The return of the watch, or how Casio ended up back on my wrist

Casio's still pumping out old-school watches. Here's one CNET editor's defense of why he wears one.

The Casio A158W, looking great on my hairy wrist. Scott Stein/CNET

Here's a retro tale for you: I wear a watch again. To be more specific, I wear a Casio digital watch, the A158W. Sporting an aluminum wristband, beeping buttons that can't be deactivated, a chronometer, and a cheesy green microlight--no fancy backlighting for you--it's a carbon copy of '80s wrist fashion. I got it at Duane Reade on my street corner for $20.

For a while, I tried to go without a watch. It's been commonly written lately that watches are passe, having been replaced entirely by cell phones. After my last watch's wristband broke, I tried to go phone-only for the time. I'd worn a watch for so long that my wrist had developed a permanent tan line. My left wrist is even slightly thinner from years of watch-wearing. It's a little scary (but not as scary as the hair that sprouts from my arms like fur).

One problem: I have a baby. And I live in a city with no car. Every morning, I commute with a baby strapped to my front and a backpack on my back as I head to daycare before work. Reaching for a phone in my pocket to tell the time is not just difficult, it's dangerous.

I got the Casio because I realized that practically no stores sell watches anymore. The few I found were high-end retailers, and so I settled for the local Duane Reade, where an embarrassingly lost-in-time selection of watches lay trapped in a white plastic display. Rather than go halfway with a cheapo brand or modern digital, I went whole hog by picking the most ridiculous throwback in the display, a model that looks like it could actually have been in the store since 1984.

The watch is, in fact, a current model, created for its retro classic appeal. (Casio's own site doesn't list this particular model, but does have the very similar A158WA.) And you know what? The numbers are nice and large, the glare is minimal, and the microlight is low enough to not wake up my kid when he's going to sleep.

Do you wear a watch? If so, what do you sport? If not, what would get you to wear one? I say the retro watch needs a comeback. Leave that phone in your pocket where it belongs.

About the author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired, Esquire.com, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.

 

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