Watches are all about stories. Quite often, the stories behind a watch, the people who wore it, and the things that they accomplished tell a timepiece’s great history. But there are stories even more personal and even more valuable than those. After taking one look at the brilliant two Casio A1000 models that I had the pleasure to review, the stories of my youth immediately sprung to mind. For people over 30–35 years old, the A1000 will transport them back to their youth. I’m pretty sure quite a lot of us owned one of the predecessors of the current Casio A1000 models. I was reminded of my youth by the gold A1000MGN-9ER and the stealthy A1000RCB-1ER made in collaboration with the New York fashion brand Rag & Bone.

My first reference when thinking of a Casio timepiece is not actually a G-Shock. While that would have definitely made sense, my first memories of Casio watches are the famous Calculator watch and the Casio F-91W. While I never owned either of the two — I wandered off into Swatch territory — I had plenty of friends who wore them. The F-91W, especially, is a true classic that graced the wrists of young people in the 1980s. And it’s this watch that the current Casio A1000 models in the brand’s Vintage line bring to mind. As a result, I am reminded of some of the great memories of my childhood.

Casio’s A1000 models

In his article about a duo of previous A1000 models that came out earlier this year, Gerard explained that the vintage F-91W and the A-164W are the visual predecessors of the A1000 models. But there is a big difference when it comes to materials and technology. The current A1000 models are modernized versions of the watches that many of us love so dearly. The most recent additions that we had the chance to try out represent two different ends of the spectrum regarding looks and execution. Both models, however, have that specific vintage charm. The first is the golden Casio A1000MGN-9ER, which comes with a gold mesh bracelet and a black NATO strap with gold hardware.

The second of the two is a special collaboration piece that Casio developed with the fashion brand Rag & Bone. The Casio A1000RCB-1ER is part of a duo of watches created with the brand from New York. The first is the black one that we had for review, and the second is the A1000RCG-8B, which comes in stealthy gray. Both watches celebrate the 20th anniversary of Rag & Bone with a stealthy presence with an ion plating and a beautiful five-link stainless steel bracelet. So let’s take a closer look at our two review models and find out what makes them unique.

The gold Casio A1000MGN-9ER

The gold-tone A1000MGN-9ER stands out from the moment you get it out of the box. The watch comes in a special box with the watch on the black NATO strap and the gold mesh bracelet next to it. I love the combination of gold and black. There is just something so magical about it. The contrast of the shiny gold and matte black works miracles, and it doesn’t need a Rolex Daytona or Yacht-Master to have that impact. The ion-plated stainless steel case of the A1000MGN-9ER measures 39.6mm × 38.0mm × 7.3mm (H × W × D). It makes it a modest watch in size, and at 55 grams on the strap, it sits very comfortably on the wrist. The watch comes equipped with a mineral crystal.

Its size also makes it perfectly suited for both men and women. Its smaller dimensions also contribute to the fact that this is far from a flashy watch despite its gold ion-plated case. As I said, the watch comes on a comfortable black NATO strap with gold hardware, creating a classy overall presence. I loved putting it on the wrist like that and going about my day. But the watch also comes with a gold ion-plated mesh bracelet that can easily be switched thanks to the quick-release system. With the bracelet, the presence of the watch changes dramatically, but it still didn’t feel like a flashy piece to me. Rather, it simply gives off a soft, retro vibe.

A functional style statement

Powering this version of the A1000 is Casio’s 3479 module. When it comes to functions, the watch features the time, the day, the date, a daily alarm, and a stopwatch. On top of that, it also comes equipped with Casio’s Super Illuminator LED backlight. The module has an accuracy of ±30 seconds per month. Gerard also explained that the A1000 uses a thin CR1616 lithium cell that keeps it slim at just 7.3mm. The watch’s battery life is officially three years, securing you at least 1,000 days of fun.

And this watch is a lot of fun! Both on the strap and on the mesh bracelet, it’s a joy to wear. The gold A1000 is comfortable, and I was reminded of those days of my youth every time I looked at it. The watch’s vintage presence ensures that you are transported back to the 1970s and ’80s. I explained in multiple articles here on Fratello that the ’80 were considered a decade of bad taste. However, if you grew up in the ’80s, you recognize the brilliance of that era. This watch is a vehicle for bringing those vibes into the 2020s, and I love it for that. The A1000MGN-9ER is available for €179 and comes in a box with both the strap and mesh bracelet. This is a great release from Casio!

The stealthy Casio A1000RCB-1ER

Whereas the gold A1000MGN-9ER takes you on a trip down memory lane, the black A1000RCB-1ER provides a different experience. Initially, this collaboration with Rag & Bone gives off the same retro vibe, but the moment you pick the watch up, that changes. The A1000RCB-1ER comes with the same stainless steel case that is also 39.6mm × 38.0mm × 7.3mm (H × W × D). Technically, it is also the same as the gold model. But for this version, Casio and Rag & Bone chose a black ion-plated finish.

Additionally, the watch comes with a sapphire crystal, and underneath it, you’ll find the regular Casio info on the dial with the added Rag & Bone logo and wordmark. All the text is executed in a turquoise color that contrasts nicely with the black background. As a next step, the brands decided to equip the watch with a black ion-plated five-link bracelet. And I have to say that I love seeing the watch on the bracelet. The design of it fits the overall retro style perfectly, but the modern execution makes it a great addition.

Wearing the modern Casio A1000RCB-1ER

The bracelet wears like a charm, and the relatively light (99g) watch wraps itself gently around your wrist. The bracelet comes equipped with a folding clasp that very neatly tucks itself away when you wear the watch. It is very thin and comfortable, ensuring that it doesn’t add any unnecessary thickness that would have ruined the wearing experience of this slim watch with its flexible bracelet. Casio did very well with this bracelet, and I was impressed by the overall build quality and comfort.

Speaking of the overall quality, this doesn’t feel like a cheap watch at all. Now, I must add that this special edition comes in at €249, so it’s not a cheap Casio. But for that money, Casio delivers with the upgrade in materials and finish, and the bracelet is a huge step up compared to the mesh bracelet of the gold model. If you like the retro style of Casio watches executed with modern materials and with modern production techniques, don’t hesitate to try this. I was seriously impressed by this piece.

Final thoughts on the two Casio A1000 models

I expect serious-quality timepieces from G-Shock nowadays. Weirdly, though, I never had those expectations for the vintage-inspired Casio timepieces. While perhaps a bit naive, this made my experience with these two A1000 models a great surprise and incredibly fun. In terms of looks, I prefer the gold version with the NATO strap. The little gold hardware is a great detail that makes this piece an absolute joy to wear. But I was more impressed by the black A1000RCB-1ER that Casio created with Rag & Bone. The overall quality and execution are simply brilliant.

Sure, you pay a serious premium over the more basic versions, but I think you definitely get your money’s worth. On top of that, the integration of the Rag & Bone elements has been done tastefully, so the watch doesn’t look like a forced collab, and all the elements feel perfectly in place. The popularity of the piece is easy to see as it is sold out on the Rag & Bone website. In Europe, however, the watch is still available. But whichever of the two watches you prefer, you can’t go wrong with either. And I think the same goes for any of the new Casio A1000 models. They represent so much more to me than just a retro-inspired watch. These pieces tell the story of my youth as an ’80s kid. To me, this is very powerful, and it’s exactly why I love them.

For more information, visit the official Casio website.