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Casio G-Shock Aviation GW-A1000 Watch Review

Casio G-Shock Aviation GW-A1000 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

It makes us happy to see Casio continually improving its G-Shock collection of watches, and in this review we take a look at the Aviation GW-A1000 (GWA1000-1A). Now in this 30th year, the G-Shock is much more than a single collection of watches, but rather a whole family. There are G-Shocks for style and G-Shocks for strength. This GW-A1000 is in the still fresh Aviation collection. Aside from being one of the higher-end G-Shock models, the first thing you should notice is the complete lack of an LCD screen.

We typically associate G-Shock watches as being digital watches. That just simply isn’t true anymore as Casio offers a rather large selection of both analog and digital screens (with LCD screens and hands), as well as 100% analog dials as we have on the GW-A1000. Does the lack of an LCD screen make this a better watch? Not exactly. The idea here is honestly to make the watch appear more traditional. Casio seems to have at least one department convinced that analog watches sell better than digital watches. Whether or not that is true is another story, but the fact remains that if you prefer an all-analog versus digital watch, Casio has you covered with models in their G-Shock, Pro Trek, and Edifice range.

Casio G-Shock Aviation GW-A1000 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Handling a higher-end G-Shock compared to a $100 model is a novel experience. The materials are better, there is more metal, and of course the features in a top-end G-Shock are more impressive. The Aviation GW-A1000 has one of the best plastic straps around. The material feels almost like rubber, with a great texture and flexibility meaning that it doesn’t feel stiff or cling to your skin. The back of the case is solid steel, and it has a steel buckle. There are also steel pushers and a steel crown. The case is really durable of course and water resistant to 200 meters.

Durability features include the typical slew of shock resistant and velocity resistant qualities, as well as Casio’s “Tough Movement,” which is the 5240 movement module. This uses special sensors to realign the hands if they get knocked out of position during shock to the watch. The movement is also “Solar” light powered, not requiring a battery change and being powered by light. You should also know that the GW-A1000 (as they say in Japan I think, and GWA1000-1A in the US) has a six band radio controlled movement that receives signals from atomic clocks in the US, Europe, Japan, and China.

While the watch is entirely analog, it does have the usual array of Casio watch features that G-Shock owners demand. Accessing these functions in all-analog quartz watches used to be a pain. Then Casio released its “Smart Access” crown which allows you to adjust the watch using the crown more like traditional watches. How well does it work? Well you should know that in addition to the crown, the case still has three pushers. Two metal ones on the right, and an easy to miss one on the left near 7 o’clock. That left pusher changes the modes, which are displayed in the lower subdials (that is also used to offer the day of the week as part of the calendar). The right pushers or crown are used for adjustment purposes (such as setting the alarm). The crown is twisted to unlock (as opposed to screwing down), and then beeps when ready to use. While there is some consistency, you pretty much have to consult the instructions to understand the nuances of all the features.


Can you figure out how to operate the watch just by playing with it and your good instincts? Yes and no. For example there is a thermometer feature in the watch. You’d probably never know it unless you read about it in the instructions. Push the upper pusher to activate it and the hands move to special positions to give you a temperature readout. The seconds hand tells you whether it is plus or minus, and the hour and minute hands tell you the temperature. Only issue is that you don’t know how to read the hands unless you consult the manual. Without a guide on how to read the thermometer, most people would have no idea what the watch was trying to tell them. I suppose Casio can’t clutter up the dial too much, but this is where a little LCD display would be really useful. There is a price to pay for all these functions and a lack of digital display.

Casio G-Shock Aviation GW-A1000 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Casio G-Shock Aviation GW-A1000 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Nevertheless, this G-Shock Aviation looks fantastic. The design is just “cool,” and the dial is surprisingly balanced and legible. The hands and hour markers are produced from Casio’s Neo-brite luminous material, which offer pretty good darkness viewing. Having said that, the watch totally lacks an electronic backlight function that I think should have been provided. That means most of the functions can’t be used in the dark, and reading the time in the dark will rely on the hands being charged with light beforehand. Most G-Shock models have backlights, so this feature is missed. Having said that, in my opinion Casio has yet to “get right” backlighting on its analog and digital analog watches. Those watches use small LEDs that are usually oddly placed and don’t do a good enough job of lighting up the entire display. Honestly, the very best backlights on Casio watches are in their totally digital timepieces.

There is marked improvement in the speed that hands move compared to older quartz analog Casio watches. This is done when switching functions. Though, it still isn’t as fast as changing between functions on a digital G-Shock. Features you’ll enjoy using are the 1/20th of a second chronograph (easy to use), world timer (easy to use), alarm (easy to use), countdown timer (easy to use) and calendar (easy to view). With the Tough Movement and Smart Access, this is clearly an evolution of Casio’s production of quartz multi-function analog watches. While these analog G-Shocks look fantastic, they simply aren’t as user friendly or as fast as their digital cousins.

Casio G-Shock Aviation GW-A1000 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Casio G-Shock Aviation GW-A1000 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Casio G-Shock Aviation GW-A1000 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Military and other professional wearers are probably best advised to stick with Casio’s totally digital offerings due to the ease of operation, very good darkness viewing, and easy-to- read displays. Those looking for a less instrument-like (or less nerdy) G-Shock will swoon to offerings such as this very well made G-Shock Aviation GWA1000-A1. Even though it is 54.1mm wide, it feels as though it wears smaller, especially as the case is quite light. Casio is getting everything right in the visual design and tactile experience department. They just need to marry that with the solid reliability and wonderful thoughtfulness they are known for in the functionality department. This isn’t an oversight, but more a progression as Casio pushes to combine its legendary digital design with an analog display. Once again, there are always sacrifices to be made for style. Price for the Casio G-Shock Aviation GW-A1000 is $500.

Necessary Data
>Brand: Casio
>Model: G-Shock Aviation GW-A1000 (aka GWA1000-1A)
>Price: $500
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we’d recommend it to first:  A gadget watch lover who still wants the looks and feel of a totally analog watch (i.e. style conscious).
>Worst characteristic of watch:  No backlight and difficult to read thermometer.
>Best characteristic of watch: Excellent looking and well-built. It packs a lot of Casio G-Shock tech into a nice watch with only a few quirks.



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  • TimelyOne

    I have never purchased a plastic watch. This one could could change my mind though. Deceptively feature laden, and not hard on the eyes either. Nice job Casio!

  • Ryan B

    It’s nice seeing one without a digital screen.

  • Hacker4748

    Pity it looks so cheap and plasticky in person.

  • Ulysses31

    I’m torn by this range of watches, and Casio in general.  On the one hand you have these cheap resin-cased items or the watches with metal plated plastic cases that break, and it just drags me back to being at school.  Every kid had a Casio back then I don’t really want to associate my current lifestyle with something “kiddie”.  Alternatively you have the “up-scale” Oceanus range which superficially looks quite classy with a variety of reasonably attractive designs – but then you look at the finish and realise how poor their polishing and machining is.  The internal technology is impressive and useful but they need to knock it up a notch in terms of their manufacturing as they are bested by Citizen and Seiko.

    • nateb123

      Ulysses31 Citizen makes a solar powered, perpetual calendar chronograph with world time, alarm and atomic time in titanium for the same price.  Full bracelet, WR200M, sapphire crystal.  I applaud Casio for making these watches and some people do love them but Citizen is so far ahead of the game on providing these features in an analog watch.  AT4010-50E is the model number for those wondering.

      • Ryan B

        nateb123 Ulysses31
        Pretty sure the G-Shock can take a beating that would destroy a Citizen

        • Ulysses31

          Ryan B nateb123 Ulysses31 Anything covered in that much rubber and resin could.  A $20 Casio could take a heavy beating too; it’s inherent for something light weight and made of yielding materials.  Still, i’d rather have a Suunto than one of these.

        • Citizen there is no such collections as G-Shock.
          G-Shock is unique.

  • Lesthepom

    This is a cool watch I started my collecting with G-shocks at this price point they are a fantastic watch probably wont last for ever but that just means you can buy more of them and may be up grad to some thing that will last longer if you jump straight in to watches with a fine Swiss time  it is hard to justify buying more if the first one you buy will last longer than you will

  • tomalaerts

    My fiancee gave me the variant with metal bracelet. I am really happy with it, it is a great watch to travel with. It has its place next to my mechanical watches.
    I like the design, a modern take on the pilot style watch. Yes it is plastic (well, resin actually), but in practice it feels very high tech on your wrist, it doesn’t feel cheap (well, next to an IWC it feels cheap but you know what I mean).  Because of the general sophistication it is more dressy than usual G-Shocks. For fun I wore it when wearing a suit one day and it was less out of place than you’d think.
    The impression of solidity is very convincing.This should be one of the most solid analog watches on the market.
    The dial is very readable yet interesting with its various details.
    The atomic time adjustment is fantastic… if you are in range of a tower. Those living from the equator southwards will not benefit from it.
    For your info, there is an Edifice EQSA500DB-1A with almost exactly the same functionality and a more dressy high tech design.
    A few less impressive points:
    – because of the size, the protectors of the crown can dig into the back of your hand if you flex your hand upwards.
    – what was not mentioned in the review about the temperature reading: next to the fact that you initially need a manual (but honestly once you know you never forget) to interpret the resulting measurement; the killer here is that the watch needs to be off your wrist for at least 15 minutes before you do a measurement. Your body heat will otherwise completely distort the result.
    In this respect the newest top model (1100) is more useful with a compass instead of temperature, and it has sapphire as well! Unfortunately the bezel looks more busy.
    – The top subdial is not that useful in practice. It would be good if it could point to a 2nd timezone but it doesn’t (unless I didn’t find the function in the thick manual!)
    – The lume works reasonably but as the watch has no light, it could have used that splendid Seiko quality lume !

  • ZBT71

    I’m looking forward to the day when G-Shock produces an analog watch with a total diameter of 44mm or smaller. I could certainly do without knowing the temp, alt or my distance from the nearest star if that makes the case wearable.

  • Maximius Ziatnine

    The only disappointing thing about these is a timer. What the fault should have happened to prevent Casio from implementing 24h timer…? They had everything for that…

  • john

    I am a pilot and I struggling to find a decent pilot watch. Most have way too much junk on the dials and tiny displays, or are fashion watches labelled as aviator watches and cost a fortune. What a pilot actually needs is:
    – clear display of time that is unobstructed with unnecessary writing.
    – a large display of UTC time. This is vital for writing down time passing points, when you change fuel tanks, etc. One also needs local time.
    The watch that I have been using for flying is Casio AQ-160W-1-BV. This watch meets the requirements and is inexpensive. The down side is that the plastic strap breaks too easily, and the plastic body will snap at the watch strap pin holder. I have gone through 5 of these watches. However, at around $25, they are cheap and I figure it is better to buy a cheap watch that is actually functional compared to a very expensive watch that does not meet the requirements. I wish Casio made an improved version of the Casio AQ-160W-1-BV that had a more robust strap, and a tougher screen that was scratch resistant.