Welcome to Always On Time, where we’re always there when you call with the most interesting new watches in the world.
The watch: the Casio A100WE-1AVT
The single best thing about this watch: It shares a lineage with Ellen Ripley’s watch from Aliens.
The backstory: The ‘70s were a fruitful time for the watch industry. Patek Philippe debuted its beloved Nautilus, and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak was born. Those watches remain pillars for their respective brands to this day. But those aren’t the only pieces from that era worthy of a spot in your collection. Casio’s F100 is a very different type of watch, but beloved nonetheless. The F100 was first released in 1977, distinguished by its digital display and four buttons labeled with four different colored bars. The watch looked so space-age at the time that the circa-2122 hero of Ridley Scott’s Aliens wore the F100 while blasting vicious extraterrestrials into space. That movie came out in 1979, and Casio stopped making Ripley’s F100 in… 1979.
Now, the F100 is back, this time as the much more alphanumerically blessed A100WE-1AVT. And this time around, the watch is objectively more handsome. The original F100 was Casio’s first watch with a case made out of resin, which has a plasticky look. The new A100 comes in a trio of metals: stainless steel and plated gold and nickel. Those labeled buttons that set the time, handle the calendar, and activate the LED backlight remain. More importantly, the watch succeeds by turning the buttons and pushers—typically slightly obtrusive bumps on the side of a watch—into the centerpiece of its design.
Turn the clock back: Like sneaker brands, watch companies are similarly in love with “retro-ing,” or exhuming iconic watches from the past. Typically, this results in watches that have cycled through current, to passé, to suddenly right back on trend. Look no further than Rolex’s releases the past couple of years: in 2020, a new line of Oyster Perpetuals with brightly colored dials were a throwback to ‘80s favorites, and in 2021, the Crown released an Explorer faithful to the original from the ‘50s. There are countless examples of watches yanked from the archives.
Casio has an entire line, simply called the Vintage Collection, that serves as a home for these blast-from-the-past watches. So while luxury brands play it safe with slimed-down cases inspired by smaller vintage timepieces, Casio goes full throttle in its DeLorean. The vintage line is where Casio releases watches with calculators, Pac-Man designs, and this piece used in Aliens. (The franchise made a surprisingly robust contribution to the world of watches: Cameron’s 1986 installment of Aliens featured multiple different watches made in collaboration with Seiko.) The price for the new A100 is downright retro, too: $55 for stainless steel; $75 for gold and grey.
Where and when to buy it: The new Casio A100WE-1AVT will be available on the brand’s website early September.