What can I say? I'm 43 now but on unboxing this silver beauty I had a flashback 33 years to the 1980's. Picture this: 10 year old me is on holiday with my parents on the Isle of Wight, wearing the Casio digital watch received for my birthday a few short weeks earlier.
Digital LCD watches are cutting edge to 10 year old me, and mine has just replaced a Timex LED watch which only showed the time when you pressed the button, and was impossible to see in full sunlight without putting your arm up the inside of your jumper and peering down your neck hole to view in sufficient darkness. In short, the Timex was a bit pants in comparison.
Now, I can view the time in any lighting conditions, and in the dark the backlight button provides a futuristic glow so I play with it under the bedsheets at night - using the stopwatch and trying to stop it as close to 10 seconds dead as possible without going any hundredths of a second over (come on we have all done it).
By day, my parents have taken me to a pub with a games room, and I have been handed a stack of 10p coins to play Space Invaders or Pac-Man to keep me entertained. My first choice arcade game is Pac-Man, and I am completely hooked. I have even bought a book which shows the moves to make on each screen, enabling me to eat all 4 ghosts with every power pill AND also devour each appearance of the hallowed fruit - how I loved the sound the game made when you ate a fruit. So, as long as I don't make a mistake, my 10p will last me all the way up to the "Key" screens, when I can't memorise the moves required, and the ghosts don't flinch when I consume the power pills and they move faster than Billy Whizz from the Beano. I am now playing on borrowed time, seeing if I can beat my high score before I must invest another 10p and try again.
If I'm lucky, my Dad brings me a glass of coke, or even a proper Coke bottle which seems to be made of the thickest glass ever with a straw in it. The straw seems to want to climb out of teh bottle due to the bubbles or something! I'm not bothered about getting a suntan or making sandcastles on holiday, I live for playing Pac-Man and wearing my Casio watch. The only thing which can spoil my holiday is not being able to find a Midway Pac-Man machine with a joystick in good working order.
Anyway, I digress....
43 year old me has just unboxed the retro A168, made in China, and with a stainless steel back confirming the watch is water resistant. The highly polished silver case reflects the light and announces to the world that you are now a time traveller, able to flick between the present day and the '80's with ease.
I notice that the instructions do not tell you how to adjust the strap to suit your wrist, but a quick dredge of my memory and a flick of a small flat bladed screwdriver enables me to size the watch perfectly in seconds and lock it in position. Again, no instructions required to set the time, day and date, the 3 button Casio system is just so intuitive (though the instructions do cover this in detail in English before jumping into other languages). It's a pity Windows 8 isn't as intuitive - surely Microsoft could have got some Casio boys and girls in to help them with user friendliness then I could actually work my new laptop! Makes me want to boot up my ZX Spectrum 48k - but that's another story.
Back to the watch: Wow, pressing the "Light" button reveals the most wondrous even blue glow on the screen, much better than the old green side light which never illuminated the screen properly on the cheaper models like the F-91W. The watch face proudly states "Electro Luminescence" above the digits to highlight this space age feature to and also states "< ILLUMINATOR >" below the digits to really ram the message home. The chaps and chapesses at Casio must be really proud of their work, or short of some other legend to print on the watch face!
The watch strap has a brushed steel finish and is a little thinner than I remember, but this makes the watch nice and light to wear. Now, after wearing the watch for a few days I have noticed something that I don't remember from 10 year old me, probably because of my lack of body hair at the time. The metal strap acts as an 'epilator' for your wrist hair i.e. it grabs hold of any stray hair and the movement of your wrist causes them to be either guillotined, or torn out from the roots.
After 3 days of wear the inside of my wrist has a red rash resembliing the plucked turkey I witnessed on Christmas Day. I am now that turkey! I don't know what to do for the best. As I see it I have 2 options:
1) Shave my own wrist or
2) Let nature take its course and endure a bit of pain each day.
Although I have not decided yet, either way I will be wearing the watch as it is so cool and retro. I think the straps could actually be sold as slimline epilators as people pay good money to have hair removed don't they.
Therefore to wear the watch, you have to give up any aspiration of being hairier than Chewbacca, that is, unless you leave all the plucked hair wedged in the back of the strap!
Maybe Victor Kiam should have bought Casio instead of Remington, because the straps do shave as close as a blade - and also the attached gizmo on the front tells the time so it is far more practical than an electric razor!
In summary, this watch tells the time beautifully and clearly, has a handy alarm and stop watch feature, the battery will last for ages, it looks good in a retro way and it is nice and light to wear.
This watch will not tell you the time in Brazil, connect via wi-fi to anything, it will not make you a babe magnet (you need to buy Lynx deodorant for that and spray loads while stood in the middle of the beach - that's according to the advert though - and it's probably total nonsense). The watch does not scream affluence and announce to the world that you have arrived (at least no one will beat you up for it), nor does it make you any more interesting at parties (so don't show people as that will make you look nerdy - not speaking from experience here - ahem).
Above all, it is a time machine and will instantly transport you back to days of Pac-Man, Rubiks cubes, cassette tapes and vinyl, silly hair and leg warmers (not me I must stress). The trains were all British Rail, Simon Cowell didn't control your Christmas number one, we didn't have to watch people eating bugs or avoiding crocs with taped up snouts in Jungles, and instead the Young Ones and Only Fools and Horses were essential viewing.
So grab yourself your own little slice of the 80's while you can, then you can glance at your wrist and be reminded of happier times!