I first saw the press release of the 35th Anniversary editions several weeks ago. The GA-850 really caught my eye. A simple aviator design with a large center light button, solid hands, an actual seconds hand(finally!), and a large Ana-digi LCD screen. I knew it was for me but I was unsure of its size. I was a little afraid as most Gshocks, especially the aviators, have been getting bigger and bigger.
I haven't liked an aviator design since the beloved gw-2500. I have really missed that one.
That was a chunky watch, but probably the most wearable for small wrists. I thought this new version had the same case as my previously owned ga-100. That watch wore very flat even though it was a large diameter. I still see this one a lot in the wild.
So, I was expecting big, but a wus forum member said that this new G was considerably smaller that the GA-100, and he was right
Yes, it's still a large watch, but it's much smaller and thinner than I was anticipating. I was happy to see a decrease in size compared to most current offerings.
What I noticed first was how relatively narrow the band was where it meets the case. Much more narrow than my rangeman and very similar the the the gw-6900, which fits most small wrists the best next to the square. It also wears very flat and balanced. Thinner, and much less chunky than the 2500 line that I liked so much.
The lug to lug isn't long either. Nearly identical to the GW-5000 believe it or not. Chunkier and wider in diameter, but it's equal in height on the wrist and wears just as balanced. I have a 7 inch wrist btw.
It wears very similar to the excellent 6900
It's much, much less chunky than my Rangeman. It also is half the weight. The one downside is that the center textured light button feels like plastic, vs the much higher quality rangeman, which has all metal buttons.
The dial design is just really basic, yet pleasing to the eye. The traditional aviator spear hands, which have their own lume btw, the red seconds hand, and the red gshock lettering. Just enough color, but not too much. The silver 10 minute markers add a nice level of depth and I always like the 5 minute incremental sub markings. It's hard to find a non gimmicky G these days, but they really did a nice job of leaving this one alone.
Kind of reminds me of a modern version of this popular model, the G-100.
The seconds hand moves with such authority, precision, no wobble, hitting all the marks dead on.
The features are pretty basic. This model is non solar, and non atomic. That's ok with me, although I'd probably splurge for the gw model if they ever come out with it. It has a stopwatch, timer, 5 alarms, and dual time. I haven't read the manual yet so I'm not sure what other goodies it may be hiding.
My favorite feature is the backlight. It's the brightest I have ever seen on any watch. You can light up a room. It had the option for one or 3 seconds. As I said before, the hands are also separately lumed so you don't even need the backlight most times. I love G's that have the light button front and center. No fumbling for the right button in the dark. Hard to capture with the iPhone, but the light is a good size, located just under the 9 o'cklock marker.
Overall, I'm really happy with this watch. I found the basic version at the last minute and had to have it too. At $129, I think that's a really fair price. The blacked out model is very cool and just a tad more at around $200 I think. The band and case on the anniversary edition are almost powder coated with this matte black material. Very different than the regular model. There is nothing that could get shiny or reflective. The gold is a cool touch for an anniversary model, but probably not my preference. Overall, these are great. A welcomed step in the right direction. A return to the basic, non gimmicky, modestly sized, G-shock.
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