The 1980s were a decade of brilliant style. Yes, some will debate that statement, but I’ll stand behind it wholeheartedly. When it comes to watches, the 1980s were mainly the era of cheap, new quartz pieces. Some of them were forgettable, while others brought us many great memories. If you are over 40, you will probably feel an instant sense of nostalgia when seeing the incredibly popular Casio calculator watches. I am no different, and I have always loved them, so seeing the new metal Casio CA-500 models brings back many great memories. Unsurprisingly, I had a blast going hands-on with Casio’s latest series of calculator watches.

The history of Casio calculator watches goes back to 1980 when the brand released the C-80. But Casio was by no means the first brand to release a calculator watch. Pulsar, which was part of the Hamilton Watch Company at the time, introduced the first calculator watches in 1975. Although it took Casio five years to come up with the C-80, it did set the tone for everything that came after. The most famous Casio calculator watch is the CA-53W, which was introduced in 1988. It graced the wrist of Michael J. Fox in Back To The Future Part II and Part III. More recently, chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin Walter White wore one in Breaking Bad.

Casio CA-500WE steel tone

The story of the Casio CA-500 series

Ever since 1988, the CA-53W has never gone out of production, making it one of Casio’s longest-running watches. And over the years, it hasn’t lost any of its cool points. The current C-53W series is part of Casio’s Vintage collection and has seen the introduction of a string of new colors. So, how do the three new CA-500 models relate to the CA-53W? It’s really simple, actually. The new Casio CA-500s are the metal versions of the CA-53. As such, they inject the watch with a little bit of extra show-off factor.

Casio CA-500WE gunmetal

But that only goes for two of the three models. The first is the classic silver version (CA-500WE-1A), the second is a blingy gold version (CA-500WEG-1A), and the last is a more low-key gunmetal version (CA-500WEGG-1B). What we notice immediately is that the first two have positive displays, while the gunmetal version has a negative display to match the overall aesthetic. All three feature a 43.2mm × 34.4mm × 8.2mm case. It’s made of resin and has either a chrome plating for the silver model or an ion plating for the gold and gunmetal versions.

Casio CA-500WE lineup

A very comfortable bracelet that adds style

The tapering bracelets are made of stainless steel, with the gold and gunmetal versions having both received an ion plating. These bracelets taper dramatically and feel good on the wrist. But we have to be real here; they are thin bracelets that are nowhere near the quality of luxury bracelets that we are used to. Then again, we are talking about watches under €100, so aligning expectations of the quality and the price is a must here.

That said, as these watches weigh only 53 grams, you don’t need a very sturdy bracelet to keep the watch balanced on your wrist. On top of that, the cases are slim at 8.2mm, so visually, you do not need a chunky bracelet either. I think Casio did a good job with this comfortable bracelet, though you should keep in mind that if you plan to wear this watch a lot, you might have to replace the bracelet at some point. It comes with an adjustable clasp so that you can get the right fit without removing any links.

Want simple functionality? You got it

The CA-500 watches house Casio’s 3558 module, which gives the watch five different modes. The first is the Regular Timekeeping mode, the second is the Calculator mode, the third is the Alarm mode, the fourth is the Dual Time mode, and the last is the Stopwatch mode. The pusher on the right side of the case will help you flip through them.

The second pusher underneath is recessed into the case and activates different functions once in a specific mode. Furthermore, once in a specific mode, you can use the buttons on the front of the watch to operate the different functions. Using and playing around with them is fun and intuitive. I was like a kid in a candy store with these three watches as the experience immediately took me back to my youth.

Casio CA-500WE steel tone

Wearing the Casio CA-500 calculator models

This brings me to the best part of the watches, which is wearing and using them. I remember as a little boy I wanted — no, needed — one of the Casio calculator watches. They looked cool, and the idea of playing around all day with your watch was awesome. I can tell you that little has changed in roughly 30 years. I still had a blast taking these watches for a spin. Plus, when seeing them on the wrists of multiple Fratello team members, I was impressed by how cool they looked from a distance.

When wearing them, I also noticed the display’s color difference between the silver and gold versions. The silver version has a neutral display underneath the acrylic crystal, while the gold version has a gold-tinted one. It’s a nice detail that the display colors match the colors of the watches themselves. And once on the wrist, the watches look even cooler than they did three decades ago. My two favorites were the gold and silver versions as those feel more classic. I do like the gunmetal version, but it doesn’t stir up the same nostalgic emotion as the other two.

Casio CA-500WE silver

Final thoughts on the new Casio CA-500 series

I could spend many words on these three watches’ pros and cons, but that would be a functional approach that doesn’t do the overall feeling justice. I love these three watches. They bring a smile to my face and transport me back to my childhood. That’s a big part of what the Casio Vintage series is about. But these three CA-500 models stand out just a bit more. They are metallic versions of the watches that every young boy wanted to have, including me. To be able to buy one of them now is great. Besides enjoying wearing and looking at them on the wrist, playing with the different functions offered nearly endless amusement.

But these new versions do beg the question of whether I would pick the rubber CA-53W or one of the new CA-500 models. These metallic ones offer precisely the same functionality but come at a premium because of the materials. The silver version is available for €69.90, while the gold and gunmetal versions can be yours for €89.90. In comparison, the CA-53W has a price of €49.90

But I would happily pay the €20 premium for the silver version on the stainless steel bracelet simply because it looks cooler. I always thought that metallic Casio watches were nicer, even when I was a young boy. And that is the biggest pull if you want to own one of these. They all look cool, but the fun is in reliving your childhood memories and basing your choice on that. If you do, you will have an absolute ball wearing your Casio CA-500.

For more information, visit the official Casio website. Let us know in the comments section whether you would buy one of these new Casio CA-500 models.

Watch specifications

CA-500 Series
CA-500WE-1A (silver) /CA-500WEG-1A (gold) / CA-500WEGG-1B (gunmetal)
Digital display — neutral-tone positive (silver), gold-tone positive (gold), or negative gunmental)
Case Material
Resin with chrome (silver) or ion (gold and gunmetal) plating
Case Dimensions
43.2mm (length) × 34.4mm (diameter) × 8.2mm (thickness)
Resin glass
Case Back
Casio module 3558
Water Resistance
Tapering single-row bracelet in natural stainless steel (silver) or ion-plated stainless steel (gold and gunmental) with adjustable clasp
Time, stopwatch, dual time, calculator, alarm, calendar
€69.90 (silver CA-500WE-1A) / €89.90 (gold CA-500WEG-1A and gunmetal CA-500WEGG-1B)
Special Note(s)
Five-year battery life