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.
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 line that are geared directly towards the men and women in combat.
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 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.
G-Shock 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 want 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.
Take for instance the G-Shock Military GA-110 watch. This all black timepiece is water, shock, and magnet resistant. Other features include a 1/1000 second stopwatch, countdown timer, LED light with afterglow, and a 29-time zone world clock. The face is both digital and analog. For the price, this is one of the most reliable watches you can get.
There are a number of slightly cheaper models with the same basic features, including the digital DW-9052-1CCG sport 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.
The 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 has the Gravitymaster Lineup, Sea has the Gulfmaster & Frogman lineup, and Land has the 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:
First, there is the Gravitymaster GPW1000, 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 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.
For the seafaring military personnel, there is the Gulfmaster GN-1000.
This watch out performs 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.
If you’re looking for something other than the dark colors of most of these military watches, there’s the Casio Gulfmaster Smoke that comes in bright yellow.
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, altimeter, barometer and thermometer. It also has a tide graph and moon/sunrise/sunset data. The extra 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.
If you’re looking to an upgrade in the “Sea” category, the Frogman offer 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 time keeping.
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.
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 back light 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 creation of the G-Shock
In the early 1980s, 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 that had a battery with 10 years of 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.
If you want to learn more about Kikuo Ibe check out this short video – The story behind G-SHOCK
Strong enough for everyone
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.