Some of the coolest and most affordable Casio G-Shock watches today are in the “G-Shock Metal Covered Series” which have two primary reasons for holding your interest right now. The first is the use of high-quality, solid steel case housings, a contrast to the popular resin cases that come in a universe of colors. Second is how the metal is finished, as well as the overall style-element that Casio is injecting into its core collection. Hands-on today, we look at the Casio G-Shock GM110B-1A with the black-coated steel case and iridescent dial, the GM110SCM-1A with its camouflage decoration over both the metal case and the mostly transparent strap. I am also looking at a sister model to the GM110SCM-1A that has the same camo/clear theme but is based on the GM5600 case family with the G-Shock reference GM5600SCM-1.
The latter of these watches is priced at $210, while the other two come in at $230 USD — making their price points very similar. The formula at play in these watches is Casio using existing “core collection” products in new, fashionably trendy ways. Casio has been getting so good at this I worry many consumers feel like they can’t keep up, as Casio (along with its Japanese watchmaker rivals) has been particularly prolific, of late. Note that such “fashion watches” exist alongside much more expensive G-Shock models that have brand-new case design and often new mechanism (modules) inside, as well as new pieces of functionality from time to time.
I consider the $200 range to be the sweet spot that most mainstream consumers are probably willing to spend on a Casio G-Shock. Watch enthusiasts like me can adore some of the fashionable designs Casio comes out with, but it is hard to resist its more high-tech pieces, which typically start at around $300 and can easily exceed $1,000, these days. I’ve said this before, but in 2020, I found myself wearing more G-Shock watches than just about anything else. Forget that I was mostly doing activities that needed a sports or beater watch, and consider that the sheer fun, practicality, comfort, and style of Casio just won my heart over when it came to wearing watches purely for myself during the pandemic.
Metal-cased Casio watches aren’t anything new, but over the last few years the brand has really improved the heft and finishing of the metal parts it uses for even its entry-level products. The cases are forged, stamped, cut, polished, and then often treated until they are ready to go onto watches. This is the same number of overall steps that cases for much more expensive luxury watches typically receive during the manufacturing process. This is also why these metal cases give a lot of their host products the look and feel of a more expensive timepiece.
For the GM5600SCM-1 and the GM110SCM-1A, the finished cases are laser-cut, which gives them the camouflage look. On the GM110B-1A, the cases are given an ion-plated black coating over the polished steel. Casio has been experimenting a lot with fashionable surface coloring and aesthetic treatments over the last few years. At least a few times a year, the brand comes out with wild rainbow models that are quickly sold out. This generation GM110 collection has one, even though the GM110B-1A is a sort of “rainbow-lite” model. I am referring to the full rainbow Casio GM110RB-2A (that cost $280 given the more complex coloring treatments).
The Casio G-Shock GM110 watch itself is 48.8mm-wide and contains the module 5553 movement, an analog-digital hybrid. The combination of hands and screens on the dial makes for a particularly hip look and this model, along with its family tree, has proven very commercially successful for Casio. The GM5600 is Casio’s iconic rectangular case design that has been a staple of the G-Shock universe since the 1980s. All the watches here have 200 meters of water resistance and, despite the metal cases, have all the traditional durability and environmental resistance that G-Shock watches are known for.
I sympathize with G-Shock collectors who know they can’t buy all the new watches and who are romanced by cool new Casio products a few times each year. It isn’t always possible to splurge with the higher-end G-Shock models but at these more affordable prices, paired with more mature case materials, I think the easiest way to experiment with new timepieces looks on a budget these days is with Casio. Price again for the Casio G-Shock GM5600SCM-1 watch is $210 USD. Price for the G-Shock reference GM110B-1A and GM110SCM-1A is $230 USD. Learn more or order at the G-Shock website here.