Digitally Curious - A Vintage LCD Watch Blog

Digitally Curious - A Vintage LCD Watch Blog

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  • Friday, May 8th, 2009 - 1:49 pm
  • Casio AX-5 [118] digital-analog multifunction display

  • Today's watch, the AX-5, is one of my favorite Casio watches from the early 80's. In fact I would easily put this one on my top 10 favorite Casio watches of all time.



    Certainly, the most distinguishing features of this watch is the small digital-analog display that occupies the left side of the LCD.



    In regular timekeeping mode, the right side of the LCD can be configured to show the time (as shown above) or date (as below)



    OR the monthly calendar.



    In addition to the time display, the watch also features a daily alarm. You can choose between 3 melodies or just regular beeping.



    Let's just stop here and think about this for a second. The AX-5 (and its other AX-### siblings) combine the digital-analog display of the AE series, the full calendar display of the UC series, and the melody alarm functionality of the melody series. Wow a triple threat!

    It also has dual time (not pictured), timer and stopwatch. The timer and stopwatch has a very cool display, which shows the minutes with long digital hands while a rotating display of short hands represent the seconds. Both modes are limited to 59' 59".



    And of course, there is a little light on the top right corner to help you see in dark places. BUT I have to say that this is the most useless light I have seen on a Casio. You can BARELY see the time with this thing in a dark place. At first I thought it was because my particular light bulb was old, but after checking multiple specimens I have concluded that it is just poor design. Honestly, I think it's there just so Casio can say that it has a light.



    Even though the light is weak, the alarm & sound is very loud for such a small watch thanks to a real speaker on the module AND an acoustically transparent speaker hole drilled into the case. So that "speaker grill" you see on the front of the watch really is a speaker grill. Here's a view of the speaker and speaker hole from the inside.



    Unfortunately, this design makes the watch more susceptible to water and humidity.


    The 118 module is "featured packed" or "feature crammed," depending on your point of view. I personally love the fact that the multi-function display is jam packed with stuff; but this watch is definitely not for the minimalist.



    How did Casio cram all that into a small LCD? The answer is a dual-layer LCD.



    The top layer handles the minute hand, the mode & alarm status and the calendar display, while the button layer handles everything else.


    As far as I can tell, the module itself is well made and tightly put together. In its assembled form it's easy to remove from the case and there aren't any exposed or protruding parts that can break easily. AND BEST OF ALL, THERE ARE NO ALARM SPRINGS TO LOSE! YAY! However, the dual layer LCD design does have its flaws and it is very easy to find this watch with faulty LCD screens.

    There are 5 Casio watches that use the 118 module, all with identical functions. The AX-1 (plastic) AX-210 (chrome plated metal) and AX-510 (palladium plated metal) came out in 1980-81. Then a year or two later the AX-5 (plastic) and AX-250 (chrome plated metal) was released. All five versions used a stainless steel snap-in backplate and were rated with no water resistance.

    Among these, the AX-210 is the most common variant, followed by the AX-250 and AX-1. Usually the AX-210 fetches the lowest prices. You almost never see the AX-5 or AX-510, which is why I sold all my other AX variants to raise funds for my AX-510 and AX-5. :)

    And lastly, here's the watch saying goodbye.


  • Filed under: watch
  • Comments!
  • » Hello, I have Casio Ax-1
    If it is posible, take a picture of the rear part of watch (open).
    My alarm does not work.
    Many thanks.
    Jordi Romeu
  • by: Jordi Romeu, submitted Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 - 2:36 pm
  • » This is the first watch i bought from my salary, and my favourite. A lot of my friends/relatives envied me. Its a pity such classic watches from Casio is not available. If anyone can recomment any Casio model in its equivalent please mail me...prem
  • by: pkpremkumar, submitted Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 - 5:15 am
  • » today i ve taken my ax-1 from the shelf after 26 years or such, coz i wanted to put it on ebay, and as i take it out of the box, the watch band brakes in 3 pieces, probably the plasticizer has vanished.. and as i plug in a new battery afer all those years, i found out that the 2nd digit has 2 missing dash :(
    Dunno if i fix this first bevor i present it on ebay or not.
    tomorrow ill check my casio c-80, hopefully i have more luck then with this one, as both are intended for ebay.
  • by: tom, submitted Sunday, January 16th, 2011 - 5:10 pm
  • » I used to have the next model up from this watch. It is also my all time favorite. I was very sad when the case broke and the watchband would not stay attached any more. I wish that Casio would make a version similar to this model with the analog portion of the watch taking up a larger part of the display. Kind of like the watch portrayed in the movie Blue Thunder. I would buy two of them myself!
  • by: SteveC, submitted Monday, March 28th, 2011 - 2:14 pm
  • » Hi
    Which is the band replacement number?
  • by: Filippo Cobelli, submitted Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 - 6:31 am
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