We’ve reviewed a multitude of watches here – watches for everyday wear, watches for dressy occasions, watches designed for pilots or divers or racecar drivers. We’ve discussed watches with clean, legible designs, and ones with impressive, complex complications. For those of us who love watches, these variations are the building blocks of a collection: an everyday watch, a weekend watch, a dress watch, a sport watch, and the list could go on and on. But often overlooked is one of the most crucial elements of a solid watch collection, a watch to wear when you don’t want to risk damaging one of your prize possessions: a “beater.”
“Beater” is the term used by watch aficionados for a watch that is made to take abuse. There are so many times throughout the day – when you’re at the beach or the gym, working in the backyard or playing with your kids at the park – when it doesn’t make sense to wear an incredibly valuable, refined timepiece and risk damaging it. There are times when you don’t want to have to worry about your watch – when you don’t have to think twice about getting it dirty or wet, or banging it up against something hard. And for these times, there’s no better choice than G-Shock.
First created by Casio in 1983, the G-Shock was designed to be bulletproof – the engineer who designed the first model (the Casio DW-5000C) set three lofty goals: a 10 year battery life, water resistance to 10 bar (100 meters), and a design that could withstand a 10 meter fall onto a hard surface. Casio even tested the first 200 prototypes by dropping them from rooftops and office windows!
Since its initial release, the G-Shock line of watches have become standard equipment for firemen, police officers, and paramedics, as well as astronauts, mountaineers, coaches, soldiers, and anyone else who works outside in demanding conditions. They are particularly popular with Special Forces groups in the American military due to their reliability and proven toughness in the field.
Due to their popularity, there are well over 150 G-Shock models to choose from, but here are two that we particularly love.
Some of the coolest G-Shock models include both digital and analog displays on the same dial, and this steel model manages to load up the dial with features galore, all without disrupting the utilitarian, monochromatic, no-nonsense design. It’s water resistant down to 200 meters, and includes countless complications: a stopwatch that measures down to 1/100th of a second, a world time function for 31 time zones, 5 daily alarms with snooze, full auto-programmed calendar until the year 2099, and a built-in auto LED lighting system. At over 50mm, it’s a big, tough watch packed with features, and with a steel case and G-Shock’s iconic shock-absorbing bezel, it’s built to stay that way.
Though it comes in a much smaller package than the previous model, this G-Shock includes many of the same features. It shares the same depth rating, stopwatch functionality, and calendar, and offers a single alarm. It’s light on the wrist, legible and sporty with its white and light-blue color scheme. Like many G-Shocks, its entire dial glows when the light is engaged, and this model features a dial light that flashes when the alarm sounds. The perfect all-around beater, it’s a watch you could put on the first day of summer and never take off until you’re done shoveling the last bit of snow, and it would look as good as the day you purchased it.