Casio: The history of smartwatches


The Apple Watch has been introduced for over two months now, and we’re going back in time to discuss the past of smartwatches. Nowadays, it is not a surprise that watches are capable of playing music, remote control for a TV, or a fitness tracker. But people in Japan — one of the most leading countries in technology, people did not even mind carrying a bunch of Casio watches on their wrist.

The former mansion of Casio’s co-founder, Toshio Kashio is showing off his bunch of his amazing watch collections, even some with features that are uncommon to exist before. Casio also did not give claims that this collection is their first.

Surprising collections of Casio

A company representative says that the intent behind the exhibition is to share information on the background of Casio’s current lineup of traditional watches. The company had once struggled to battle in the market even when its own G-Shock rose to popularity in the mid-90’s which still caused their sales growth declining until even more today. Their watches even have analog models which have Bluetooth functionality, but did not reach far enough to beat the industry today.

The watch industry has improved so much that chances are, it will be difficult to compete now, especially more smartwatches has come to rise, especially the Apple Watch. But aside that, many collections of smartwatch features considered booming in the industry today are slightly in form even from decades ago. It is a surprising and amazing experience to witness these collections.

The Casio models are as follows:

  • The GMW-15 from 1989, has a graphic display to show moon phases and sunrise/sunset times.
  • A touchscreen watch from 1991, the VDB-1000, which includes features such as a phonebook, organizer, calculator, and notepad.
  • A fitness tracker feature of Casio’s JC-11 model, monitors calories, steps, and distance way back in 1991.
  • The BP-400, released in 1991, monitors blood pressure and heart rate with stylish and discreet design.
  • The fat burning RPS-100W since 1993, putting the phrase “Fat Burning” on its strap.
  • The CPW-100, uses a compass, which helped Muslims to face the Mecca for their daily prayers.
  • A watch to detect a phone when it’s ringing, the VivCel VCL-100.
  • A model for using infrared technology to control TV’s and VCR’s back in 1993.
  • The thermo-scanner feature from the TSX-1300 from 1994, it calculates the temperature of an object by detecting using infrared.
  • The UV-700 model, has a UV sensor which measures the intensity of ultraviolet rays which makes the owner aware of too much sun exposure.
  • A transparent LCD that shows digital information like phone numbers, the ABK-55.
  • Two watch models in 1994 and 1995 can play a game with multiplayer using infrared connection.
  • The PRT-1GP, the first watch to come up with its own GPS functionality.
  • The DBC-V50 from 1999 with a voice recorder.
  • The 1999’s HBX-100 has an infrared PC-link to transfer data from the watch.
  • Casio says that its WMP-1 was the world’s first MP3 wristwatch.
  • The WQV trilogy, the first watches to have a digital camera, colored camera, and a colored screen.
  • A decade before the Apple Pay, the GWS-900 G-Shock came with a wireless IC chip to make payments via Speedpass. It was introduced by Mobil in the 90’s, people pay for their gas, McDonalds, and other restaurants also gave it a try.
  • The MGC-10 was developed in collaboration with a magician — Tomohiro Maeda, helps the owner guess the number or card the other person is thinking of.
  • Casio’s first digital watch, the Casiotron from 1974.

Today, Casio is more focused on producing traditional watches, just like the titanium made Oceanus model which sells around 250,000 Japanese Yen, around more than $2000 dollars in equivalent. Although the production has been stopped outside of Japan.