Casio AE-80

Casio AE-80

You wouldn’t believe how many years I’ve wanted a silver Casio AE-80. I can’t even remember myself, but it’s a lot.

There are a lot of watches Casio made where they did several variations  and so even now, as LCD watches get rarer and more expensive, there are some models that you never have to go more than a couple of weeks without seeing one (usually heinously overpriced) on eBay.

Watches like the CA-901 (that had identical 134 modules in the CA-90, CA-85, CA-851, CA-86) and the AA-81 (which had the same 103 module in the AA-82, AA-83, AA-84, AA-85 (Blue Thunder), AA-86, A-201, A-202, A-203 – you get the picture).

But the AE-80 was one of a kind. That module (287) exists in one other watch, the AE-10W which is the resin version and you’ll never see either of them in great numbers. Even a Google image search only returns a handful of pictures and they are mostly multiple images of the same watch.

So it’s rare, but that’s not enough to covet it. It’s also a nice-looking digital – slim, understated on the wrist, nicely laid out dial – and the digital hands which are always cool. Casio made a number of digital hands watches in the AE range but this is the only one that looks like this and watch fans will see similarities between this and the Seiko G757 – another massively popular watch.

It isn’t a copy of the G757 though, although the layout is similar. There are no animations in the AE-80. When you use the chronograph, or your alarm rings, those digital hands just sit there telling the time. There’s no starburst or dancing pattern on the display, just the time. I like to think Casio was aiming for understated elegance, rather than not being able to put that kind of feature in this watch (if you’ve ever seen a watch with the 103 module – models listed above – you’ll know they certainly had the technology to do it).

I used to have a NOS version of this in gold but me and gold watches don’t go together too well, so it went to a new owner and I kept looking. That was about eight years ago (oh how time flies).

That’s not to say there haven’t been any for sale in that time, but I’ve missed them for one reason or another (usually the price goes too high, or the seller won’t ship to New Zealand)  not through lack of trying though.

A little while back I won one ‘untested’ of course and nothing I could do could resurrect it. That’s the other thing about the AE-80, when you see one in the wild it usually looks like this – yup, the module is notoriously flaky, just like it’s Seiko counterpart.

So it’s sat in my watch box, while I hoped it would one day spring into life. Nope.

And then a working version appeared on eBay, condition a bit rough (well-worn) from a seller who wouldn’t budge on the price – which was USD160 from memory. Plus another large wadge for postage. Eventually I got tired of waiting, put in an offer for it (rejected) then decided it was silly to be holding off buying a seriously-rare watch I’d been looking for, for years. So buy-now and here it is.

I grabbed the module and band, and put them in the case I had previously won, and here’s the result. Probably overpaid but I don’t care – I can stop looking now 😉

It’s got the usual functions, time, dual time, date, chime, alarm, countdown timer, stopwatch, and the digital hands of course.

If you see one for sale and it’s not working, take a punt but prepare for disappointment. I haven’t met anyone who can bring that particular module back to life. If you see a working one, definitely grab it ( I may even take it off your hands for a backup).

Not much left on the collecting bucket list now…

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20 Responses to Casio AE-80

  1. My guess is that you are the lucky one that bought the one that was for sale early this month, before I could close the deal :). Now I have to wait for another to show up at ebay, but congratulations for your excellent acquisition. It looks great in the case you had.

    The AE-80 I had was a high school graduation present from my parents bit it was stolen around ’96, but just recently nostalgy hit me hard.

    I have a huge favor to ask you! Please make a video of the various features of this module running and upload on youtube. It would be great help until I can got one!

    Congrats once again!

    • Yeah, he had it for sale and it wasn’t moving (more than I wanted to pay) but he wasn’t going to budge on price – I didn’t think anyone else was interested in it but I guess they come up for sale so rarely there must have been a few watchers like me who were waiting for the price to drop. I don’t have anything decent to shoot video with, just a phone, so have put this up of the working watch but no full feature run-through yet – maybe if I can find something to hold the phone steady!

        • If you find a good watchmaker who could fix the module, I’d sell your my spare for a good price! That module really has me stumped, it’s completely clean inside, but refuses to go.

    • Good score! But finding a bezel is going to be harder than finding a working version of that watch. I’ve only seen NOS bezels appear on eBay once (maybe twice) in the past six or seven years and even then only a couple. Also if you find another banged-up 5020 with bezel intact and want to transfer it, be really careful getting it off, they have a tendency to split and snap which can be heartbreaking given the price you’re likely to pay for one. I know people have had discussions in the past about reproducing the bezels using injection moulding (like of like the repro Casio G-Shock bezels you can buy from China and Brazil) but don’t know if any of these ever got any traction. Or if you’ve got some art skills, get some mouldable plastic, like Insta-morph, and see if you can make your own – good luck!

  2. Hi guys,
    Like you, I’ve been looking for this module for some time, I had one as a child so nostalgia prompted me.
    I managed to find one on eBay, the ae 10w as that was the version I had, it was immaculate, like new really and was very pleased. After a while though the module just stopped working, I replaced the battery and did the AC short but nothing happened, disaster!! I could never bring myself to bin the module part though hoping it would come back to life. I tested it again recently only to see a spark! It ran for approx 20 seconds before dying again, a glimmer of hope though. I decided to try a method I used on my playstation 3 which had died. The idea was to over heat it to make the solder inside reform connections so I put a hairdryer over the module, quite close to the back, for a few seconds. It worked! For now it is still running. I don’t know how long it will last but I will do again but for longer if it fails. Don’t give up on your modules and good luck. Please let me know if this works for others.

    • Wow – that’s a great story, and awesome outcome too! Fingers crossed it keeps working, but even if you have to do the heat trick every now and again to get it going again, it’s better than staring at a blank screen. I flicked off my dead module in a watch lot a little while ago but hope the new owner tries this trick; I’m certainly going to add it to the ‘things to try’ next time I get a dead one — thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. No problem!

    Do you know where I can get hold of a copy of the instruction manual for this module?



  4. Hi again,
    The reason I ask is because I can’t get it back onto 24hr mode?
    Can anyone help?

    • Did you not receive the manual? Maybe check your spam folder. To switch between 12/24 hour mode, when the watch is in normal time or dual time modes, hold the bottom right button and press the top left button to toggle between 12 and 24 hour time. Hope that helps.

  5. Hello there,

    sorry for bothering you.

    Any Casio Ae-80 available for sale?

    I was wondering as well if you have any Casio WS-720(Marlin) or Casio DB 1000 ?

    Thanks in advance,


  6. Hi all,

    I’ve just got an AE-80 which is fully-functional. However, the adjust button does not push the metal switch sufficiently to make contact so I need to do some careful work inside. One thing I noticed is that there’s no plastic cradle to go around the module once it’s placed in the case. The kind of cradle that stops some modules moving around. Can anyone confirm whether the AE-80 should have one? My module moves about a bit inside which is perhaps why the adjust button isn’t making contact – it’s pushing the module to the side rather than bending the switch.

    Great watch though!


    • The AE-80 does have a small cradle – pic below. It’s probably just enough to hold it in place and you could probably 3D print something like this. It’s tiny though (compared to some) so even a piece of cardboard to hold the module down in the case might suffice.

      • Ah, I thought so. That looks like the tiny thing inside my AX-210! I’ll give cardboard a go. 🙂

        Thanks for the pic, I appreciate it.


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