The History Of
Casio is one of the most well-known brands in the world, and for decades the Japanese company has been producing high-quality watches to meet market demand. They remain an enduring symbol of timekeeping to this day, but alongside their range of watches, Casio also offers a huge selection of electronic products as diverse as calculators and musical instruments.
In this article, we delve into the history of one of the world’s most famous watch producers.
Pre 20th-Century Watches
Casio’s most famous products are its watches, but to understand the history of Casio, it’s important to know where the company stands in relation to the wider history of watches. Clocks have been around for centuries, with humans being able to tell time using the sun for millennia, but it wasn’t until the 17th century that the clock went portable.
In 1600s Europe, clockmakers began experimenting and producing smaller, more portable spring-driven clocks that evolved into watches. They could be carried easily, although of course, they were very expensive, so they weren’t exactly common.
Portable clocks in the form of wristwatches, but more commonly, pocket watches, became popular in the 19th century when they could finally be mass-produced and marketed. The practicality of the wristwatch became apparent, and by the 20th century, it was the most common watch on sale.
The next big leap was the invention of the Quartz watch, which is the design used today by Casio watches. This was first produced properly in the early 20th century, but wouldn’t be in mass production until the 1980s. Casio was, in fact, one of the first companies to begin successfully marketing the Quartz watch.
1946 – Casio Is Founded In Japan
But while Casio is synonymous with watches, the company didn’t actually begin life selling timepieces. Casio was founded in 1946 in Japan in the aftermath of World War II. The founder, Tadao Kashio, started out by producing mechanical parts. He was joined by his brothers, who had expertise in electronics and by 1949 they had begun producing calculators. In the 1950s, they successfully produced Japan’s first electronic calculator, and it was small enough to be portable and desk-size.
1970s – Casio Becomes A Household Name
The runaway success of the Casio calculators led the family business to focus on electrical products, and they soon turned their attention to the fledgeling computer market. They would become synonymous with electrical computers and calculators, and they even began formulating and producing wrist-calculators.
While these might not have caught on, other products certainly did. Casio began producing electronic instruments and by the 1970s, the company was a household name across the world.
It wasn’t until 1974 however, that Casio had refined its best product yet, the Casio watch.
1974 – Casio's First Watch Is Released
Casio watches quickly became a hit after their release in 1974. The Casio company was pioneering the mass production of quartz watches, which were run electronically. These were the world’s first successful electronic watches, and they were the height of fashion and technology. This first product was called the Casiotron and it sold like wildfire. The watch was innovative and trendy, with a small computer screen that allowed the wearer to not only accurately tell the time, but also tell the date too. These functions might be taken for granted today, but in the 1970s, this was groundbreaking technology.
1984 G-Shock Released
With the success of their digital quartz watches, Casio took their technology even further than digital watches had ever been taken before. They began developing their famed G-Shock range, which became the precursors for the robust, digital watches that are still around today. No longer were watches delicate and fragile. The G-Shock introduced the world to a rugged, yet technologically refined watch that could survive almost anything. Casio did for the watch industry what GoPro would later do for the camera industry.
G-Shock watches were first released in 1984. They were water-resistant, shockproof and of course, they told the time accurately.
1990s – Babyshock
The G-Shock was followed in the 1990s by the Baby-G, a lighter, more stylish version that was just as resilient. The Baby-G became a fashion icon, while the G-Shock remained the choice for the adventurous and the outdoorsy types.
Casio even began to revolutionise marketing, as their iconic watches began to appear in films as early as the release of Back to the Future in 1985.
The 21st Century
While Casio watches were taking the world by storm, the reputation for their other products continued to gain ground too, and Casio continues to produce calculators and electronic instruments to this day. But what does the future hold for Casio? As with any innovative electronics company, they continue to innovate. Their watches are still being developed and fine-tuned, and they are releasing more advanced styles to compete with other competitors on the market.
Watches are becoming more than just a timepiece, and Casio will be at the forefront of those developments, as it has always been throughout the 20th century.