The creator of Casio did not need Shakira to be famous

The creator of Casio did not need Shakira to be famous

The Japanese businessman brought the legendary low-cost watch brand to the top, now revived by the brawl between Shakira and Piqué

Jorge Murcia

“You changed a Rolex for a Casio,” Shakira reproached Piqué, in one of the many metaphors included in the Colombian’s latest great musical success, the one in which she vented after her break with the soccer player. It is very likely that, back in the 80s of the last century, many kids chose the Casio before, especially if the watch came with a built-in calculator.

That was the most ‘cool’ and desired by so many young people -and not so young- of the time. A product devised by Tadao Kashio, the Japanese businessman who founded the brand that revolutionized the low-end watch market.

Kashio was born in 1917 in Kureta-Mura (now Nankoku). His first job, after graduating high school, was as an apprentice lathe operator. Encouraged by the owner of the company, the methodical and diligent Kashio combined his work with his studies in electronics.

In 1946, in the harsh context of the post-war period in Japan, Kashio decided to set up a company with his three brothers -Kashio Seisakujo- to repair plane ticket vending machines and other devices present in airports.

The still young businessman noticed a detail that would spark his ingenuity and inspire his first great product: the Japanese military employed in airport offices used large and heavy calculators.

Kashi devised a smaller one, easily transportable. He was the germ of the calculator factory that would open in Tokyo in 1949. Eight years later, in 1957, the four brothers founded the now legendary Casio.

Low Cost Digital Wristwatches

Initially it was dedicated to the production of calculators. The watches did not arrive until a few years later. Thus was born the first great firm of digital wristwatches. The low price policy allowed it to consolidate its market share in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1969 his product took a leap in quality: the watch was capable of offering ten additional functions to that of marking the time. And eleven years later, in 1980, his famous watch with a built-in calculator was released.

Despite all these innovations, Casio has been the epitome of a ‘low cost’ brand, bordering on shabby. And despite the fact that it is currently an object revered by nostalgic ‘Egeberos’, the Japanese firm currently sells some models that are not cheap at all: the most expensive of them (the G-Shock bathed in 18-carat gold, a limited edition) sells for over $65,000.

Now Casio, thanks to Shakira and Piqué, is back on everyone’s lips. Who knows what Tadao would think of all this, who passed away on March 7, 1993 at the age of 75.


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