All G-SHOCKs come with a standard set of functions. Some are incredibly useful, some perfectly useless. Here’s my guide to three G-SHOCK functions average buyers will use and appreciate, and three G-SHOCK functions no one really needs . . .
Useful G-SHOCK Functions
It’s a piecing glimpse into the obvious: most people buy G-SHOCKs to tell the time. To be able to do so despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (e.g., dust, water and shock). Some G-SHOCKs sync the time with your phone, some with satellites, some are fully independent. All are incredibly accurate.
While Casio made its bones displaying the time digitally, the success of pieces like the GA-2100 has opened the floodgates to new analogue displays. At the same time, Casio continues to improve G-SHOCK toughness (e.g., the MT-G series’ carbon fiber-reinforced resin case with Dual Core Guard structure).
Countdown Timer (TA)
Now that OK Google, Alexa and Siri hang out in the kitchen, setting a timer couldn’t be easier. “Hey Alexa! Time eleven minutes” is boiled egg bushido. “Hey Siri! Set an alarm for 15 minutes” is pasta perfection.
But why pester those spies for a time-remaining update when a quick glance at your G-SHOCK will do? Besides, there are times when you don’t want to invite Big Tech in your life (e.g., a countdown to ecstasy).
Setting the G-SHOCK’s countdown timer can be a challenge, but there’s fun to be had. If you have two G-SHOCKS, use the countdown function on the second watch to give yourself two minutes to figure out how to set the countdown timer on the first watch.
G-SHOCK Functions – World Time (WT)
If you travel to other time zones (a pre-COVID thing), the utility of the G-SHOCK’s World Time function is self-evident.
If you don’t, remember: it’s not polite to call/text/DM a business contact at 2am because you didn’t factor the time difference. And who knows the time in Malaysia (save Malaysians)?
If you’re truly worldwide, you can activate WT on your watch, find the appropriate city code for the time zone in question (KUL) and avoid unnecessarily awkward international communication.
Or you could say “Hey Google/Alexa/Siri, what’s the time in Kuala Lumpur?” But then you run the risk of getting information about koala bears. G-SHOCK FTW.
Top 3 Useless G-SHOCK functions:
All G-SHOCKs have a programmable alarm. Some have five. Unfortunately, the beep is only slightly louder than an art fart, and the electronic heads-up lasts just 10 seconds. In fact, the word “alarm” is alarmingly misleading.
The G-SHOCK alarms can be useful to remind you of a daily task: taking your meds, feeding the cat, recharging your solar G-SHOCKs, etc. But again, that’s provided you’re in a soundproof booth (remember: HAL can read your lips).
Could G-SHOCK add vibration to increase the alarm’s utility? It could. They could also just make it louder.
G-SHOCK Functions – Auto-light (A.EL)
In case you’re wondering, “A.EL” stands for “battery killer.” When toggled on, a Casio so equipped automatically turns on the light on when you raise and turn your wrist to view the watch in the dark. It’s kinda cool, but . . .
The G-SHOCKs accelerometer activates the light if you so much as twitch your hand. You’ll see the watch lighting up repeatedly in your peripheral vision, and nearby ships might think you’re signaling distress in Morse Code.
Hourly Chime (SIG)
The G-SHOCK hourly chime puts the Road Runner on your wrist. Beep-beep, it’s 4 o’clock. Beep-beep, it’s 5 o’clock.
Who needs a time reminder on the hour, every hour, day and night? Promethius at watchuseek.com gave the best answer I could find: “The radio station I listen to has news on-the-hour, so if the chime goes off five seconds before the news, I know I need to adjust it. I admit, I’m pedantic.”
Wait. Who’s the say his G-SHOCK isn’t more accurate than the radio station? What of the people around you at work and home forced to tolerate the infernal hourly beeping? Trust me. They hate you for it.
What Did We Learn?
All G-SHOCKs have at least three useful functions. Many go well beyond that. The Royal Air Force GRB200RAF-8A has a compass, altitude/barometer, thermometer, flight mission log, location indicator and auto altitude calibrator. Of course, the watch’s utility is a bit dubious on a tennis court.
Bottom line: G-SHOCKs are inherently useful, and what you don’t use can’t hurt you.