Everything on One Face

The company’s first successful product was not electronic, not in any way. It was, though, highly functional. Its utility was its attraction and, besides, what it did for the consumer was help get the most use possible out of another product.

Casio, started in 1949 by Japanese citizen Tadao Kashio, introduced shortly afterwards the yubiwa pipe. The pipe was a pipe in name only: it was a hollow ring meant to hold a cigarette so that it could be smoked until there was virtually nothing left to smoke. The yubiwa pipe was, if you will, a sort of early, refined roach clip, at least in purpose. The pipe was immensely popular in Japan because, post World War II, cigarettes were expensive. The ring allowed smokers to enjoy virtually the entire cigarette, and in a country with historically high nicotine usage rates the yubiwa was indeed a valuable creation.

But that was just for starters.

In 1957 Casio released the first all-electric calculator. It was still, as with other calculators of the day, nearly the size of a desktop. But its release would herald an extended period of innovation and calculator improvement that resulted in the tiny, multi-function calculators in use today.

For historical perspective, 1957 was the year in which Toyota began selling cars in the U.S.

Perhaps this was the moment, 1957, when Casio officially and truly became an electronics company.

The company today is known as much for its watches as for its calculators and cameras. Casio watches are typically, but not always, outdoor oriented. Early Casio watches actually were sold more as calculators, having a keypad on the watch itself, speaking of the company’s history with that particular device. (Fortunately the trend for that watch was narrow. It represented the triumph of pure function over art or design, and its passing is not generally mourned.)

Casio’s best known watch is the G-Shock, a sports watch for any activity. It very likely contains more functions that anyone will ever need-but that’s not the point. The point is that multi functions are available. The typical G-Shock includes such features as:

  • A world time watch featuring 29 time zones (27 cities), city abbreviation display, and an on/off daylight savings feature.
  • Stopwatch that measures up to 24 hours in 1/20 of a second increment.
  • A pre-programmed automatic calendar that will last until the year 2099.
  • A split-second stopwatch, 24 hour countdown timer, military time format, hourly time signals and multiple alarms with snooze.

So it will do-better yet, display-anything you want or need. And the nearly 100-year accuracy of its calendar function will undoubtedly reassure at least a few users who typically worry about those sorts of things.

Casio is clearly a highly regarded electronics company with over a half-century’s worth of innovation. As it pertains to watches, that spirit of invention is likely to continue, with the result being both sports and dress watches that are likely never to lack for function and may occasionally include a bit of flair. 電子煙

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