The year was 1984...
I was 9 years old in early 1984. My amusing uncle, Björn, summoned me to his small kitchen table at this Helsingborg flat, he had a gift for me. I was blindfolded (don’t worry, this story has a happy ending) and after a few seconds, he shook something near my ears that sounded like a box of tic tacs.
Now, removing the blindfold what had sounded like tic tacs were in fact some lollies which turned out to be a diversion tactic for the actual present that was gift wrapped on the table in front of me. I opened it up and this turned out to be the first watch I remember owning, a Casio digital watch.
This is all a very clear memory to me and one could say, the beginning of a lifelong interest in watches. I’ve always had a soft spot for Casio G-Shocks from that day on, but to me they were the watches of a child, and not the elegant mechanical watches that I’m fawning over as an adult.
I quite liked the full metal models that were released over 2018, but just a little too shiny for my personal taste – bling is not me.
However, I was about to see a watch that changed all that..
I came across the Baselworld release of the Full Metal G-Shock with a ‘black aged ip treatment’ and a super cool looking reversed display. Just pure, post apocalyptic, Terminator vibe…. Every watch person knows what happens next. A distinct feeling of I must have this …and it’s all you can think about every day. It’s a difficult thing when this happens since it must at all costs be hidden from a wife that for some reason thinks that paying off the mortgage and such silliness is more important than ‘wasting’ money on stupid watches…particularly one that looked like it ‘came out of a 2 dollar supermarket machine’. Pfft…
I scoured the internet for more and there was nothing else available than a press release. Eventually there were a couple of articles on the usual suspects watch sites, but nothing for sale anywhere in Australia. I visited the local Melbourne Casio shop and spoke to the Casio guy there, he promised he’d call when they had stock, but never did with stock updates or lack of (and they wonder why retail is dying).
Then one day, 2 came up for sale on ebay from a Queensland based seller. I agonised for day or so (after all, the price of this model is about 100 times more than my first Casio) and finally bought it. I’m glad I did.
First impressions of the watch were fantastic. The ‘forced patina’ that some scoff at online, looked just right, like something recovered from the aftermath of the Skynet attack. Also, since the aging process has already started, there was none of the usual fears of accidently bumping into a doorpost and scratching something or other. I love this since whilst I’m always very careful with my possessions, the inevitable bump in to something will this time only ADD to the look.
Following are my impressions after about 6 months of ownership.
What first strikes you is the fact that whilst it looks like a small weapon in images, it’s actually reasonably light and very comfortable (on my 19cm / 7.5inch wrist).
Unlike every app ever for any watch ever, connecting is easy and there are just a few essential functions available, such as adjusting the time and setting alarms etc. This is useful since the radio controlled automatic time adjustment seemingly only works in Japan or the US.
The watch 'goes to sleep' if not used for a while, but quickly wakes up the moment you pick it up, and it keeps the time accurately regardless. This energy saving mode turns the screen and bluetooth off.
It has a ‘super illuminator, high-intensity full-auto LED backlight’ built in. Which is yes, you guessed it, a rather unexciting blue backlight. It does fade in and out which is quite nice but there are a lot of adjectives in the marketing guff for a fade in blue light. You can activate the light manually with one of the buttons and it also fades in automatically when you lift your wrist..which actually works much better than any smartwatch I’ve ever owned.
Following the application of black IP (ion-plating), the case and band undergo proprietary aging processing to give a vintage look. The band connection sections employ a three-pronged structure to distribute the impact from shocks.
Full-metal, shock-resistant structure
Fine resin cushioning material is inserted between the stainless-steel case and bezel, and the module is enclosed in a protective shell. A shock-resistant structure with a metal exterior is realised, while maintaining the form of the first G-SHOCK model.
DLC coated screw back
This model features a screw back that is thick and highly airtight. DLC processing gives this component strong resistance to abrasions.
The specially developed button structure combines large cylindrical forged buttons with internal pipes that guard the vulnerable button shafts from the inside against lateral shocks.
Android & iOs apps that allows for easy operation of various watch functions
Reminders of dates registered in the app appear on the watch in the form of both a title display and a special light-emission pattern, such as blinking or colour change.
Time and place log
This app enables you to stamp events and the time of their occurrence on the map with watch button operation. You can edit titles and manage entries as log data by G-SHOCK Connected app.
Automatic time adjustment*
World time for over 300 cities*
(+ original point)
Localised calendar setting
(day/month display in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, or Russian)
*Updating of internal data according to the latest time zone and daylight saving time information
The back of the watch is filled with more superlatives and has a similar dark grey look but is distinctly shiny, no aging process here.
There is stop watch, alarm, a function that allows you to pinpoint your exact location in the world at that very moment through your smartphone connection and a world clock.
Have I used any of this? Nah, I have a smartphone that does all those things and big sausage fingers that could never properly depress the spongy buttons on the watch.
On that note, probably the least satisfying part of the watch is the buttons. They’re quite small, a tad challenging to depress, and spongy. There’s no real clicky response when depressing any of them. They’re also not metal and feels a bit like they don’t really belong. That’s my only gripe really, and unlike gripes that can eventually start to annoy you so much that they become deal breakers, I can honestly say it does not bother me at all.
So there you have it. Uncle Björn did start something on that day back in 1984 (pretty sure Stevie Wonder’s ‘I just called to say I love you’ was playing in the background) and as with all inanimate objects, it’s not necessarily the item itself but how you feel about it and perhaps the memories you project on to it.
Here's a good start to finding your own Full Metal G-Shock
Did you enjoy this review? Coffee fuels my night time ponderings
Did you enjoy this review? Coffee fuels my night time ponderings