My Dad was a firefighter for his entire adult life. One of the enduring memories I have, as a budding gear-baby, was Dad taking his g-shock off and setting it on the counter. Dad wore the same watch for years, it survived fire, and water, shock, and general abuse galore. Ultimately when Dad retired after decades of firefighting, he gave the watch to the chief at the time. It was still perfectly operational, and ready to do more work.
Fast forward to a few years ago, I was looking to make my first watch purchase. This was before I got into mechanicals before I bought my first Omega, or really understood what was available out there. Of course, I went looking at G-Shocks. Now, the watch we’re looking at today is not your run-of-the-mill G-Shock. We’re going to be looking at a “Master of G,” one of Casio’s top tier G-Shocks.
The Master of G line us broken up into, primarily, three different watches; the Gulfmaster, Mudmaster, and Gravitymaster. These three families of watches encompass the primary “genres” of the watch world, and also offer different levels of complexity. Specifically today we are going to be discussing the mid-tier Gulfmaster GWN-1000. Before we get into that let’s go over some specs:
- Case Size: My calipers measure this out somewhere between 52-48mm depending on where you measure. The Gulfmaster has a lot of protuberances on the case that makes getting a solid width difficult. Casio’s website lists it at 44.9mm
- Lug to Lug: Again I get 59.71mm, Casio lists it at 55.8mm
- Case Thickness: 17mm
- Weight: 3.5oz
- Movement: Module 5371
- Solar Charging, Shock Resistant, Tough Movement
So, who can wear a watch this size and look normal except maybe Thor or Arnold Schwarzenegger? I am, generally speaking, most comfortable between 40 and 43mm’s in regards to case size. So, to strap on roughly 45-50mm case seems like something ludicrous. But Casio makes large cased watches well, even the largest G-Shocks fit the wrist well and don’t seem too cartoonish.
The Gulfmaster does hug the wrist nicely for a watch this tall, think this is largely due to how the straps point almost directly down from the lugs. This allows the watch to maximize the space on your wrist.
The movement on a G-Shock is a difficult thing to talk about. They were built with robustness in mind, something that could stand up to shock, liquid, magnetism, and anything else we could possibly think to throw at it. The watch has at least 15 complications, including the triple sensor, world time, chronograph, etc. G-Shock’s are meant to be a bridge between a watch and something more (think smartwatch).
The Gulfmaster, in its role, is meant to be a maritime watch. It can help you predict the weather, keep track of the temperature, and keep you pointed in the right direction. If you bump up to the upper tier Gulfmaster you’ll also get a depth meter.
Another remarkable thing that the Gulfmaster does, is sync with the atomic clock. The “Tough Movement,” may not be a COSC certified quartz, but it does sync daily to ensure maximum accuracy. My example syncs around 1:30 am every night.
The Gulfmaster’s movement is a complicated one, with lots of customizability, and the ability to display a variety of information at one time. I’m not going to go into detail on all the different options, but I will say that you’re able to display a day/date, a different time zone, and/or track the barometric pressure changes over time, all while maintaining the analog face that shows you your home time.
Case and Crown
The case of a G-Shock is an exercise in resistance. The case is hollow and the movement is supported by a series of shock absorbing materials, additionally, the case is water resistant to 200m. It’s a watch you can wear to do anything, and will not let you down. That’s the whole G-Shock motto. It’s a little “tumorous,” with all the bumps and knobs for the different sensors and interfaces. I think this really lends itself to the whole “technical” look that Gshock is going for.
The Smart Access Crown was a big selling point for me. One of the big complaints that I see with some GShocks is that the “press and hold” button interface can be difficult to manage and frustrating to use. With the Smart Access Crown, you just make a half turn to unlock it, and then that’s the interface you’ll use to setup the different features. Much like the Breitling Aerospace, this user interface feels very natural and is simple to use.
Dial, Bezel, and Crystal
Okay easy stuff first, the crystal is mineral glass, which is… ‘fine.’ The next step up in the Gulfmaster line has a sapphire crystal, but mine just has mineral. It will scratch easier than sapphire, but at least it sits down below the steel bezel and so far that’s protected it.
Next the bezel, it’s metal (I’m guessing aluminum or steel) and it’s been anodized blue. Engraved into it are the numbers 1-10 on both sides. These are used with the barometer monitoring functions to show you the change in barometric pressure over time. Aside from the practical application, I think the bezel looks really great on this watch. The numbers are engraved giving it some nice depth, and there’s a lip going around the outside further accentuating the bezel’s dimension.
Lastly, the Gulfmaster has a very deep dial with large applied markers around the hour track. The hour indices are lumed, as well as the really nicely shaped hands. The hour hand is arrow shaped whereas the minute is more of a sword hand. The hands are both outlined in white, making them jump off the face.
There is a digital display on the lower portion of the dial, this display can be used to show lots of different information. I primarily use it for day/date. Next, there is a small sub-dial near the 10 o’clock position. This is used primarily for tracking the tide (based on your home city and the moon age) and/or monitoring barometric pressures changes when you have the watch in the right mode.
The last thing to point out is the backlight, pressing the top right button turns on the backlight which will illuminate the dial and digital display. It works alright, but I think it could be executed a little better. The light doesn’t stay on long, maybe if they had placed one at noon in addition to 6 you’d get a little more light on the dial.
All in all the watch is a busy one, but that busyness is intended to communicate a lot of information at a quick glance. I believe that the watch does this well.
G-Shocks mostly come on integral rubber straps, the Gulfmaster is no exception. The rubber itself is supple, and the double tang buckle is a nice touch. The one gripe that I have about the strap is that the steel keeper is large, and has a wide gap to feed the strap through. This doesn’t really “keep” the strap and it is known to ride up or down while you wear it, not a deal breaker but I do wish this was better executed.
Unlike other watches, you won’t be able to swap the strap out on the Gulfmaster, so what you see is what you get, that being said there are some folks out there that have figured out ways to mount aftermarket stuff so that might be worth looking into if you’re interested.
Casio GWN-1000B Gulfmaster Review – Conclusion
The GWN-1000B Gulfmaster by Casio is large and in-charge. It’s a watch that delivers a ton of information at a single glance. Its capabilities are slanted towards maritime applications, but it would (and does for me) preform anywhere that I’ve taken it. It would be worth looking at the different versions of the Gulfmaster to see if a higher-end or lower-end version may suit your needs better, but I dig this one. If what you want is a no-holds-barred, high functioning, watch that is always correct, then I say look no further than the Gulfmaster.
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