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The Casio CA53W-1 is back (to the future)! The Japanese manufacturer brings back the cult watch from the 80s, which we ALL wanted to have back then. 40 years later, the spell is unbroken. But does the watch with calculator function still exude the same magic? I bought a few test models on a trial basis and tried them out for you…

Back to the future 

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This is my latest video about Casio’s new watch!

THIS is currently probably the most popular watch from Casio! That’s right – the manufacturer, whose luxury watches for several thousand euros I have tested and worn in recent months, has brought this 29.00 euro sweetheart on the market. It looks as if G-SHOCK and pocket calculator had conceived a child. 

Nevertheless, or maybe because of that, everybody wants to have the watch called CA53W-1. In any case, it can’t just be the price, because smartphones & co. have been able to display the time since before yesterday. The answer to the question of what the popularity is all about is given to us by a real movie classic from the 80s. Back to the Futureby Robert Zemeckis starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd is one of the cult films of the decade and, together with other science fiction series such as Star Wars or Terminator, shaped an entire generation. 

Including mine. In the 80s, I was between 12 and 22 years old. So I can’t overestimate the influence of the pop culture of that time on me. To this day, typical gadgets of that time still shape me – the Gameboy, the Rubik’s Cube, the first G-SHOCK. Now my generation is old enough to rediscover the toys with the nostalgia factor for themselves.

The Power of Love

Casio CA-53W-1 Taschenrechner Uhr
Photo © 2023 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

To go “back to the future” with it! The Casio watch completed Marty McFly’s outfit, including red-orange down vest, plaid shirt and blow-dry hairdo, which is now cult status. A watch with a calculator – that was what you needed for everyday life, along with a DeLorean, self-lacing shoes and a flying hoverboard (from part 2). At least that’s what my friends and I thought at the time. However, only the Casio that could actually be bought was technically feasible. The “want to have” factor of this actually ingenious marketing move could not have been greater. 

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In 2023, the 80s are more present than ever before. Old hits are regularly sampled and released, Star Wars is running up and down on Disney+, and even 80-year-old Harrison Ford is cracking his whip again as Indiana Jones. Only there won’t be a new Back to the Future – at least that’s what director Robert Zemeckis has asserted. Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease is also likely to play a role. 

The hard facts

Casio CA-53W-1 Taschenrechner Uhr
Photo © 2023 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

But the next generation has also discovered its love for the series. In the comments under my video about the watch, you confirmed how big the run on Casio’s CA53W-1 really is. Some weren’t allowed to wear it back then or couldn’t afford it, while others are now buying it for their kids, who are crazy about it.

And let’s be honest: even if this watch would turn out to be a bad buy, the price would still be bearable. By the way, I have also listed the classic in my own store. There, the black calculator watch currently costs 45.00 euros. In addition, two sister models in beige and khaki are available in retail. But my favorite remains – you can imagine it – the black reference. 

Functions of the Casio CA53W-1

Casio CA-53W-1 Taschenrechner Uhr
Photo © 2023 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

So, what can the Casio CA53W-1 calculator watch do? In general, this model should not be taken too seriously. What used to cause real astonishment and was considered revolutionary, some find cute at most today. Calculator functions fulfill every cell phone or Google search function. They are also more user-friendly, because the small keys of the interface are not exactly blessed with great haptic feedback. But let’s be honest: who buys this watch to find out what 27 x 53 is? Right, nobody (that’s 1431, by the way, in case you ever need to know).

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Besides the calculator function, we can enjoy other gimmicks like an alarm function, a display for a second time zone, a calendar and a stopwatch. However, even that doesn’t knock anyone’s socks off anymore. In times when our watches can track our sleep and send out an emergency call in the event of an accident, we are used to something different. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t make fun of the Casio CA53W-1 because of that, which already thought ahead with its functions back then and thus, in a way, laid the foundation for today’s G-SHOCK models. 

Being able to operate the functions as well as switch them on and off requires some time. The operation is certainly not intuitive. Some keys are assigned multiple times due to the calculator function. In everyday life, however, “playing around” with the strange-looking timepiece is exactly why I enjoy it so much. The Casio CA53W-1 is not used for practical, but nostalgic reasons.

The case on the test bench 

Photo © 2023 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

In terms of wearing comfort, however, the calculator watch even has something ahead of its modern siblings. With dimensions of 34 x 43 millimeters, it’s quite a bit smaller than distantly related MT-G models, for example. However, the weight of the Casio CA53W-1 is unrivaled. The icon weighs just 25 millimeters, which is light as a feather even for compact digital timepieces. We have Casio’s well-known resin case to thank for this. Resin is particularly practical for everyday use. Of course, this watch is handled differently than a luxury watch like the Casio G-SHOCK MRG B5000B-1DR, which costs 100 times as much(!).

But if you do a lot of sports, you can rely on the scratch-resistant and durable case. Therefore, the CA53W-1 is also ideal for children. Only in water you should not wear the calculator watch. Casio states a water resistance of up to 3 bar. That’s enough to wash your hands, but not more. 

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Photo © 2023 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

Like the case, the wristband is also made of synthetic resin. On the other hand, we find stainless steel on the back of the case. It protects the quartz movement that powers the watch. Meanwhile, the LCD display makes a really good impression. Casio’s quality standards are particularly evident here. 

By the way, in the video I introduce you to another exciting Kickstarter project. It also has something to do with today’s topic. It’s about another cult object from “Back to the Future”, namely Doc Brown’s famous DeLorean. Be sure to check it out! 

My conclusion about the Casio CA53W-1 calculator watch

Photo © 2023 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

There’s really no reason not to like this watch. It is so simple, so straightforward and so likeable. One simply appreciates it. Moreover, its importance at the time for future watch models should not be underestimated. Yet the spec sheet is not even half as long as that of many current G-SHOCK watches. No outstanding high-tech materials, no sophisticated manufacturing techniques, no Bluetooth-controlled special functions, and certainly no solar-powered battery.

You could say Casio didn’t reinterpret the watch, but pretty much marketed it as you could buy it back in the day some 40 years ago. If I would have been disappointed with many other models because of this, I find this to be a brilliant move with the CA53W-1. Less is sometimes more. Just by omitting modern functions, the digital watch triggers the 80s vibe. The nice side effect: so you save the additional functions, whose development costs more money and drives up the price.

Photo © 2023 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

In this respect, I can only give a clear buy recommendation. You don’t have to think twice about this watch. And if you are a child of the 80s pop culture, the decision is already made anyway, right?

As always, you can find the link to the store and even more Casio watch reviews below!

More about Casio and the Casio CA53W-1

Here you can find the watch in my store

All Casio reviews in my blog

Watch photography

Gallery

Technical Details

NameCasio CA53W-1

Reference numberCA53W-1

BrandCasio

Categorydigital watches / retro watches

Price from45.00 euros

Warranty2 years

Case MaterialResin

Diameter34.00 mm x 43.00 mm

HighN/A

Watch Glassmineral glas

Watch TypeQuartz

Waterproof3 bar (30 m / 100 ft)

Movement NameN/A

Functions24 hours counter / Alarm / calculator / date / hour / Minute / second / Stop-second

Dialblack

Indicesdigital

Special FeaturesLCD Display

Bezelblack / Resin

Bracelet Colorblack

Bracelet MaterialResin

Clasppin buckle

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