THE IMMORTALS – The G-Shock “CasiOak” backed legendary toughness with a radical new designD.C. Hannay
It’s the Shock heard around the world. No other G-Shock, perhaps since the very first model, has had the impact of this new release since it was unleashed upon the world in 2019. Yes, Casio releases new G-Shock models on a perpetual basis, and it’s virtually impossible to keep up with the latest drops. But although there are seemingly endless scads of special editions, the vast majority of them are based on pre-existing models. This was something new entirely.
Nicknamed the “CasiOak” by watch enthusiast Steven Davila, this new-from-the-ground-up model had an octagonal bezel that bore a striking resemblance to a watch that starts at about 250 times the retail price of the G-Shock. That watch? The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Now, no one is going to mistake a $100 resin quartz ani-digi watch for an ultraluxe Swiss design icon, but there was something about the shape, the proportions, and the thinness of the new G-Shock that stated in no uncertain terms that this was not an ordinary Casio. And due to its revolutionary construction, it was a completely new species of G.
And it wouldn’t be a G-Shock if it didn’t back up the design with the legendary toughness associated with the name. Besides the implied shock resistance, all G-Shocks are water resistant to 200 metres. But beneath the resin outer case lay something new: A core constructed of carbon fibre, which made for a watch both lighter and thinner (at just 51 grams and 11.8mm, respectively) than the G-Shock you’re used to. And this watch is no shrinking violet, either. The diameter is a robust 45.4mm, but the light weight, trim case height, and compact lug-to-lug of just 48.5mm makes it an easy wear for a wide range of wrists, while maintaining a strong presence.
When the CasiOak was released it sold out almost instantly, once social media caught wind of the Royal-Oak-on-a-budget hype. Initially, it was available in just two variations, a bold red and a murdered-out black, both sporting an almost monochromatic look. They were impossible to find at retail, and typically traded for $300 and up on the secondary market. Some early scalpers made out like bandits. I lucked onto my red one at retail shortly after release when I randomly caught a website’s stock refresh right before my eyes. And it’s one of my favourite G-Shocks ever, so much so that I snagged the all-black version when the dust had settled a bit. And that’s what I’m most attracted to: The monochrome vibe. None of the copious amounts of branding and functional labeling are printed in a contrasting colour, which gives the watch an uber-stealthy countenance. Subsequent models (and there are many) often fill in the debossed text in white or black, and for that reason, the original designs will always be my favourite.
That’s not to say I don’t love a whole bunch of the ensuing releases. Au contraire, mon frère: There’s a metric tonne of great new models out there, and more coming all the time, including the limited editions that Casio is infamous for. Here are a few on my list.
Check out the arctic camo badness of the GAE2100GC-7A. Its snowy splendor is perfect for both winter and summer. As a too-cool bonus, the package includes an additional bezel and strap in military green.
This new model, the GA2100SKE-7A, is a clear (ahem) contender for beachwear or any type of warm weather shenanigans. G-Shock has released several models in this icy-looking series, but trust me, the CasiOak version is the coolest of the lot.
This utilitarian-looking variant, the GA2100SU-1A, is the last word in tactical cool, with its camo bezel against a black background. It’s perfect for traipsing around the bush on holiday, or just pairing with jeans and a t-shirt.
Here’s one that Casio is marketing to ladies (it’s also available in soft rose and bubblegum pink), but the GMAS2100-1A’s 42.9mm diameter makes it perfect for wrists of any gender. And this one in black with rose gold markers and handset is a real looker.
Finally, Casio has responded to all the homegrown modders out there retrofitting metal bezels on their CasiOaks, and created some new versions in steel. This one, the GM2100-1A, has serious Royal Oak Offshore vibes, and there are other colours on offer, including a bonkers gold ‘moon texture’ version, the GM2100MG-1A.