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…