Casio was founded in 1946 by Kashio Seisakujo. Eight years later the company produced its first calculator (1954), and it was not until (1978) when they produced their first watch.
Five years later, in (1983), the now-famous G-Shock was introduced. Housed in a resin case, the original G-Shock Ref. DW5000, as you probably know, debuted in a stainless steel case in 2018, and is in high demand. The watch featured in this review was produced 11 years after Casio’s first wristwatch, and six years after the first G-Shock, towards the end of the quartz crisis. The Casio Marine Analog-Digital AMW320R-1EV is not a G-Shock, but it is a rugged sports watch housed in a premium stainless steel case, albeit with less shock-resistance. Interestingly, it’s similar to the new Full Metal 5000s in that it’s crafted from stainless steel.
The Casio Marine Analog-Digital AMW320R-1EV’s stainless steel case measures 45.5 mm in diameter if you include the crown guards and 44.5 mm without. Case thickness is 11 mm and lug-to-lug the watch measures 50 mm. A push-in stainless steel crown, protected by steel crown guards, measures 5.8 mm and is both easy to manipulate and does not dig into your wrist. With the strap, the watch weighs a total of 89.6 mm, which is pleasantly solid but not heavy at all. The original black silicon strap is still on the watch and has an accordion design comparable to those seen on Seiko dive watches. The strap measures 22 mm within the lugs, and then flares out just outside of the lugs to 25 mm, and tapers back down to 22 mm at the buckle, which is a standard pin buckle.
The dial is protected by a flat mineral crystal that is raised about a millimeter or two above the plane of the bezel, which means it’s more prone to scratching than if it was sunken slightly below the bezel plane, but nevertheless this crystal is in good condition still with just a few marks.
Finishing on the case includes a circular brushed pattern on the top and lugs, with fully polished non-bezel flanks. The circular brushing, in particular, is reminiscent of a Swiss watch more than a typical Casio. In my opinion, this makes the watch that much more appealing, as I tend to like the aesthetic of Swiss watches.
On the back is a stainless steel screw-in caseback, marked with the reference number, water-resistance, and perhaps most notably “Cased in China.” Yes, a watch that had an original MSRP of $99 is not likely going to be fully made in Japan, not a big deal whatsoever.
This is a large watch but it wears smaller than its dimensions suggest, and as shown it’s very thin and light, translating to a very comfortable on the wrist fit (my wrist is 7″ around).
This black/slate gray dial has a beautiful sunburst finish – something not present in current Casio/G-Shock designs – again, is more along the lines of a watch out of Switzerland and I’m a fan.
Reading the dial is very simple, you have printed luminous hour markers, except at 5, 6, and 7 o’clock, where you have to essentially refer to the graduations on the flange, or even the unidirectional bezel, if it’s properly reset to 12 o’clock. For the analogy display a large luminous sword-shaped steel hand points to the hours and large arrow-tipped hand to the minutes, and a lollipop central seconds hand with lume for running seconds.
As for the date, it’s handled by the digital readout at 6 o’clock, thus keeping the dial pure, as I personally prefer. Being effectively required to set the date to maintain a perfect dial appearance detracts from the fact that this is a quartz watch that you can set it and forget it.
That said, there is a day/date/month display accessibly using the two-buttons on the left case flank. And those are nice functions to have if you don’t want to look at your phone for the date, but the prime functions for this user are the Dual Time with 12 or 24-hour formats, and mainly the 1/100th of a second stopwatch (with a 24-hour counter), which means this is a chronograph. It also has an alarm function, as denoted in red on the dial at 6 o’clock.
The bezel is bi-directional, has dual graduations, one being a 0-60 count up, useful for diving, and the other a 0-360 compass scale, however, a dive bezel has a more firm feel which cannot be easily moved with light inadvertent contact and is unidirectional, so this is not a safe ISO 6425 certified dive bezel by any means. Besides, even if the water-resistance is 100 meters, and there are crown guards, the bezel is not of the screw-down variety, and this watch is 30 years old, so getting it wet is ok but this is not something I would likely ever swim with. What the steel bezel with black aluminum lacks in regards to diving prowess it more than makes up for with the compass markings, that can provide you a South bearing by looking halfway between the hour hand (pointed at the sun) and 12 o’clock, which you can them mark accordingly with the bezel (even a watch without a bezel can do this but with the rotating bezel and compass bearings you’ll have to recalibrate far less).
After seeing the time period drama (which started in the 1990s), True Detective Season 3, and the Casio AMW320R-1EV, which looked like nothing current from Casio, on Mahershala Ali’s wrist, I became interested in finding one and started looking. It was not that hard to find I ultimately found of a number of them for sale.
I didn’t want the watch because I loved the show, it was because it looked good on the wrist and I wanted a metal Casio that others did not have. Not long after, I purchased it on eBay for under $100.
When I received it I was quite excited to open the package and find it in good condition. It came with what appears to be an original resin accordion-style strap, similar to Seiko’s famous dive strap, and it’s wide but nicely tapered and wears comfortably so I’ve yet to replace it. Eventually, I think I will, but for now, I’m not really sure what would work at this width and don’t really want a non-tapered strap.
The watch has a chronograph and alarm watch, to which I really only use the digital chronograph. And there’s no date, thankfully because one thing I love about this watch, is that I never have to set it, it’s quartz and always ready to go. It’s essentially my beater watch and one that I’ve grown to really like.
If you can find one, I highly recommend it, the digital chronograph combined with the analog hands, and steel case is perfect for me. It’d be nice if the small digital display had a light as it’s hard to see in some conditions, but apart from that, I like it more than so many modern watches that cost many times the price.