Casio has long been associated with digital watches and the styling of the Casio W-201 Alarm Chronograph seems like a throwback to early digital watch designs of the 1980s and early 1990s. In fact, the Casio W-201 Alarm Chronograph looks very similar to the early Casio F-91W digital watch introduced back in 1991. In pre-iPad times, before smart phones, before cell phones, before MP3 players, before widespread internet use, and even before the widespread adoption of personal computers, digital watches were seen as exciting, cutting edge, and futuristic. Today, it seems strange to wax nostalgic about something with a digital face. But, as the song says, time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future.
Today, the Casio W-201 Alarm Chronograph is an inexpensive, commodity, wristwatch that evokes nostalgia among middle-aged nerds. However, this Casio digital watch has more merit than many would allow. First, the Casio W-201 is cheap. At only $16, this Casio would make a good watch for a kid or for people in places and jobs where expensive watches could be harmed. Second, this watch is simple. The controls are labeled, easy to figure out, and backed up by a comprehensive manual. This digital watch is almost as straight forward as my Casio men’s analog dress watch or Timex Expedition watch. Third, this watch fits a wide variety of wrist sizes. It fits my large 8 1/2-inch wrist easily with three more holes left in the black rubber band. However, since the band has holes all the way around it’s circumference, this watch could easily be tightened to fit the wrists of a child. Fourth, the Casio W-201 is lightweight and comfortable to wear. This Casio digital watch is skinnier than either my Armitron All-Sport Digital Watch or my Armitron Men’s Square Face Digital Sport Watch. You barely know that you are wearing this Casio watch. Fifth, a 10-year lithium battery will keep this Casio watch running well into the 21st century. Finally, the Casio W-201 has a system of graduated horizontal bars that keeps track of seconds.
Of course, no watch is perfect. The Casio W-201 Alarm Chronograph has an almost girlishly narrow watch band. While it is sufficiently wide near the watch face, the Casio W-201 digital watch’s band is only 7/16 of an inch wide for most of it’s length. Of course, since I’m in an IT department, the Casio W-201 is perfect to wear on pencil-necked nerd day at work. Other than the narrow band, the Casio W-201 Alarm Chronograph has all the features and functions you expect from an inexpensive digital watch: time, date, dual time, 12/24-hour time display, stop watch with split times, an LED light for night, and 50-meter water resistance.
Overall, I’d recommend the Casio W-201 Alarm Chronograph as a no-frills, no nonsense, comfortable wristwatch. It is a great little watch. Plus, it would go really well with a circa 1983 Members Only jacket.