The G-Shock CasiOak: Overhyped or Just Right?


By: Greg Bedrosian

The Casio G-Shock has historically been a wristwatch that I haven’t been able to connect with. No matter the model, I could never find my zone. All the G-shock Watches I had ever seen were polarizing on opposite sides of the spectrum to me. They seemed to be something designed for rugged outdoors adventuring or designed to match a retro pair of Jordan 4s that I’m not interested in. Then something changed.

Jump To:

Case | Analog-Digital Display | Strap | Overall | Alternatives

In late August of 2019 G-Shock quietly released the G-Shock GA-2100 series with a blacked-out (and all red) analog-digital watch with an octagonal-bezel. The nickname “casioak ” quickly caught on. The watch enthusiast space accepted the CasiOak as a $100 poor mans’ Audemars Piguet Royal Oak homage and the stage was set for the latest iteration of the iconic Casio watches product line.

This new wave of CasiOak Watches quickly snowballed in popularity thanks to social media. By the time that hype-train rolled to a stop, they were all sold out. I managed to get my hands on a CasiOak during a future release phase. So now it was finally time to see if this new G-Shock CasiOak lived up to the hype.

45mm Carbon Core Guard Resin Case

The CasiOak was offered as a slim and tough watch, which it certainly seems to deliver on thanks to the new Carbon Core Guard technology. Essentially, the CasiOak case material is made of a very lightweight and shock resistant resin which has carbon fiber embedded throughout its structure for additional strength and durability. You can feel the amount of technology and research that went into making this watch as durable and reliable as it is.

In regard to the wearing experience of the wristwatch, the resin case is 11.8mm high and the lug to lug is 48mm making this one of the most wearable contemporary G-Shocks out there. Don’t panic over the 45mm case diameter. The CasiOak wears neatly on my 6.75” wrist. It’s even slim enough to fit under my glove while snowboarding. That’s a big win for me.

By far the most distinguishing feature for the CasiOak is the octagonal bezel. It’s done in a soft way that’s not too angular or awkward and it’s a core design feature that’s been integrated in all the iterations of the CasiOak. Since the initial release in 2019 there have been many new models released in many different color options as well as case material choices. There are full metal stainless steel CasiOak models featuring silver/black, gold, rose gold plating.

Analog-Digital Display With Pros And Cons

I found the digital functions such as world time, stopwatch, and countdown timer useless. The screen is so small that it’s impossible to read unless you stop whatever you’re doing and focus full-attention on the screen. It’s so small that Casio used a trick by tapping the “C & B” buttons to temporarily rotate the hands out of the way. I loved watching the hand automatically rotate.

The hands feature very poor lume while the hour markers aren’t lumed at all. Instead, you get a LED light to illuminate the dial from any angle. The light is positioned near the tiny digital screen.

The CasiOak analog-digital module (which is the movement of the watch), has undergone a number of changes and option releases, the most notable of which are the inclusion of Casio’s tough solar technology as well as bluetooth connectivity, which pairs with the G-Shock Connected app. So if you do have issues with viewing the smaller digital readout on the watch, it may be worth exploring one of the bluetooth models like the GA-B2100-1A.

Vented Resin Rubber Strap – No Frills, But Comfortable

A few of my coworkers thought that the CasiOak was a “cheap Wal-Mart watch”. I think that it was because of the resin band. The tang buckle is about as cheap as they come. Still, it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. The strap was what I expected in this price range.

The iconic vented rubber strap design offers both comfort and reliability. The vents allow air to pass through underneath the strap so as to allow your skin to properly breath (especially helpful if you’re wearing the CasiOak in a humid environment.

On the flip side, the vents are designed to also reduce the amount of strain that can occur on the spring bars, which connect the strap to the watch itself. If that connection point is subject to enough impact or pull-strain, the spring bars can fail and strap will separate from the watch. But with the rubber strap featuring venting on the sides, this greatly reduces the potential for spring bar failure.

The spring bars are quick-release but are configured in proprietary set up, which means that the CasiOak is designed only to fit straps from the brand. However, there are adapters you can pick up that will allow you to swap in and swap out any strap of your choice. But truthfully, the provided strap helps bring home the whole design of the watch, so for us the original strap is staying on the watch.

Overall Thoughts

Is the G-Shock really that good? It sure is. I’ve had multiple people tell me that it was the “best $100 watch” that they’ve ever had. I agree. The overall presentation of the watch sits in a perfect design space to offer watch enthusiasts all the iconic aesthetic queues that make G-Shock watches appealing without feeling bulky or wearing too large. Plus, there are so many different design and functionality options available today that anyone remotely interested in the aesthetics of the watch can most likely find the ideal CasiOak model to fit their needs and lifestyle.

CasiOak Alternatives

Casio G-Shock DW5600

If the slimmed down CasiOak still feels a bit too bulky, but you still want the design aesthetics of a G-Shock, then the classic and ever-relevant DW5600 is worth checking out. Modeled off of the first wave of G-Shocks, the DW5600 is a slim, small dimension wristwatch that helped to define the digital watch design and function motif. Plus, there are so many different iterations of the DW5600 that you should be able to find a design and colorway that clicks with your tastes.

Citizen Ana-Digi Temp

If the analog-digital display is something that you’re really attracted to but you don’t necessarily want all the rugged, impact-resistance driven design of the G-Shock resin case, you should consider the Citizen Ana-Digi Temp. Originally released in the 1980s, the Ana-Digi Temp features a 4 readout dial experience that combines a series of analog and digital readouts. Recently reissued in 2020, the Ana-Digi Temp is experiencing a design resurgence. As such, there are a large number of different color options and design motif – all of which capture the quintessential, retro aesthetics of the original.

6 thoughts on “The G-Shock CasiOak: Overhyped or Just Right?”

  1. I’d sworn never to buy anything larger than 42 mm. Then the CasiOaks started appearing and for 104 euros, why not give one a try? Turns out I love it! My mustard yellow GA-2110SU-9AJF is simply fun to wear. I like the color, the playful dial, the lack of a second hand, the lume and the way the minute hand makes a little jump every 20 seconds.

  2. Excellent review. The blackout version is my only G Shock. Light, comfortable, very high eye appeal for the money, main hands surprisingly readable, other features not so much and I like how it doesn’t scream G Shock in design, size and case wording. A keeper.

  3. Great review and photos!

    I recently picked up this version and love it. I had the original G-Shock that I bought at Service Merchandise in ME back in the early 80s. The battery lasted like 20 yrs I think. This version is great and I love the analog /digital complications. I haven’t found the band or buckle to be overly cheap and they seem commensurate with the quality of the watch itself. I do like the world-time function as it displays the time of oddball timezones such as India (where I work with a large number of people) and it’s handy when scheduling meetings. The manageable size of this watch is also a big plus as mentioned above. Finally, I own an AP RO Jumbo. Can’t help but chuckle every time I strap this one on….


Leave a Comment