I've never been a watch person.

I am part of this weird generation that got a mobile phone in their teen years and somehow transitioned into smartphones reaching adulthood. I never needed to wear a watch. Time was right in my pocket, a couple of seconds away.

Weirdly enough, I started looking into a watch when the world went nuts with the COVID pandemic. Being a knowledge worker, I'm fortunate enough to work from home, and I was thinking I would stop reaching for the smartphone. You know what? The only other clock at home is the alarm clock sitting on the bedside table. Huh?!

There I was: at home, still reaching for the smartphone to glance at the time. Fed up with this habit, I decided 2020 would be the year where I would wear a timepiece and leave my phone out of reach, most of the time anyway. I found a value in having a wristwatch.

Living in a country that manufactures, arguably, the best watch (brands) in the world, I started searching locally. Is there a reason to buy foreign when my country produces the best in class? Well, there is actually, and it turns out it was quite a journey to find what I was looking for.

My style is straightforward: clean and simple designs. Generally, I prefer high function value and low complexity with clean design lines (all mate black is fine). I understand liking complications, especially in watches; however, I don't have enough knowledge and sensitivity to appreciate it, therefore not needed. Less is more in my case.

I started looking into the usual local brands. Between all the models, the prices, the movements, the brands and ultimately the "show of" aspect, I was put off pretty fast. Choosing a watch started to have similarities with starting a quest to select the appropriate life partner. At some point, the requirement got scattered across the place and left me unfazed.

That's when I stumbled across an "old-school" looking digital watch: Casio. You look at it and may think, "huh..!". It is an old design, digital, cheap and foreign, and it fits my criteria.

A couple of months later, after convincing myself I didn't need a fancy watch brand, I got my first Casio. And I know now that I will never need another watch type.

A bit of history

Released in 1989, the Casio model F91W and its subsequent siblings are the Volkswagen (!) of digital timekeeping. They are cheap, the battery lasts forever (7 years) and is impressively sturdy. The accuracy is also pretty good. Over the years, it became an icon of the 90s, setting itself as the basic-generic digital watch against which every other watch is measured against. Still mass-produced, it's a timepiece that has been worn (and still is) by everyone, even President Obama. Its usage has tarnished its reputation to build precise bombs; however, the reputation holds still: it's a magnificent piece of timekeeping.

Beyond the history and what the numbers say, it's for me back to the roots. It's simple, mind you, with only three functions: watch, stop-watch and calendar. It's aesthetically pleasing, for me at least. At 30 grams average, relatively light and with a value so low that breaking it is not even an issue (other than sentimental). Ultimately that is what a tool is. Use it and don't think about it. Compare that against smartwatches and other pricey timepieces; the choice is made.

Arguably, wearing a big bucks brand name watch is appealing, also from an engineering perspective. But let's be frank, that's not really why we buy those watches, proof being, if you need to tell the time, a cheap, stylish Casio can do the job as well.

This is where Casio's simplicity shines: wear it, look at the time and done. There are no notifications, no fear of losing or breaking it, no complications, just time.

It was a product of its time, leading the quartz time revolution. Today it rests a statement for the current generation that sometimes you only need to tell the time.