The updates that make the new CasiOak G-Shock GA-B2100 even betterBorna Bošnjak
If you think the Casio G-Shock GA2100 is an amazing watch, you’d be absolutely correct. However, things are about to get better. Building on the success of the so-called CasiOak (our #1 watch review of 2021 by views) comes the new Casio G-Shock GA-B2100 lineup, bringing some welcome upgrades to the table in terms of functionality, while losing none of their wearability and charm. The original was slated to be the spiritual successor to the iconic DW-5000C and, if the Great CasiOak Shortage of 2020 is anything to go by, it exceeded expectations by some margin. The five new GA-B2100 models still carry some signatures of their square brothers from the late ’80s in the form of the colourways – more on that in a bit.
Subtle upgrades are what it’s about
To our eagle-eyed readers and big CasiOak fans, the differences may be glaringly obvious, though allow us to tell you anyway. The crucial upgrade here is their ability to harness light energy emitted by luminous spheres of plasma and other, artificial sources . It’s Tough Solar, of course. If you’re already making a tough, quartz watch, why not make it solar, especially considering the advanced tech Casio has at their disposal?
The other tech upgrade to the CasiOak’s module is the inclusion of Bluetooth connectivity through the Casio Watches app. It offers a multitude of functionalities, including my favourite – the phone finder. Given that your phone is in range of the Bluetooth connection, a two-second press of the START button will initiate the dulcet tones of Casio’s no-copyright library, helping you locate your device. We had a bit of fun with this in an upcoming Edifice collection video, where we also praised the ease of connection for Casio’s Bluetooth-enabled watches. Unfortunately, the Casio Watches app makes you create an account and agree to a whole bunch of stuff (technical description, I know), but after the initial set-up the app is bug-free and intuitive to use.
Incredibly wearable, in a host of new old colours
The CasiOak shape we’ve all known to love is unchanged. Staying at 45.4mm in diameter and 48.5mm lug to lug, the all-important thickness measurement increases just a tad to 11.9mm. The Carbon Core Guard protective case is still protecting the slender module, which is one of the reasons for the CasiOak’s slim size. Angles and style lines are natural to a G-Shock, with the GA-B2100 being no different. Part of the user manual is emblazoned across the octagonal bezel, indicating the roles of the push buttons. I found them lacking in tactility, though with a surprisingly long compression, so you can be sure that you’ve activated the function – a clear improvement over the likes of my DW5600.
There are five colours to choose from, all taking inspiration from earlier square G models. The yellow (or Bumblebee, as we’ve christened it at the office) takes its colour from the DW-5600C-9BV Yellow Speed, the green is inspired by the DW-5600B-3V Green Speed and the blue from the DW-5600B-2V Blue Speed. The black and grey options are also reminiscent of other 1978 models, most notably the DW-5600C-1V.
A screw-on stainless steel caseback gives the GA-B2100 200 metres of water resistance, and when flipped over, its visible quick-release spring bars suggest easy strap changes. The resin straps as as comfortable as ever, as they curve sharply downwards from the case, making the size wearable for smaller wrists. With plenty of aftermarket customisation available for these watches, I look forward to all the mods that fans can come up with.
Clear information at a glance
While each of the new models has their own charm, I found myself drawn to the classic black colour, with Bauhaus-like red, yellow and blue accents. The weekday subdial at 9 o’clock is replaced by a function indicator and power reserve meter. The LCD screen is surrounded by a stylised window, which, together with the topographic nature of the indices, gives the dial considerable depth. A quick press on the mode button sends the red hand spinning, updating the LCD accordingly, displaying world time, stopwatch, timer or alarm functions.
The blue, green and black on black models match the colour of the subdial hand to the case, while the hour and minute hands all receive a dark surround to the luminous material, with the exception of the yellow model’s white-rimmed hands. If the lume doesn’t quite cut it, it is only on the hands, after all, a 1.5 or 3-second light is available at the push of the right button, marked LIGHT funnily enough. As someone who has drained many a battery on my DW5600 with excessive light play, I welcome the solar feature with open arms.
They’re CasiOaks, with better features and more fun colours to choose from. This one is pretty obvious, isn’t it?
Casio G-Shock GA-B2100 pricing and availability:
The Casio G-Shock GA-B2100-1A (black/grey), GA-B2100-1A1 (black/black), GA-B2100-2A (blue), GA-B2100-3A (green) and GA-B2100C-9A (yellow) variants will release in May 2022 in Australia. Price: $319 AUD
|45.4mm x 48.5mm x 11.9mm
|Resin with carbon core guard, stainless steel caseback
|Black sunburst dial
|Resin with stainless steel buckle
|5689 module with bluetooth functionality