Casio has always had a knack for creating great G-Shock watches. And their high-end, analog Aviation collection is no different. The GW-40001A is in fact the highest end of their collection, and looks the most impressive. Based on atomic time-keeping functions, solar power, resistant up to 15Gs, with shock and vibration resistance, and is waterproof to 200M, the GW 40001A has the guts to function in just about all the Earth’s environments.
Price as Reviewed: $350 at G-Shock.
The first thing I noticed about the G-Shock Aviation GW-40001A is that it’s built like a watch. What that actually means is that its attention to detail is nearly stupendous. Ever gear, dial, hand, mark, and button is reinforced, well designed, and built to last. Heck, the main frame of the watch is surrounded by “alpha-gel” belt, as well as a layer underneath it with aluminum washers & oiled o-rings — basically it’s going anywhere, anytime soon. And the bright, orange accents makes it very easy to read, on-the-fly.
It’s really built for an Air Force pilot.
From past experiences, it seem as if Casio employed the use of Tritium on the multiple hands of the watch to ensure that solar energy would charge the paint and make it visible in low-light, to pure darkness. And it’s incredibly bright in those conditions, so it just works.
Powering An Atomic Wristwatch
That brings up the issue of solar energy. Casio claims that the GW-40001A would last just 6 months without a ray of sunlight, and if exposed to sunlight on a daily basis, would simply continue to function. After all, the GW-40001A uses an atomic wireless time-keeping style. If left to calibrate from anywhere between 3-15 minutes near a window where radio interference isn’t really a problem, it will automatically adjust to the correct time zone, whether it is in China, Germany, the UK, the United States, or Japan.
Otherwise, you can just go through the painful process of using the four independent function buttons to adjust the time manually. It took a full 2 hours for me to understand it (the instruction manual was no help, really), but videos on YouTube will get you around this.
That all brings up the primary question about energy: How does the GW-40001A keep itself ticking? Apparently, a couple of hours in the sun (or on your wrist) each day could theoretically keep it running — until the year 2099, which is when the built-in calendar ends.
So, You Want To Wear It To A Meeting?
That, I do not suggest, good sir or madam. Unless you’re awesome, or the boss, or are in a meeting where it is far from a black tie, tight-fitting suit affair. You’d be better off with a leather band that has a watch with similar technology, just not as sporty or you know — built for fighter jet pilots.
Having worn G-Shock’s Aviation GW4000-1A for at least a week, I can tell you it’s one of the coolest and most interesting watches I’ve worn. It may not be a compass, or can tell elevation like another one of my watches (read: a Suunto Core), but it’s a classic timepiece, made more effective with modern technology.
By all means, give it a shot and buy one.