There is a good chance when someone mentions digital watches, one of your first thoughts is going to be of a G-Shock. The Casio-owned brand has been around for a few decades and their design aesthetic is recognizable by many. The square-shaped cases are often chunky and rugged-looking, giving wearers a sense of security that bumps and scrapes won’t damage their G-Shocks.
The new GA-2100, dubbed the CasiOak due to its case’s resemblance to an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, breaks away from the square-shaped case. While G-Shocks have been analog before, the GA-2100 presents the handset front and center, overtaking the digital display, giving the watch a familiarity that mechanical watch wearers will love.
On the Wrist
When you first pick up the CasiOak you will immediately notice how light it is. Most G-Shocks are light by design, incorporating plastic and rubber into their construction, but this watch takes it one step further. Casio has integrated carbon fiber into the CasiOak which makes it even lighter on the wrist than most other G-Shocks available today.
G-Shocks are no stranger to being bold and in your face with their wrist presence. The CasiOak takes a step back from that (unless you opt for the full red version) and is more subdued, both in looks as well as case dimensions. The CasiOak is slimmer and lighter than most G-Shocks available and is the thinnest G-Shock Casio currently sells. The black and white dial layout also contributes to this subdued look. The circular shape of the watch also gives it a more traditional appearance, especially at a quick glance.
Of the 3 colorways available, the version seen here is the most legible. The high contrast between the white hour markers and hands and the black dial make the CasiOak easy to read at a quick glance.
Those familiar with G-Shocks will know of their many features. Expected complications like a stopwatch and timer are easily available by pressing the appropriate button on the side of the case.
However, my favorite complication of the CasiOak is the world timer. I don’t travel often but the ease with which you can change time zones with just a few button presses makes this feature great for frequent travelers. The CasiOak lists the cities in those time zones as you scroll through them, taking the guesswork out of the process. I will admit that watching the hands spin around the dial as you change to a new time zone is also immensely satisfying.
The CasiOak’s dial has quite a bit to digest and may look complicated at first, but Casio did a great job in laying the dial out in a fashion that makes it usable, legible, and easy to navigate. The dial consists of 3 main elements: the analog handset, a digital readout, and a day indicator.
While the handset is bright white and filled with lume, the markers are off-white, almost gray. They match the color of the lume on the hands but are not lumed at all. I would have liked to see Casio lume the markers as it can be difficult to read and orient yourself when reading the time in the dark. The digital display does take care of this problem, which I will discuss shortly.
The left side of the dial features a day display with a hand that points to the current day. On the surface this seems like an odd inclusion, but it solves 2 problems. It keeps the dial somewhat symmetrical; if you try to imagine the dial without it there, it would look odd. It also keeps the digital display compact and unobtrusive.
A small digital display on the bottom right corner of the dial displays only a small amount of information at any given time. The standard view is the current time with running seconds. The display can also show the stopwatch, timer, alarms, and other time zones.
As I mentioned previously, the time may be difficult to read at night using the analog hands, but the digital display solves this problem. A small light can be activated that perfectly illuminates the digital display and provides enough light to adequately read the time using the handset.
Case & Strap
If you have had any experience with a resin-cased G-Shock, there aren’t going to be any surprises here. The case is grippy, light and comfortable on the wrist. The matte black case and strap have the feel of rubber but don’t feel cheap. Casio have done a nice job of making the CasiOak feel like a tool and not a toy.
There is quite a bit of text that adorns the case of the CasiOak. G-Shock and Protection are presented at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions. These two words are on almost every G-Shock. Adjacent to each button on the side of the case is text indicating what that button’s function is.
I’ve had experience with some of the affordable square-cased G-Shocks and one of my main complaints is that the buttons were hard to press, even with a fingernail. Casio has made the buttons on the CasiOak slightly longer, making them easy to press with the pad of your finger. I had no issues pressing each button and it made cycling through functions a breeze.
The strap features a quick-release mechanism which I have not seen on a G-Shock before. It makes one wonder if Casio will be offering alternate straps for the CasiOak. This would make sense and be on-brand for Casio as G-Shocks have always fit a variety of personal styles.
There are a few features missing from the CasiOak that buyers are most likely going to be looking for. The most common question I was asked about this watch leading up to the review was whether it had radio sync and Bluetooth connectivity. Unfortunately, it does not have either, but given the price of this watch, the omission is appropriate.
Few compromises are made when it comes to the CasiOak. It has an impressive feature set, is tough and durable, has a 200-meter water resistance rating, and is comfortable on a variety of wrist sizes. It is one of the few models the brand offers that can adapt to a variety of situations. If you can do without radio sync and Bluetooth, this is the G-Shock to buy.
|Lug-to-lug Height||48mm||Lug Width||Proprietary|
|Crystal||Mineral Crystal||Strap||Rubber Strap|
|Water Resistance||200 meters||Lume||Yes|
|Movement||Casio Digital G-Shock Movement||Price||$99|
More Images of the Casio G-Shock GA-2100 CasiOak
Check out the Casio website