A few weeks ago I bought a Casio G-Shock GAE-2100WE-3A purely on impulse. I’ve liked the Casioaks since they first released back in 2019, but I’ve never really landed on which one I’d like for my wrist. Back in March of 2023 I was passing through the Philadelphia airport and I nearly bought the blue-grey urban camo dial version of the G-Shock GA-2100. But ultimately I waked away Casioak-less — it just wasn’t the right model or moment.
Then a few months later I was standing in a mall and noticed the GA-2100VB-1A (black with neon tron-y accents) but again…no purchase. Fast forward to the current time and I came across the GAE-2100WE-3A for some reason the stars aligned and I clicked “checkout.”
G-Shock Casioak Specs
|Case Dimensions||45.4mm x 48mm x 11.9mm|
|Material||Casio Carbon Core Guard (Impact-Resisistant Resin)|
|Movement||G-Shock 5611 Module|
|Battery Life||3 Years|
What was different about this particular iteration of the Casioak? And why did it ultimately sway me? Well, let me tell you… I’ve got a thing for some camo patterns. I love woodland camo in certain applications, and black Multicam in others (reference the GA-2100CA-8A that almost tempted me above). The GAE2100WE-3A is an all-woodland camo-patterned Casioak G-Shock with a matte grey/black dial. In addition to that you get an orange strap and a black bezel. So, with these, you can effectively create six different watch combos with this one purchase alone, all woodland camo-themed. That was a win, win, win for me.
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.
Casioak Watches: A Brief History Of The Ana-Digi Titan
I also want to go over a, very, brief history of the Casioak. I’m not going to go into Gerald Genta or talk at length about the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Those articles are out there and if you’re curious what that’s all about I’d point you in their direction. What I do want to go over is how disruptive this particular analog-digital watch release felt at the time.
The Casioak hit the watch scene like a comet out of nowhere. It was 2019 and this was a brand new shock resistant resin case shape from G-Shock Watches that we had never seen before. This was also the thinnest offering from the watch brand to come out at the time and as you know watch-nerds go wild for thin watches.
When they were first released Casioaks were difficult to find due to how strong the hype was among watch enthusiasts. Macy’s and other ADs were, probably for the first time, having their displays sell out of the octagonal models. There was even a period when the G-Shock Casioak sold for a premium and above MSRP. That craze has cooled down as the watches continued to be produced and the supply increased but they have remained popular. Casio has also done a great job of producing enough variety in this model to appeal to damn-near everyone. Do you want a clear Casioak? Check. How about white? Done. Neon Yellow? No prob, Bob. Stainless steel full metal Casioaks? Yep.
Camo? Well, you already know the story here…
Octagonal Resin Bliss
The Casioak’s case, by my calipers, is 45.4mm (wide) x 48mm (lug to lug) x 11.9mm (thick). In my opinion, these numbers are a little deceptive. I wouldn’t normally buy a 45mm watch. On any normal watch that would be massive.
However, these dimensions wears demurely on the Casioak. I have a 7.5” wrist and the case size perfectly proportioned.. It could be a little larger and I wouldn’t mind. A lot of this has to do with the fact that it’s more or less a square-adjacent case.
The watch can sit on the flat of your arm in a very well-balanced manner. Additionally, the point on the case where the straps connect is angled downward giving the strap the perfect opportunity to wrap around and hug your wrist securely.
The resin bezel of the Casioak is where this watch derives its nickname from. It’s an octagonal bezel that has text printed across it. The bezel has all of the button’s functions written on it as well as G-Shock Protection. This octagonal shape vaguely resembles the AP Royal Oak, thus Casioak. I can see it, I do think it’s a silly association, but I can see it.
Another point I want to touch on is Casio’s Carbon Core Guard technology, which is responsible for the timepiece’s resin case material. This is a proprietary process and materials that integrates carbon fiber within the resin itself.
What this has ultimately enabled them to do is build watches that maintain G-Shock’s reputation for durability and longevity while making them thinner and lighter than ever. If you turn the Casioak over you can see some of the carbon composite material surrounding the case itself.
Ana-Digi Display – Missing Lume
The Casioak analog-digital dial leans hard into the world of functionality. G-Shocks across the brand are high-functioning watches and as a result the dials tend to feature many complications like chronographs, countdown timers, multiple time zone tracking, and more.
The matte black dial itself is set down into the case a fair distance. That distance is used by Casio to emphasize the indices and chapter ring. The indices are big blocks of tan material that are raised above the dial’s surface and continue into the chapter ring. It would have been incredible if these were made out of some type of lume material to support stronger legibility.
G-Shock watches aren’t known for their incredible lume, but this just feels like a missed opportunity in my opinion. Between three and six o’clock sits a digital display LCD that’s used to display either the date and running seconds or whatever function you’re using with the Casioak.
Between 8 and 10 o’clock sits a dial with an indicator for the day of the week. Lastly, the Casioak’s hands are simple sword hands with an underwhelming amount of lume in their center. It’s worth pointing out that the lack of “acceptable” lume isn’t unexpected or even disappointing here. G’s usually have either an internal LED light source or a backlight and the Casioak is no different.
One Movement To Do It All
In the world of Casio G-Shocks we call movements “modules,” which makes sense when you get into an entirely computer/electronic-controlled watch. The G-Shock modules do an absolute ton. The Casioak that I’m reviewing contains the 5611 module and the list of functions that it contains is quite staggering. You’ve got your world time, your stopwatch, a timer, an alarm, it has a light, a calendar accurate to 2099… etc. When you start to dig into G-Shocks you’re confronted by the bleak reality that this affordable watch is all you objectively need.
The four buttons along the edge of the watch operate the ani-digi movement. Largely you’ll be using the bottom left button to cycle through the modes. The top left puts the watch into “set” mode for you to adjust the time, timer, or alarm times. The top right-hand button turns on the night light and the bottom right starts features like the stopwatch, timer, etc… It’s a little fiddly when you first get it, but with a little practice you’ll be timing French presses in no time.
Camo Strap and Orange Keeper Madness
G-shocks aren’t known for their strap adaptability. Usually, you’re stuck with what the watch comes with. There have been some aftermarket strap adaptors made over the years that would allow you to put certain G’s onto NATO straps, but the normal G-Shock experience is the integrated strap. However! The fact that this Camo Casioak came with multiple strap options and OEM strap adaptors was a massive selling point for me. The GAE2100WE-3A comes on a matching camo rubber strap with a two-piece orange nylon (NATO) strap installed into “strap adaptors” from Casio. The orange straps are branded with a Cordura label, which is very cool to me.
The rubber strap is my preferred method of wearing this watch. I also have a 5610 series G on the same rubber strap and it’s been great for the years that I’ve worn it. The GAE2100WE-3A’s rubber strap drops dramatically from the “lug” and allows it to wrap your wrist easily. Depending on how you’re putting tension on the strap you can occasionally see a small gap between the “end-link” and the “lug,” but overall the fit is nice.
The two-piece nylon nato-adjacent strap is super comfortable, but the strap keepers are a joke, at best. They’re a little oversized and move around on the strap as you go throughout your day. This drives me bananas, but I can get passed it to have the alternative look on the watch. The bonus here is that you have a free pass for 20mm straps now as the adaptors used on this strap can be used on any others you might have.
Overall: It’s Good, Get One
This is a fantastic watch. Camo seems to be somewhat polarizing, I have one friend who likes it (like myself) and another who hates it. Live and let live, I suppose. The Casioak, generally speaking, however, is extremely cool. I love the size and general aesthetic of it. From a utility perspective, it leaves you wanting for nothing. G-Shocks in general usually occupy a “hey I’ll toss this on to do some yard work or go for a hike,” vibe for me. I think the Camo Casioak will do that perfectly and I’m glad I finally clicked ‘checkout.’
Let’s say, however, that you want the same form factor as the Casioak but you’d prefer a watch that has a tiny bit more utility. Let me direct you to the GAB2100-1A. This is going to be an all-black Casioak but it runs a 5689 Module. This watch connects to your phone and updates its time from there. Plus you can set up the alarms and other features through the app. Furthermore, the GAB2100 is a solar charging Casioak as well. Not as much fun to look at, but objectively more functional. They’re even a bit cheaper than my special edition at around $140 on Amazon.
Casio G-Shock GAB-2100-1A
Let’s say, however, that you want the same form factor as the Casioak but you’d prefer a watch that has a tiny bit more utility. Let me direct you to the GAB-2100-1A. This is going to be an all-black Casioak but it runs a 5689 Module. This watch connects to your phone and updates its time from there. Plus you can set up the alarms and other features via Bluetooth through the app. Furthermore, the GAB2100 is a solar charging Casioak as well. Not as much fun to look at, but objectively more functional. They’re even a bit cheaper than my special edition at around $140 on Amazon.
Casio G-Shock DW5600
What if you don’t love the Octagonal case shape? Go with a Square G. Anything from the 5600 series would do you very well. I love my GWM5610-1. This is the atomic (syncs its time to the atomic clock), solar, all-black square G-Shock that we know and love. You can buy one of these on Amazon for roughly $100
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.
Aaron is a Nashville based watch collector and road bike rider. In addition to TBWS, his articles can been seen on ABlogtoWatch and Bladereviews.com. Aaron’s interests primarily focus on tool watches — specifically in the dive, pilot, or field watch arenas. When not over enthusiastically asking someone about the watch they’re wearing, Aaron can be found traveling, cycling, trying new restaurants with his partner Carissa, or petting any and all dogs within his sightline.