Accuracy and durability are the reasons behind so many of the exotic techniques, material use, and “innovation” that enchant fans of horology and mechanical watches. But everyone knows that mechanical watches cannot even compete in those areas with Casio G-Shock’s nearly indestructible quartz-and-plastic wonder watch that costs a fraction of the price to make. That is an achievement worth taking note of, and just like many high-end watchmakers, Casio can’t resist the allure of an anniversary that is in some multiple of five. So, with 2018 marking the 35th anniversary of the first G-Shock born in 1983 naturally comes a collection of special edition watches with the Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary collection.
No fewer than five of them, each from different product lines, all in a matte black theme. Casio says that the special black coating used is particularly light-absorbing. In addition to the color and texture treatment, each is relatively subtly marked with “since 1983” in red text – the only pop of color on the otherwise monochromatic dials. A gold-plated keeper for the strap will also be engraved with “since 1983,” and the caseback is gold-colored with the G-Shock 35th Anniversary logo (the 30th anniversary edition watches also had a gold theme, I seem to recall).
Four of the Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary Collection watches (definitely not called “Big Bang Black” as Casio had originally intended) are based on existing models, with the GA800 series model GA-835A-1A being an all new design. Unless you are an expert on G-Shocks and up to date with all their multitudinous offerings, you would be forgiven for not realizing it is new. With all the variations of ana-digi (a very Japanese portmanteau of analog + digital) watch dials with large buttons and bulbous plastic cases, it could very much get lost in a sea of G-Shocks. The Casio G-Shock case measures a large but light 54.1mm by 48.6mm, and 15.5mm thick.
The new GA-835A-1A shares features similar to the other Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary watches, and in fact many other G-Shocks, such as its famous shock-resistance, 200m water-resistance, stopwatch functions, alarms, etc. All feature mineral crystals and the “resin” case that helps its shock-resistance. (See the full list of specs for each of the watches on Casio’s website.) G-Shock watches often have small variations between models in regards to some of their technical functions that, let’s be honest, most people don’t use very often if at all. It is cool knowing all that your watch can do and that it is virtually indestructible – even if you never use those functions or get close to destroying it.
I will say that the white hands against the matte black treatment of the Casio G-Shock GA-835A-1A in particular look to be very legible for reading the analog time. Negative LCD screens, on the other hand, which all of the Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary use (meaning light numbers on a dark background) are not very legible. A positive display is kind of a cardinal G-Shock rule of mine, but if the analog time is easy to read it gets a pass.
Tough Solar (light-powered rechargeable batteries) is another G-Shock must-have, in my opinion, and of the five Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary models, only the GW-5035A-1 has it. That is the squarish-shaped model (above), and it is a descendent of the first G-Shock from 1983 – now known more or less as the G5600 and what will always be my favorite G-Shock. Compared to the 5600, however, this is from a slightly upsized and generally beefier line, measuring 48.9mm wide and 13.5mm thick. It also has Casio’s Multiband 6 technology, meaning it syncs with radio signals (in many parts of the world) and regularly updates the time to atomic time.
The GG-1035A-1A (above) is the most premium of the group of 35th Anniversary editions with features like “Twin Sensors” for a compass and thermometer, and it is based on the Casio G-Shock Master of G Mudmaster. It is a serious 56.2mm by 55.3mm, and 17.3mm thick. This model also appears to have pretty good analog legibility thanks to good contrast of the white hands. You can read more about the Mudmaster in our Casio G-Shock GWG 1000-1A3 Mudmaster review here.
The GA135A-1A (55mm wide, 16.9mm thick) and GA735A-1A (57.5mm wide, 18.4mm thick) are based on the GA100 and GA700 watches, respectively, that have been the subjects of many collaborations, limited editions, and other (often colorful) versions. The GA100 with its skeletonized hands has particularly been a canvas for mixing and matching colors and you can see some iterations here with the Casio G-Shock GA110LN Layered Neon Color watches (also here and here). These are newer G-Shock lines that have become popular fashion accessories as the more the young and modern face of G-Shock.
G-Shock deserves to be celebrated, in my opinion, with or without an anniversary. There is no shortage of options and a nearly continuous flow of new releases, and the Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary collection represents just one flavor. Personally, I’m on the lookout for more all-digital models with positive displays and Tough Solar – especially in the 5600 family. Prices for the new Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary models will be (in the order of the image shown above) $160 for the GA135A-1A; $370 for the GG1035A-1A Mudmaster, being the most expensive; $350 for the GW5035A-1, as Tough Solar and Multiband usually boost the price; $140 for the GA-735A-1A; and finally $160 for the new GA-835A-1A. They will be available from October 2017, with the GA135A-1A and GA835A-1A models sold exclusively at the G-Shock Soho Store in New York City. gshock.com