This is it – Casio’s first calculator watch, launched 1/1/80. At least that’s as close to the launch date as its possible to get given the lack of official documentation from the parent company.
Don’t get me wrong – I hold Casio in high esteem as innovators in their field and, for a company that is forward-thinking, why should they pay homage to the products of the past that are now outdated and superseded (several times over)? All the same, it would be good if there was some accurate data on release dates, production numbers, that kind of thing.
They do have one document – called the PINDEX – which you might be able to find with a Google search if you’re lucky; that lists some useful information but take the accuracy with a grain of salt.
So it launched on 1 January 1980, with all the other variants using the same module – C-801, C-70, C701, C-60 – but seems to be the one the company favoured above all others if the catalog scan is anything to go by. The gloriously spongy rubber buttons (that on later models become metal) meant you could use the tiny calculator with your fingertips – instead of having to rely on a stylus like the other Seiko and Citizen calculator watches of the time.
Unfortunately, some people didn’t read that part of their instruction manual and used a stylus anyway, meaning finding an early Casio calculator watch with a keypad that isn’t scratched to buggery is very unusual. Those that crop up on eBay today either have broken rubber buttons or heavily scratched metal ones which is a shame, as it is a stunning looking watch.
If you looked up the words ‘nerd watch’ in a dictionary, the C-80 should be photographed next to the description. It is the epitome of form and function with loads of buttons and a high cool factor (particularly if you bought your first computer around the same time the watch was released).
If you find one, cherish it; you are holding a piece of real history in your hands. From here, Casio developed a steady stream of calculator watches incorporating games, scientific functions, melody alarms, solar power, countdown and databank functions, pedometers and more – but all were modelled on the C-80. The look changed in 1983/84 when the keyboard buttons were replaced with a membrane keypad, then touchscreens, but the beginning of the LCD revolution belonged to the C-80 and its ilk.
Casio should have this next to the Casiotone CT-201 on their Chronology of Main Products page (and, for that matter, the MG-880 calculator too!).