I am reviewing the Casio DW-9000 G-Shock watch. This is a digital watch with large bezel, Casio’s G-Shock protection and a host of digital features including alarm, stopwatch (24 hours), countdown timer (24 hours), automatic calendar (up to year 2039), 12/24 hour time display, heavy duty resin band, mineral glass, G-Shock protection, a water resistance rating of 200 meters, Casio’s Illuminator back-glow lighting system, and a battery life of 2 years.
This is a rugged sport or casual watch which is designed to take and survive a beating. This is evident from the construction and the materials used. This example is from the year 1998 and since this time a slightly newer version has been released DW-9052 which retains the same module but has slight physical changes to the strap and case. One can buy the newer DW-9052 version for as cheaply as 30 or 40 Euros, which is an amazing price for a lot of watch! Second hand examples are even cheaper.
Model number: DW-9000
Official additional names: none
Casio G-Shocks are watches made for their shock protection, functionality and rugged design. This watch is made primarily from a resin material which houses what I believe is a metal stainless steel case underneath. This is primarily done for shock protection, of which the resin material does a great job of absorbing shocks and bumps. The watch comes with a resin band which is thick and wide and is also designed to take abuse. This watch is a functional timepiece and would not be considered a dress timepiece (and it does not try to be either). It’s a large, strong, cheap watch which offers digital functionality and value and an amazingly cheap price. This model comes in a variety of colours with different bands including velco, nylon and the strap under review today - the resin band.
Movement Information and Display:
This watch uses Casio’s #1659 module. In terms of modernity this is an older module, yet still has some of the main functions of newer watches. In my opinion this module is a tried and tested design, easy to use with a functional, rational and helpful layout. The accuracy is quoted at +/-15 seconds per month and I believe this to be true or very close to (I have not tested it). The watch has an automatic one-time-set calendar which lasts until the year 2039. All one needs to do is set the current date and year one time and the automatic calendar calculates for all leap years and for even and uneven months etc. The movement takes the very common CR2016 battery and has a quoted battery life of two years.
The module can be separated into two lines – the bottom line which displays the larger digits (4/5mm) and is used for the primary timing information. The top line is used for the secondary information and displays smaller digits (2/3mm). What is very nice about this module is the fact that both the top and the bottom line switch between different information according to the mode (not user-defined) which helps to display the most useful information during each of the modes. For example, during the stopwatch and timer modes the regular time is also visible - a very nice feature not all G-Shocks have. Additional to the two information lines there are two second indicators which one flashes every 10 seconds (round dial-type) and the other every 1 second (bar dial-type). I can only think this serves as some additional visual guidance like a second indicator but has no real function for me. I never notice it or use it. During other modes these display slightly different patterns, again with no real benefit apart from slight aesthetic in my opinion.
Firstly the modes of operation - cycling though the modes of operation is as follows => time and date – alarm – timer – stopwatch and return to time and date. Each mode change lets the user know with a bleep and a different tone is used when the mode returns full circle back to the time and date mode. If one does not complete the cycle and decides to use a previous function (alarm for example), after the alarm is used (for example) the next time the mode button is pressed the mode will return right back to the beginning to the time and date mode, avoiding cycling though the other modes. This makes sense as the other modes were probably not needed in the first instance. The tones and the menu cycling features work very well and really make the module easy to use. Tones cannot be turned off on this watch. In every mode of operation the mode is indicated in the upper left hand side by “AL, TR, ST” or the date.
Going into more detail in each of the modes – firstly the time mode. The time can be viewable in 12 or 24 hour modes (user defined) in the bottom line with the day, date and month displayed in the top line (date is month:date format only). The watch will indicate whether it is in 12 or 24 hour mode and will use that 12/24 hour mode for all other modes of the watch (e.g. alarm). Additionally a special backlight feature can be turned on at this mode, whereby when the alarm sounds, the timer runs out or the hourly chime rings, the back-light will flash alongside the mandatory ringing chime.
What struck me first about the digits is that they are on the small size compared to the size of the watch (4/5mm digits on the bottom line and 2/3mm digits on the top line). While this may pose some problems for eyes which are not so good, in normal use it was not a big problem for me after I adjusted to the size. For sport and while running the top line became too small to see and sometimes in the stopwatch mode the time (in the top line) is hard to see and required an additional close-up glance.
The second mode, the alarm mode, lets the user set up the alarm for a variety of functions. The alarm can be used as a daily alarm, can be set up to ring each day during a specified month, can be used to ring on one specific date only (date-specific), or can be set to chime every one specific date one time on every month (i.e. a monthly alarm). The alarm is easy to set and I really like the possibility to set the alarm for a specific time and date. The tone is averagely loud and I never used it as a wake-up alarm. When one is conscious, at a desk under average noise conditions for example, the alarm is loud enough and does a good job. The watch alarm rings for 20 seconds and can be stopped with the pressing of any button. Additionally the watch can be set so a small 1 second bleep is omitted after every hour on the hour – this is the hourly chime.
The third mode, the countdown timer, lets the user set the watch to chime after a certain amount of time has elapsed. The timer can be set up to a maximum of 24 hours and the time is displayed on the top line when the timer is running. Additionally, like the alarm and stopwatch, one can cycle through to any other mode and have the timer run in the background. The timer chimes as the alarm does, can be stopped at any time with the press of a button and chimes for 10 seconds. Another function not usually reported is the auto-restart function of the timer. When activated, once the timer runs down (say after 5 minutes) the watch will chime and automatically the timer will be reset and the next 5 minutes will start again. This could be useful for sport or if once needs to be reminded constantly over even time periods. The timer is easy to use and works very well.
The fourth and final mode is the stopwatch mode which lets the user time certain events. The stopwatch is a 24 hour stopwatch, after which the stopwatch automatically resets and starts the next 24 hours. In this mode the time is visible in the top line. The stopwatch can record split time and can record first and second place finishes. The stopwatch works well and is easy to use.
(Casio G-Shock DW-9052 pictured)
Case, Bezel and Strap:
The case and bezel are made of resin which I believe covers a stainless steel case underneath. Resin is used to aid the shock protection and has a good, durable and hard-wearing finish to it. The watch is definitely designed to take knocks and bangs. The watch has four buttons which operate the watches’ functions and are all equally recessed into the case and thus provide good protection. The fifth button is on the front of the watch and operates the electro luminescence light with afterglow (the light is a one-touch system, one does not need to hold the button down and the light will light and stay on for around 2 seconds). The “bezel” (the watch has no bezel as such) also houses the recessed mineral glass which, again, provides added impact protection. The glass seems of good quality, especially for the price, and has not picked up many marks or scratches at all.
The strap is 22mm wide and has a lug width of 16mm. This means that the strap is an integrated unit; however there are many original spare and aftermarket versions available at cheap prices. The case back is stainless steel and held down by four Philips screws which make battery changes very quick and easy. There are some plastic wrist-holders which are attached via screws to the underside of the resin case and fit between the strap and the case back. These help fill any gap between the underside of the watch and the wrist. These do help and make the watch more comfortable and secure on the wrist.
In general this watch is very comfortable to wear and light at just 59g (Internet quoted). This is, however, a large watch at width 48mm, length 50mm (top of lug to bottom of lug), height 16mm and with the glass being 30mm wide at widest point. This makes for a chunky wear which some people will not mind, but others will. For example this will not fit under and shirts or even some jumpers which have tighter cuffs. This leads me to wear the watch outside of the cuffs sometimes. This is my biggest complaint with the watch as not only does it create the additional complications but does tend to get knocked and bumped around more due to the excessive size. This size is required for the G-Shock protection however.
In terms of looks it’s a love it or hate thing I think. It’s loud, it shouts and attracts attention. For me it’s a bit too loud and I consider it more of a tool watch which I use for sport, hard work and outdoor activities. I am sure some people will really like the heavy duty look and feel though. It definitely is rugged and I never have any worries about bashing it around. Additionally Casio explicitly mentions in the manual that the watch is designed for heavy duty use, has shock resistance, vibration resistance and the 200 meter water resistance makes is suitable for scuba diving and water activities - as recommended by Casio. Form follows function with this watch and the shock protection is not just external, but internally there are a series of designed dampers and components which ensure shock protection.
Closing Opinions and Impressions:
Thank you for reading my review. My general impression is that this watch offers exceptional value for money and does a really good job of being a heavy-duty sport or casual watch. I am surprised about the quality of the materials used compared to the relatively low price.
This is a practical and functional watch to use as long as you do not mind the rugged looks (some may really like them). The module is designed really well and is simple and not overloaded with features but effective. Some newer watches have more functions (more alarms, radio-controlled timekeeping etc.) but I think if one does not use them then there is no point of having them. I never encountered any problems in navigating the module – it just works. The design is made for rugged use and this watch will take a beating and still keep on working.
My only criticisms would be that it’s not a visually versatile watch as it’s only good for sport or very casual wear and it’s a very large and chunky watch (although not the largest or chunkiest watch in the G-Shock range). Some may like this, others, like me, may think it’s a bit over the top. The size is due to the G-Shock protection. The digits are on the small size and may be too small for some people – I guess the best way is to view an example and try the watch out for one’s self. There are G-Shocks with larger digits available and Timex have many watches with larger digits also.
I think this watch is great if you are into certain sports or you need a tough beater or daily casual wear, and if you can live with the size and appearance of the watch and the small digits. The watch is very rugged and should last some time (mine is 11 year old and is still in great shape). The functionality really adds value to the watch and will be useful to many people. This watch is really quite cheap indeed and thus offers great value for money. In general I would recommend this watch.
Feedback or additional comments welcome (if I have missed anything or made a mistake just let me know). Also just PM me for any further questions.