If you look at Casio's current stable of G-Shocks, it's clear that the literal growth of these watches is showing no signs of slowing down. I mean, a big watch means you get MORE watch for your money right? That's our subconscious talking. So, as the proud owner of a 6-inch wrist, here's my mini-review on one of the mainstays of the XL lineup from Casio G-Shock, the GD-X6900-1.
I have to admit, I was apprehensive at first about the 6900 for two reasons.
1. Because the 6900 silhouette is THE most ubiquitous out of all the G-Shocks, to the general public. You don't feel like you're owning anything special or particularly cool.
2. The way the band is designed makes it stick out from the bezel and case at a most impractical angle. Look at the resin beams that prevent the band from curving down at a steeper angle in the picture below.
As a side-note: Made in Thailand, which is nice. Southeast Asia represent! (Not that the location of an automated factory line matters to me...)
That said, the 6900 (both the DW and the GDX) is the kind of watch that simply looks much, much better in person than in pictures, even the well-taken ones. It has a great mix of curved and angular surfaces that is absent from any other G-Shock that Casio has put out. So eventually I caved and got two DW's. So why get the GDX then?
If you've looked at my past reviews and posts, you'll know that I'm a sucker for big batteries, not just for their lifespan but also for the power they provide to a digital watch's basic functions.
The GDX has a 10-year battery, and probably as a result, also has one of the clearest positive AND negative displays around. It is also the loudest in my little collection so far. Also, world time and the dot-matrix day is another significant factor for me.
Here it is, along with my DW-D, another killer display, and the DW-6900ZB. The GD-X display is unfairly legible here because the light in centred on it - it's actually about the same as the DW-D.
Now, how does it drive? Despite the obscene dimensions (57.5×53.9×20.4mm)... yes TWENTY millimeters thick, it doesn't really feel that big. If anything, the greatest contributor to the oversized feeling is the stupid band that sticks out way too much. Take a look. Remember, this is a 6-inch (flat) wrist.
The band does seem to cause the watch head and the band itself to squeeze the wrist, making it fairly secure despite the gaps at the lugs. In fact, it's quite a firm squeeze. I wonder how the bigger-wristed guys wear it without their wrists being compressed uncomfortably.
An mm or two actually comes from the case backplate, which does help it look slightly slimmer when worn.
Aesthetically, the GDX shines, particularly this -1 model. It's supposed to be the basic model alongside the panda variant, but somehow it has ended up being one of the rarer ones.
The -1 has a satin sheen to the resin, kind of a oily look to it. It looks fantastic on the 6900 resin, whereas on the bulbous and rounder GA-100CB I owned previously, it looked out of place.
I love the little flashes of orange-yellow for the illuminator text and the main eye. Makes the watch look even more stealth than if it was completely monochrome, if that makes sense.
The faceplate is actually a matte dark grey rather than a black. Or maybe it's black but the satin sheen of the resin makes it look lighter than it actually is.
And my favourite - the buttons.
I really like the feel and look of the knurled plastic buttons. Their size over the DW buttons is also a plus, and the push action is really good as well. So yeah, if anything, the GDX is one good-looking watch.
Even the backlight is really good-looking. This is an LED - not EL.
Functionality-wise, it's as any other "basic" digital G-Shock. Nothing impressive, nothing really lacking (apart from HT on the other screens but Casio needs a reason to sell DWs after all).
A slight annoyance is the delay between screens when it shows you which function you're at. On the GDX, it seems to take about half a second longer than my other G's, like my GLX-5600. Yes, you get to see the three eyes do their crazy dance, but I want to use my timer NOW, dammit.
Either way, the watch has its quirks and its flaws, but it's also easy to see why so many people like it as well. It looks good, wears good, works good. And it doesn't look out of place at all if you don't stare at it on my wrist.