Living on Plastic – for a Month: Episode 4, The Conclusion

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So, my month of self-imposed watch austerity is up. I’ve done it. No watch but the F has passed my wrist in the last 31 days. What have I achieved? Well, clearly absolutely nothing.

This is first-world stuff. Wearing a £7 Casio is not deprivation in even the remotest sense. However, a decent glass of malt is clearly called for in celebration. Don’t mind if I do.


In the real world I may have achieved nowt, but I’ve made a few observations…

There’s an F-91 near you

First, these things are everywhere. I’d wager that, as you read this, you’re no more than 3 metres away from an F-91. Casio weren’t able to tell me how many they’ve made since 1991, but it’s got to be a few million. They’re abandoned in office drawers, forgotten in bags, Blu-tacked to the dashboards of cars, on wrists and even (I saw it) on a string around someone’s neck.

Even sitting in a local coffee shop, looking idly out of the window, I saw ten Fs in as many minutes. Is there a more ubiquitous watch? I doubt it. They’re just there, quietly getting on with the job with only an hourly ‘beep’ to remind you of their presence.


The classless watch

And they’re classless. Sitting in a meeting last week with some of the board of a UK utility company, I spotted one under the cuff of one of the directors. On the same day, I picked up a parcel (yes, another watch) from the local Post Office. The postie behind the counter was wearing – you guessed it – an F-91 – on a battered and faded NATO. On that coffee shop visit I saw them on the wrists of super-trendy hipster types, the guy who emptied the street bins and the barista. It really is Everywatch.

They don’t give in – or give up

They’re near-as-dammit indestructible too. Who needs a G-Shock? I’ve worn mine on the real tennis court (that’s ‘court tennis’ in the US) and it’s been belted with a heavy wooden racquet. It’s fine. It got dropped on the stone tile floor in the office. Not a mark. It’s survived the teeth-loosening, pneumatic-drill vibration of the flat-twin engine on my Ural 650 combo. Believe me, when someone hits the big red button there’ll be three things left: Nissan Micras, smiling cockroaches and F-91s. And they’ll still be going ‘beep’ every hour.

Am I about to give up my collection, ditch the vintage and declare unending loyalty to my F? Well, no. But there is a rather freeing simplicity to an F-91. It does the job of telling the time, waking me up, timing my run all without fuss, bother or drama. In fact, it does it so simply and effectively that I’m going to open the wormcan and say it’s firmly A Classic.


The ultimate cheap classic?

I’ll stick my neck out here. In my view, it does the whole ‘form and function’ thing just as well as any other classic watch. It’s the best kind of classic too – a democratic one that pretty much anyone can afford and enjoy. No waiting lists, no buzz-to-enter heavy-carpeted boutiques, no sniffy watch salesmen. Just nip on line and your F will be beeping happily from a box on your doormat the next day.

And, if it gets trashed in the process of everyday life (unlikely, sure), you can just shrug and buy another with the change in your car’s ashtray. You can’t say that about a Nomos.


So what started out as a bit of a joke has been great fun. It’s started conversations with new watchie friends, made me think and reminded me that a watch doesn’t have to cost the GDP of a small central European country to be engaging. But it certainly does say something for my affection for the F that it’s on my wrist as I write this. And it’ll be there, every so often, for a long time to come. I’ve come not just to admire, but like, the F-91 hugely.

By the way, in that parcel was a cal.1620 Omega LCD Speedmaster from 1977. Yup, they made digital Speedies. But that’s a whole other story…

By Mark McArthur-Christie

In case you missed them, check out Episode 1, Episode 2 and Episode 3

Mark developed a passion for watches at a young age. At 9, he was gifted an Omega Time Computer manual from a local watch maker and he finagled Rolex brochures from a local dealer. Today, residing in the Oxfordshire village of Bampton, Mark brings his technical expertise and robust watch knowledge to worn&wound.
markchristie mark_mcarthur_christie
  • Very engaging and interesting articles.

    I was skeptical at first, but I must admit I always looked forward to the next installment.

    What’s next?

  • Great review and I need to say that Casio is for me the best digital watch. Your choice of a Macallan 18 years is a good choice however I would have chosen a Nikka to go with the country of Casio.

  • between all these expensive analog watches one has to really bow to casio for making a truly timeless design. this is the watch most people think when you say digital watch. gotta love the simplicity.
    but because im more extravagant in my tastes i find it to be overlooked really easily.. so i love the gold DB520GA… thats just another level:D

  • Zac

    A friend of mine wore this everyday. It never bothered me until the alarm went off in the middle of my 4 ft birdie putt (on the last hole of the best round I’ve ever played no less). I missed the putt.

  • Makes me want to buy one. I’d probably never wear it though as I already have a couple of early and mid 90’s Timex Ironmans that can realistically fill that slot (and do, one lives in my gym bag permanently).

    Great series of articles, I enjoyed them, despite thinking “Who cares” at the start of the first one 🙂

  • Clearly, this post is a symptom of Stockholm syndrome. Don’t worry, just drink up the scotch and your month in captivity will soon be a distant memory.

  • Apparently their big with certain cuban residents…

  • Neil
  • jja

    I’d suggest Lagavulin 16 Year or, perhaps better yet,you may be able to find a bottle of A.H. Hirsch bourbon. Of course, the recommended pairing for this watch would be Purple Drank or FourLoko. Cheers!

  • I m just gonna add one thing to all this.
    First and foremost a watch has got ONE purpose: TELL THE TIME.

    For some people that s all they ask for and the F91 does this to the perfection, it s legible, tough, cheap……

    Sure It doesnt have the class of a Nomos Tangente, sure it s not a status symbol like a Submariner (fine watch but Unfortunately now it s just a status symbol, nothing more. When was the last time you saw a diver with one? ).

    It does what it s asked of it and does it well, end of the story 🙂

    ps: i actually ordered a pair a few days ago, one for myself to wear in when i have to visit factories and stuff for work, the other as the first watch for my neighbour’ son…)

  • Fantastic Article.

    While a Milgauss may be symbolic, it’s also conductive.
    While a Marathon or Sandy field watch is OK they have no stopwatch.
    There is no respect for these resin cased Casios, but then again most are not in a “field” which has the dangers of a metal watch.
    My favorite has always been the Casio calculator with a velcro band.
    That eliminates the metal buckle.
    Now you know the level of my Geekness,
    However I would always switch these watches out to at least a nice Piljot or Hamiton when in public.
    Currently on my wrist is a Marina Mititare homage that I built

  • Great ending to an enjoyable feature – nice one.

    Glad to read of your positive experience. Delighted I’m not alone in having a soft spot for my F-91

  • What? No one thumbed their noses at you?

  • Al

    Just bought an F-91 and possibly an A-158. Great article – not much talked about this inundated watch (aside from hipster relations)!

  • Jose Casillas

    This is a very well written and enjoyable series. Thank you.

  • Great article. The Casio F-91W is a legendary watch, which is still one of the top-seller. It is now a widget available to download at the Google Play Store. You can use all functions as if you are wearing the watch on your mobile phone.

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