The GMW-15, from 1989, had a graphic display to show moon phases and sunrise/sunset times.
Here’s a touchscreen watch from 1991, the VDB-1000. It included features like a phone book, organiser, calculator, and notepad.
Fitness tracking is one of the most important features in smartwatches today, but Casio’s JC-11 could monitor calories, steps, and distance back in 1991.
The BP-400, also released in 1991, was another fitness-focused watch that could monitor blood pressure and heart rate. This model was intended to be more stylish and discreet.
Some of Casio’s watches, like the RPS-100W from 1993, were less concerned with subtlety. But if you’d be okay with putting the words “FAT BURNING” on a bright pink watch on your wrist, this could have been for you.
1993’s CPW-100 used a compass to help Muslim wearers face Mecca for daily prayers.
Of all the watches Casio is showing off, this one blew my mind the most. The VivCel VCL-100 had an antenna that detected when your phone was ringing, and would vibrate on your wrist as an alert. In 1994.
Honestly, one of the most useful things I do with the Apple Watch is use it as an Apple TV remote. These Casio models, however, used infrared to control TVs and VCRs back in 1993.
The “thermo-scanner” TSX-1300, from 1994, was able to calculate the surface temperature of an object by detecting its infrared radiation.
This UV-700 from 1994 has a UV sensor and skin type meter designed to help you be safe in the sun.
This is the ABK-55 from 1995. It’s an analog watch with a raised transparent LCD that shows digital information like phone numbers.
These two watches from 1994 and 1995 could play simple multiplayer games over an infrared connection.
Here’s one area where Casio has Apple and most Android Wear watches beat — built-in GPS. The PRT-1GP came out in 1999, and was the first watch to come with its own GPS functionality.
This DBC-V50 from 1999 has a built-in voice recorder, something I actually really wish my Apple Watch could do.
1999’s HBX-100 had an infrared PC link function to transfer data to and from the watch.
The WMP-1 came out in the year 2000, and Casio says it was the world’s first wrist-mounted MP3 player.
The WQV series is a trilogy of amazing firsts. 2000’s WQV-1 was the first watch with a digital camera; 2001’s WQV-3 was the first to include a color camera; and the same year saw the WQV-10, which added a color screen.
A decade before Apple Pay, 2004’s GWS-900 G-Shock came with a contactless IC chip to make payments via Speedpass. The system was introduced by Mobil in the ‘90s as an easy way to pay for gas at filling stations, and restaurants including McDonalds also experimented with it.
2006’s MGC-10 was developed in collaboration with professional magician Tomohiro Maeda, and includes some close-up magic routines — you can “guess” the number or card someone is thinking of, for example.
And here’s where it all started. Casio’s first digital watch, the original Casiotron from 1974.
Today, Casio is focused on more traditional watches like this titanium Oceanus model. Although the Oceanus line has been discontinued outside Japan, within Casio’s home country some models in the range sell for up to ¥250,000 (over $2,000) new.
I credit Casio with sparking my interest in watches. From a young age, I used to ogle the Casio watches and their unusual designs in malls, wondering how much better life would be like if I had a calculator or thermometer or moon phase indicator in my watch.