Most of the watches I wear and use are pretty big sports or outdoors wearables. Sometimes, though, something simpler is nice – and the “CasiOak” Casio GA-2100 also offers insights into the true watch world as I like them.
Just as I was starting to wear – and review – the Veilance Deploy LT jacket in its streetwear-ish off-white color with black contrasts, Casio Germany offered to loan me a watch of their new G-Shock variants in “Skeleton”.
The GA-2100, a.k.a. “CasiOak,” in the transparent white colorway fit the Deploy LT too well not to agree to the offer.
Watch Design Stories
This watch also tells its own story of interactions between luxury and streetwear, performance and its hiding away in simple clean designs.
In the line-up of G-Shock, the GA-2100 is an utter exception.
The story goes that it was a hard sell within the company; its design was just too toned-down compared to the usual bulky overbuild that characterizes G-Shock.
This Is a G-Shock?
In fact, it is easy to recognize this watch as a Casio. Its looks and functional combination of analog watchface and digital display are familiar from that brand.
The smaller and especially thinner case without any peculiar shock buffers or similar elements hides away the G-Shock character of this watch, though.
It is still very shockproof, but this is achieved through a carbon core guard inside the watch’s otherwise almost plain, and certainly thin, case.
That plainness of the case holds an interesting, if apparently unintended, link to the world of luxury watchmaking.
Luxury “Oak” Parallels
The octagonal bezel of the GA-2100 was only brought in as an allusion to G-Shock’s technical heritage.
Where it ended up, however, was with the allusion that gave it the nickname “CasiOak,” as this Casio looks like a design relative of Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak.
The story of that design by renowned watch designer Gerald Genta is a curious one.
It was originally considered almost too much of a gamble in light of customer expectations.
It turned out popular, and this watch model is still around at the haute horlogerie that Audemars Piguet represents. It is still an outstanding, peculiar, design, as well.
And if it truly didn’t, perhaps subconsciously, inspire Casio’s designers, it is still very similar – just at a *very* different price point.
Just like with the luxury Audemars Piguet, so things seem to go with the “CasiOak”: They sell.
The Casio should have an even easier time selling; it is a looker without too much of the usual G-Shock character, and without a high price tag.
It also fits well into the streetwear trend towards black and white, at least in the versions that I have seen and noticed.
(There is also a red version which, of course, has a very different kind of appeal. One that is decidedly not ‘stealth.’)
Finally, the GA-2100 is also simply a good choice for people who don’t need all that many technical/performance features.
The digital display and its features are really more of an afterthought and Casio-typical touch than anything particularly useful.
It’s just a watch – but a G-Shock, and a nicely laid-back, stylish one.
Mid-2022, the GA-2100 received a little bit of a tech upgrade, too.
It has now come out as a GA-B2100 series providing a Bluetooth link to a smartphone and Casio’s “Tough Solar” charging.
The left dial on these models shows the mode, some other small things have changed on the outside as well, but the main point is the different interior:
The smartphone link on these new models is used for automatic time adjustment and can also be used (in conjunction with the Casio Watches app on the smartphone) to
- Configure reminder settings
- Configure Wold Time settings
- Adjust watch hand alignment (if they are out of alignment in spite of the automatic time adjustment)
- Find your phone
- Configure watch settings (such as alarm time and timer start time)
- Change summer time setting
- Check watch charge level
- Record your current location (time + place)
Given how small the display is, that makes the watches that much more usable. For something stylish and streetwear-appropriate like the “CasiOak” G-Shock, that’s very nice.
It’s all the nicer, I find, considering the links into watch history that this Casio watch model series can give.