costs US$500, affordable in itself but pricier than Casio’s own digital offerings and also a fifth more expensive than the Tissot PRX Digital. However, the premium is justified simply because the Casiotron is an iconic design that remains appealing even after 50 years. Moreover, Casio’s technological superiority in electronic movements is undeniable.

A faithful remake

The reissue is modelled on the Casiotron ref. QW02 of 1974, the brand’s first foray into quartz watches. Its standout feature was a digital display showing the time, month, date, and day, with the movement having an “automatic” calendar that accounted for the varying lengths of the months, except in leap years.

The modern Casiotron has LED display beneath mineral glass. Around the display is a gradient blue dial ringed by a fluted flange, a quirky detail also found on the original. Even the brand emblem and model name at six and 12 o’clock are identical to the 1970s original, in terms typography and being appliqués rather than printed.

Symmetrical in form, the case has milled and polished surfaces, as does the bracelet. Now fitted with a water-resistant screw-down back, the case features a fixed, polished bezel, and polished pushers located at two, four, eight, and ten o’clock. Its dimensions are 42.7 mm by 39.1 mm, with a height of 12.3 mm, almost the same as the original.

The new Casiotron is equipped with the solar-powered 3542 electronic module that has a backlit display along with various functions, including world time, chronograph, countdown timer, calendar, and four alarms. Additionally, it has automatic radio-wave time synchronisation (available only in a few countries including the United States and Japan) and Bluetooth connectivity for smartphones. On a full charge it will run for 11 months with normal usage, and 22 months on power-save mode.

Key facts and price

Casio Casiotron “50th Anniversary” 
Ref. TRN-50-2ADR

Diameter: 42.7 mm by 39.1 mm
Height: 12.3 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Mineral glass
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Module 3542
Functions: Digital, multifunction, Bluetooth connectivity
Winding: Solar
Frequency: Battery
Power reserve: 22 months with power-saving function

Strap: Matching bracelet 

Limited edition: 4,000 pieces
Availability: At Casio stores and retailers starting on February 28, 2024
Price: US$500, or 699 Singapore dollars

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