My Current Favorite Watch Only Cost $19
No joke-I love the Casio A158W
With watches from Rolex, Vacheron, and Lange in my collection, why on earth would I buy a $19 watch? This little, inexpensive, Casio A158W is my absolute favorite watch right now. Here’s why I bought it and why I cannot take it off my wrist.
About the Casio A158W
This is a pretty unassuming watch. It’s got a silver case with a diameter of 34mm, thickness of 8.5mm, and a lug-to-lug width of 38mm. The caseback is stainless steel and features the brand stamping along with the model number-593.
The linked bracelet is stainless steel as well. One interesting point to note is the contrast between the brushed appearance of the bracelet and the polished look of the case. Some may find it a little weird, but I think it’s a nice contrast and adds subtle visual interest.
The watch has a standard quartz movement with a battery life around seven years.
On the dial is a crisp LCD screen displaying the time-hours, minutes, and running seconds. You can also use the pusher on the right to toggle between 12 and 24-hour time. Above the time, between the hours and minutes, you have the day of the week. The date sits over to the right above the seconds.
The screen has a backlight operated with the top left pusher. Honestly, though, it’s pretty weak and only provides real value in near complete or complete darkness. Not especially useful, but still charming.
You can use the bottom left pusher to cycle through the watch’s various operations. First is the alarm function. Then the stopwatch, which is pretty intuitive-start/stop on the right and reset on the top left. Finally, you get to where you can set the date and time.
On the wrist, this watch is an absolute joy to wear. The 38mm lug-to-lug size makes it ideal for those of us with smaller wrists. What I also like is unlike the G-Shock, which is chunky and really calls attention to itself, the Casio A158W is more subtle. It’s so light you basically don’t even know you’re wearing it.
Really the best part about this watch-other than the price point-is the way it looks. It’s got a great retro style and feel, which if you grew up in the 80s like me, gets those nostalgia juices flowing.
Why Did I Buy This Watch?
This brings us back to the question of ‘why did I buy this watch?’ The honest truth is I actually bought it for a future video on the YouTube channel where I’ll compare inexpensive watches with the real, luxury versions they’re emulating.
The irony, though, is I bought this for the bracelet and not watch itself. The bracelet makes a great substitute for another bracelet on another watch, moving that watch closer to looking like the real thing.
Why I Love It So Much
A funny thing happened when I got this in the mail and opened it up. The experience unboxing a Casio A158W is quite different from a luxury watch.
Instead of an ornate jewelry box with latches, velvet, and little drawers with thick manuals and laminated cards, you get a cardboard box and a manual with a few pages folded over each other. It was so unimpressive I threw the packaging out pretty much immediately.
Of course, I wasn’t looking for or expecting a ‘luxury’ watch unboxing experience from a $19 watch. But, the experience I had was almost better.
Opening the box and taking this watch out brought me back to when I was a kid. It brought me back to the Timex Ironman I loved so much. It brought me back to the neon Swatch with the rotating bezel. Inexpensive watches, yes, but watches that brought me so much joy and still have meaning to me today.
If you’re into watches, isn’t that what it’s all about?
On Watch Snobbery
Sometimes, when people first get a taste of higher-end timepieces, they fall into the trap of looking down on cheap ones. If you’re not splashing a lot of cash, what’s the point? The watch isn’t worth your time or money.
I’ve certainly been guilty of minor watch snobbery. For me, much of it has revolved around ‘fashion’ watches and the brands hawking them. I’m also a believer in being patient when I invest in something. I appreciate quality and craftsmanship, not only in watches but in other things I buy as well.
We have a culture of ‘instant gratification’ where we feel an urge and want something immediately. It’s natural, yes, but leads to wasting money on items less well-made than you’d like rather than something attainable with a little patience and discipline.
I wasn’t expecting to like this watch as much as I did. But, it taught me a lesson about what watches mean. For some, it may be getting the flashiest or the priciest. But, for watch people-real watch people- it doesn’t matter.
It’s not about the price tag. It’s the story behind it and how the watch makes you feel. It’s about the joy it brings you.
Is there a watch that still makes you smile when you put it on?
Thanks, as always, for reading.
He Spoke Style