Dive watches have long reigned supreme on the wrists of watch enthusiasts during the summer months, and we’re no strangers to encouraging exactly that in the HODINKEE Shop. But sometimes, a new watch comes around that makes you question everything you thought you knew – and this year, the G-SHOCK G-LIDE GBX100 has caught our eye. Designed for surfers, the GBX100 series features a number of dedicated water-sport attributes like tide graphs, Moon data, and sunshine hours, in addition to an impressive suite of aesthetic and technical specifications. In fact, this might be one of the most complete and compelling G-SHOCK releases in recent memory. And with a price tag set firmly at $ 160, there’s no doubting that G-SHOCK has another hit on its hands.
G-SHOCK watches have long been favored by surfers around the world for their durability, so it only makes sense for the brand to develop a watch that addresses the sport’s specific needs. G-SHOCK clearly did its homework on what complications might come in handy for riding the waves, but the GBX100 models will also appeal to anyone on the lookout for a quality sport watch. For starters, the watches share a number of details with G-SHOCK’s recently unveiled Move GBD100 series. That includes a memory-in-pixel (MIP) LCD display; continuous smartphone connectivity through Bluetooth, which allows the watch to offer vibration alerts and notifications for incoming calls, emails, messages, and reminders; and a training mode, with a three-axis accelerometer for measuring distance, speed, pace, calories burned, and steps. Other than the tide information included on the GBX100, the biggest difference between the two collections is the case design. The GBD100 line has a circular, all-resin case profile that accentuates its wrist presence, while the new GBX100 models share the rounded-octagonal form made famous by the original “square” G-SHOCK DW5000C from 1983. The GBX100 line is a slight physical evolution from the classic “square” in terms of size and material use, but for all intents and purposes, the new watches wear and feel like souped-up versions of the G-SHOCKs you know and love.
One of the most noticeable updates involves the bezel, which utilizes a double-layer construction of resin and forged stainless steel, a brand-new G-SHOCK design with a striking hairline finish. G-SHOCK says the use of steel allows for greater impact protection against collisions with rocks underwater, but it’s also just an overall attractive look and is an upgrade to the all-resin construction of most G-SHOCKs. The rest of the GBX100’s case is resin, with the exception of the screwed-in steel caseback. Each watch comes on a soft urethane strap with a number of perforations and a forked pin buckle that allows for easy size adjustment. There are small slits that allow for the draining of water and sweat. Additionally, the double keeper has a pair of inner prongs that ensure the strap – and watch – won’t move excessively when on the wrist.
The GBX100 models also include the new MIP LCD screens that G-SHOCK has rolled out over the past few years. This technology not only ensures a clean and crisp legibility, but also allows for extreme angle visibility and helps preserve battery power. It’s high-contrast, high-resolution, and is similar to the displays found on today’s top-of-the-line e-readers, so its application on a digital sport watch makes perfect sense. Each pixel on the LCD screen contains a certain amount of graphic data memory, allowing the pixels to remain visible without the use of additional battery power. This is of particular importance with the GBX100, because unlike other popular G-SHOCKs with Tough Solar technology, each of these watches is powered by a standard battery cell with a projected two-year lifespan. In addition to its improved resolution, the digital readout of the GBX100’s timekeeping display is larger than what is typical of G-SHOCK. All in all, the visibility of the new GBX100 models is arguably the clearest of any G-SHOCK – ever.
Bluetooth connectivity is part and parcel with most recent G-SHOCK releases, allowing for easy and straightforward access to the G-SHOCK Move app. This smartphone app is easy to use and undoubtedly enhances the overall user experience, but it’s also worth understanding that most of the watch’s capabilities can be handled manually; in fact, switching between each function or setting has never been easier. With a short hold of the Display button on the top left of the case, the watch’s wearer can quickly and easily navigate between the various settings, including Home Time; Time Adjustment; World Time; Alarm; Tide, Moon, and Sun; Beep configuration; Auto Light; Vibration; Bluetooth pairing; Airplane Mode; Phone Finder; imperial/metric settings; and a reset button. A quick click of the same Display button allows you to flick between the primary time and the main activity tracker with a seven-day step counter. The GBX100 models also include the standard G-SHOCK feature-set, such as a one-second stopwatch, an interval timer, a countdown timer, an auto calendar, world time, and up to four daily alarms.
The dedicated tide functionality includes all the relevant information any surfer – or beachgoer – might require for a day by the ocean. That includes the daily times for high and low tides, a tide graph, moon-phases, age of the Moon, and the sunshine hours for the specific location. The GBX100 models aren’t the first G-SHOCKs to include tide displays – the recently released analog Frogman has similar capability – but they are the very first to indicate the actual height of the high and low tides, in either centimeters or feet. Tide information is available from 3,300 ports via the G-SHOCK Move smartphone app, while the world’s best-known surfing spots come as pre-set options on the watch itself. It’s also possible to set custom tide points based on any known latitude and longitude.
There’s clearly a lot to appreciate about the new G-LIDE GBX100 series. These are really the first G-SHOCKs to maintain the look and feel of the classic “square” models, while offering functionality and durability that places them in close competition with today’s other top activity trackers. There are three different case and strap color variants now available in the HODINKEE Shop, all of which are priced at $ 160. The white option has a clean, monochromatic look that contrasts nicely with the watch’s negative display, and the black version maintains the overall sleek design that has remained inherent to G-SHOCK since its 1983 debut. The final design variant is the most visually distinctive, with a teal tone that immediately recalls the blue-green color of the ocean. It’s an attractive and summery look that stands out compared to the conventional G-SHOCK colorways without being over-the-top.
All three models in the G-SHOCK G-LIDE GBX100 series are now available in the HODINKEE Shop, right here.