The best retro-cool and versatile calculator watches

Keep it classy.
Keep it classy. (Depositphotos/)

Whether appreciated ironically or earnestly, the calculator watch holds a special place in our collective culture. It was the first step from old-fashioned timepieces toward our eventual smartwatch future, and it’s been a way for movies and TV shows to indicate “nerds” in easy shorthand.

There has been a recent nostalgia-fueled resurgence in calculator watch popularity, with the iconic Casio still dominating the landscape. Here are some of the best options from that brand, as well as a couple of other contenders.

Accept no substitutes.
Accept no substitutes. (Amazon/)

The granddaddy of calculator watches still beats all newcomers. The Casio DBC150-1 is capable of handling whatever you throw at it, and the blue-tone face rounds out its all-around retro feel. It has a calendar function that allows you to keep track of important dates and appointments, as well as a massive 150-page data bank. How dominant were Casio calculator watches in the ’80s? Sting even wore one in an official band photo for The Police.

Solves all lost TV remote-related issues.
Solves all lost TV remote-related issues. (Amazon/)

While not technically a “calculator watch,” the TVG entry does offer something unique that the more standard Casio models do not. In addition to stopwatch and calendar functions, it can actually connect to your television and act as a universal remote. Wrapped up in a just-the-right-side-of cheesy retro gold frame and band, it’s a conversation starter and a binge-watchers best friend all in one.

“Better late than never” is not in your vocabulary.
“Better late than never” is not in your vocabulary. (Amazon /)

Yes, Casio again. We weren’t kidding when we said they dominated the market. In addition to its calculator function, the “Databank” keeps time that is remarkably accurate, with a claimed variation of only around 15 seconds per month. Combined with the calendar alert function, you have no excuses for being late to anything anymore.

We will disavow all knowledge of this watch should your professor catch you.
We will disavow all knowledge of this watch should your professor catch you. (Amazon/)

You have to admire a device that wears its ignoble intentions on its sleeve (and, well, on yours too). The “exam cheating watch” is like a mini-ebook reader and audio device—allowing you to import textbooks, class notes, and even lecture recordings. This watch boasts 8 GB of storage all the while looking like a nice, innocent retro-cool calculator watch. Of course, we’d be remiss if you didn’t remind you that you’re only cheating yourself, but as digital watches go this is still pretty cool. If Apple’s is a smartwatch, consider this a devious witch.