Casio A203

Casio A203

Did anyone actually see Blue Thunder the movie?

You’d think it was in every watch collector’s top 10, given how the watch that made an appearance in the movie — the Casio AA-85 — is so sought after and expensive in good condition.

Whether Casio knew they were onto a good thing with the [103] module or if they already had the heads-up it was going to be featured in a movie so thought they should push the boat out a bit is anyone’s guess, but they made a lot of watches with this module, possible the most of any single module.

The 103 can be found in the following models: AA-81, AA-83, AA-84, AA-85, AA-86, AA-91, AA-92, A201, A202 and A203.

Each model is slightly different, different case materials and shape, different bracelets, different crystal graphics, but it’s essentially the same watch.

This is my favourite, the A203.

203aThe case is stainless steel, not plated, so it doesn’t suffer from corroding or chipped plating, and the bracelet (B226L) blends more nicely than some of the others. The caseback screws on, rather than being a press fit, and it feels more solid than some of the other models.

The 103 module has some cool features, firstly the dual-LCD. You can switch from the usual digital number display to an LCD analog display at the press of a button. But it’s the graphics options that the analog LCD offers that set it apart from other watches (except the follow-on models of AE-20, AE-21 and AE-22).

When the alarm sounds (or the two bottom buttons are pressed) or the countdown timer finishes, the wearer is treated to a basic but eye-catching animation of LCD segments that really does look quite funky — moreso in the early 1980s when the watches were produced.

The downside to the 103 module is the quality, or lack thereof, of the LCD. A lot of them have bleed, and by a lot I’d estimate around 80% which is why they’re (a) rare and (b) expensive if you find one with a good LCD.

It’s a shame — and you’d think with all the different models they made it should be easy to find one. Of course if you have (very) deep pockets you can get one reasonably easily…they’re not THAT rare…but you won’t see much change from $200-$300.

48-hoursWhile it’s most commonly known as the ‘Blue Thunder’ watch, you can see the 103 in the Eddie Murphy/Nick Nolte film 48 Hours as well. And seeing the treatment it gets, it’s surprising the LCD didn’t start bleeding on their one.

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12 Responses to Casio A203

  1. Hi

    Sorry for my bad English.

    Congratulations for your page. I`m an old LCD watches fan. Especially module 201 (AA series). Recently (2016/10/06) I wrote this message to Casio (they answered on next day):

    I’m a watch collector and I have a few Casio pieces from 80s.
    Sincerely, for me (and many people that I know), almost all nowadays watches, not only Casio’s, are ugly. They have an unnecessarily big and thick design.
    I’m writing this message to suggest Casio consider to turn back the old fashion watches style from 70s and 80s, like Module 118 (AX series), Module 152 (called “Marlin” by collectors), Module 407 (Melody Alarm), Module 215 (TS1000) e specially, Module 201 (AA series).
    From this last model, I have 7 pieces and is my preferred Casio watch from all time.
    I’m sure that many people thinks like me. Frequently someone – including people that I don’t know – see me wearing one of my AAs and ask me where I bought it. All of them have a big surprise when I answer that this model has been discontinued more than 35 years ago.
    Please, at least consider to think about this suggestion.
    If it is possible, I would appreciate a reply.

    • You can buy mine with the right offer 🙂 — otherwise keep checking on eBay; the A203 comes up a couple of times each year.

  2. How much do you want for the A201 or A203? I want to wear it for class and work and I like the clock face design contrasting against the blue face plate. I want it. Email me if you don’t want it anymore.

    • Hi there, the A203 isn’t for sale at the moment, but I’ll take offers on the A201 (and I’ve also got an AA-86 for sale if you’d prefer). I’ll post some pictures of both and you can send me your offer.

      • I can wait for the A203, I am going to be saving cash for the watch but most likely I won’t be to purchase it for myself until the holiday season.

        If the watch is still available and in great condition by November/December, you can email me at my personal email whalefires@[google email] and we can come together to decide a reasonable price for the watch.

  3. Hello!

    I have an old Casio A103 AA 92W (the version with the blue diver on the top right of the screen) that my father bought my in the eighties. I really love(d) this watch. Unfortunately, I left it in a drawer for years as I began to love analog Swiss watches and started a collection…

    Until last year as I was curious to see wether it would still function with a new battery. And the miracle occurred: it was still working perfectly! I started to wear it again from times to times. But sadly somme weeks after this happy revival I found my Casio with a bleed on the screen though the watch was never hit. I thought that it was totally unusable.

    But yesterday, I found this video on Youtube and it seems that bleeds may be considerably reduced:

    I’d love to try it though I have no idea on how to open the watch. Anyway, I’m happy to see that a bleed may be repaired 😉

    Congratulations for your site!

    • If I were you I’d jump on this one quickly — then you have a NOS, perfect LCD for your watch. Once you’ve got it installed, then try to remove the bleed on your old one. If it works, you’ve got a spare (because, somewhat inevitably, 99% of these bleed eventually) and if you accidentally shatter it in the process, you still have a perfect working watch 🙂

  4. @ Nogueira Marmontel: sadly you did not wrote about the answer from CASIO stuff. I think, you should be more polite the next time you write to a Japanese based company. You wrote, there recent watches are “ugly”. Think about yourself when somone says to you, that your work is ugly. And now multiply this feeling with 10 and you have an expresion how a Japanese person feels after he reads your mail. I have good experiences with the CASIO support. I bought a PC Unite watch HBZ-100 and the sent me the PCUnite software on the next day. Sadly it doesn´t work. They had only the version 2.0 of this version. If anybody has Version 1.0 I would be very happy, if someone could answer. This site here is awesome. I´m now in my third wave of collecting LCD watches, a very satisfieing hobby.

  5. I’ve got the A202 in gold. Funny shape but almost mint and no bleed (yet). Probably answering my own question but does the 103 module have a 24hr mode? I don’t think so because there isn’t enough room on the left size of the LCD for a “2”, only a “1”.

    cheers all

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