G-Shock GA1100–1A3 Review: A Rugged Compass
The G-Shock remains one of the toughest and most well-known watch lines in the world. The Aviation series that Casio produces attempts to refine that ruggedness slightly, by adding analog movements but marrying the mechanical with a myriad of technologies across the different models: atomic timekeeping, solar power, temperature and barometric readings, compasses, stopwatches, lateral g protection, dual time zones and the like.
Here, the GA1100–1A3 uses a few of the tricks from the trunk, so its sports main feature set consists of compass, timekeeping for multiple zones, 200 meter water resistance, 2-year battery life, and temperature readings.
Price as Reviewed: $250 at G-Shock
Thick resin band, shock resistant main housing, with dials illuminate at night if exposed to light during the day. The GA1100–1A3 is no ultra sleek, minimalistic timepiece. If anything, it even slightly departs from the aviation watch style and goes full anarchy: military ruggedized and aggressive edges and angles.
This model is a subtle black with grey and green accents, but for G-Shock offers a red, white, and blue or “loud” option, which is also seen in this review. No feature differences between the two; just color.
The G-Shock GA1100–1A3 is better suited for larger wrists, because on my slim wrists, it just hurts. Taking some adjustment, the watch feels fine, but at first jabs and squeezes in all the wrong places. So, take that into account.
However, using the GA1100–1A3 is different matter entirely. Five buttons at your disposal include the mode, mode, search, light, adjust and compass. Each one takes some mastery, including setting the time; a trip to the user manual is not misguided. Once that’s all out of the way however, then the rest of the watch is a smooth experience.
I set mine to track time in NYC and in Los Angeles/San Francisco. My two digital displays show seconds and time, or the date and day if I’m so inclined. It’s really a matter of preference.
If you really don’t mind that every company is coming out with a smartwatch, or if you don’t mind such follies because you’re looking for a hard and resilient watch that’s capable of keeping up with you on adventures, then there are fewer reasons to not pursue the entry-level G-Shock Aviation offering.
After all, its temperature gauge can go up to 359 degrees — not that you’d still have it on your wrist, anyway.
- Rugged and water-resistant
- Bold, aviation inspired design
- Plethora of functions
- How will this compete in a sea of smartwatches, eventually?
- Can be uncomfortable on smaller wrists
- Setup has a learning curve