Casio A201

Casio A201

The Casio A201, like the A203, uses the QW103 module which was added to a range of different cases and different crystals to make no less than 8 unique watches.

While the AA-85 is the QW103 watch that has commanded the most attention. due to its appearance in the Roy Schneider film Blue Thunder, the A201 is also a film star!

In 1982 when Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte teamed up for what is credited as the first “buddy cop” comedy — 48 Hours — the A201 made a brief appearance when Jack Cates (Nolte) silenced the alarm in a way that wasn’t detailed in the QW103 manual.

48 Hours was so popular, they made a sequel (Another 48 Hours) and paved the way for similar films like Beverley Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon and Rush Hour.

Given that it shares the same module, the A201 is identical to the A203, differences being the plated case (A203 has a stainless steel case), push-on caseback, and different crystal graphics. The others in the series — AA-81, AA-83, AA-84, AA-85, AA-86, AA-91, AA-92 and A202 —have similar variations. There is one variation of the module that has dots printed on the LCD itself, usually found in the AA-91.

The QW103 is a great module for a number of reasons, the big two being the ability to switch between an analog LCD display and traditional LCD digits, and the animated starburst-style graphics that appear when in demo mode, when the alarm goes off, or when the countdown timer reaches zero.

The only downside is a notoriously flaky LCD. It’s a dual-layer LCD so is possibly not as easily bonded as a single layer, which means finding the QW103 with LCD bleed is very common. The bleed is not able to be realistically repaired on a normal LCD, let alone a dual-layer, so there are plenty of working, but flawed QW103s around. Those who have a fully intact LCD still sell for significant sums.

The watches themselves aren’t uncommon (there’s usually one or two available on eBay) but good ones are getting rarer by the day.

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