One for the Watch ModsBy Adam Craniotes
It’s no secret that the GA-2100 has been a runaway success for G-Shock. With its angular case and slim profile — at least relative to the average G-Shock — it became an instant favorite for collectors of all stripes. Indeed, at its launch, there were shortages worldwide, with secondary prices skyrocketing in response to the unmitigated demand.
Of course, G-Shock being G-Shock, they weren’t content to let well enough alone, and after the initial models were released, they went on a tear with a veritable rainbow of colorways to match every mood, every outfit. They even offered metal outer cases, which were a nod not only to their venerable 5600 and 6900 series, which have seen similar treatment, but also to the modding community, which, in addition to customizing the dials, also made metal cases and bracelets.
For many, the GA-2100 was the model that finally put a G-Shock on their wrist. After all, for more than a few strictly mechanical watch collectors, a G-Shock was, in many ways, viewed as a tool at best or a toy at worst; a watch that you owned as a kid, but then put away as you grew up. And while the 100 million G-Shocks sold since its inception in 1983 puts the lie to this sentiment, it’s a fact that the GA-2100 converted more than a few collectors into true believers. At watch gatherings the world over, GA-2100s took their place on the tables and wrists of die- hard watch aficionados.
But as these new devotees began to delve deeper into the G-Shock catalog, they learned of things like Tough Solar, which is G-Shock’s term for solar charging, and Bluetooth connectivity, which allows the user to seamlessly connect their watch to their phone to set the functions and time. And although they could easily find other models from G-Shock to provide this expanded functionality, the deliberately barebones GA-2100 remained their go-to piece.
Fast forward to the here and now, and the demand for the GA-2100 remains unabated, despite the lack of bells and whistles. So, what does G-Shock do? Rest on their laurels and let the marketplace continue apace, or do they up the ante again? We’ll give you one guess…
Enter The GA-B2100
As you may have already guessed, the GA-B2100 addresses the above concerns by adding Tough Solar and Bluetooth connectivity to the 2100 series, all the while maintaining the form factor that made the original such a hit. And though there are purists who prefer that their G-Shocks eschew what they see as frippery and mission creep, and hew to the original design mandates, there’s no denying that solar charging is a boon and that being able to sync your watch to your phone is an awfully convenient way to set the multiple alarms and ensure that your watch is accurate down to the second.
As always, there are more than a couple of models to choose from. And while we predict that the basic black version will be the most popular — as was the case when the GA-2100 made its debut — it is also available in forest green, navy blue and yellow. This should be enough to placate the masses, right? Well, yes … and no. Yes, because it takes the original formula and sprinkles in additional functionality; and no because there are always those who want more.
Here Comes The “More”
As was noted earlier on, the modding community got their hooks into the GA-2100 in a big way. Almost overnight, third parties were churning out metal cases and bracelets to help the watch achieve a more luxurious mien. Of course, these were merely aesthetic options, with the underlying functionality of the watch remaining the same. G-Shock being, well, G-Shock took note, and thus the GM-B2100 was born, which takes the 2100 series to new heights.
But before we talk about the GM-B2100, we have to acknowledge the impact that the GMW-B5000 “Full Metal Square” had on G-Shock’s portfolio. Prior to the introduction of this watch, all-metal G-Shocks were the sole province of the range-topping MR-G series. These watches are veritable showcases for G-Shock’s mastery of materials and functionality, crafted out of titanium alloys, and in many cases, bearing handcrafted design elements. As is befitting of watches of this caliber, the pricing is commensurately steep, with the most expensive models topping USD 8,000.
The GMW-B5000 introduced full-metal construction to the classic Square, and at a price point that, while steep relative to its resin-cased stablemates, was still relatively affordable. Oh, and when G-Shock says “full metal,” they mean it. The outer case is steel, the inner case is steel, the caseback is steel, and yes, the bracelet is steel.
And so it is with the GM-B2100. It’s metal through and through. The forged stainless steel case and bracelet are alternately polished and brushed, while the screw-down caseback — “screw-back” in G-Shock parlance — is rendered in DLC- coated steel. All of this conspires to create an undeniable feeling of luxury on the wrist. For instance, there’s the way that it catches the light — which includes the metallic vapor deposition indexes, which have a prismatic effect when the sun hits them. And then there’s the reassuring heft, which imparts a feeling of invincibility that, while entirely subjective in nature, is welcome at this price point. In spite of this, the GM-B2100 is only 0.9mm thicker than the GA-B2100, an impressive feat, no doubt. And while the GM-B2100 doesn’t ring in at anywhere near the prices commanded by MR-G — or even G-Shock’s MT-G lineup, for that matter — at a starting price of USD 550, it’s a far cry from inexpensive.
And yet, with the combination of materials, functionality and design that the GM-B2100 offers, perhaps the price is right. Indeed, it’s hard to define exactly who the competition is for a watch like this, given its unique place in the overall watch firmament: it’s not purely analog or digital; it’s rugged, and yet refined; it’s neither particularly expensive, nor is it cheap… And when you’re in a category of one, you can pretty much make your own rules. And so it is with the GM-B2100.
The GM-B2100 is available now in classic silver, black IP and copper IP finishes.
Casio G-Shock GM-B2100 Full Metal “CASIOAK”
Movement: Quartz module; about 18 months of continuous operation with power saving ON after full charge (Tough Solar power system)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, 1/100th of a second stopwatch, countdown timer, Smartphone Link via Bluetooth, five daily alarms, hourly time signal, worldtime (38 cities and coordinated universal time, city code display, city name display, daylight saving on/off, home time swapping, auto summer time [DST] switching), battery level indicator, hand shift feature, 12-/24-hour format, full auto calendar, and LED backlight (Super Illuminator)
Case: 49.8mm × 44.4mm; stainless steel, black IP (ion plated) or copper IP; water resistant to 200m
Dial: Black with silver, black IP or copper IP accents; analog/digital display; hour markers with luminescent coating
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: Starting from USD 550