“When the going gets tough, the tough get going” feels like an appropriate intro to this article about Casio’s particularly rugged G-Shock series.
G-Shock is short for Gravitational Shock and the name refers to the formidable ability of the series to withstand extreme g-forces and vibrations.
The G-Shock series is especially dedicated to those who are particularly exposed to physical hardships, whether at work or in leisure, or for those who are simply attracted to a sturdy watch that is virtually unbreakable.
The series is quite comprehensive because Casio has dedicated a whole department to the development and testing of G-Shock models, and therefore it can be difficult to find exactly the model that best suits ones needs.
In this article I will try to help with an overview of what types of G-Shock watches are available and I will give my personal opinion on which models I find most attractive and why.
Who Invented G-Shock and Why?
The G-Shock concept was developed by Casio engineer Kikuo Ibe in 1981, when he accidentally dropped a pocket watch he had been given by his father and thus broke.
Initially, the goal was to create a watch that would have Triple Ten Resistance, meaning it would have the following features:
- Ability to survive a fall of 10 meters.
- Water resistance of 10 bar.
- Battery life of 10 years.
Together with a team of three Casio employees carefully selected by Ibe they developed and tested more than 200 prototypes, but none of them were able to meet the criteria.
It was a random visit to a playground that made the breakthrough.
It became clear to Ibe that the core of a regular rubber ball during impact with a hard surface is largely unaffected by the force of gravity because the energy is absorbed by the ball’s elastic shell.
With this thought in mind, the “Team Tough” experiments continued and in 1983, the first G-Shock model the DW-5000C was launched.
Who Wears G-Shock?
The G-Shock series is especially popular with the military, police, sportsmen, construction workers and others who are regularly exposed to situations where they come into hard physical contact with the surroundings.
Extreme sports practitioners have also discovered the power of G-Shock and see it as the ideal watch for many different types of activities:
- Mountain Biking
- BMX Biking
- Inline Skating
- Water Skiing
- Motorcycle Racing
- Rock Climbing
In the 1980s, fashion was oriented around slim and thin wristwatches and this is clearly reflected in Casio’s Vintage Collection which includes many of the classics of that time.
But as extreme sports grew in popularity during the 1990s, there was a change in attitudes among young people who now wanted a sturdy and durable wristwatch that radiated power and strength, and this trend has continued ever since and slowly spread across a very diverse consumer segment.
Famous people who wear G-Shock watches include Brad Pitt, Snoop Dog, Rihanna, Kanye West, Ke$ha and Eminem who have been seen wearing a G-Shock GA-120A-7A.
How Much Force Will a G-Shock Watch Withstand?
A G-Shock watch is designed to withstand dropping shocks, centrifugal force and vibrations.
The structure consists of no less than ten layers protecting the movement ranging from the urethane rubber bumper over the case, the crystal, the caseback to the inner core with the floating module where the quartz mechanism floats free in a urethane foam cradle.
This design makes a G-Shock capable of withstanding centrifugal forces exceeding the highest level (centrifugal gravity up to 15 G) classified by the ISO 2669 steady-state acceleration environmental test for aircraft equipment.
G-Shock watches are also tested for its ability to withstand vibrations and the testing is conducted by a testing machine that generates vibrations with various magnitudes and speeds of amplitude confirmed by the Vibration Testing Methods for Automobile Parts (JIS D1601 4 type A) with reference to the grade (vibration acceleration up to 20 G) required for in-vehicle devices for two-wheeled vehicles.
In short, this watch can take a punch!
Did You Know?
On December 12, 2017, the G-Shock earned the Guinness World Record for the heaviest vehicle to drive over a watch. The officials from Guinness World Record drove a 24.97 ton truck over the Casio G-Shock DW5600E-1. The G-Shock is the first watch by any company being able to withstand the challenge.
Casio’s G-Shock line is grouped into the following collections:
|Collection||Gender||Models||Price Range (USD)|
|7 Lucky Gods||Men||3||$140-$170|
|Gorillaz X G-Shock||Men||9||$99-$170|
|Master of G||Men||22||$150-$1,050|
There are hundreds of different models to choose from so it can be a bit of a jungle to find around.
However, the table above should be able to guide you on the right track based on what budget you have, because as you can see there are significant price differences between the collections.
Prices vary enormously and range from $79 to several thousand dollars.
Fortunately, many of the models are at the relatively cheap end.
For example, in the largest collection “Analog-Digital” the most expensive model GWNQ1000K-7A is approx. $950, but the vast majority can actually be purchased for less than $200.
7 Great G-Shock Watches
And now it’s time to present my personal favorites from the G-Shock Series.
I have chosen to focus on male models in this article, so if you are looking for a G-Shock watch for ladies you can search among lots of variants on Amazon here.
So without further ado, let’s get to it.
An excellent watch from the G-Shock Analog-Digital Collection, basically kept in black (which is my preferable color for most non-mechanical watches), yet inexpensive. The retail price of this model is only $120.
The ability to connect with the G-Shock phone app via Bluetooth opens up to a range of additional features including step count log with five exercise intensity levels, calorie calculations, step targets and more.
App-based auto time setting correction ensures the watch to always be accurate to the second.
Mid-size design optimal for running and training makes the GBA800 the perfect choice for everyday wear and fitness training.
Amazon Rating: 4.1 ★★★★☆
SPECS: Shock Resistant / 200m Water Resistant / Double LED Light / LED Backlight / Mobile Link / Step Count / Step Goal Progress Display / Step Count Graph / Step Indicator / Power Saving / Dual Time / Stopwatch / Data Recorder / 10 Target Time Alarms / Countdown Timer / Hand Shift Feature / 5 Daily Alarms / Hourly Time Signal / Full Auto Calendar / 12 or 24 Hour Format / Button Operation Tone / 54.1 x 48.6 x 15.5 mm / 61 g.
Vintage digital style, made entirely in metal and inspired by the first G-Shock model, DW5000C.
An incredibly cool looking watch that also incorporates one of the first and most iconic G-Shock case designs featuring a vintage square shape case and bezel with a brick pattern on the face.
The solar battery makes it self-charging and the two-way time sync is made possible via Bluetooth connectivity as well as Casio’s powerful Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping technology.
Amazon Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★
SPECS: Shock Resistant / 200m Water Resistant / Solar Powered / Full Auto LED Light / LED Backlight / Time Calibration Signal Reception / Mobile Link / World Time / 5 Daily Alarms / Hourly Time Signal / Flashes With Buzzer That Sounds For Alarms / Stopwatch / Split Time / Countdown Timer / Low Battery Alert / Power Saving / Full Auto Calendar / 12 or 24 Hour Format / Button Operation Tone / Date Display / Day Display / Six Languages / Battery Power Indicator / 49.3 x 43.2 x 13.0 mm / 167 g.
Carbon Core Guard Structure. The inner case is made of a specialized type of resin that incorporates carbon fiber for light weight and rigidity.
The outer case is made of stainless steel and the dual back cover protects the back surface against impact.
I really like the overall design of this watch including the sturdy buttons and the light-on-dark LCD.
Amazon Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★
SPECS: Shock Resistant / Carbon Core Guard Structure / Mineral Glass / Neobrite / 200m Water Resistant / Double LED Light / Full Auto LED Light / LED Backlight / Solar Powered / Mobile Link / World Time / Stopwatch / Split Time / Countdown Timer / 5 Multi-Function Alarms / Hourly Time Signal / Hand Shift Feature / Battery Level Indikator / Full Auto Calendar / 12 or 24 Hour Format / Button Tone / Power Saving / 53.3 x 49.2 x 14.5 mm / 177 g.
A great example of the diversity of the Casio G-Shock line.
The G-Shock series is well known for experimenting with material types and color combinations and the G-Shock GA835E is no exception.
This model boasts a unique translucent band and bezel as well as gold IP accents on the dial, buckle, band keeper and case back, which also display the G-SHOCK 35th anniversary logo.
It also comes with a front button design for easy access to a super LED light.
Amazon Rating: 3.6 ★★★★☆
Collection: Limited Edition
SPECS: Shock Resistant / 200m Water Resistant / Double LED Light / Auto LED Light / LED Backlight / Dual Time / Stopwatch / Data Recorder / Countdown Timer / 5 Daily Alarms / Hourly Time Signal / Hand Shift Feature / Full Auto Calendar / 12 or 24 Hour Format / Button Tone / 46.3 x 43.4 x 15.8 mm / 45 g.
This black beauty comes from the absolute top of the G-Shock line and packs Bluetooth, GPS and solar power into an elegant design featuring a handmade hammered finish bezel.
Traditional tsuiki metal hammering is an ancient technique in Japan used in production of armor and copperware and other metal implements.
The full-metal body houses a 3-way connected engine for accurate timekeeping virtually anywhere in the world.
Amazon Rating: –
SPECS: Shock Resistant / 200m Water Resistant / Solar Powered / GPS Signal Reception / Time-Calibration / Acquisition of Position Information / Automatic GPS Signal Reception / Atomic Time Keeping / Bluetooth Connectivity / Mobile Link Functions / Extended World Time Function / Easy Watch Setting / Stopwatch / Countdown Timer / Daily Alarm / Full Auto Calendar / 12 or 24 Hour Format / Battery Level Indicator / LED Light / Power Saving / 54.7 x 49.8 x 16.9 mm / 152 g.
Yet another fine challenger for the title as the most attractive G-Shock watch.
The MTGB1000XB is based on the MTGB1000 which has mid-sized case for enhanced wearability while delivering advanced functionality including Bluetooth Connectivity, Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping and Solar Power.
The bezel is made of carbon fiber comparable to plastic in terms of weight, but with the nature of metal in terms of durability.
Amazon Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★
SPECS: Shock Resistant / 200m Water Resistant / Solar Powered / LED Light / Time Calibration Signal Reception / Atomic Time Keeping / Mobile Link / Auto Hand Home Position Correction / Dual Time / World Time / Stopwatch / Countdown Timer / Daily Alarm / Battery Level Indicator / Power Saving / Full Auto Calendar / Date Display / 4 Dials / 52.2 x 46.2 x 14.6 mm / 131 g.
This model is also known as the MUDMASTER due to its ability to resist ingress of dirt and mud.
Multiple gaskets are used on the pipes that guide buttons and shafts, which keeps mud out. These pipes not only act to protect buttons from impact, they also enhance button operation.
On top of that it features Twin Sensor capabilities providing instant access to direction and temperature information.
An excellent outdoor watch.
Amazon Rating: 4.4 ★★★★☆
Collection: Master of G
SPECS: Shock Resistant / Mud Resistant Buttons / 200m Water Resistant / Digital Compass / Thermometer / LED Backlight / World Time / 5 Daily Alarms / Hourly Time Signal / Stopwatch / Split Time / Countdown Timer / Full Auto Calendar / 12 or 24 Hour Format / Button Tone / Low Battery Alert / 56.2 x 55.3 x 17.1 mm / 92 g.
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Hello Claus, the G-shock brand is a really nice one and for its unique watches, it can hardly go out of the market even with the competition from other brands. I once had one of these watches until I had interest in smartwatches. From the list of watches you have listed here I love the GSTB200D the most and it seem to have broken the curse of always going for smartwatches. Best regards.
Ah man this sure brings back memories. Some of my first watches back in the 80’s were casio, the original G-shock being one of them.
Great review, and most certainly triggered a nostaliga reflex in me.
The GMWB5000GD looks a lot like one of my old models, I’ll have to go for a treasure hunt in my parent’s attic to see if I can recover it, don’t have my hopes up.
I’m sure technology wise these new ones are a big leap forward to the old ones, but are they still as sturdy? I remember I could drop one of those from 2 stories and it would still run without so much as a scratch …not that I did that on purpouse but It did happen 🙂
Hi Dave, you can rest assured that the G-Shock models are as sturdy as ever. There’s a reason why the G-Shock earned the Guinness World Record for the heaviest vehicle to drive over a watch – we are talking roughly 25T here and this happened quite recently on December 12, 2017! Thanks for your comment.
Casio has always been a formidable force in the watch making and developing industry and for real, this is really great to see here. How on earth is it so perfect and very well made to resist too. For what is worth, tgetting any from this would be cool. I like the g-steel the most and the metallic nature based on the fact that it can blend to fit for so many context. Great one
I don’t remember the last time I had any watch but I still remember the benefits and how it would make me feel more self confident in a way and this doesn’t have to be an exclusion just because I’m doing hard core work. No doubt that G shock watches are quite a good brand I’ve heard quite a lot about them and have seen different types of them and know how much negative forces they can take. I’ve also been thinking about getting the GBA800 because it’s looks are on the stunning side. Are these by any chance heavy in weight?
Hi Donny, it’s all in the description of the models presented. The particular model you mention is 61 g.
I would love to have on of these watches! I am constantly tearing up my watch at work, by banging it against things. I can’t decide whether I like the MTGB1000XB with the blue and black setting, or the GSTB200D. I really like the silver, looks like a dress watch almost! Guess I can just get both and wear them for different occasions. Thank you for the review, excellent information!
My dressing is never complete without a watch, I’ve got used to it so much that I can barely go out without it. It’s a really good thing to have a wristwatch that can be used in a multipurpose manner and is durable for all sort of conditions. Gshock is without doubt one or the best watch and I really love wearing their watches. My favorite is GSTB200D and I’ll try to get one as soon as possible. Thanks for this information, it’s useful.
You’re welcome, thanks for your comment!
I could remember when I started hiking, it was really difficult to get in trail with just any watch as it gets dangerous to sometimes go with steel watches and glasses because they can get shattered easily and even wound you. Gshock is the list durable watch I’ve seen and used, it doesn’t break truly and the battery is a lifelong one. I’ve used several models and I really think it’ll be a nice idea to get a new one.
You can’t get too many of these beauties, right?! And the best part is that most of the G-Shock models are available for under $200.