The digital Frogman has been around for years, part of G-SHOCK’s “Master of G” series. In the summer of 2020, Casio introduced the GWF-A1000, the first analog Frogman. Uh-oh . . .
I am the Frogman! I am the walrus. Goo goo g’joob
More than a few diehard Frogman fanbois rejected the GWF-A1000. They didn’t like the analog intrusion into their hoppy digital froggy world. What’s more (or less), they reckoned the deleted depth gauge disqualified the GWF series as a “serious” diver’s watch.
Sigh. Dive computers have been around since the mid-80s. Historically, the vast majority of dive watches don’t have a depth gauge. Would the keepers of the G-SHOCK flame DQ the Rolex Sea Dweller?
The current digital Frogman retails at $1,000. Available in three colorways, the new analog Frogman stickers at $800. For the sake of journalism, I found the Ana-Frog at Macys.com at 25 percent off msrp, paying $600. (No commission on link.)
The elephant on the wrist
It’s a beast! With a case size of 57 x 53 x 20-mm, the G-SHOCK GWF-A1000 is wider and nearly as thick as the notoriously ginormous Breitling Emergency, which can signal the Coast Guard by satellite.
The Casio Frogman only signals its owner’s extroversion, slotting under a buttoned dress shirt cuff only slightly more discreetly than a hockey puck.
G-SHOCKs are as well-known as big watches as big name Hollywood actors are unknown for being short (e.g. Tom Cruise, Vin Diesel, Sylvester Stallone). At first glance or first touch (of the watch), many will recoil at the Ana-Frog’s size.
Ranidaphobes! Take a deep breath. The GWF-A1000’s a surprisingly comfortable timepiece and lighter than it looks, tipping the scales at a mere 119-grams. Besides, it’s a watch that is meant to be noticed. And so it will.
Borrowing from Formula 1 technology, the analog iteration of the Frogman uses a monocoque case formed from of a single, solid, seamless piece of carbon.
There’s no access to the Ana-Frog’s guts through the back. Should the solar-charged battery need replacement, the GFW-A1000 will have to return to Casio.
Putting it on the first time, it felt like I was about to fasten a heavy-duty manacle. The GGW-A1000’s wide, stiff straps and the double-tang buckle look and feel more like a restraining device for a Vegas escape act than a piece of man-jewelry.
Once it’s fastened, the G-SHOCK GWF-A1000 is surprisingly comfortable. All-day comfortable. While the process of affixing it during my week-long trial felt awkward, once buckled in, the Ana-Frog blended away every time.
After a week of the GWF-A1000 on the wrist, I feel the same way I did after two years on an aircraft carrier. It’s not that big.
Using the GFW-A1000 Ana-Frog
The Ana-Frog links to your smartphone via BlueTooth. The G-SHOCK Connected app facilitates the initial set-up for the current time, date, Daylight Saving status, tide location, alarm, dual (world) time, and timer. All the settings can also be executed directly on the watch (without the app) save the tide location.
Using the app is MUCH easier than fiddling with the Frog (a crime in most northern states). If paired with your phone, the time automatically updates via BlueTooth. Otherwise, the GFW-A1000 updates nightly using the radio signal from your nearest atomic clock (providing your area has reception).
The GFW-A1000’s analog watch face features Mr. Magoo-approved oversized hands and hour indices. This 57-year-old can discern the time easily, even without readers (no low-wage workers hired in the making of this review).
The second hand’s long black “counterweight” briefly blocks portions of the subdials (for a matter of seconds, really). It’s hard to read the Mode subdial (at 3:00 position) – which also indicates the day of the week. But the Dual/World Time dial is as legible as a children-at-play sign.
The glow-in-the-dark multi-colored lume looks like an airfield at night. The lume remains visible until the wee hours (or the wee-wee hours for Boomers).
The luminous 20-minute bezel scale from 12:00 to 4:00 is reminiscent of the bezels on old-school dive watches and adds some cool bling factor.
The LED illuminator is bright enough to make every detail of the dial visible in the dark and could serve as a mini-flashlight in a pinch (albeit three-seconds per button push).
The GWF-A1000 includes a Hands Shift function. It moves the hands out of the way of the subdials so you can see them unobstructed. Subarashī!
When you activate the Stopwatch or Countdown Timer, the clock hands move back to the current time. Depending on the current time, hands obstructs the subdial (at 8 o’clock) registering the minutes and hours for the Stopwatch and Countdown Timer functions.
It would’ve made more sense to move the current time to the Dual Time subdial and use the clock hands to register the minutes and hours for the Stopwatch. (There will be a test.) The function being used should be front and center. It’s a truly baffling error in an $800 watch.
[A workaround: use the Dive Mode timer as the stopwatch – which is limited to two hours. Ironically, in Dive Mode, the current time IS moved to the Dual Time subdial.]
Dive, dive, dive!
The Ana-Frog’s Dive Mode measures both dive and surface interval times. It records and transmits the times to the G-SHOCK Connected app Diving Log on your phone. The Diving Log records your dive’s location and you can edit the Diving Log on the phone to include notes and photos. The Tide function is useful for shore diving.
As I mentioned at the start, today’s divers use dive computers that perform ALL the measurements and calculations that guide divers safely through a dive: dive time, surface interval time, depth, remaining no-decompression time, decompression time, etc.
What makes the G-SHOCK Frogman GFW-A1000 a dive watch: the ISO compliant water resistance to 200 meters. The dive timer is marginally more useful (but more complicated) than an old-school unidirectional ratcheting bezel.
Final thoughts: G-SHOCK GFW-A1000
This is not the dive watch a “real” diver’s looking for – because they aren’t. Not unless they want a timepiece that tells people that they’re a diver when they’re not diving.
Then again, how many millenials know that a frogman is a scuba diver, not an amphibian sequel to The Fly? The Jeff Goldblum horror movie that . . . never mind. Suffice it to say, the G-SHOCK GFW-A1000 is a cool, comfortable toy for die-hard G-SHOCKerati. It’s joining my weekend rotation.
Model: G-SHOCK Frogman GWF-A1000-1A
Price: $800 (paid $600 on sale at Macys.com)
Case: Carbon fiber reinforced resin monocoque.
Crystal: Spherical sapphire.
Strap: Resin (fluoro-elastomer).
Dimensions: 50.9 x 46.0 x 14.7 mm / 66 g.
Movement: Quartz Module #5623.
Battery life: Solar rechargeable. 5 months (normal use without exposure to light after charge). 30 months (when stored in total darkness with the power save function).
Water resistance: ISO-certified Diver 200m (660 ft).
Functions: Analog Hour / Minute / Seconds, Date, Day, Stopwatch (1-sec), Countdown timer, Daily Alarm, 24-hour Subdial, Dual Time (27 time zones / 300+ cities), Tide, Daylight Saving Time, Hands Shift, Dive and Surface Interval Timer.
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * *
Big and audacious. The G-SHOCK-averse will be aghast.
Legibility * * * *
Big hands and giant hour indices, dazzling lume and light. Star deducted for the tiny Mode labels (and day of week) dial.
Comfort * * * *
Surprisingly comfortable and lightweight, which belies the large, ungainly appearance. Social discomfort is another matter.
Overall * * * *
A great G-SHOCK dinged by Stopwatch and Timer legibility.