Analog, Digital and Beyond

The Complete Buying Guide to Casio G-Shock Watches


July 27, 2019 Watches By

Go to the Casio G-Shock website and you’ll find over 300 individual watches. Filter out women’s models, and you’ve got roughly 292 models grouped into ten collections. We can filter by price, but we still don’t know what any of these watches do. Indeed, even Casio seems to have trouble keeping up with their G-Shock offerings; their website is, perhaps understandably, not exactly the tidiest.

Visit a properly stocked G-Shock store only to realize that physically confronting the beast does nothing to tame it. And you will not find all models in any store at once, try as you might.

There’s no way around it: the G-Shock collection is vast, intricate, and overwhelming. Casio makes enough G-Shocks to satisfy a ravenous collector community (up there with sneaker nerds), and Casio also caters to various professionals who need indestructible time-pieces, military personnel who aren’t issued watches, athletes in training, outdoorsy folks, and even skaters and surfers and breakdancers.

Let’s contemplate the following two G-Shocks, just to get a sense of the breadth available. The first is the $750 Mudmaster from the Master of G series, an enormous battle-ready analog/digital hybrid badass with more capability than your smartphone. The second is the $150 Hotei Limited Edition from the 7 Lucky Gods Collection, which appears fey and airy but is, like all G-Shocks, tough as nails. Also, the Hotei sold out in pre-sale, and will likely be up for sale on the nerd-forums for multiples of the original price. Two very different audiences, two very different watches.

Herein lies the dilemma of parsing the G-Shock collection: it appeals equally to a camouflage-clad soldier serving overseas as it does to the 13-year-old anime junky in Tokyo’s suburbs. What unites these two seemingly disparate G-Shock communities is that both wrap their imaginations around these watches, and both demand unparalleled durability, functionality, and style.

So let’s carve up this beast of a lineup known as G-Shock, paring as we can along the way. The first thing to recognize is that many individual reference numbers are really just alternative colorways for many G-Shock models. That helps simplify things…a little. Then there are fully digital models, analog/digital hybrids, and a slew of analog-only models, too. The analog/digital divide turns out to be where Casio cleaves their G-Shock offerings, so we have grouped this guide in three major categories: digital-only, analog/digital hybrids, and all-analog. It’s a start.

Almost all G-Shocks will have a stopwatch, a countdown timer, a backlight, and 200m of water resistance. Beyond that, Casio riffs endlessly with style and functionality, from resin-cased altimeter- and barometer-loaded models to precious-metal atomic-clock referencing dual-time world travellers. This guide should help you navigate your way to the model (or 10) that suits you.

Digital G-Shocks

These models lack analog hands, and thus harken back to the earliest G-Shocks that appeared in 1981 from the drawing pad of renown Casio designer Kikuo Ibe. They range from small retro-styled units to some of the wildest behemoths in the G-Shock range.

DW503 Series

Classic 80s style with modern functionality

With the original gold and black colorway of the very first G-Shock of 1981, this model stays in stock for a split-second as retro-enthusiasts snatch them up. But keep and eye out and you may snag one. If you really must have this colorway, then you can get the round version (DW5735D-1B) almost anytime.
Price: $200
Functionality: Alarms, stopwatch, countdown timer, illumination

5000 Series Metal Digital G-Shocks

Full metal jacket

These get backordered fast, because they’re so damn great. Styled just like the originals, but now with full metal construction, including bracelets on some models. These look like the 1980s but function futuristically with solar power.
Price: $400+
Functionality: Alarms, stopwatch, countdown timer, illumination, solar power, metal construction

5000TFC-1

Special Editions with Vintage G-Shock Styling

Bluetooth sets these watches apart from the other 5000 Series G-Shocks. This is the grandaddy of the retro-style, with a robust feature set and a classic look that’ll hide this wolf’s cutting-edge capabilities under a sheep’s clothing. Hard to get, but worth the quest for die-hard G-Shock collectors and normal folks alike.
Price: $1,200
Functionality: Alarms, stopwatch, countdown timer, illumination, solar power, lap timer, full metal construction, Bluetooth connectivity, more

5600 Series Digital G-Shocks

Base Model All-Digital G-Shocks

One test of a great watch design is how well it works in different colorways. Go Rasta, denim or crystal, and you’ll have the 1980s on your wrist. Or, if you’re more into the 1990s, there’s a rave-inspired model with teal and purple, that decade’s favorite colorway. Or a woody-surfboard vibe? Check. Or a khaki military inspired colorway, or…well, you get the idea. Thankfully, Casio seems to provide a steady supply of these less expensive models, so you can readily snag one.
Price: $99-$200
Functionality: Various colorways (using separate reference numbers), plastic construction, illumination, standard stopwatches and alarms

5900 Series G-Shock Digitals

Quieter Looks and Elegant Subdials

These are like the 6900, but feature the three-subdial layout and a more toned down, octagonal retro-vibe. The blacked-out version is especially striking.
Price: $99
Functionality: Alarms, stopwatch, countdown timer, illumination, plain styled band, classic styling

G-LIDE Series G-Shocks

Cold-hearted G-Shocks with Mellow Retro Vibes

These are nearly identical in appearance to many other models, but offer specific protection for extreme cold. The icy blue colorway is a standout, given its intended sub-zero use. The textile and leather strap ads a little variation for the obsessive collector. Standard models are usually in stock, while limited editions come and go.
Price: $110
Functionality: Alarms, stopwatch, countdown timer, illumination, textile/leather strap, special low-temperature protection

Power Trainer G-Shocks

Fitness Tracking in an All-Digital Format with Smartphone Connectivity

Nothing lacking here, despite the incredible prices. These watches feature Blutotooth connectivity that allows the nerdiest of workout analysis.
Price: $99+
Functionality: Round dials, fully digital, alarms, laps timers, countdown timers, stopwatch, Bluetooth, step tracker, more

400 Series G-Shock Digitals

Protective Bars for Skaters and Other Wrist-Swinging Urbanites

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.
Price: $130
Functionality: Plastic construction with metal bar protectors, alarms, laps timers, countdown timers, stopwatch

6900-Inspired G-Shock Digitals

Unbridled G-Shock Features and Looks from the 6900s

There are a slew of one-offs in the G-SHOCK digital lineup, all inspired by the classic 6900 model. They come and go, but mostly go, making them pretty hard to get. These models currently include the GW2310FB-1B4, GR8900A-1, the GDX6900FB-1, and the DW6900SK-1 with two other color variants, as well as some of the recent Revival Collection models.
Price: $110-$150
Functionality: Various colorways (using separate reference numbers), plastic construction, illumination, standard stopwatches and alarms

6900-Inspired Retro-Styled G-SHOCK Digitals

Minimalism with Robust Features

Quite similar to the above watches, these lack the big G on the bottom and, thus, have a more retro-look to them. Your choice of colorways will dictate how loud or subtle the watch is.
Price: $180+
Functionality: Mellower aesthetics, alarms, stopwatch, countdown timer, illumination

7900 Digital G-Shocks

Big Bezel Screws for a Rugged Look

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.
Price: $150
Functionality: Standard feature set with atomic timekeeping, tide graphs, moon tracking, and solar power (offered in various editions, including the G-Rescue and a Limited Edition Red-Out)

Frogman Diver’s G-Shock

With all the goods you’ll need to dive in any conditions, the Frogman is the rare dive-oriented G-SHOCK. It’s not a dive computer, however, and shouldn’t be confused with one. It is, however, rich in dive style, with a 35th Anniversary colorway signed on the back by its designer, Erik Haze.
Price: $500
Functionality: Standard feature set, tide graphs, 31 time zones, timers, more

Analog-Digital Hybrid G-Shocks

Analog/digital hybrid G-Shocks all have traditional watch hands, giving them at-a-glance legibility and a sense of time itself 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 allure here. 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.

GWNQ1000

The Most Capable G-Shock? Pretty Much.

The International Cetacean Education Research Center (a.k.a. ICERC) has teamed up with Casio over the past 25 years to produce limited edition Frogman watches that really do stand out, both feature-wise and aesthetically. If you’re going to spend this kind of money on a G-Shock, you’re gonna get what is easily the most capable model, and thus, one of the most capable watches in the world.
Price: $950
Functionality: Altimeter, barometer, depth gauge, thermometer, and all the other standard timers and calendars

Gravity Master Analog/Digital G-Shock

High-End Features, Finish and Price

This is one of a few dedicated Pilots Watches from the G-Shock line, and it proves itself with bulletproof construction, killer high-tech looks, and unmatched accuracy across all the world’s time zones.
Price: $800
Functionality: Carbon and titanium construction, Bluetooth connectivity, and standard timer features

GA2000S

3-D Dials and Endless Capabilities at Great Prices

These are pretty straight up analog/digital G-Shocks, and there’s very little to say about them other than that they’re totally badass, especially at these prices.
Price: $120
Functionality: 3-D-sculpted dial, alarms, timers, week and date display

GBA800UC Power Trainer G-Shocks

A Connected G-Shock for Fitness

These newish additions to the lineup are all about tracking your workouts, whether they’re elaborate interval programs or simply a series of steps. The colorways are intended to make them more wearable with everyday clothes, encouraging you to keep it on and keep fit.
Price: $120
Functionality: Connected phone app for fitness tracking, multi-timer, auto-time correction, calendars

GA700 Series Analog/Digital G-Shocks

Classic G-Shock Style and Functionality

These watches are pushing 80s style into modern proportions like a trunk-pumpin’ remix of DeBarge. Yes, they’re incredibly capable and tough watches, but that’s not quite the point of these bad boys…well, unless you’re going to do a headspin on a piece of cardboard in it.
Price: $120
Functionality: Standard feature set with calendars, timers, etc (no connectivity)

GA710 Series Analog/Digital G-Shocks

An Indestructible Watch with a Focus on Looks

Utilitarian, yes, but also a bit fancy with the metal dial and hand decorations, polished or matte metal case finishes, matching bottom button, and subtle tone-matched digital displays. These also feature mineral glass to allow that decorative dial to shine through.
Price: $140
Functionality: Week date calendar, countdown timers, stopwatches, and alarms

GA-400 Series Analog/Digital G-Shocks:

A Unique Rotary Control and Wild Colors

Casio tells us that they’re going for hip-hop fashion statements with these watches, but what really sets them apart is the rotary control dial in the crown position. This unique feature allows for intuitive control over whatever function is selected.
Price: $150
Functionality: Standard calendar, alarms, and stopwatch functions, along with a unique rotary dial for quick-setting

GA-110 Series Analog/Digital G-Shocks

Big, Busy and Badass

It’s slightly busier than the GA-400, and for this reason, Casio is pushing this as “Street Fashion”-oriented. What we see is more of an automotive vibe coming in with the perforated hands on many models that suggest both old-school steering wheels and perforated driving gloves. But, yes, they’ll also color-coordinate with your most high-tech sneakers for mad street style.
Price: $150
Functionality: Calendar, alarms, timers, etc.

GA-100 Series Analog/Digital G-Shocks

Automotive Vibes with Street Style

Like their GAS cousins below, these models exude a perhaps unintentional driving motif, while providing street-ready style, as well. The alternative dial layout is the kind of thing the G-Shockers will fuss over on the forums, but you can go with your gut and let the kids do the arguing. Rock the purple and green colorway for mad retro-90s style.
Price: $120
Functionality: Calendar, alarms, timers, etc.

GAS-100 Series Analog/Digital G-Shock

Understated and Elegant

If a G-Shock can be elegant, this is the one. The subtle tie-in of color from the dial to the inner strap, along with toned down contrast across the watch make for a (relatively) understated affair.
Price: $150
Functionality: Calendar, timer, alarms, solar power

GA-800MMC Series Analog/Digital G-Shocks

A Little Smaller, a Little More Mellow

With a more stripped-down dial and a mid-sized case, this model is aiming for a little less on purpose. It won’t dominate your outfit, but will bring the high-tech vibe of a G-Shock nonetheless. Need a gift for a teenager? Go ahead, make their day.
Price: $120
Functionality: Standard alarms, stopwatch, etc.

GAX1 G-LIDE Series Analog/Digital G-Shock

Ready for Your Next Surf Session

Ready to match your wetsuit for a morning surf session and tell you when the tides are in our out or in-between, these watches excel at managing an aggressive ocean-side lifestyle.
Price: $130
Functionality: Tide monitor, alarms, timers, calendar, etc.

AWG-100 Series Analog/Digital G-Shocks

Atomic Clock-Enabled, Mellow Aesthetics

AWG-100 Series Analog/Digital G-SHOCKS: atomic clock referencing for time-zone alignment and the most accurate timekeeping on Earth, these G-SHOCKS may look more basic but hold some of today’s most advanced watch technology.
Price: $150
Functionality: Atomic timekeeping, daily alarms, unique hand adjustment capability

G-SHOCK G-STEEL Series Analog/Digital G-Shocks

Steel G-Shocks That’ll Take Endless Abuse

These watches use steel cases and bezels to offer a more traditional kind of G-SHOCK, but the functionality and durability is as cutting-edge as ever. (Note: one of these models is all analog.)
Price: $280-$700
Functionality: Timesetting via mobile link, carbon bezel, stainless steel case, tough solar tech, battery level indicator, timer, alarm, calendar

MASTER OF G Series Analog/Digital G-Shocks

Collaborations with Artists, Musicians, Designers with Unique Functionality

With names like MUD MASTER and GRAVITY MASTER, these watches are a little more expensive on average, and offer incredibly cool looks, limited edition collectibility, and a bevvy of unique features. Not all are created equal, however, so take some time perusing the MASTER OF G Series to find the model that rings your bell. (Note: one of these is not analog/digital, but fully digital.)
Price: $280-$1,000
Functionality: Features range from elaborate altimeter models to world-time trackers with multiple time zones

Analog G-Shocks

Not to be confused with mechanical watches, analog watches simply have dials and hands rather than numeric displays to provide information. All the movements here are quartz-driven, providing the same reliability and durability found in the other models, while the presentation ups the elegance and refinement. Prices will reflect all that.

MR. G Series G-Shock Analog/Digital Models

Seriously High-End Japanese Watchmaking

Yes, you can spend “Rolex money” on a G-SHOCK by aiming for the MR. G line. The number of incredible finishing processes, especially for the bezels and bracelets, is astounding. Casio is giving Grand Seiko a run for their money in terms of Japanese handcraft. The atomic-clock aligned movements will provide accuracy that’ll trounce that of Rolex and Grand Seiko.
Price: $2,600-$7,800
Functionality: Time-zone tracking and atomic clock referencing, with standard analog subdials

THE MTG Series Analog G-Shocks

Bluetooth connectivity and atomic clock syncing provide dead accurate timekeeping, dual time zones and more.
Price: $800-$1,800
Functionality: Bluetooth connectivity via Connected App, automatic time setting, world time, stopwatch and more

How G-Shock Watches Are Built & Tested

We travel to Japan to see how much torture a G-Shock can take. Read the Story

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