In the spring of 1983, Casio released one of the most groundbreaking watches of the 20th century: the G-Shock.
Designed to withstand the kind of blows that would disrupt or break most normal watches, it wasn’t too many years before the G-Shock established itself as one of the strongest watches in the world. Even today, the watch’s shock resistance is essentially unparalleled among tactical watch brands.
The durability of the G-Shock has made it a popular timepiece for people in tough professions, and they don’t get much tougher than the US military!
Military personnel at all levels are fond of Casio’s resilient watch, and for that reason, there are numerous watches in the G-Shock line that are geared directly towards the men and women in combat. Whether you’re heading off to Army Basic Training and want a good budget G-Shock or are getting a special gift for a friend or family member in the military here are a dozen top picks from this now iconic line of tactical watches.
We’ve rounded up some of the top G-shock watch models currently available, from the most affordable budget options to high-end G-Shock watches in the Masters of G collection.
Best G-Shock Watches For Military
The most obvious appeal of a G-Shock watch to someone in the military is its durability. Whether in training or combat, military personnel wants a watch that can take a beating as well as they can, including being dropped from a great height or taking concussive force hits. One of the other main points of attraction is that G-Shock watches are some of the most affordable on the market.
Casio G-Shock All-Black (GD350-1 BG )
The sleek G-Shock GD350-1B excels with its low-key and stealthy all-black design making it a highly recommended tactical watch. The black with yellow accent aesthetic of the GD350-1B makes it a great military and tactical watch, but it is also stylish enough to fit just as nicely in casual or even formal attire.
That said, the G-Shock GD350-1B is still quite a substantially sized watch at 51mm resin case diameter. Well, that is pretty much the norm when it comes to a G-Shock watch, and it does result in an incredibly shock-resistant timepiece. Fortunately, all G-Shock timepieces are relatively lightweight despite the larger build, which helps balance out the bulky appearance.
The pushbutton control layout is also quite user-friendly with functionalities on display, so you know which button does which. There is also the vibration alarm which further gives the GD350-1B an enhanced stealth capability.
As for other notable features, this G-Shock watch offers up to 35 time zones, countdown, stopwatch, and an Auto LED backlight for enhanced visibility in low-light environments. Additionally, the case structure provides the G-Shock GD350-1B with a solid 200-meter water resistance rating.
G-Shock Military (GA-110) – Affordable Pick
Take for instance the G-Shock Military GA-110 watch. This all-black timepiece is water, shock, and magnet resistant. It’s made with a resin watchband and metal buckle closure.
Other features include a 1/1000 second stopwatch, countdown timer, LED light with afterglow, and full auto-calendar.
This G-shock can store times for 48 cities + UTC and includes a 29-time zone world clock for the home city/world time swapping as well as an on/off for daylight saving time, all useful features for frequent travelers like soldiers on deployment. The GA-110 watch is water-resistant up to 200 meters.
Click here to read Amazon reviews of this G-shock watch that mention “basic training”.
The face of this G-Shock is both digital and analog. For the price, this is one of the most reliable watches you can get.
G-Shock (DW-9052-1CCG): Another Budget Pick
There are a number of slightly cheaper models with the same basic features, including this digital DW-9052-1CCG sports watch.
For the price, this is one of the cleanest watches in the G-Shock line, but considering how many default features come with it, that says quite a bit about the versatility and usefulness of a G-Shock. Among its features is an auto-calendar that comes pre-programmed until the year 2039, a countdown timer as well as a 1/100 second stopwatch.
12/24 hour military time formats can easily be toggled on and off. This G-shock comes with an accuracy rating of +/- 15 seconds per month which is respectable for a tactical watch in this price range.
Several buyers have commented in reviews that this G-Shock model was a great budget choice for heading off to basic training.
G-Shock All-Black (GA100-1A1)
Featuring all the signature elements of a G-Shock watch, the GA100-1A1 series is undoubtedly another excellent durable multi-functional watch from the trusted brand.
The G-Shock GA100-1A1 also offers the best bang for your buck once you consider the build’s quality and functionality, along with the relatively affordable price tag.
Like the GD350-1B, the GA100 also features a stealthy all-black aesthetic, giving it a highly tactical appearance. The GA100 features a relatively low-key design without many bells and whistles. It is all about practicality which is capped off by the analog-digital display.
The G-Shock GA100-1A1 features a slew of functionalities such as a countdown timer, stopwatch, world time (29 time zones), calendar, and daily alarms. In addition, the construction of the 51.2mm resin black case provides the GA100 with up to 200-meters of water resistance.
Additionally, the GA100 also comes equipped with an anti-magnetic build which ensures optimum precision no matter where you are.
G-Shock Master of G Series
Those previous watches are popular G-Shock styles that would appeal to military personnel.
However, the brand has recently released the Master of G Series, a line intended specifically for people who risks their lives as members of the military. The series includes 42 different watches ranging in price from $200 to over $1000+.
These watches are split into three categories: “By Air,” “At Sea,” and “On Land.”
- Air: G-Shock Gravitymaster Lineup
- Sea: G-Shock Gulfmaster & Frogman lineup
- Land: G-Shock Mudmaster & Rangeman lineup
The watches in each lineup include specific features that would be beneficial in those specific arenas. Let’s take a look at a watch for each military theater:
G-Shock Air: Gravitymaster (GPW1000)
First, there is the Gravitymaster GPW1000, which is one of the pricier but more sophisticated G-Shock watches in the series.
It includes a GPS hybrid radio-controlled solar-powered system to ensure that it keeps accurate time even while flying through time zones.
Naturally, it is shock-resistant, has world clocks, and has a long-lasting battery. This is a heavy-duty timepiece that isn’t afraid of heights or long hauls.
Understandably, not everyone has the budget for this high-end watch solar watch.
However, the series has a wide range of models, click here to browse the whole Gravitymaster Collection on Amazon.
G-Shock Sea: Gulfmaster (GN-1000)
For the seafaring military personnel, there is the Gulfmaster GN-1000.
This watch outperforms the standard G-Shock water resistance by being waterproof up to 200 meters.
It also displays tide and moon data and has a bright LED display screen. With a compass and remarkable durability, the GN-1000 has everything one needs to navigate at sea.
G-Shock Sea: Gulfmaster (GWN-Q1000)
For an elite, high-performance model you could look at the Gulfmaster GWN-Q1000, the first G-Shock to feature a Quad Sensor with all of the settings and features you’d need for Sea expeditions: compass, water depth meter.
This G-shock also comes with ABC features (altimeter, barometer, and thermometer) which come in handy in any military training exercise or situation where you’ll need altitude and weather readings.
This watch also has a tide graph and moon, sunrise, and sunset data. The rugged, reinforced carbon fiber case and sapphire crystal make it completely shock and scratch-resistant.
As with the other military G-Shock collections, there’s a wide selection within the Gulfmaster series.
G-Shock Sea: Frogman (GWF1000-1)
If you’re looking for an upgrade in the “Sea” category, the Frogman offers high-end features and a price to match (many of them are over a grand).
The Frogman GWF1000-1 will set you back about half of that, so somewhat more affordable (all things being relative).
This model still offers you impressive build and features: Solar Quartz movement, 200 Meter water resistance, tide, and moon data Multi-Band 6 Atomic for highly accurate timekeeping.
Click here to see the watches the Navy SEALS wear.
G-Shock Land: Rangemaster (GPRB-1000)
Finally, we come to the Rangemaster GPRB-1000, one of the most technologically advanced watches in the G-Shock stable.
Equipped with both Bluetooth and GPS, this watch is also solar-powered.
The watch can measure atmospheric pressure and altitude, as well as temperature and compass bearings. It maintains accurate time by receiving data from central time servers around the world.
Add in the reliability of the G-Shock brand and this is one of the most impressive timepieces you can get for the price.
G-Shock Master of G Mudmaster (G9300)
The G-Shock Master of G series is an upgraded collection of watches that further enhances that signature G-Shock rugged build. The Master of G Mudmaster series comes with a slightly higher price tag, but the Mudmaster comes with several noteworthy upgrades.
The Master of G Mudmaster is all about functionality, which it manages to achieve and deliver in spades. The feature-rich Mudmaster G9300 comes with the standard countdown timer, stopwatch, and alarm. In addition, the G-Shock Mudmaster also comes with a built-in thermometer, digital compass, and even a moon graph.
The moniker of Mudmaster derives from its impeccable build that provides top-tier shock resistance and mud and water-resistant (up to 200-meters). As a result, this watch is suited for use in rough terrains – dry and wet.
Another notable feature included in the Mudmaster G9300 is its solar-powered capability which further expands its overall usability outdoors. We also love the incredibly intuitive controls designed to be as user-friendly as possible.
Overall, the Mudmaster G9300 is one of the most uncompromising timepieces around, and it is incredibly lightweight. Multi-functional and reliable, if you are looking for an upgraded G-Shock watch, might we suggest you check out the Master of G collection?
G-Shock Rangeman (GW-9400)
The G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 features all the signature qualities that brought this watch series to the dance. It comes with the signature G-Shock toughness, a robust, almost tank-like 53.5mm black resin case, and solid multi-functionality.
Besides being extremely durable, the Rangeman GW-9400 also comes equipped with a slew of features that will undoubtedly expand its widespread application in the field. First off, the Rangeman GW-9400 incorporates the ABC sensor technology (altimeter, barometer, and compass), making it ideal for outdoor activities. Additionally, the GW-9400 also comes with a built-in thermometer for added practicality.
The sturdy black resin case also has a solid design to keep the digital screen well-protected at all times. The user-friendly design of the control buttons also displays its functions clearly, so you know what each button does at a glance.
Despite the rather cumbersome appearance, the GW-9400 is surprisingly comfortable to wear. The resin case and strap allow for lightweight construction while maintaining excellent durability. In addition, this G-Shock watch also provides:
Solid 200-meter water resistance, thus making it suitable for most water-based activities such as swimming, snorkeling and even scuba diving.
Other notable features include its solar-powered capabilities, chronograph stopwatch functionality, sunrise/sunset data, and an atomic clock signal radio to keep you up to date with the time no matter your location.
G-Shock Mudmaster (GG-1000-1A3CR)
One of the most recent additions to the Master of G Mudmaster Series is this GG-1000-1A3CR.
Among the practical features are a: thermometer, digital compass, countdown timer, 5 daily alarms, and stopwatch, just to mention some.
The olive green casual look of this model also fits in well for a tactical watch. The easy-to-read date and time along with the bright backlight make it user-friendly.
It’s one of the more reasonably priced Mudmaster models and considering the list of features you get quite a bit of bang for your buck.
One drawback is that as part of the “land” series, the waterproofing is not as good as you get on the Frogmaster or Gulfmaster.
While the rating says is also up to 200m, it’s really only able to take surface water activity, I wouldn’t rely on it for actual diving unless you want to risk water getting under the glass. If you’re looking for better water resistance, look at the higher-end models in the “Sea” series above.
The History of Military Watches
World War I launched the modern era of the wristwatch. Until then, men were rarely seen wearing them, preferring to own pocket watches. On the field of battle, though, it wasn’t practical to have one’s watch stowed away, especially when there was available real estate on the arm. What started as a combat necessity, the field watch eventually became a fashion inevitability.
During World War II, the military began to issue standard watches, though it was common for personnel to provide their own. Those early military timepieces were as barebones as they get, with a basic hand-wound, mechanical movement displayed in black and white. As the years progressed and the technology of war advanced, so did the watches.
Since 1964, the military has had specifications for what watches are considered suitable for its personnel. Those specifications have been routinely updated in the decades since then, though the basics remain the same: they should be durable, easy to read, and, if officially issued, inexpensive. Enter the G-Shock.
Creation Of The G-Shock Watch
In the early 1980s, the Japanese electronics manufacturer, Casio, employed Kikuo Ibe.
He and his team were dedicated to creating a watch that wouldn’t break if it fell. Their guiding principle was the so-called “Triple-ten test”:
- a watch that could sustain a drop from 10 meters,
- would withstand water pressure at 10 atmospheres (100 meters),
- and had 10 years of battery life.
The first G-Shock model was the DW-5000C and its rectangular digital face is now one of the most iconic in the industry. Since the release of that first watch, the G-Shock has expanded dramatically, with multiple series for men and women and numerous collaborations with athletes, artists, and other public figures.
The appeal of G-Shock watches is that they have the strength and resilience to survive in the extreme conditions of military service, but they are fashionable and affordable enough for everyday use.
Many people who buy a G-Shock watch end up owning them for the rest of their lives, no matter their profession- from nurses to police officers, G-shock is one of the first watches they consider.
Whether you serve in the air, by the sea, or on the ground (or you’ve never spent a day in the military), G-Shock has a watch that can handle your lifestyle.