Everyone needs a beater watch, or a watch that you use to set all your other watches to – it’s a staple part of any collection. For me, I felt that Casio’s G-Shock range with radio controlled timekeeping covers both of these requirement perfectly. I thought whilst I’m at it, I don’t want to worry about batteries either so I went looking for a solar powered G-Shock too. The GW-7900B-1ER was the one I went for. Affordable, good specs, beastly in looks and construction – it seems like a solid choice. With a price ranging between £70-£100 it is a level up from the base G-Shocks, most likely because of the solar and radio functions. Let’s see how it’s turned out.
- Case dimensions: 52.4mm diameter x 50mm lug to lug x 17.7mm height
- Weight: 71g
- Crystal: mineral
- Movement: 3200 module
- Water resistance: 200m
- Special features:
- EL backlight
- Solar powered
- Shock resistance
- Radio signal reception
- Moon phase indicator
- Tide indicator
- 5 daily alarms
It’s a G-Shock: they’re well known for being incredibly hard wearing and shock resistant. The case is a pretty manly and angular design, and is well moulded.
What is it made of? Whilst it looks like plastic, it is not – it in fact Urethane resin. This is not brittle like plastic. It won’t crack or break under impact and shock loading; and it has outstanding abrasion and impact resistance for long life.
One of the main features of G-Shocks is how the cases are made with a hollow construction and cushioning to protect the module. The G stands for Gravitational, so their main focus is being able to withstand drops. They go through a lot of testing, check out the website to watch the videos of these tests: drop, piston, hammer, vibration, water and ice tests.
The watch is quite light at 71g. Obviously this is due to the fact that it’s a digital watch made of resin. I believe the only steel is the frame of the case, caseback and the buckle. When you first hold or wear it, it can feel a little lightweight, but you soon come to appreciate how well put together this watch is despite that.
The top of the case features 4 cool screws in the corners of the bezel. I assume they actually do something and hold the case together and are not just an aesthetic touch.
The markings in the bezel area are set into the plastic and filled with a light grey paint to make them readable. The moulding is pretty neat and accurate; there’s no sloppiness anywhere.
The pushers have a knurled grip and provide decent feedback when pushed. The bottom right pusher is a little different in that it provides out more and has vertical channels for even better grip, because this is the primary button for features like the stopwatch and timer.
The watch has a mineral crystal. Obviously a hardlex or sapphire crystal would be preferable but it’s well protected against knocks by the protruding bezel area.
The brushed stainless steel caseback is secured by screws hidden underneath the wrist moulds, with various watch details / specifics and the logo engraved into it.
The 200m water resistance means that it’s perfectly capable of anything a normal person like you and I could throw at it; even scuba diving.
This model (I think) is the cooler looking of the two with the negative display – the background of the panels are all black, with lighter digits. Some may find its a bit harder to read though – but that’s why the illumination is invaluable.
The illumination provides a bright green glow when you press the G button on the front. You can set the length of time it displays and also automatic activation when you raise your wrist.
The dial is all digital of course. Some may be put off with that straight away. But don’t forget, this is a functional watch. The entire dial is a solar cell (apart from the LCDs), and you can see a subtle blue tint to it when the light hits it right.
The bottom LCD is the primary display, with the time and running stopwatch or timer etc. The top panel contains supplementary information; such as the date, world time zone, a description of what mode you’re in etc. Between these panels are the Moonphase / tide / running seconds indicators.
There’s also a few discreet indicators dotted around, such as battery level, RC indicator, mute, auto illumination, and alarm.
Like the case, the strap is made of Urethane resin. This could easily be rubber but Urethane resin is more abrasion, sunlight and weather resistant. It also seems pretty resilient to oils as I accidentally got some sun cream on it and it wiped off pretty easily. Besides, this also means the case and strap match up perfectly.
The strap is very soft on the skin, if you have it sized correctly you can wear it all day. It’s not that breathable though, and you find you get a bit of a sweaty wrist.
The strap has a plain matte finish as per the case, no detailing or patterning on the top.
The strap and case do not have conventional lugs. The strap is secured into the lugs with screws either side, incorporating the wrist moulds. The section of strap that is connected is just the centre section, almost like a tab that is inserted into the lug.
The strap has a very plain polished tang buckle. This is quite disappointing considering the price of the watch. The Casio logo is engraved on the bottom – I think it would be better on the top to show some sort of detailing.
The “movement” within the Casio G-Shock GW-7900B-1ER is their 3200 module. Not a “movement” at all, as it’s completely digital and has no moving parts. In fact, this is the first digital watch I’ve ever reviewed here on WIAA.
The module is protected from shocks by being suspended within the case from a few points, as if it’s floating on air. It has a 9 months battery life from full charge without any more exposure to light.
So it’s long lasting in terms of battery, hard wearing (can take a knock) and accurately sets itself regularly so will always be set correctly.
What else is like a G-Shock? There’s the Timex Ironman range but they just don’t have the same requirements. Citizen have some lovely alternatives but they’re too expensive.
The Casio G-Shock GW-7900B-1ER has proved to be perfect for travelling (I took it to France immediately after buying it hence the pictures). It’s also perfect for a beater watch and for setting all your other watches to thanks to the radio setting. I’m very happy with it – it will become a very active part of my collection for a long time.