While Casio does very little to advertise its entry-level watches, these budget-friendly timepieces provide more functionality for the money than just about anything else within the industry, and this has ultimately made them some of the most popular watches in the world. In addition to their feature-packed digital movements and firmly humble price tags, many of Casio’s entry-level models offer heavy doses of vintage nostalgia, with retro-inspired designs that recall some of the brand’s most famous creations from the golden era of the digital wristwatch. While Casio’s G-Shock collection typically receives the lion’s share of the attention among enthusiasts, the brand also quietly releases numerous new entry-level models each year, and among my personal favorites is the Casio LF-20W series, which joined the catalog in 2023 and reimagines the brand’s “Twin-Graph” watches from the 1980s.

Originally introduced in the mid-1980s, the Casio Twin-Graph was a multi-function digital watch with a segmented LCD screen containing both digital and analog-style displays. The concept behind the design of the Twin Graph was to give users immediate access to the model’s functions using its pair of digital displays, while simultaneously being able to show the current time with its analog-style display located on the upper left section of its screen. Originally produced with either a stainless steel case as the AE-200 or a resin case as the AE-20, the Casio Twin-Graph was later updated to become the Twin-Graph II in the mid-1990s. However, the original Twin-Graph represents an important point in the evolution of the Japanese manufacturer’s watches, and it helped lay the groundwork for the brand’s contemporary models with digital renditions of analog-style displays.

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Expanding upon the core concept of the resin case AE-20W Twin-Graph from the 1980s, the modern Casio LF-20W series features a slightly updated silhouette, although it still adheres to a square-shaped profile with a segmented LCD display that offers an identical layout to its vintage predecessor. In terms of its dimensions, the Casio LF-20W measures 33.7mm wide by 8.6mm thick, with 16mm lugs set directly into the underside edge of the case to create a compact lug-to-lug profile of 37.8mm. Both the case and crystal are made from resin, while the buttons and screw-on caseback are crafted from stainless steel, and the LF-20W represents an incredibly lightweight overall package at just 23 grams, including its bio-based resin strap. Casio currently offers the LF-20W in three different colorways for the U.S. market, which include black (LF-20W-1A), gray (LF-20W-8A2), and an off-white/bone color (LF-20W-8A), which is the version featured here. Additionally, there are also khaki green (LF-20W-3A) and dark red (LF-20W-5A) versions, although these models are only available for the Asian market.

Since the Casio LF-20W series is listed as being “water resistant” without having any accompanying depth rating, the watch is only guaranteed to be guarded against daily incidental contact. However, I’ve personally found Casio’s standard water resistance to be sufficient for most applications, and I have gone swimming with numerous different “water-resistant” Casio watches, and all of them have survived the experience. That said, since the majority of the Casio LF-20W’s components are made from resin (even the buckle for its strap), there is absolutely nothing about the watch that even remotely feels premium or luxurious. However, given that the LF-20W is one of Casio’s most affordable models, expectations need to be reasonable, and the real standout features of this retro-inspired watch are its unique display and the numerous different functions that are offered by its modern digital quartz movement.

Inside the Casio LF-20W series is Module No. 3551, which runs on a single CR1616 power cell with a battery life of approximately 3 years. While the smaller case size of the watch mandates a smaller battery (and therefore shorter battery life), Module No. 3551 provides the Casio LF-20W with all of the same functions that you get from the ultra-popular Casio World Time AE1200WH. Admittedly, Module No. 3551 doesn’t offer a tiny map of the world, although it instead features an additional analog-style register to provide a visual representation of the various functions, and it includes a stopwatch, alarm, countdown timer, automatically programmed calendar, world timer with 31 time zones, and an amber-colored LED backlight. Additionally, just like Casio’s World Time AE1200WH models, the LF-20W series includes a “Multi Time” function, which allows users to quickly swap between four different programmable time zones by simply pressing a button from the main home screen.

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Since the analog-style display on the upper left section of the screen always tracks the home time, the Casio LF-20W can easily be configured to simultaneously show two different time zones. Additionally, when using other features on the watch such as its alarm, stopwatch, or countdown timer, the time of day will always remain accessible on the analog-style display, and this is a simple yet practical detail that you don’t get from conventional single-screen digital watches. Admittedly, the analog-style display with its digital set of hands hardly creates the most legible representation of the time, and the actual LCD screen itself isn’t nearly as crisp as what you get from Casio’s more premium G-Shock models. Rather strangely, the definition of the LCD screen is arguably at its worst when you are looking directly at the watch, and the color of the bio-based resin strap on the Casio LF-20W-8A doesn’t quite match the muted off-white hue of its hard resin case.

Given that the Casio LF-20W scores big when it comes to its vintage-inspired styling and feature-packed movement, it’s rather easy to forgive its shortcomings, and this is especially true when you consider that this watch costs less than a few pints of beer or a cab ride across town. With an official retail price of $29.95 USD for any of the available colorways, the Casio LF-20W series is the definition of affordable horological fun that you can purchase on a whim, wear for a while, and then pass along to a friend or family member without feeling like you are being financially irresponsible in your enjoyment of this hobby. However, it is worth noting that the LF-20W costs the exact same as the previously mentioned Casio World Time AE1200WH, which offers a longer battery life and significantly more water resistance. With that in mind, the Casio LF-20W tells a unique story within the evolution of the Japanese manufacturer’s watches, and it represents the modern and budget-friendly expression of a cult favorite from the brand’s archives. For more information on the Casio LF-20W series, please visit the brand’s website.

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