Casio G-Shock Watch
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Go to the Casio G-Shock website at any given time, and you’ll find hundreds of individual watches currently being produced. Filter for men’s models, and you’ll still find an intimidating number of SKUs broken into collections, features, materials and so on. It can be helpful to sort by price, but it’s still confusing — indeed, even Casio seems to have trouble keeping up with their G-Shock offerings.
This category includes any models that lack analog hands. Many harken back to the earliest G-Shocks with squarish cases that appeared in 1983 from the drawing pad of renowned Casio designer Kikuo Ibe. The broad category of digital watches, however, ranges from small retro-styled units to some of the wildest behemoths in the G-Shock range.
The 5600 is essentially the base model, the modern version of the original G-Shock. We recommend looking for a display with dark text on a light background for legibility and paying a little more for premium features like Tough Solar (solar charging) and Multiband 6 (as in our top G-Shock recommendation, the GWM5610). Aside from being the OG and tough as nails, it’s just a great design as evidenced by the multitude of variations that look great.
These relatively premium G-Shocks are popular because they’re so cool (and a little meta), but they remain readily available. They’re styled just like the originals, but now with fully metal construction, including bracelets on some models. They might look very ’80s but they function futuristically with solar charging and come in a range of finishes from traditional steel, gold or black to some typically G-Shock, funky iterations. (Want even more detail and premium features in metal? It also comes in a killer titanium version — and even a high-end MR-G version.)
After the square 5600, this is the most recognizable G-Shock look and is a popular choice for police, soldiers and other professionals around the world. There is a slew of one-offs in the G-Shock digital lineup inspired by the classic 6900 model — some of them common and others that can be hard to get your hands on. These are a little like the 6900, but feature the three-subdial layout and a more toned down, octagonal retro vibe. It’s just an example of the kind of design variety you’ll find come and go in the G-Shock catalog. The blacked-out version is especially striking. These are similar in appearance to many other 1983-based models, but offer specific functionality for surfers with tidal information. They also typically come with smartphone connectivity and steel bezels. What sets these apart are the bar protectors, claimed to be favorites of skateboarders who will beat the crap out of anything strapped to their wrist. The fabric strap helps wick moisture during those all-day street sessions. With their four pronounced bezel bolts and unapologetic technical aesthetic, the 7900 models are badassery personified, Japanese style. The feature set includes tide graphs, which suggest that this watch is ideal for oceangoing activities around the world. All G-Shocks are rated to 2oom, but the Frogman is the rare dive-specific model. Though not a dive computer, it’s rich in dive style and is one of the most iconic designs in the G-Shock catalog. It also has a strap long enough to go over a wetsuit, but be warned that it can be a bit too long for some wrists when you’re not wearing a wetsuit. Though recent Frogman watches have gone analog (see below), we much prefer the OG digital versions. Analog/digital G-Shocks all have traditional watch hands, giving them at-a-glance legibility and a sense of time’s cyclical nature that’s lacking on a fully digital display. There’s something about looking at a whole watch dial that offers a broader perspective on time, and this is certainly part of the analog allure. There’s also an argument to be made for an activity-oriented watch having real hands, as once you’re bouncing through the rapids on your kayak or dangling thousands of feet from a cliff, making out a digital display isn’t always so easy.