I was first reintroduced to this watch after Episode #70 of the Two Broke Watch Snob’s podcast. Mike and Kaz challenged each other to build a watch collection for $150. If you were keeping score at home, Mike won with money left over to spend on straps. His $150 collection included: the Vostok Scuba Dude, The Timex MK1 36mm, and the Casio F61W-1.

After Mike mentioned the price of the Casio, I had to click the link in the show to see if this was some sort of horological shenanigans. As soon as the picture of the Casio popped up, I was like, “oh… that watch”. Iconic was an understatement. I also noticed the bracelet version, A168WA-1 was also under $20*. I ordered it that day. How could I go wrong at that price?

After a “prime” amount of time the Casio A168WA arrived. I unboxed it and then stared at it. It was so much different than my many mechanical tool watches. My mind raced for nostalgia as I struggled for a connection. I needed help.

Instead of a regular review, I asked friends, family, and coworkers to borrow the Casio A168WA-1 and write up their thoughts. The watch has been traveling for 3 months from wrist to wrist. Each unfiltered community review is labeled with the person’s initials, age, and their daily watch of choice. I hope that you have as much fun reading them as I did. Be sure to check out the gallery at the end for all the photos each review took.

“PM” 24:
Daily Watch: Apple Watch

“I liked the Casio A168WA because you barely noticed it was there. It could easily be the new daily driver. Dependable, clean, light, functional, & cost effective. So light that you forget you’re wearing it. When you go to reach for your iPhone to check the time only to realize you’re actually wearing this Casio… makes checking the time that much easier!”

“MJ” 38:
Daily Watch: None

“Question: what does it feel like to have a time machine strapped to your wrist? Answer: Pretty restrictive actually. The stainless steel band on the Casio A168WA Alarm Chrono hugs your wrist like a co -worker who cannot read facial expressions or body language or even spoken language. In a word, too tightly, too often, just too too much. Putting this watch on reminded me that I am a man, mostly because it yanked out a few arms hairs. I couldn’t adjust the strap as I had just clipped my nails and could not pry the mechanism open.

Back to the time travel properties. I had a watch like this when I was in middle school. Takes me back to the time when GnR was on the radio and Trump was is real estate developer. Time to do homework, time to go to soccer practice, time to steal cigarettes from Krausers, it’s all here. I was so transported by the outdated, no, classic styling of this watch I looked up Cheryl from French class on Facebook and asked her to the big dance. She was all like, “what dance? who is this?”, so I bolted.

So to sum up. Style? Check, it can be described as having a specific style. Nostalga? Yes see above. Time telling ability? My computer clock says 10:22, watch says 10:23, so points lost for accuracy. If you don’t care about what time it actually is (bad for business) and don’t have a date for the dance yet, this watch may be for you.”

“JE” 23:
Daily Watch: Seiko Presage
“I wore this Casio this watch drinking in the city [New York] over the weekend. I didn’t use it to tell time or anything, because I use my phone. It was just like whatever. But I didn’t lose it. Nobody really said anything about it because it was under my sleeve.

Note: “JE” coincidentally called out sick from work the Monday after the weekend trip above. Over the last 3 months “JE” caught the watch bug and is currently all-in on Seiko.”

“SL” 50:
Daily Watch: Michele – Deco
“The Casio A168WA is very retro, takes me back to my high school days. I had one in the 80’s and it served me well. Although it’s not particularly fashionable, it is very functional. The red, blue and yellow lettering on the face are a bit over the top.

I was pleased with the lightweight nature and felt it would be practical to wear while exercising. I liked the electro luminescence blue light, but wish it stayed on a few seconds after you let go of the button. I was pleasantly surprised that it beeped on the hour, nice touch.

Would I purchase this Casio A168WA? I have to say I like things a bit more fancy.”

“GB” 35:
Daily Watch: Timex Ironman
“Outside of suit and tie events, I’m a two watch guy. I am almost always wearing a $35 Timex Ironman, and use an Analog Swiss Army with a dark brown leather strap for work. The former was an Amazon purchase, the latter a hand- me – down from [my friend] Sam’s uncle. I do have two Skagen watches for suit occasions, one in black leather and one in something of a butterscotch brown.

On my chilly morning bike ride to the commuter train, the coolness of the metal watch band made me very aware of the Casio A168WA. Lucky for me, the links didn’t catch in my arm hair and overall the band was comfortable throughout the day. Setting the watch took no time at all, as it offers only the most basic of functions – something I found odd for a digital watch.

The watch face’s design is reminiscent of a Gameboy, in both retro lettering and colors, and the surprisingly small real estate taken up by the digital display itself. Given that the watch really doesn’t have much functionality besides telling time, the time display is pretty small. I should also note that all of my watches have smaller than average faces compared to most men’s watches.

I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing out on some form of nostalgia the watch was designed to induce in Gen Xers, or hipster irony that might appeal to Millennials. Maybe I’m just too much of a pragmatist. But ultimately I thought the Casio was a low frills, neutral looking watch that could be worn with almost anything, anytime. If only I was so inclined!”

Daily Watch: none
“I don’t regularly wear watches and tried out the Casio A168 for a few days. The casing of the watch was plain on purpose and has no frills. It even has an old school “light” button. I like the concept and the simplicity behind the design but feel that it could have done more. As such a simple watch, the chromed paneling looks and feels cheap. It didn’t feel good on my (albeit small) wrist. Personally, a watch this simple should have a more simple design for being outside in any condition. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy wearing the watch as a person who doesn’t wear watches every day, so I’ll be waiting for a different watch to incorporate into my everyday life.”

“CL” 22:
Daily Watch: Seiko Sports 5
“Day one with Casio: Right off the bat the most comfortable watch I’ve ever worn, from the retro design look to the illuminator button this is a classic. My hair getting stuck in the bracelet is the biggest drawback of this watch. The fact that it’s digital…. I love, it’s a nice switch up.

Day five: In a time where kids my age only want something because the price is outrages and that’s the next “big thing” wearing this $17 Casio A168W has been an interesting experience… one I think would benefit me in navigating myself through the chaos of the Watch world. A lot of things go into the next watch purchase and all the different and rather unique features of this watch are awesome for referring back to.

Final thoughts: I had never worn a watch that gets so much negative feedback, being 22 all my peers were looking at my wrist like I had 20 fingers. Wearing the Casio was definitely eye opening for my future watch endeavors. If you are planning on getting one I’d say first buy a 1999 Lincoln town car and a fedora, the Casio will then naturally fit right in!”

“GB” 66:
Daily Watch: Swiss Army Field Watch
“I recently had the opportunity to check out a Casio Men’s A168WA-1. This is a budget-priced ($17.47 on Amazon) digital LCD watch with a day/date calendar, a back-light button, a start/stop button, and an alarm. The band is stainless steel with an adjustable fastener. The case is plastic.

The $17.47 price is attractive and ratings on Amazon are decent. Even so, I’m struggling to find many situations where I personally would want to wear it. For sports and general outdoor work, the Casio F91W- 1 Classic Resin Strap Digital Sport Watch* is a functional alternative that saves money ($10.35 on Amazon) while providing similar functionality. For the office and around town, I prefer an analog watch.

On the other hand, if you like a digital watch with an 80’s retro look, a low profile, and a stainless steel band, you can’t go wrong for the price.”

Under $20 on Amazon!

“MM” 33:
Daily Watch: None
“I liked the look with the square shape of it. It brings back childhood memories of my Dad wearing it. I really liked the green glow. When it’s dark you wouldn’t need a flashlight to read the time. I liked that the watch wasn’t too big either. For the price, it’s totally worth it. If you lost or broke it, it wouldn’t be a big deal because it’s only $20.

My Review:

Since this was anything but a typical TBWS formatted review, I’m going to make my assessment very simple:

5 Things I love about the Casio A1638WA-1

  • It’s under $20
  • It’s very light and comfortable, you forget that it’s on you wrist
  • The case size makes it a great unisex watch 37.5mm x 33.5mm
  • The “ElectroLuminescence” (blue backlight)
  • The ironic hipster vibe

5 Things I hate about the Casio A1638WA-1

  • The ironic hipster vibe
  • The strap/ stop chronograph is in the wrong spot making use awkward
  • The plastic case
  • From the watch box it never screams “Pick me! Pick me!
  • The bracelet feels like it’s made out of paperclips

If you have any questions about the Casio A1638WA-1 or about how I conducted the community review, Please contact me on my Instagram account: watch_gb.

8 thoughts on “Casio A168WA: A Community Review”

  1. Great idea for a watch review! I couldn’t help but recognize the Denver Light Rail seats from MJ’s picture. At first I thought, well maybe other cities use the same color. But then GB’s pic confirmed that some of the reviewers are definitely in Denver 🙂

    As for the watch itself. I have a Timex IronMan that is my go to watch for activities where I think the watch might get banged up. If this watch was a little less “flashy” (black case, different strap), it would probably fit that bill as well.

  2. My girlfriend and I went into a dedicated G-Shock boutique last night and tried on some of these classic models. It was a bit strange, as she took off her Cartier and I took off my Ball Fireman and then we started discussing the finer points of these incredibly inexpensive, plastic digital watches. I bought the above model in gold and she has decided on another, smaller model which was not in stock. I am certain I had one of these in school as I remember the bracelet vividly. That is, I remember breaking a nail while trying to adjust it. Last night I used a small tool. The comments above are quite cringe-inducing for me. It’s as if these people don’t really know what a watch is. “I tried some lemonade but didn’t like it because it tasted of lemons.”
    Yeah. That’s the point.
    I believe the case and bracelet of the watch I bought last night are unchanged since it was released in the ’80s or so. But one thing nobody has commented on is the astonishing clarity of the display. Not a hint of ghosting and that classic graphite crystal background. It is more legible than many G-Shocks.

  3. What a fun and dynamic review! I was googling some more info on a particular casio watch (a158) immediately after fitting it in, falling in love and I came upon this review. For someone born in 1993, I didn’t particularly get into watches at all until after university was done and gone so putting on a Casio from the 80s was a terribly hipsterish but nostalgic experience, it looks quite fitting in my office environment of accountants (hey if Ryan Gosling can rock this watch, I can rock it anywhere too…)

    Typically I wear big faced watches anywhere upwards of 51mm to gshock indestructibles that hit the 55mm mark so to say that this watch wears and feels invisible is an understatement… And I REALLY like it. Should I have traded one for my Calvin & Hobbes collection comic book back in 4th grade? 4th grader me would have said “over my dead body”, still true today but I certainly wished I picked one up back then to experience such an awesome and timeless watch.

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