The internet is a drug. It lures watch aficionados with an addictive mix of horological danger and opportunity. Brand websites, gray market dealers, eBay, Chrono24, forums, Instagram, email come-ons – we’re exposed to an endless parade of tempting timepieces. With enough exposure (what’s that?), we eventually turn our attention to vintage and/or discontinued pieces. Watches like the G-SHOCK G-011D “Cube” . . .
Surfing the web, I gradually found myself intrigued by the G-SHOCK G-011D variants that made occasional guest appearances on social media. Before I knew it, I identified as Cube curious. After searching the Casio archives and curator websites, the Cube grew on me. 2007 – the year Casio decided it was hip to be square – never seemed so nostalgic.
Needless to say, my journey took me to eBay, where an entire palette of Cubes clamored for attention. Most looked like they’d gone a few rounds with Conor McGregor, and I wasn’t sure I liked the colorways. Next! Only . . . my saved search sent me alerts. Pssst! Hey Buddy, do you want to buy a watch real cheap? Have I got a Cube for you!
And then (angels singing) I received an alert about a new old stock Cube for sale. And then the bad news (record scratching sound): five hundred bucks. Not so cheap now, eh Mr. Bond?
I tagged the listing and balanced on the horns of a horological dilemma. As fascinated as I was with Casio cubism, I couldn’t be sure I’d like the G-SHOCK in the proverbial flesh. It was quite different from anything I own, other than the boxes in my garage.
Equally, that’s a lot of money for an old Casio (and an old Casio owner). But someone else might snatch it up! And it’s unblemished! The perfect colorway! One fine day, I pulled the PayPal trigger.
When my wife catches her first glimpse of my latest G-SHOCK she never fails to issue an pithy pronouncement. She took one look at the GA2000WM-1A Wavy Marble and dubbed it a “failed art project.” Her on-the-spot G-SHOCK G-011D Cube assessment: “It looks like a museum piece.” Alright, alright, alright!
Of the six G-SHOCK G-011D Cube colorways, I think I managed to snag the most legible of the bunch.
The analog face’s dark hands are easy to read against the light background. The hour indices are a shiny chrome affair on a satin-finished dial embossed with an attractive square grid pattern. The small positive LCD digital subdials are par for the Casio course. Small. Hard to read.
To maintain the purity of the G-SHOCK G-011D’s angular design, Casio recessed the silver pushers into the upper metal and resin lower bezels. Unlike every G-SHOCK I’ve ever owned, I have to use my fingernail to press them.
The Cube offers the usual comprehensive set of G-Shock functions: five alarms, countdown timer, stopwatch, and world time. Unless you have young eyes, the digital “subdials” render those functions tedious. The stopwatch is a perfect example, and Casio got the display backwards.
I’m used to seeing units of elapsed time in decreasing order: hours -> minutes -> seconds -> tenths -> hundredths. The Cube’s left digital “eye” displays hundredths of seconds, while the right digital “eye” displays minutes and seconds. The display crams four digits into the small circle on the right. Unfortunately, there isn’t a hand shift function in the event the hour and minute hands happen to be blocking your view of the digital display.
A funky watch is bound to have some funkiness to the functionality. For this one, it’s the time setting. With most ana-digi G-SHOCKS, you set the time digitally, and done. The ana syncs with the digi. Not the Cube.
You start by setting the digital time and date just like any other G-SHOCK. Then you set the analog time as a separate exercise. It only goes in one direction with the minute and hour hands on one motor, so it can take a while to make it around. Then through some Casio-voodoo, the minute hand does the last bit of adjustment to catch up with the digital seconds (see above). Set that funky timing, white boy!
The big ass bracelet’s brushed links do a pretty good imitation of a tank tread, but the watch is surprisingly comfortable.
And big enough for a gorilla; I removed four links to size it for my seven-inch wrist. The trifold, two-button clasp lacks a “safety” but feels almost as secure as Apple stock.
Between its weight (4.69 ounces) and the prominent “cube” body (15mm-ish thickness as a proportion to the width and length), the G-SHOCK G-011D feels Rolex substantial.
G-SHOCK’s take on Rubik’s cube only appears top heavy. Thanks to its contoured resin “back bezel,” the blocky bruiser doesn’t fall or spin around the wrist.
Unlike earlier Casios, the Cube’s amber LED – positioned at 7:30 – lights up the entire analog dial. In case you don’t have a spare hand free, the miniature rocket ships doubling as hour and minute hands are well-lumed. The LED light also has a battery-killing auto setting that will turn it on with the turn of your wrist.
Casio forgot/hadn’t figured out how to add backlighting to the G-SHOCK G-011D’s digital subdials. So you can forget about using the digital functions in the dark.
I’m a little embarrassed at the price I paid for this G-SHOCK G-011D – a timepiece that cost $150 back when it was born (2007). But no regrets. The G-SHOCK G-011D may not make it into the Saatchi Gallery, but it’s a brutally modern and practical piece with genuine schwing! Besides, everyone needs one weird watch. Right? And this is my very last one. I swear.
Model: G-SHOCK G-011D-7BDR
Price paid: $541 (MSRP in 2007: $150)
Case / Bezel: Stainless steel.
Crystal: Mineral Glass (flat).
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet.
Lume: Hands lumed. Amber LED light.
Dimensions / weight: 47.5 X 43.7 X 14.7 / 155-grams.
Movement: Casio Quartz Module #4762
Accuracy: +/- 15 seconds per month.
Battery life: 3 years.
Water resistance: 200 meters.
Functions: Analog Hour / Minute, Digital Hours (12 / 24) / Minutes / Seconds, Day / Date, Stopwatch, Countdown Timer, 5 Alarms, Hourly Signal, World Time (29 time zones / 27 cities).
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
A unique design evoking a retro theme. You’ll either love or hate it.
Legibility * * *
The analog dial with contrasting hands works well. The digital “sub-dials” are small and hard to read. The amber LED light for the dial is a winner. No backlight for the digital sub-dials is a loser.
Comfort * * * *
Some may worry about knocking into things with the thick case, and rightly so. The bracelet is surprisingly solid and well made. It’s as comfortable as my Rolex Yachtmaster.
Overall * * * *
The G-SHOCK G-011D Cube isn’t easily obtained; it’s scarce and expensive. And worth it.
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