When you Google (or research on YouTube) budget watch suggestions and look into the answers by watch enthusiasts, there are a couple of brands that are always mentioned: Timex, Orient and Casio. And no, I don't consider Seiko as a budget-friendly brand anymore since they are positioning themselves in the mid-high tier; personally I don't see much value in some of their watches... That's for another story.
I wanted to dedicate this article to Casio only - the model A158WA.
A158WA along with the F91W are the two most recommended budget-friendly watches from the Casio lineup. For me personally, the A158WA is a better option because the steel look completes the fashion, rather than the black, rubber look of the F91W.
I own (and have owned) many watches - Rolex, Longines, Tag Heuer, Seiko and more... Most of my watches have steel bracelets and they can get very uncomfortable when I am working - i.e. computer work. Especially when I am wearing my Rolex Datejust, I do check the bracelet constantly hoping there are no deep scratches.
But with this Casio A158WA, it is super light, weighing at only 46g; this is less than a third of a typical mechanical watch. I can instantly feel the weight difference and the thin watch (and bracelet) enables me to work on my laptop comfortably - I don't have to take the watch off whenever I am typing.
Some people do complain about the light (top-left button) - that it is too weak and not effective... I agree somewhat agree and if this turns you off, then you could opt for Casio A168WA, which is basically the same as this one but superior in almost every aspect. Personally though, I like the design of the A158WA better because the colours on the dial are subtle.
Despite having many "better" watches worth thousands and thousands of dollars, this Casio A158WA is one of the watches that get the most wrist time. It is comfortable (which is the biggest reason) and I don't mind too much if it bumps and gets scratches here and there.
In New Zealand, this can be bought for under $70 at the retail stores however with a little searching, you can pick one up for under $50 NZD from local e-commerce stores.
Adding everything together, I can easily see why this watch is loved by so many. I get asked for watch recommendations many times a week, especially from young upcoming professionals. Seriously consider getting this one instead of getting those fashion watches like Daniel Wellington.
Founder & Editor | Say Seowon Song
I run Caramel, a hospitality strategy and creative agency, and teach business and life strategies to ambitious people. I am also heavily involved in other industries such as restaurants, cryptocurrency, NFT and design.