Digitally Curious - A Vintage LCD Watch Blog

Digitally Curious - A Vintage LCD Watch Blog

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  • Monday, January 12th, 2009 - 10:52 pm
  • Made in Japan versus Made in Korea

  • Many (but not all) Casio collectors, including myself, equate vintage quality with Made in Japan. In fact most early Casio models were made exclusively in Japan, before Casio started assembling watches in Korea, Thailand, China, etc.

    When you compare a vintage made-in-Japan DW-5600C with a modern made-in-Thailand DW-5600E, most people would prefer the hefty all-stainless construction of the DW-5600C.

    But what happens when you get two versions of the exact same watch? Not a re-issue, but an exact duplicate?

    Recently, I found that my favorite TS-100 is just such a model! Casio made this watch in Japan as well as Korea.

    In pictures, Left : Made in Korea, Right: Made in Japan.

    The outside is completely identical, except of course the "Made in ___" stamp on the back plate.

    A close-up of the front glass reveals that both watches use the Japan U glass component.

    So is it an identical watch, built of identical components?

    Not quite!

    The Korean version is WHITE plastic, whereas the Japanese version is BLACK plastic. Initially, I thought that the white plastic was HDPE whereas the black plastic was something harder. But they both feel the same... And in terms of quality, they are identical.

    Besides the color difference, the only other distinguishing feature is the tiny writing on the battery cover.

    And then underneath the battery, the Korean version has a RED spacer whereas the Japanese version has a WHITE spacer. Otherwise, 100% identical.

    The last difference comes from inside the case!

    The Korean version is all black, whereas the Japanese version has some kind of metallic colored lining inside. I have no idea what this does.


    So, what's the verdict?

    First of all, let me add that I have checked 4 TS-100 watches and found that both Japanese versions have the black module and both Korean versions have the white modules. So the differences I mentioned in this article is not just due to them being from a different batch.

    As far as I can tell, the differences are cosmetic only. There is a possibility that the module's plastic is made of a different material, but that seems to have absolutely no bearing in the quality of the module. They are both built to the same exacting tolerances, assembled with the same quality and precision.

    Perhaps there is a circuit component difference that I have yet to uncover, but as far as I know the modules behave 100% identical. Really, the only way to tell the difference is to flip the watch over and read the writing.

    So what about the commonly held belief that the "Made in Japan" Casio watches are superior? I think that's only true because that naturally directs you to the high quality models, not because they prove that they are high quality builds. Since old vintage models that were exclusively made in Japan, insisting on a "Made in Japan" Casio ensures that you get only the best vintage stuff. If a watch says "Made in Thailand" on it, you know it's cannot be a true vintage watch.

    As far as the TS-100 is concerned, I would consider the Made in Japan and Made in Korea watch to be identical in quality.

    Besides, one of the case screws broke off on my Japanese TS-100, but every screw on my Korean version is fine. How's that for build quality?

  • Filed under: how-to
  • Comments!
  • » I am an engineer,I can assure you that "made in japan" are superior to later versions. The components and fine fixtures were better in the first manufacturing, greetings.
  • by: ERT, submitted Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 - 6:04 am
  • » hi will tell u those Casio's "made in japan" is always long lasting, with good materials compared to watches manufactured now.
  • by: sam, submitted Sunday, March 4th, 2012 - 3:21 am
  • » They might look identical, but "Made in Japan" is always superior (different paint/plastics chemicals/manufacturing processes). Japan always uses the best of everything. But, a watch made in Korea/China/Thailand will always have paint/plastics chemicals/stainless steel parts made in that country.
  • by: Casio owner, submitted Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 - 12:39 pm
  • » I have a "Made in Japan" Casio G-Shock watch that was given to me in the mid 90's. It has the screw-on back. I is still running on the original battery. This is a great watch. I just keep it in a drawer these days. I want to see how long it will go on that battery. On the back is has the model number DW-5600 and nothing , like c, after that so I am not sure how to know what exact model it is. Any Help?

  • by: Bill Todd, submitted Thursday, September 26th, 2013 - 10:55 am
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