I’ll be honest with you. I don’t much care for digital watches. They’re just not my thing. So when I tell you that the Casio AE-1200WH World Timer won me over, you can be sure that it won me over the hard way. 

This is a very popular watch, and it has a lot of features that make it well suited for travelers and for EDC. The fact that it comes with such an affordable price tag—around $20, depending on where you buy it—makes it all the more impressive. It’s a lot of watch for not much money, and it’s built to take a beating.

Casio AE-1200WH: First Impressions

Right out of the box, the Casio AE-1200WH World Timer watch is shockingly light. It wears like a feather, making it great for anybody who sometimes finds heavier watches uncomfortable. You can honestly forget you’re even wearing it. Even so, at about 42mm wide, it doesn’t look small. 

The whole watch appears to be made of black resin, with a clear, easy-to read LCD display that includes date and time (down to running seconds) and a world map. It looks like it could be related to the Casio F-91W, and probably is. The case is square-ish with angled corners. 

It’s hard to give the World Timer points for style, but it looks like something an ‘80s kid would dream up if they wanted a “futuristic” watch. I’ve heard it referred to as the Casio Royale for the general James Bond-ness of its appearance, and I’ll admit that my inner 12-year-old is pretty stoked about all the features.

Case and Crystal

As I initially guessed, the case of the Casio AE-1200WH is made of plastic resin. Mine is all black, but you can get these in several colors. It has different phrases printed above and below the dial—”world time,” “illuminator,” “10 year battery”—and four buttons that control the watch’s various features and toggle between functions. 

The crystal is made of acrylic (which is typical of a watch in this price range) and I have no real issue with that. It will get scratched and scuffed if you bump it up against something hard, but overall it feels durable and secure. The dial is crisp and easy to read, and lights up with the push of a button.

Display

There’s a lot going on within the Casio World Timer’s dial, but navigating its various features is fairly straightforward. At the bottom, the largest display is the main digital watch, which includes the time as well as the date and day of the week. You can also toggle between time zones within this display. 

Above that is a small world map display that highlights the time zone you’re in. Is it useful? Arguably not, but it is fun to cycle between time zones, and I could definitely see it being useful if you travel a lot. There’s a small two-line function display above that.

In the upper-left corner of the dial is a digital representation of an analog clock, which is arguably my favorite feature of the Casio AE-1200WH. Although I certainly find myself using the digital readout more frequently, the analog watch display is fun, and really makes this watch stand out. It always displays the time in your pre-set home time zone. 

With all the aforementioned displays, the Casio’s dial can look a little crowded, but each feature adds to the overall “Bond-ness” of the watch. I love having digital and analog time in the same watch, and it’s fun to see each time zone on the world map as you toggle through.

Functions

In addition to the displays already discussed, the Casio AE-1200WH has a lot of the “extra” features one might expect in a digital watch, including a stopwatch, countdown timer, and alarm. You can set up to 5 daily alarms, which does come in handy. 

There’s definitely a learning curve to operating the watch’s various displays and features using the four buttons, so don’t throw out the instruction booklet right away. That being said, I got the hang of it pretty quickly, and once you get everything dialed in, this is basically a set it and forget it watch.

Watch Band

The Casio AE-1200WH comes with a ribbed black resin band with buckle closure. At a glance, it’s nothing to scream about, but it’s a solid, durable strap with a rubbery texture that stays on my wrist comfortably. I’ve heard from other users who have worn this watch continuously for two years or more before the strap shows any signs of cracking or weakening.

For about $10 more, Casio makes a version of this watch with a stainless steel band, which is an option to consider if you want something more stylish. Personally, I like the simple, black resin band for outdoor use, as it’s durable and less likely to cause any damage (to the watch or to my wrist) if it gets caught on something.

Water Resistance

The Casio AE-1200WH is water resistant to 10 bars (which is to say, 100 meters or about 328 feet). I’m always a little wary of what “water resistant” really means, and I certainly didn’t test this watch at a depth of 100 meters. 

I did wear it in the shower, which it took like a champ, and just to be extra sure, I soaked it in a glass of water for about an hour. It still works, and I didn’t see so much as a drop of condensation inside the crystal, so I can say with some confidence that Casio’s claim of water resistance is earned.

Casio AE-1200WH: Final Thoughts

Look, this isn’t the type of watch I’m likely to wear every day, but I have to admit that it’s earned my respect. The Casio AE-1200WH World Timer has incredible functionality and an impressive range of features for a watch that costs a measly $20. I can imagine it being a great outdoor watch to wear camping and hiking, and it’s well suited to travel and adventure of all kinds. 

Playing around with the Casio’s time zones and other features momentarily brought out my inner child, and I can also see this being a great first watch for kids. It would make an excellent gift, and at this price, it’s a watch that you don’t have to worry too much about getting beat up and banged around.