How to set the time and date on a Casio CA-53 (with video and review)
I said I was going to buy this as one of my nerdy purchases for 2017, and I did.
The Casio CA-53 is the de facto calculator watch. In fact, whenever you hear "calculator watch", Casio is the brand that immediately comes to mind. While Casio wasn't the first company to bring a calculator watch to market, they did do it best.
Before I get into the review of the watch, I made a video on this watch explaining how to set the time, set the alarm, change from 12-hour to 24-hour a.k.a. military time, and so on. That video is below.
Here are the main points of what's in the video in written form since this is what most people want to know about this particular model. If you don't understand any of these, watch the video below to see a visual example explained in plainer English.
Enabling or disabling the alarm
Go to alarm screen. Press 4.
Choosing AM or PM when setting the alarm
While setting the alarm time, press the period key (as in the one with a tiny little "PM" next to it).
Enabling or disabling the hourly chime
Go to alarm screen. Press multiplication key (the one with the × next to it on the right side).
Enabling or disabling 24-hour a.k.a. military time
From main time screen, press adjust button (the recessed bottom silver button on the right side of the case). Press mode button (the silver button just above the recessed button) once to switch to adjusting the hour. Press the plus button (the bottom right key).
Starting or stopping the stopwatch and resetting
Go to stopwatch screen. Press plus key to start. Press again to stop. To reset, press 0 (the bottom left key).
Viewing the year, month and day
From the main time screen, press and hold the division key ÷ (the top right key).
Review of the CA-53
My initial impression of the watch once I put it on the wrist was, "Wow, this thing isn't nearly as nerdy as I thought it would be."
The funny thing about the CA-53 is that in pictures on a computer screen, it looks like this unwieldy, oddly-shaped thing. In person, that's not the case at all. The watch actually has quite the sophisticated look to it. Yes, seriously.
Compared to other Casio watches, the CA-53 is an exercise in restrained design. The only thing even remotely "loud" on it is the "WR" (Water Resist) gold lettering at top right of the case. Everything else about it is subtle and purposely understated.
In a world full of digital wristwatches that look really, really tacky, the CA-53 is such a nice thing to see.
While the digits are actually smaller than on the F-91W, the display is easy to read. It can even be read easily while wearing polarized sunglasses.
The watch does not have a backlight/nightlight, but that doesn't bother me at all since I'm more interested in daytime and not nighttime reading. I have returned a few watches because of legibility problems in direct sunlight. And that even includes a few analog timepieces. The CA-53 can be read easily even under the brightest Florida sun.
Good, but not as easy as other Casio timepieces, for the reason things are not put in "Casio standard" locations. And because some features are outright hidden unless you read the manual first. Most of the hidden features not plainly marked on the watch are noted above and shown in the video below.
There are three more hidden features I didn't mention above or in the video below.
First is how to get a demonstration of the alarm tone. When on the alarm screen, press 0 and + (bottom left and bottom right keypad keys) at the same time and an alarm tone demo will sound.
Second is a feature that's not hidden but ambiguously marked. The stopwatch does in fact show hours as it will go up to 23:59.99, but hours are not displayed on the stopwatch screen. The division key ÷ (top right), also labeled "DATE/ST-Hour", will show how many hours have passed on the stopwatch screen if pressed and held. ST-Hour literally means "Stopwatch Hour".
Third is another stopwatch feature. The watch will beep once for every 10 minutes of stopwatch time elapsed, but only when the stopwatch screen is selected. If you run the stopwatch, leave it running and go back to the time screen, the beep will not sound every 10 minutes. This means if you want to hear that 10-minute interval beep, stay on the stopwatch screen when the stopwatch is running.
I really like the plainer, understated '80s style of the CA-53 and I absolutely have no problem wearing it in public.
For some reason there's this belief that when you wear a CA-53, everyone gawks and stares at you. That's not true at all. The only time people gawk and stare at a watch you're wearing is if it's something oversized and/or loud and/or tacky, and the CA-53 is the furthest thing from that.
Here are the actual measurements of the CA-53, and I took these myself:
Case size side-to-side: 34mm
Case size side-to-side with button included: 35mm
Case size diagonally measured: 43.5mm
The most misreported measurement is the thickness. Everywhere I've looked, the thickness is reported as 7mm. Not true. It's 8mm. If the "hump" on the back plate is omitted, then the measurement is 7mm. But that hump is what directly rests on the wrist, which when included adds up to 8mm.
Aside from that, the never-mentioned diagonal measurement is what takes people by surprise. The CA-53 is definitely rectangle shaped so it is taller than it is wide. On the wrist, that makes for a good look. Smaller side-to-side compared to an F-91W, but also taller compared to an F-91W.
On my 6.75-inch size wrist, the CA-53 looks great. And I'd presume it would look good on a wrist size range of 6.5" to 7.25".
The beep tones of the CA-53 are what I believe to be unique to the watch. I'm going to be using the F-91W as the comparison tone since that's the one people know best.
Volume of the beep is not as loud as an F-91W, but still fairly audible.
Length of the beep is shorter than the F-91W.
Speed of the beep is a quicker stutter for alarm and hourly chime. The F-91W is a "BEEP BEEP" while the CA-53 is a "BEE-BEEP".
The total time an alarm will beep for is just like the F-91W, 20 seconds. The alarm can of course be interrupted with a key press.
Overall, the beep is a little quieter and definitely not as shrill as the F-91W's beep.
Lastly I'll say this about Casio beep tones: The F-91W and steel version A158 have the loudest beeps. I own other newer Casio digital timepieces, and none of them have the volume of the F-91W/A158. If you want a cheap Casio with a loud beep tone, you want an F-91W...
...and if you can't hear the tone of an F-91W, then I'd suggest the Casio W735H, a "Vibration Alarm" model. If your ears can't hear the beep tones, switch to something that vibrates the wrist instead. And before you ask, no, it will not vibrate so much to wake you from sleep. But it does vibrate enough to alert you when you're awake.
The CA-53 is very comfortable. Very thin, lays flat on the wrist, very light in weight. Mine weighed in at 25g on my kitchen scale.
I can definitely say that you will have absolutely no problem pulling a shirt sleeve over the watch, so you can wear it with pretty much anything.
I just got mine so I can't really say anything too much here. But I can say that this is a watch I don't plan on getting wet. Yes, the watch is technically water resistant, but all buttons added up total to 18, meaning there's 18 different places water can enter.
What this basically means is other than an accidental light splash, this watch shouldn't go anywhere near water.
Yes, I know there are plenty of people who claim they've taken the CA-53 in the shower, gone swimming with it and so on, and the watch survived just fine. I personally would not do that.
Other than the water resistance or lack thereof, a known issue with the CA-53 is the strap. It's soft, but thin. Try not to pull on it too much when taking the watch on and off the wrist.
I am happy to own the CA-53. There was a small learning curve but I figured everything out in a few minutes.
Will I ever use the calculator feature? Yeah. In fact, I surprised myself by using the calculator the first day I had it. I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items, and when I got back to the parking lot I wanted to check the receipt to make sure all my items were added up properly. Usually I would grab my phone to do this math, but I remembered I was wearing the CA-53 and thought I should try using that, so I did.
Sure, the keypad buttons are small, but I was able to do my calculations. It worked!
Check out the video below for more info
I go over most of the watch features and do a quick comparison to some other Casio models.
More articles to check out
- You're not allowed to change a brake light in a new car?
- Unexpected surprise, Casio F201
- Why the Epiphone Explorer is better than the Gibson (for now)
- You should surround yourself in guitar luxury
- Forgotten Gibson: 1983 Map Guitar
- Casio MTP-V003, the one everyone missed
- Just for the look: Peavey Solo guitar amp
- Spacehunter, that '80s movie when 3D was a thing
- The Ice Pirates 1984
- A list of ridiculously accurate watches