Casio vs Seiko: Which Japanese Brand is Better?

(Last Updated On: January 24, 2020)

During the 1970s, the Japanese watch manufacturers have shifted the market and dominated in every way possible. This became possible due to the phenomenon called the Quartz Revolution and the industry has never been the same.

If you’re looking for a timepiece that delivers in quality and value, it’s hard to go wrong with Japanese watch brands. When you’re looking into quality Japanese timepieces, your decision will likely come down to Casio vs Seiko. Both brands are very well-respected around the world, thanks to their innovative features, rock-solid reliability and amazing value.

So for this brand showdown, it’s Casio vs Seiko. We break down the highs and lows of both brands as well as highlight some of the best models from both brands.

Casio vs Seiko: Head-to-Head Brand Comparison

Style and Design

If you’re stuck with the choice between Casio vs Seiko, style and design are good factors for choosing. In this case, your choice depends on whether you like traditional vs. modern designs.

Seiko timepieces tend to have traditional styles and designs – the tried and true classic aesthetic. You can see this from popular Seiko models such as the Seiko SARB033 and some Seiko dive watches, especially from the Prospex series. Seiko’s classic style echoes a message that it’s richly-storied and established brand. Seiko knows that they have an established reputation and that’s reflected from their watch designs. The company even has a luxury brand, Grand Seiko, that features timelessly designed models at luxury prices.

On the other hand, Casio specializes in watches with contemporary, industrial designs. Many people think of the G-Shock watches when talking about the Casio brand, and it’s hard to blame them. The G-Shock design is one of the most prolific looks from Casio. However, the Japanese brand is more than just the G-Shock line of watches. One thing that I love about Casio watches is design variety. Their collections such as G-Shock, Edifice, and Wave Ceptor all feature models with varied designs, ranging from rugged to professional.

So, if your main criteria for choosing between Casio vs Seiko is style and design, it’s really an easy choice. If you prefer watches with traditional and elegant designs, Seiko is the obvious choice. On the flip side, if you want a watch with a more modern approach and rugged looks, I recommend checking out Casio’s line.

Construction and Durability

You are probably thinking, “this category is an easy win for Casio, right?” Well, if you’re going for pure durability alone, Casio certainly has this on the bag. However, when you’re looking at the big picture, it’s not as clear-cut as it seems.

Seiko won’t have such a legendary reputation by making unreliable watches. For example, the Seiko Prospex series features some of the best diving watches that money can buy. Many Seiko models, especially the higher-end ones, are comparable to Swiss-made watches that cost twice or more. One of the things that make Seiko watches so durable is the Hardlex crystal which has excellent impact resistance. However, I’ve found out from personal experience that the Hardlex is quite prone to scratches.

Seiko has a history of excellent watchmaking, so its watches are high-quality and durable in general.

On the other hand, we have Casio which has made its name by putting out some of the toughest watches available. Casio developer Kikuo Ibe created the G-Shock line with the vision of ‘creating a watch that never breaks’ – and many of you will agree that Ibe has successfully fulfilled his vision.

Casio is the brand of choice of professionals such as law enforcement and firefighter EMTs. On top of exceptional durability, Casio watches are also packed with innovative features such as Multiband 6 Radio Technology, GPS Hybrid Technology, Tough Solar technology, and many others. The combination of toughness and versatility makes Casio watches a true utilitarian tool.

In terms of durability, Casio is clearly the runaway winner. However, you should know that you’re not losing out on quality and toughness if you choose to go with a Seiko watch.

Features and Technology

When it comes to pure features and technology, Casio has the upper hand over Seiko. Casio is like the nerd/geek of the watchmaking industry as it continues to push the industry innovation-wise. On the other hand, Seiko watches might be light on features but the brand also offers some innovative features that appeal to collectors.

Regardless of your needs, it’s safe to say that there’s a Casio watch for you. For instance, outdoor adventurers can turn to the Casio Pro Trek series for timepieces with advanced navigation functions. The Casio ‘Pro Trek’ Outdoor Smartwatch comes to mind. This Pro Trek model can be synced with your Android smartphone and comes with a compass, altimeter, barometer, activity tracker, and more. Sure, it’s not comparable to something like the Suunto Traverse Alpha but Casio did a good job with this outdoor-friendly watch.

Also, if you’re in the market for a quartz movement watch, Casio gets my recommendation. This is especially true if you check out the Casio Edifice series with its amazing quartz watches. While Seiko also makes quartz watches, Casio is simply better in that regard.

On the other hand, Seiko watches are light on features, especially when compared to the most popular Casio watches. Also, if you’re particularly looking for a mechanical watch, you’ll have slim pickings with Seiko. However, the brand does offer a few mechanical watches whereas, Casio doesn’t make mechanical models.

If automatic watches are your thing, pardon the pun but your automatic choice is Seiko. After all, the brand is known for making the first automatic (self-winding) watch in space. While Seiko watches aren’t as robust as Casio’s offering, it offers extremely fine watches that stood the test of time.

Pricing

Honestly, pricing isn’t much of a factor when it comes to this Casio vs Seiko comparison. Since we’re comparing both brands in the broadest sense, both watches cater to a wide range of budgets. As mentioned, both brands offer tremendous value.

However, if budget isn’t an issue and you want to go for the most expensive watch that you can buy and it’s between Casio vs Seiko, the latter gets your money. After all, Seiko has the Grand Seiko line that features fine watches with luxury-tier prices.

Again, I just feel like the price tag is not the definitive factor when choosing between these two Japanese brands. Both brands will give you a lot of watch for your money.

Best Casio Watches

1. Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400

One of the most popular Casio collections is the Master of G series. This line features some of the toughest and feature-rich timepieces out there. The Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 happens to be a fan favorite and it’s hard not to see why.

If you’re in the market for a tough-as-nails watch, the G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 comes highly recommended. As you can see from its looks, the GW-9400 doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a rugged digital watch. It looks aggressive with just the right amount of bulk – it’s a watch that can take a lot of punishment.

Apart from being tough, the GW-9400 is also packed with navigation features such as a compass, thermometer, and altimeter-barometer.

2. Casio Edifice EF527D-1AV

Casio isn’t exactly known for chronograph watches but nevertheless, it’s hard to ignore the company’s attempt with the Edifice line. The Casio Edifice EF527D-1AV is a chronograph that pays homage to early pilot watches.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice that it’s a fairly large watch at 45.5mm. The wrist presence of the Edifice EF527D-1AV is certainly off the charts. Typical of the chronograph style, the dial is quite busy and one of its distinctive features is the inner rotating slide ruler. The ruler calculates information such as fuel consumption and flight time.

The Edifice EF527D-1AV is a very competent attempt by Casio at a chronograph and is worth checking out.

3. Casio Wave Ceptor WVA-M640D-1ACR

For starters, the Casio Wave Ceptor WVA-M640D-1ACR is a budget-friendly solar atomic watch. Watches with atomic timekeeping are generally pricey but the Wave Ceptor WVA-M640D-1ACR is one of the few exceptions.

As you can see, the Wave Ceptor WVA-M640D-1ACR is a hybrid of analog and digital. The unique look can be quite polarizing but I think it looks great. It’s a performance-driven timepiece but still found a way to look sophisticated.

Overall, the Wave Ceptor WVA-M640D-1ACR is a unique offering from Casio and certainly worth a look.

Best Seiko Watches

1. Seiko Prospex SRPA21K1 Automatic

The Seiko Prospex SRPA21K1 Automatic is an excellent option if you’re looking for a dive watch under $500. The Prospex line is a respectable line of dive watches and the Prospex SRPA21K1 is a shining example.

This watch can handle depths of 200 meters (660 feet) which is good for general diving. Of course, you can’t talk about this watch without mentioning the classic Pepsi color combination. The Prospex SRPA21K1 is a very polished dive watch with a sophisticated look.

2. Seiko SNE331 Solar Watch

The Seiko SNE331 Solar Watch is a personal favorite of mine. This is a military-inspired that found its way into my regular rotation.

The simple yet bold dial is a standout with its large indices and the stencil-like numerals. This is a black dial watch that should appeal to many collectors. It’s a bit hefty piece but only because it’s rugged and durable.

Ultimately, this is one of the better solar watches that Seiko has to offer.

3. Seiko Radio Sync Solar Coutura

For the atomic timekeeping category, we have the Seiko Radio Sync Solar Coutura – one of the best solar atomic watches that money can buy.

The main point of attraction of this watch is its striking blue dial. The unique dial layout and design really drive the point home. Despite the fairly busy dial, it’s very legible aside from the date window which can be too small.

As an atomic timekeeping watch, the Seiko Radio Sync Solar Coutura will automatically sync every night so you don’t need to adjust it ever.

Casio vs Seiko: Final Thoughts

Casio vs Seiko Review

Ultimately, this Casio vs Seiko is not as tricky as you might believe. Both Japanese brands offer excellent timepieces but their most popular models are hardly competing with each other. Both Casio and Seiko cater to a wide range of needs and budgets.

As long as you know what you want from a watch, you should have no trouble choosing between a Casio or Seiko watch.

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