Sunday, September 2, 2007

Watch Brands History - Article 9 (Casio)

Sometimes things start out in the most surprising ways. Take the watch company of Casio for example. If you were asked to guess what the first product that was made by Casio, you may think it was the calculator or some other type of electronic product. You would be wrong. The Casio Company was started 1946 by Tadao Kashio. Understand that this was in Japan following World War II. The financial situation was dire in Japan at the time to say the least. When Mr. Kashio began his company, he was a fabrication engineer hoping to catch a big break.

His big break showed up in a very unique way. Tadao Kashio developed a product called the yubiwa pipe. Its design allowed it to be worn on the finger. It was used to hold a cigarette, allowing the smoker to smoke the cigarette to the filter, all while still being able to use both hands. In the impoverished Japan of the times, cigarettes were a hot commodity and the product was an overwhelming success. The yubiwa pipe is a far cry from the calculators and watches that were to follow, but it did start the company down the road to success.

Since it is obvious that Mr. Kashio was an inventive sort of man, it only took a little while for him to decide to explore different products. At the business show in Ginza, Japan in 1949, he discovered electronic calculators. With the proceeds from the sale of the yubiwa pipes, Mr. Kashio and his brothers began to experiment with making their own calculators. At the time, most calculators were run by the use of gears. With diligence and hard work, the Casio Company came out with the first calculator to use solenoids. The new type of calculator went on sale in 1954. This calculator also was the first to have the 10 digit keypad and had only one display window as opposed to the competitors' that had three. In 1957 Casio released the Model 14-A, the world's first all-electric compact calculator, which was based on relay technology. 1957 also marked the establishment of Casio Computer Co. Ltd.

With the launch of its first watch in November 1974, Casio entered the wristwatch market at a time when the watch industry had just discovered digital technology. As a company with cutting-edge electronic technology developed for pocket calculators, Casio entered this field confident that it could develop timepieces that would lead the market.

It is possible that the most well remembered watch produced by this company was the calculator watch. For those of you who don't remember, it featured all of the amazing time keeping capabilities of the regular Casio watches, with an added feature. It had a tiny calculator complete with miniature keypad built into the watch. During its hey day it was the bane of math teachers everywhere and the savior of every math deficient student.

Considering the calculator watch was so much fun, Casio continued to raise the bar. This company was also the first to design and produce a watch that could provide its owner with some interesting details. One such watch could display the time of many different time zones at the touch of a button. Others were equipped to give weather details like the temperature and barometric pressure. Mountain climbers of ages past particularly were fond of the version that came with a gauge to indicate the altitude. While other watch makers were stuck on the same old, same old, Casio consistently offered new and exciting variations on the classic wristwatch.

In 1983, Casio launched the shock-resistant G-SHOCK watch. This product shattered the notion that a watch is a fragile piece of jewelry that needs to be handled with care, and was the result of Casio engineers taking on the challenge of creating the world’s toughest watch. Using a triple-protection design for the parts, module, and case, the G-SHOCK offered a radical new type of watch that was unaffected by strong impacts or shaking. Its practicality was immediately recognized, and its unique look, which embodied its functionality, became wildly popular, resulting in explosive sales in the early 1990s. The G-SHOCK soon adopted various new sensors, solar-powered radio-controlled technology, and new materials for even better durability. By always employing the latest technology, and continuing to transcend conventional thinking about the watch, the G-SHOCK brand has become Casio’s flagship timepiece product.

With the true gadget geeks of the world in mind, Casio came up with a watch just for them. It is the Wave Ceptors line of watches. They really outdid themselves with this one. These watches are equipped to receive radio signals that enable the watch to keep accurate time. They also are able to tell the time in different time zones, the user can set alarms and timers. This line of watches also came with an incredibly extensive user manual to provide all of the necessary instructions to the owner.

From the yubiwa pipe to the finest calculators and watches in the world, the Casio has come a long way from its humble beginnings. They continue to challenge themselves and their competitors to new higher peaks and offer the best products electronics can build.

1957 Casio releases the Model 14-A, the world's first all electric compact calculator
1965 The 001 calculator is released
1974 The Casiotron, a watch that features a fully automatic calendar, including month lengths and leap years, is released.
1983 The first G-Shock watch, the DW-5000C, is released.
2007 The OCW-S1000J, dubbed the Oceanus "Manta", is released being the world's thinest solar-powered chronograph being only approx. 8.9mm in thickness.

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