Ever wanted to feel like a jet-setting world traveller from the 1980s? Your time is now.
There is a big wave of nostalgia for retro style digital watches at the moment. The Casio lineup has been faring very well in this wave with two of its retro models the F91-W and A158 reappearing on wrists everywhere thanks to their nostalgic charm and sub-$40 price tag. If you are willing to bump that up to between $65 and $80, you can go one level up and get a feature-packed watch that looks great and has all the bells and whistles: the Casio A500 range.
I chose the A500WGA-1D; gold with a black bezel insert. The appearance of this watch is quite striking, and has garnered positive attention even from acquaintances who prefer the likes of more expensive brands like Omega, Patek, IWC etc. on their wrists. The gold-toned stainless steel of the gold models certainly looks the part, and the watch sits nicely on the wrist. The digital screen is a good size and easy to read. The strap has an adjustable sliding clasp, with a gold-toned outer and regular steel coloured inside. It has a surprisingly nice finish for a $65 watch.
All the usual features of a good digital watch are present including a stopwatch function, countdown timer, 5 adjustable alarms, perpetual calendar and adjustable 12/24 hour time display. It is labelled simply as ‘water resistant’, which means it will be splash resistant but offer no further resistant. Keep it away from water.
Something I really liked about this watch compared to the lower tier Casio retro entries is the considerably improved quality of the backlight. Not only is the amber light more pleasing to look at than the green of the F91 and A158, it also does a better job of lighting up the screen. It also has a handy little feature of being able to set the amount of time the backlight stays on for (up to 3 seconds), so you do not have to continually press the button to keep the illumination going.
However, what truly sets this apart from its counterparts is the world timer:
The World Timer
One cool advantage of this watch over the lower tier pieces is the world time function. This allows you to set your own city code as one of four time zones (even little old Adelaide is on the list!), in addition to cycling through the time in London, Paris and New York. There are 48 major cities listed and there is functionality for the respective daylight savings adjustments of each time zone. Strap it to your wrist and feel that jet-setter vibe come over you!
Choice of Colour Combinations
The A500 is available in 4 different colour combinations, with silver and gold base tones:
A500WGA-1D: gold with black bezel insert
A500WGA-9D: gold with gold bezel insert
A500WA-1: silver with black bezel insert
A500WA-7: silver with silver bezel insert
The finish is pretty good. I would expect the gold ones to tarnish before the silver ones, as gold-toned or gold-plated steel does not age as nicely as normal stainless steel.
These straps are known as ‘hair-pullers’ due to their construction, but I have not had much issue with it. Just make sure not to adjust the clasp to a position that is too tight and you should be fine. The overall strap does feel a bit thin and flimsy but mine has not had any issue. Again, it is a sub-$100 watch.
The buttons push smoothly and I cannot see any issue arising from them. The screen itself is like most other digital watches, treat it with care and you will be fine.
The watch is simply rated ‘water resistant’, meaning it should be splash resistant but do not try getting it any wetter than that without warning.
In conclusion: great value for money
Despite having many other watches, my A500 has quickly become a regular in my rotation. I like its eye-catching nature and the vibe it gives. Well worth a buy!