This is not a post that discusses the merits and hackability of Casio F-91W series. Take a look here for such a discussion:

The Backstory

In 1995, I was a 11 year old boy who recently moved to Chennai (Madras back then). Until then, for all my life I lived in small towns south of Tamil Nadu. The year before in Thirunagar (Madurai), my 6th standard class had 2 sections with 19 students each. I used to be one of the top 3 rank holders. When I moved to Anna Nagar West Extension, my 7th standard class had 60 students in each section. There were 10 sections for each class. I was a country boy in the big city and out of place. My usual introvertedness went up considerably and tt never really went down. One of its effects was in academics. My best rank in class 7 was 10th.

When class 8 started, I must’ve asked for a Casio G-Shock watch. Back then it was all the craze for pre-teen boys like me. I must’ve been told that I would get one if I get a top 3 rank in the mid-terms. (I’m narrating it this way because I don’t remember the exact sequence of events.) I prepared well for the first mid-term exam. I am not sure if the watch was the motivation behind this, but it definitely feels that way now. I would study and write down the answer for each & every question in a notebook. I got 3rd rank in the mid-terms. It not only surprised everyone in my class because suddenly they started to see me, it truly surpised me as well. It was an “aha!” moment for me, I was like “So, all I have to do is to study and write it down. Hmmm..”. I would continue to be an above-average student till I finish college.

Now my father needs to keep his end of the bargain. I asked him to buy me the watch - Casio G-Shock. I didn’t understand our financial situation back then or my father’s work pressure. He worked 6 days a week and we didn’t go out on Sundays. My mother was new to the city and we didn’t have any means of private transport. The only way I’d get the watch is if he bought it after office hours. I must’ve asked repeatedly every single day. One day I distinctly remember crying my eyes out of disappointment when my father returned empty handed. It was an ugly cry. He shouted at me really hard. It must’ve been all the crying and my father’s scolding that I lost the desire of getting a watch. It felt weird & dirty. Suddenly the joy of discovering that I was competitive in the “big city” vanished. It is one of those memories that got etched in my brain.

The next day, my father bought me a Casio watch. It was not G-Shock but a F-91W. It was all he could afford. I don’t think he truly cared about “G-Shock” or even remembered it as a word but he understood “Casio”. I remember expressing my disappointment and I remember him shouting at me again, saying that this is as good a watch as any other. I will wear it to school the next day and will continue to wear it, till the strap come off and then I will lose it to time.

I never said “Thank you” to my father, not just for the watch.

In a way, my desire for a digital wrist watch made me an above-average student in academics. It is plausible to think that had I not pushed myself to get top rank for the sake of a watch, I might have remained an average student and my present would’ve been very different than it is now.

The Present

When I started earning, I don’t remember buying a watch. Watches were good gifts. For a while I had a HMT watch which I received as a gift from TN govt. for participating in the opening ceremony of SAF games 1995. While employed in India, I had a Guess watch which was a gift from my brother. If I wore any other watch, I don’t remember and it didn’t matter to me. So, when there was an opportunity to buy a watch for myself in Stockholm, I bought a G-Shock GST-S130L-1A. Solar powered.

Casio G-Shock

My "first" watch, 2017. Clearly I haven't moved on from 1996

A Tribute

I parted from my Casio G-Shock, it is in better hands now. I have a Fitbit Charge 5 at home. It is useful for sleep tracking but it never clicked for me as a wrist watch. There is a need for constant charging. I don’t keep the display ON all the time because it is a huge waste of charge and I don’t like tapping or wriggling my wrist to see anything useful in the display. I dislike Apple Watch for the same reason. I needed a wrist watch. And then, by chance I came across the HN post linked in the beginning of this blog. All the memories came rushing back. It dawned on me that the watch that my father bought for me in 1996 was not only good, it was iconic (a coincidence of course but still).

I decided to seek closure for the 1996 incident (this is what they call closure right..?) and to be honest I like the simplicity of the watch design now. I bought a new Casio F-91W with a metallic body. It is the first purchase of 2023 for myself. Its price is equivalent to a meal for 1 person in Stockholm. The battery life is listed as 7 years. The time accuracy is listed as ± 30 seconds per month. It is an extreme case and varies depending on the temperature. I would have to reset the time twice a year anyway for daylight savings, so I am not overly concerned about the accuracy.

In a way this is also a tribute to my father who passed away in January 2019.

Casio F-91W

My new watch