Casio are known for their precision instruments, from scientific calculators to cash registers. It may then be no wonder that they also make technically attractive digital watches. This one is from their G-Shock range, but doesn’t have the same styling as many others in it.
The G-Shock range has been renowned for its shock resistance and “go anywhere, do anything” attitude since its initial development in 1983. It was then that an engineer from Casio developed the G-Shock or Gravitational Shock on a Triple Ten concept – 10 year battery life, 10 bar water resistance and can survive a 10m drop.
Since then the range has expanded and now includes 5 models certified by NASA for spaceflight and “battle tested” models for NATO. This G-Shock is quite a deviation from the usual rubber-bodied and rounded watches, into something more squared and less cluttered to the eye.
The actual watch
On the surface, this Casio takes a step away from some more technical watches with its apparent simplicity. It seems to be a watch that takes a step back to when watches did one thing – tell you the time and tell it clearly.
However, this is a much more technologically complex watch than it lets on. It uses multiband 6 timekeeping technology to ensure that the time you see is precisely the time that it is. The watch receives signals up to 6 times every day from the atomic clock, or 5 days if you are in China. This can be increased, decreased or even done manually.
Even with smartwatches becoming more commonplace, it is still amazing that such a small watch can be so accurate and receive signals so often. With the almost-certainty of the time being correct down to every last second, it is little wonder that many watch enthusiasts keep a G-Shock Multiband 6 to set their automatic’s time to.
Buried deeper within the functionality of the Casio are additional functions and features, which are a bit fiddly and difficult to get to, but well worth it when you do. These include 29 independant timezones, 4 alarms, stopwatch, countdown timer and a fully automatic calendar right up to the year 2099. It’s quite reassuring that Casio think it’ll be necessary to have the calendar go on for another 84 years.
On top of this is an automatic electroluminescent (EL) backlight, instead of an old-school light on the side. There’s an informative video showing the vast difference between the two here. A cool incidental feature – you can even set this backlight to automatically come into life whenever you raise the watch to your face.
On full charge and without any light sources, Casio claim a 10 month battery life. Quite a bizarre claim, considering you won’t be able to read the watch without any light sources. Furthermore, apparently it would take 7 hours to recoup the energy used to power the backlight in an office setting, or 5 minutes in direct sunlight.
Again, this Casio is a usable watch. It does its primary function, of telling the time, quite well in the legibility sector and superbly in the accuracy sector. As I have it set, the face details the time in 12h clock, day and date in white-on-black negative colours. These details are set out pleasingly, seeming to have been subject to tests for readability.
From some angles, the glare and display make it hard to make out any details if any at all. Quite a minor concern when it is clear straight on plus or minus 10˚, just like you would read any other watch. This slight fallback does have some positive effects on the aesthetics, discussed a little later on.
All the features apart from the time are accessed through 4 polished buttons situated at each edge of the watch. They are functional buttons but could be difficult to operate using gloves or with chunky fingers, and don’t have a very satisfying feel to them. Again, worth mentioning but does not have any major implications of usability.
This is a reassuringly utilitarian watch, everything has its place and performs a function. Even the backlight only stays on for one second, no more or less than it needs to. You can see why so many pilots, astronauts and special forces members choose watches from the G-Shock range.
Unusually for a technical watch, this Multiband 6 has a bracelet-style strap rather than one of the plastic belt-style ones. I think this was an excellent choice and really sets the watch off. Each link seems to be injection-moulded from resin with a slight texture to them.
The resin used for the links makes it much lighter than its metal counterparts, and a good temperature in both cold and hot climates. Its satin black colour does pick up any sweat very well when it has dried, so a cheap ultrasonic cleaner is a must to keep it feeling and looking at its best.
Overall, it’s one of the best watch bracelets I have come across, and in some ways more desirable than those of Omega’s Seamasters. Comfortable and slick in looks, it can’t get much better than this.
How it looks
If Batman was watch shopping on a budget, he’d get this. It has a slick and understated black body and bracelet, with a hint of chrome on each of the four buttons and four screws. The earlier problem with being unreadable from some angles now seems like a feature, seeming completely blacked out at some angles.
Impressions of it vary, and first impressions don’t indicate that it’s a £1-200 watch. It is quite a wearer’s watch, giving much more pleasure on than off the wrist, and it’s when you wear it that the price point becomes much more clear and seems like good value.