Field report: G-Steel GSTB400
VSasio announced a noticeably thinner version of its affordable metal-coated G-steel timepiece in may. The new collection consists of three references, and we went into the field with two of the models.
The new, slimmer G-Steel is not only the thinnest wristwatch in the line, the size of the entire case has been reduced, making it one of the most wearable G-Shock watches out there. we have never tested. With a diameter of 41mm without the case protectors (49mm including the case protectors) and a thickness of only 12.99mm (Casio says 12.9mm), the stainless steel, resin and fiberglass case carbon is perfect on paper. But what does it do on the wrist?
More importantly, the aesthetics of the G-Shock are retained but without the typical bulk. There’s a wrist presence, but not like you’re used to. Compared to the 14.5mm thickness of its predecessor, the reduction of around 1.5mm is much appreciated, however, it was the between-drop measurement of just 46.5mm that impressed me even more. than the reduced height. On my 7 inch wrist, I found this watch to look more like a Swiss watch than a typical Casio or Seiko sports watch for that matter. I don’t need the watch to be 38mm in diameter and 10mm thick to wear it well (although those with smaller wrists may prefer this), and I tend to gravitate towards watches. 41 mm, roughly a millimeter.
Casio sent us two lenders (as indicated by the “S” engraving on the caseback). One was the G-Steel GSTB400-1A (steel case with rubber strap) and the other was the GSTB400D-1A (steel case with steel strap), to try. We haven’t seen or tested the GSTB400BD1A2 (black PVD steel with matching strap), but like the other two, Casio has chosen a pretty appealing colorway. Obviously, a lot of effort has gone into every detail of this new G-Steel collection.
With the rubber strap attached, the G-Steel GSTB400-1A weighs just 78.6 grams which, considering the metal case and sturdiness, is rather light. The bezel, case top, buttons, screws and caseback are made of stainless steel, while the middle case and interior brackets are made using Casio’s Carbon Core Guard technology which blends carbon fiber. carbon and resin to create a highly impact resistant structure that is also ultra-light weight. Perhaps best of all, you can see the marbled carbon fiber and resin material when you look at the case from the side and the caseback. The aesthetic is similar to the forged carbon you see on high-end watches costing huge amounts of money, but is presumably much cheaper to produce through the use of resin as opposed to a more pure carbon alloy, which we makes us wonder if, or when, we could see this material used over the outer casing. After all, the Carbon Core Guard is already used in several G-Shock collections. And unlike high-end forged carbon alloys, Casio is much more durable because it is used not only as an integral part of the case, but also to increase impact resistance.
Once you add the metal strap the total weight more than doubles, to 160.4 grams, but thanks to excellent ergonomics and the fact that a watch of this size with a metal strap typically weighs more, it doesn’t seem heavy at all. This is again thanks to the Carbon Core Guard structure – which probably cuts 20 to 40 grams compared to a similar all-steel watch.
One of the new design changes for the 2021 G-Steel GSTB400 is the omission of a crown. The GSTB300 which was introduced in 2020 still had the digital crown system, but Casio decided to do away with it in favor of a simple, proven four-button system that gives the watch a sleeker look, even with the hinges (box keepers) located at 3 and 9 o’clock. A crown, whether mechanical or digital, is always a source of potential weakness on a watch, so eliminate that while gaining better ergonomics – as has been the case with the majority of G-Shock since its introduction in 1983. – is a logical design choice.
While there is no indication that the GSTB400 was designed taking inspiration from specific past models, we couldn’t help but notice how comparable the vintage Casio AMW320R-1EV is when it is. placed next to the modern GSTB400. It might be a coincidence, but it probably doesn’t take into account how many product companies – whether we’re talking about a car or a watch – are drawing inspiration from older models. Notice how the distance between the lugs is shorter than that of the vintage watch, although overall the two watches (produced more than three decades apart) are quite close in size. The AWM320R-1EV, which we reviewed earlier, is thinner, at 11mm, but it’s also a standard Casio, not a very durable and impact resistant G-Shock. It also doesn’t have solar-powered automatic movement or Bluetooth time sync capabilities. The G-Steel’s ability to power itself and set the time automatically (when connected to Bluetooth through the G-Shock app), are the two G-Shock features that modern consumers we spoke with generally wish at all levels. G-Shocks with solar and Bluetooth are an important niche for Casio as they do not fall into the category of mechanical watches, they are not a standard battery-powered quartz, nor a smartwatch. This advanced type of G-Shock literally defines its own category.
Although not apparent in the photos, the GSTB400D-1A with a steel case and bracelet features a dark gray smoked mineral crystal protecting the dial. From some angles the semi-transparent crystal has a tinted appearance, while at other angles it looks clearer. This treatment looks excellent with the monotone color scheme, although this GSTB400-1A, with a rubber strap and red and white highlights on the dial, and a standard clear mineral crystal, is also attractive. There is also an all black PVD stainless steel model, the GSTB400BD1A2, with a blue themed dial, which looks just as crisp. All models have a flat mineral crystal (at this price you’re unlikely to get a sapphire crystal), and the crystal is placed about 1-2mm below the plane of the metal bezel, protecting it from impacts and damage. scratches. It is important to note that a mineral crystal is easily scratched compared to sapphire but not when shielded like this. A mineral crystal is also less brittle and prone to shattering than a sapphire crystal, so you can beat this watch by design and not worry too much about a broken or scratched crystal.
On the wrist, the almost perfect dimensions, the feeling of lightness (thanks to the Carbon Core Guard) and the ideal ergonomics are there. Not to mention, visually, the vertical brushing of the steel bezel and the mixture of polished and brushed surfaces on the various angular and faceted elements, create a watch that is as attractive as it is comfortable.
Finally, the dial, which has the depth and three-dimensional aesthetic that G-Shocks are known for, but it has been completely streamlined, even compared to the G-Steel GSTB300 released last year. The hands are more elegant, but still very prominent, which improves readability. And while there is only light on the hour and minute hands, the on-demand LED light is super bright so you can literally read the time, at a glance, with ease. , in any lighting environment. In addition, the layout of the sub-dial has been reorganized in a way that is both more aesthetically pleasing and easier to read. Not to mention that the displays have less superfluous functions, for example on the picture just above this paragraph, you can see the day display ‘FRI’ at 6 o’clock, and this can also be toggled to show a second time zone. Maybe my favorite feature is that you can use the sub-dial at 3 o’clock as part of the stopwatch function, or just as a running seconds reading, which means you read the main time from hands. analog (hours and minutes), then the seconds, from the dedicated reading, digitally.
Like the watch’s solar-powered and battery-powered hybrid quartz movement and Bluetooth time synchronization system, the dial display is also a hybrid, and even a sturdy case mixes many materials. G-Shock has really made progress with the latest G-Steel line, taking the best parts from many different technologies and production processes – the ultimate beneficiary being the consumer. This is my favorite G-Shock, resin or metal, introduced in the last couple of years, if not more.
Retail price is $ 320 for the G-Steel GSTB400-1A (with a black resin strap), $ 400 for the GSTB400D-1A (on a steel strap) and $ 500 for the GSTB400BD1A2 (in black PVD steel with matching bracelet).
Learn more about G-Shock.
Reference: GSTB400-1A (resin strap) / GSTB400D-1A (steel strap)
Total weight: 78.6 grams (resin strap) / 160.4 grams (steel strap)
Case diameter: 41mm (49mm including hinges)
Case thickness: 12.99 mm
Lug to Lug: 46.5mm Lug to Lug
Width of the lugs: 27 mm at the lugs at 19.5 mm at the buckle (resin strap) / 27 mm at the lugs at 19.75 mm at the clasp (steel strap)
Crown diameter: no crown
Glass: Mineral crystal (armored)