HANDS-ON: The Casio G-Shock ‘CasiOak’ was the watch that everyone wanted in 2020. Here’s why… HANDS-ON: The Casio G-Shock ‘CasiOak’ was the watch that everyone wanted in 2020. Here’s why…

HANDS-ON: The Casio G-Shock ‘CasiOak’ was the watch that everyone wanted in 2020. Here’s why…

Nick Kenyon

Last year was a year of many firsts. It was the first time I worked from home for months in a row. It was the first time I wore a mask every time I left the house. And it was the first time that a regular production G-Shock collection started selling above it’s recommended retail price on the secondary market. I am, of course, talking about the Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A ‘CasiOak’ collection, that sent the watch community into a passionate frenzy. 

Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A 'CasiOak'

So why is this new collection from G-Shock so damn popular? It boils down to a couple of things in my mind. Firstly, its nickname is in reference to a particularly desirable Swiss luxury mechanical sports watch, which rhymes with “joyful hope” (Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak in case you’re still wondering). This is a particularly good example of one of my favourite phrases “high fashion, low rent” where, through a kind of cultural subversion, you get access to an otherwise off-limits category but in an obviously tongue-in-cheek way. If Swatch made a time-only wristwatch that reminded you of a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 without looking like a straight-up homage, I’d imagine it would be similarly popular.

Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A 'CasiOak'

Secondly, it’s just a great watch to wear. As far as G-Shocks go, it is far and away one of the most comfortable watches that has been released in recent memory. No longer do you need a wrist like Dwayne Johnson to pull the look off. The short lugs allow it to taper nicely with the curve of your wrist, and the profile is remarkably slim, making it a stone-cold killer in my book.

The case

Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A 'CasiOak'

The plastic case measures 45mm in diameter but, as previously mentioned, wears significantly smaller on the wrist. The lugs are so short they are almost nonexistent, and flow smoothly into the strap, ensuring a comfy fit on pretty much any sized wrist. As well, the case is wafer-thin compared to most other watches that leave the G-Shock laboratory, measuring a slender 11.4mm thick. The case is also reinforced with a thin layer of carbon fiber for increased strength.

Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A 'CasiOak'

The recognisable octagonal bezel features some text around its circumference indicating the functions of the four buttons that are integrated nicely into the case profile. Despite being well protected by the shock-resistant case, the buttons are easy to use when you want to, while basically being impossible to press accidentally.

Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A 'CasiOak'

The caseback is secured with four screws that guarantee it to 200m of water resistance and aren’t uncomfortable against your wrist in any way.

The dial

Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A 'CasiOak'

The Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A ‘CasiOak’ dial features an asymmetric layout that is highly legible, despite the amount of information that it communicates. In this reference the white hands and grey hour markers contrast nicely against the black dial, and the hands have been treated to a luminescent coating to make them easy to read no matter the lighting conditions. At the 9 o’clock position the day is indicated by a retrograde style hand that moves clockwise as the week progresses. At the 4:30 position is a small LED screen that offers the 24 hour time, as well as running seconds. This screen is also where the date, month, stopwatch, timer, world time and two alarms are displayed depending on the mode you have it set on.

The strap

Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A 'CasiOak'

The plastic strap features the same corrugations we know and love from other G-Shock watches, and is very comfortable on the wrist. The strap has plenty of holes along its length for adjustment, and is secured with a pin buckle. Finally, the strap also features a quick-change mechanism, should you ever want to swap it out for a different colour.

The verdict 

Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A 'CasiOak'

Unless you spent 2020 without internet access, you will definitely have come across the 1A ‘CasiOak’ variant from the Casio G-Shock GA2100 collection before. And it is that sheer and overwhelming popularity that saw this affordable watch gather waiting lists of people looking to add one to their collection. It wears very nicely on the wrist, it won’t break the bank and it has a very, very distant doppelgänger that has seen it reach an almost immediate cult status within the watch community. If you haven’t owned a G-Shock before, this is a great place to get started.

Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A ‘CasiOak’ price and availability: 

The Casio G-Shock GA2100-1A ‘CasiOak’  is $260AU, and is currently available. However, due to it’s popularity, it might be worth calling ahead to your local authorised dealer to double check they have the watch that you want.