With as ubiquitous as Casio is in the world of watchmaking today, it can be easy to forget that the Japanese giant did not start out as a timepiece brand. Founded in 1957 to explore the burgeoning world of computers, Casio’s first major success was the 1957 Model 14-A, the world’s first all-electric calculator, and the company continued expanding into an increasing range of consumer electronics throughout the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. 1974 saw the release of the first Casio watch – the Casiotron, an early pioneer in digital watchmaking and the first ever digital watch with an automatic calendar complication. As the Casiotron celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2024, Casio revives this cult classic design with a refined new execution and a stylish ‘70s look. The new limited edition Casio Casiotron TRN50-2A fully embraces the current trend towards ‘70s vintage-inspired digital watches, paying homage to the watch that started it all while incorporating an array of the brand’s premium modern innovations.

At 39.1mm wide, the Casio Casiotron TRN50-2A’s stainless steel case is nearly identical in size to the 1974 Casiotron. The overall form is faithfully rendered in initial photos as well, with an angular hooded-lug silhouette that captures the mid-‘70s roots of the original. From the broad, continuous polished case side chamfer to the aggressively planar hooded lug design, it’s pure ‘70s futurism in photos, but the real star of the show here is the upper case surface. Like the original, it’s deeply radially brushed, appearing grooved from certain angles, and Casio itself describes the finish as “textured.” This should be an intriguing design element in person, but in initial press photos it certainly raises interest. The four button-style pushers and the sloping polished bezel are also original Casiotron carryovers. Likewise, the caseback boasts the same triangular emblem as the original Casiotron, but updated with specialty 50th anniversary text. Casio rates the Casiotron TRN50-2A for a modest 50 meters of water resistance.

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Like the case, the Casio Casiotron TRN50-2A’s dial follows the template of the original, but adds new, more premium materials to the mix. The eye-catching steel blue striated dial surface is now a Tough Solar charging panel, adding solar charging to the original mix of complications. The Casiotron’s distinctive fluted outer chapter ring is crisp and brightly polished here in photos, and should add a welcome layer of flash on the wrist. Likewise, the frame surrounding the LCD main dial display is handsomely polished for a sharply retrofuturistic look. The dial display itself is more or less translated verbatim from the ‘70s original, albeit now with full customizable automatic LED backlight illumination.

Casio powers the Casiotron TRN50-2A with its in-house Module 3542 light-powered quartz movement. While the Module 3542 carries on the original Casiotron’s legacy with a full automatic perpetual calendar (calibrated through the year 2099), this modern movement adds a broad array of modern functionality as well. Complications here include Tough Solar charging, Bluetooth connectivity and pairing with the Casio Watches app, a world timer, a 1/100-second split seconds chronograph, a 24-hour countdown timer, and radio-controlled automatic time correction. Without radio signal adjustment, Casio rates the Module 3542 for a capable +15/-15 seconds per month in accuracy, with an up to 22-month power reserve after a full solar charge.

Like the original model, the new Casio Casiotron TRN50-2A is fitted with a faceted single-link bracelet in stainless steel. Full steel bracelets are still a rarity in Casio’s lineup, but the Casiotron TRN50-2A’s appears to be attractively executed in initial images. Raised, polished central link segments are accented with vertically brushed outer segments for a simulated three-link look, while polished chamfers throughout should give this design a more sophisticated, refined feel on the wrist. Casio completes the layout with a signed two-button clasp.

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50 years on from the original Casiotron, Casio stands as one of the largest and most respected players in Japanese watchmaking. The new limited edition Casio Casiotron TRN50-2A pays compelling tribute to this major milestone, blending futuristic ‘70s design with some of the best contemporary technology the brand has to offer. Only 4,000 examples of the Casio Casiotron TRN50-2A will be made, and the watch will be available through authorized dealers and the brand’s e-commerce platform starting February 29, 2024. MSRP for this watch stands at $500 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

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