March 4, 2023
2023 marks 40 years since the birth of the original Casio G-Shock, and over the course of the last four decades, the Japanese brand’s beloved, ultra-capable series has spawned designs to match nearly every style imaginable (except dress applications). Although there are plenty of straightforward, utilitarian G-Shock designs in the brand’s lineup, G-Shock is arguably at its most interesting when it combines the line’s signature blend of capability and durability with a wild, vibrant energy that few other brands can match – even if this more dynamic approach tends to be divisive. To celebrate 30 years of the G-Shock Frogman sub-line, Casio has created one of the wildest G-Shock iterations in recent memory, featuring multiple unique materials and finishes paired to a suite of hardcore diving-focused complications. Inspired by the coloring and texture of South American poison dart frogs, the new Casio G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000APF1A brings the venomously vibrant hues and energy of the Amazon jungle to a design that should be able to tackle any environment.
First things first: The Casio G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000APF1A is not a small watch. Even by G-Shock standards, this is a hefty design, measuring in at a chunky 51.7mm-wide by 19.7mm-thick. Although the carbon composite and resin case construction does help to keep the weight down and the wearing experience comfortable, this is simply not a watch for formal occasions or long sleeves. However, the Frogman GWFA1000APF1A excels at sporty visual spectacle, with a number of unique material touches that turn the volume of this design up to 11. At the heart of this vibrant visual approach sits the laminated carbon and fiberglass bezel. Layered carbon has become a common fixture in higher-end G-Shock collections, but Casio’s use of color here makes this an immediate standout. Rather than stacking layers vertically, the brand orients its carbon and fiberglass layers side-by-side to create a series of vertical stripes running from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock. Although the bright scarlet and electric blue fiberglass layers obviously attract the eye at first glance, this poisonously bright display of color is tempered slightly by the nuanced gray and black carbon fiber layers in between.
As with several other recent Frogman models (including 2020’s Frogman “Borneo Rainbow Toad”), Casio ratchets up the visual spectacle of this bezel even further with a set of asymmetrical bezel guards in clear resin. It isn’t just the bezel guards that are asymmetrical, however. The entire main case body is shifted towards the 9 o’clock side relative to the hooded lug assembly. In addition to further adding to the funky overall look, this shift works to protect the 3 o’clock side of the case – including the crown, the backlight activation pusher, and the all-important chronograph start/stop pusher at 4 o’clock — from impact or accidental activation during heavy use. This is one of many design details Casio adds to this watch with serious diving use in mind, and it helps to set the Frogman apart from the broader family of more general-purpose G-Shock models. Interestingly, despite this explicit aquatic focus, the G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000APF1A boasts the same 200 meters of water resistance as the rest of the G-Shock family. However, the Casio G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000APF1A does meet the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches, whereas many other G-Shock offerings do not. Casio completes this case with an engraved solid caseback featuring a special 30th-anniversary rendition of the Frogman line’s cartoon mascot.
Casio continues the vibrant, amphibian-inspired color palette of the G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000APF1A’s case with its dial. Both the main sword-and-arrow handset and the arrow-tipped multifunction subdial hand at 3 o’clock echo the vibrant blue of the bezel and pushers, while the sloping faceted indices, central seconds hand, and selected dial text add an aggressively contrasting red into the mix. While not as complex as some of the brand’s recent upper-echelon offerings in the MT-G series, the Frogman GWFA1000APF1A does break up its matte black main dial surface with the use of texture. The deeply grooved wedge stretching from 12 o’clock to 4 o’clock adds to the punchy, eclectic look of the overall layout, while azurage elements surrounding the multifunction subdials at 3 o’clock and 8 o’clock impart a subtler sense of detail overall. As with many modern analog G-Shocks, Casio delivers an easily legible layout here, despite the array of subdials and complications on display. With that said, this layout isn’t without its drawbacks, even beyond the subjective and likely divisive charm of its brightly colored asymmetric layout. There’s a vocal subset of the enthusiast community that cannot abide date windows at 4:30, and this watch’s execution is unlikely to change any minds on that front. Likewise, the finishing on the indices is noticeably plasticky on the wrist, and while this works well in more affordable G-Shock lines, it does stick out at this price point.
Casio equips the G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000APF1A with its in-house Module 5623 solar-powered quartz movement. In true G-Shock fashion, the Module 5623 is an immensely capable movement with a broad range of complications. Thanks to its radio-controlled time calibration signal system, the watch is more or less perfectly accurate in day-to-day operation, but even without this automatic adjustment every four hours, the Module 5623 provides a solid +15/-15 seconds per month in accuracy. This movement also provides the usual suite of G-Shock complications, including a world timer, a perpetual calendar, a 24-hour chronograph, a 24-hour countdown timer, and an LED backlight, but Casio adds to this list with a series of diving-focused functions. The Module 5623 offers divers a tide chart, pairing with the G-Shock Connected mobile app to track up to 30 dives in a dive log, and most impressively, a dedicated diving mode. When this mode is activated, the watch tracks dive increments up to two hours, and once the wearer has surfaced, it tracks surface time up to 24 hours to help spread out dive intervals and prevent dangerous nitrogen buildup in the bloodstream.
To complete the poison dart frog-inspired look, the Casio G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000APF1A is fitted with an asymmetric fluoroelastomer rubber strap sprayed with a polarized color-shift paint. Although this dramatic “harlequin” paint technique has seen limited use in the custom car world for decades, it’s almost unheard of in watchmaking, and the results are striking. In practice, this gives the black strap a speckled, shiny appearance, but a closer look reveals the flecks of paint shifting from magenta to bright blue depending on the viewing angle. It’s a novel, dynamic way of visually translating the glossy, iridescent skin of the poison dart frog to the constraints of a watch. While this unsubtle touch may find difficulty expanding into the wider world of watch design, it complements the already-flamboyant look of the Frogman GWFA1000AFP1A well on the wrist. On the other hand, this is an extremely long strap, and unless wearers resort to cutting off the excess, most wrists will experience a serious overhang that sticks out beyond the case in normal wear.
Although its unapologetic, vibrant looks and brawny proportions will likely prove divisive among enthusiasts, the Casio G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000APF1A is living proof that the wild, experimental side of G-Shock is a hotbed of visual creativity and immense technical capability. Casio lists the G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000APF1A as a “limited model,” and while there is no strictly limited number of units, it’s almost certain that this model will be retired once the 30th anniversary of the Frogman line expires at the end of 2023. The Casio G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000APF1A is available now through select authorized retailers and the brand’s e-commerce platform. MSRP for this watch stands at $1,100 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.
>Model: G-Shock Frogman GWFA1000APF1A
>Price: $1,100 USD
>Size: 51.7mm-wide, 19.7mm-thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: When hiking or diving, or as a vivid statement piece alongside a streetwear-inspired outfit.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: G-Shock fans looking for a truly wild flagship for their collections; dive watch enthusiasts looking for something truly different.
>Best characteristic of watch: Vibrant striped carbon bezel, striking color-shift polarized strap, immense durability and capability.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Hefty dimensions even for a G-Shock; deliberately loud styling will not suit all tastes.