Part of Casio's 30th anniversary of the G-Shock celebration has been to release a stream of G-Shock and Baby-G models in black and rose gold tones. Pretty fancy for the world's ultimate beater watch right? This large analog/digital piece is the G-Shock GA200RG, aka GA200RG-1A. On the fashion/function scale, Casio certainly has it weighing a bit more on the fashion side, but that doesn't mean it isn't a true G-Shock. Let's check it out...
The most impressive part of this and some other modern Casio G-Shock models is the intricately designed and detailed dial. Casio has some very advanced machinery to cut ultra-precise parts for dials that look techie and cool - especially at these prices. If this dial doesn't look like something out of a sci-fi movie then I don't know what does. It is all very hip and modern, and just what today's casual G-Shock buyer is looking for.
One tell-tale sign that all fashion-forward G-Shock models have is a glossy plastic case and strap. The GA200RG certainly has one, and the message is that this G-Shock is meant for those black tie occasions. Well, sort of... whatever the G-Shock equivalent of black tie is. It actually is fun to wear and offers a good alternative from the matte plastic look I am used to with my other G-Shock watches. I don't prefer the glossy look, but I do appreciate that it is an option to wear when the moment calls for it.
The case is a large 52.5mm wide and 16.7mm thick. Tightly wrapping lugs help it look good on most all wrist sizes, and of course the watch is very light at just 80 grams. Durability is ever-present with the case being water resistant to 200 meters and being very shock and magnetic field resistant. A thick bezel is raised up and helps protect the crystal.
These new ultra-techie looking G-Shock models sacrifice a bit of legibility for style. The non lume-coated hands are neat looking but not ultra easy to see all the time. They are also a bit too short for the dial. Having said that, you can also optionally read the time on one of the small LCD displays - though you'll be squinting at times in order to do so. The default settings for the dial allows you to have the time and date available to you all the time which is convenient. Casio of course includes a load of extra features for you to use. We don't always like using some of Casio's more in-depth features on models with these smaller screens, but the full functionality is there.
This model has a 1/1000 of a second chronograph, 24 (total) countdown timer, full calendar, 29 timezone world time feature, and four daily alarms. You can also view the time in both 12 and 24 hour format if you like. From the time I was a kid I've always appreciated that even the most stylish Casio G-Shock watches come with all these features standard. Metal pushers around the case are used for all the functions, and if you are familiar with Casio watches there is pretty much nothing new to learn here in terms of operation.
One area that Casio is trying to incrementally improve is backlighting on these new generation G-Shock models with combined analog and digital dials. This isn't as strong here as it is on all digital G-Shock models. The problem is really with the light and the dial design. Another issue is that the LCD screens are not backlit, if they were then that would solve most of the problems. Instead, newer G-Shock models use (usually one) LED lights of various colors to light up the dial. They are usually located hidden under the flange or outer ring. I would say that most of the time they are adequate for reading the time, but often not good enough to see the LCD screens.
The position of the light and its relatively low intensity means that it does not flood the dial in as good a way as you'd except from a Casio. The high and low levels of the dial make it worse because they block a lot of light. As the light is emitted from the side and the LCD screens are set relatively low, they aren't getting enough light to be read. Casio actually has more powerful LEDs that I've seen used on some other higher-end G-Shock models. My feeling is that they are trying to find a good mix between dial design, LED color, and LED intensity (to preserve battery life) for these non-solar (light) powered G-Shock models. It might help for them to use more than one low-power LED to help ameliorate the darkness viewing issue. Now my overly detailed discussion on the backlight of the GA200RG is done.
Style-wise it is hard to beat watches like this that offer urban appeal, technical functionality, and a durable package. The price is right as well. Don't fancy the gloss back and rose gold tones? That is OK, no doubt Casio has a series of other similar watches. It is a cool timepiece, and I would even say "fancy looking. " Casio G-Shock lovers will for sure want to pick one up in honor of the G-Shock's 30th birthday. The Casio G-Shock GA200RG/GA200RG-1A retails for $170 and you can pick up one from Casio here.
>Model: G-Shock GA200RG-1A
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Probably
>Friend we'd recommend it to first: Younger guy who buys clothes exclusively because he things they are cool and likes the idea of a modern looking watch.
>Best characteristic of watch: Good looks and a really impressive dial. Sized to be noticed.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Style forces some legibility sacrifices, and darkness viewing isn't ideal.