The most successful watch designs of all time have one thing in common: they each present a new way to solve an old problem, and they do it more elegantly than anything that’s come before.
There are lots of reasons why the new Casio G-SHOCK GA2100 has become one of the most celebrated G-SHOCKs of all time since its launch in 2019, but they all come back to one particular problem, and how Casio used the power of design to solve it in a revolutionary way.
The problem, in this case, was one that has faced watchmakers since the dawn of mechanical timekeeping: watches are delicate, and they can break when you drop them. According to legend, that’s exactly what happened to designer Kikuo Ibe, whose smashed timepiece set him off on an epic quest to create a watch that was not just totally shock resistant, but also 10-bar water resistant and (for good measure) able to run for 10 years on a single battery.
The result was the Casio G-SHOCK DW5000C, released in 1983. An instant success, the DW5000C was followed six years later by another equally disruptive design, the AW500. Building on the shock-resistance and durability of the original G-SHOCK, and its distinctive looks, this model added something new to the package: an analog dial alongside the digital readout.
More than three decades later, both the DW5000C and AW500 have become iconic models in the G-SHOCK family, and their DNA has been passed down to hundreds of subsequent G-SHOCK designs, most recently the black-on-black GA2100-1A1 and its white-on-white sibling the GA2100-7A.
While both the GA2100-1A1 and GA2100-7A are advanced electronic timepieces featuring a world timer with 31 time zones, five daily alarms and a perpetual calendar that won’t require adjustment until the year 2099, it’s how they interpret the DNA of the DW5000C and AW500 that truly sets them apart.
When we’re talking about the GA2100, of course, there’s one particular feature that stands out more than any other: the bezel. While the GA2100’s octagonal bezel has drawn comparisons to other famous watch designs (and earned it a couple of fun nicknames along the way), this eight-sided shape has been a defining element of the G-SHOCK’s aesthetic since 1983.
Rendered in a more equilateral form on the GA2100, this bezel isn’t just an aesthetic element, it’s an integral part of the watch’s new Carbon Core Guard, a case whose lightweight, high strength and water resistance offer superlative protection from impacts and the elements.When we’re talking about the GA2100, of course, there’s one particular feature that stands out more than any other: the bezel. While the GA2100’s octagonal bezel has drawn comparisons to other famous watch designs (and earned it a couple of fun nicknames along the way), this eight-sided shape has been a defining element of the G-SHOCK’s aesthetic since 1983.
Rendered in a more equilateral form on the GA2100, this bezel isn’t just an aesthetic element, it’s an integral part of the watch’s new Carbon Core Guard, a case whose lightweight, high strength and water resistance offer superlative protection from impacts and the elements.
The band’s dimples and wave structure – key features in the first G-SHOCK’s shock-resistant band structure – are still there, too, offering an unmistakable visual link to the original.
As fashion, architecture and interior design move towards sleeker shapes and a more monochromatic palette, the GA2100’s minimalist look remains perfectly in sync with the zeitgeist. Thanks to the use of light and strong carbon fibre-reinforced resin, Casio was able to create the slimmest analog-digital G-Shock case yet – just 11.8 mm thin – without sacrificing the watch’s legendary durability.
Despite this modern, svelte aesthetic, the GA2100’s case still carries elements inherited directly from the very first G-Shock model in its profile, with the same button layout, uneven surface and fixed-angle band.
Complementing the clean lines of its case, the GA2100’s dial is equally modern, with every facet and detail considered for functionality and style. The dial creates a sense of depth and dimension through its sophisticated use of 3D molding, with a minute-mark-notched dial ring, index cuts, analog day indicator, and an irregular-shaped LCD. Combined with the GA2100’s angular hands, this spacious layout contributes to the dial’s overall clean and modern look, as well as excellent visibility.
In a final touch of aesthetic finesse, the monochromatic faces of the GA2100-1A1 and GA2100-7A are rendered in carefully selected shades of black and white respectively, contributing to a rich interplay of light and shadow, and increasing readability at-a-glance.
Like all great designs – including the 1983 G-SHOCK DW5000C and its successor the AW500– the Casio G-SHOCK GA2100-1A1 and GA2100-7A excel by letting their function dictate their form. This results in not just one of the most high-performance timepieces on the market – resistant to shocks, rated for 200-meters of water resistance, highly accurate and weighing just 51 grams including the strap – but one of the most stylishly modern, too. Such is the power of an elegant solution to an age-old problem.
All content including images is credited to Hodinkee.