For all the complications in mechanical watches, the traditional repertoire is fairly limited. The perpetual calendar, the chronograph, the moon-phase, and others have innumerable variations, but each type basically does the same thing. The number of complications possible with an electronic watch, on the other hand, is limited only by display technology and the ingenuity of the engineers and programmers who design it. One type of watch that would have been unthinkable before the era of the electronic multifunction quartz watch is the calculator watch. And Casio’s calculator watch was the undisputed king, to the point that even today, it’s synonymous with this quintessentially ’80s design. “Think of it as a microcomputer on your wrist for handy operation wherever you go,” an advertisement suggested. Yes, mechanical watches with slide-rule bezels made a number of calculations possible, but the Casio calculator watch brought push-button convenience on the wrist, to a far wider watch-wearing public, and made announcing your nerd status not a mark of shame but a badge of honor.
– Jack Forster