Casio AW80 is the best cheap gentleman's ana-digi watch
This is the only ana-digi I own. And it's a good one.
The Casio AW80 is an ana-digi watch that's cheap and comes in many flavors. Resin strap, metal bracelet, fabric strap, white dial, black dial, silver dial, blue dial, black bezel, bronze bezel, red bezel, blue bezel, some with arabics, some with partial arabics, and so on, and so on. The one in particular I have is the 5BV model with the bronze bezel and tan fabric strap secured with Velcro. The 1BV is the black version of that and the 3BV a green version.
A very easy way to tell AW80 models from one another is that AW80 means resin strap, AW80D means metal bracelet, and AW80V means fabric strap with Velcro.
Every AW80 works exactly the same, as they all have module 2747. This module features 3 alarms with one snooze, countdown timer, chronograph, world time feature that supports many time zones, DST recognition, full auto calendar, hourly signal.
The oddball feature of the AW80 is Telememo. Yes, it has it, just like some Casio Databank watch models. The AW80 allows up to 30 records that can contain name and number data. Will you ever use this feature? Probably not. But then again, maybe you will. It would be particularly good for storing passcodes to electronic gate systems (ex: you drive up to a gate and a passcode is needed to open it) or anywhere where you have to punch in a short code and need to be reminded of it. None of the Telememo records you input on the AW80 are protected, but who would ever guess your watch had a Telememo feature to begin with to look for such information?
I will tell you the #1 complaint about this watch. The night light. The light is bright and can be easily read in the dark, that's not the problem. The problem is that only the analog face is illuminated and not the LCD panel.
The #2 biggest complaint is the way the analog clock is set. It's not automatic. You have to manually set it, and in the way the analog works here, the minute hand ticks forward every 20 seconds instead of every 1 minute. Yes, weird, but that's the way this watch does things.
Note that a seconds hand does not exist. This is fine because you can toggle between showing day-date and digital time that shows seconds on the LCD panel.
The #3 biggest complaint is the crystal. It's acrylic and domed. But then again, for this price point it's not like you're going to get a sapphire crystal with antireflective coating.
Why is the Casio AW80 the best cheap gentleman's watch?
Reason 1: It's a 40!
The 9-to-3 measurement of the case is 40mm. Amazon lists this incorrectly as 38mm. I measured the case myself. It's absolutely a 40mm...
...which is considered by many to be the perfect watch size. Not too big, not too small. And because the dial is designed where there's a lot of bezel before the dial actually starts, this results in a look that has near-perfect proportions.
Consider the Rolex Submariner unless stated otherwise is a 40mm. The reason the proportions of that watch work so well is because the dial is smaller to accommodate for the surrounding dive time bezel.
While the AW80 doesn't have a rotating bezel, the design character is similar and it totally works.
Reason 2: Very legible dial
Time and date is very easy to read on the AW80 regardless of which model you get.
Legibility is only an issue for the smaller segments of the LCD panel. Namely, SIG and SNZ on the left (for hourly signal and snooze alarm) and AL1 and AL2 on the right (for alarm 1 and alarm 2.)
And yes, between the hours of 5 and 7, the hands do get in the way of the LCD, but that's a common issue with all ana-digi watches. The question is whether or not the LCD is unreadable when the analog hands are over the display. And that answer to that is the LCD is still plenty readable even when the hour and/or minute hand is directly over the panel.
Reason 3: "Hidden" side buttons
The button design on the AW80 is amazing. They're large and easy to press, but at the same time don't stick out in an ugly way. If I didn't just mention the buttons, you wouldn't have even seen them in the photo above.
Reason 4: Countdown timer
I mentioned this above but will again because having a watch with a countdown timer is very useful. Many people use this feature as a cooking timer. I personally can't wear a watch these days without a countdown timer on it.
Reason 5: Forward or reverse number scrolling
A lot of Casio watches only scroll digital numbers forward. Using the countdown timer as the example, if you want to set a timer of 20 minutes and accidentally scroll to 21, you have to press and hold a button until the minutes scroll all the way to 59, back to 0, then back to 20 again.
On the AW80 you can scroll forward or reverse. So if you accidentally set a timer to 21 minutes when you wanted 20, all it takes is one button press to go back 1 digit.
Reason 6: Ritzy looking amber night light
The night light, while it doesn't illuminate the LCD, is a dual bulb in a gold-like amber color. It just looks good and has a nice warm appearance to it, similar to gold Christmas lights (that's a good thing.)
Reason 7: Styled right
The AW80 is the right size and right weight. But what makes it a good gentleman's watch more than anything else is its reserved styling.
On the dial of the AW80 - at least for the 5BV model - are 3 printed features. Illuminator, 10 Year Battery, and WR (Water Resist) 50M. But the way it's done is not loud. It's much more subtle, thankfully.
All the printed stuff on the AW80 is purposely kept low-key, even including the Casio logo itself which is kept on the smaller side. The AW80V models in particular actually have the "busiest" dials with big hour numbers, 24-hour time smaller hour numbers, arrows at 12-3-6-9 and a detailed minute track. But amazingly, it all works and doesn't look like clown shoes.
How does the Casio AW80 compare to other ana-digi watches of a similar price?
The closest match to my AW80 is the Timex Expedition Chronograph T45181:
This timepiece definitely has a more outdoorsy appearance to it. The bezel does in fact rotate. It has a nylon strap (which by the way has a width of 20mm, making for easy strap changes to an alternative strap of your choice if you wish.)
What throws people for a loop is that this particular Timex is actually a 39mm. Yes, that means the Casio is technically larger than the Timex by a small amount.
However, the point is that as far as ana-digi watches go, the T45181 is a nice option. The curved LCD panel just looks cool. Obviously, the watch has the famous Timex Indiglo nightlight. But like the Casio, it only illuminates the analog dial and not the digital panel.
The best part about the Timex is that the crystal is recessed, making it less prone to scratches compared to the AW80's domed crystal.
Ultimately, I still choose the Casio. The digital portion is larger and the watch lays flatter on my wrist, which is important to me, given I have skinny wrists. I also think the AW80 just looks better than the Timex does.
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