I like analog-digital watches, and Casio makes some of the best. Today we review the GW-3500B-1A, a new entrant from their Aviation series of G-Shocks. Designed for flying and high acceleration, this reverse-LCD model is on the high end of the line:

  • Case is 49.1mm by 16.4mm, 75g, rubber and plastic with stainless steel caseback.
  • Domed mineral crystal
  • Radio set, six bands ‘atomic timekeeping’, rated to 15 seconds per month in the absence of signal
  • Tough solar power and tough movement, where the hands sense and correct their positions as required. Six month power reserve.
  • World time, with 48 cities in 29 timezones
  • Water resistant to 200m (660ft)
  • Four daily alarms and a fifth with snooze function
  • 1/100th of a second stopwatch, up to 24 hours
  • 1 hour countdown timer
  • Lumed hands, indices and bezel section plus auto-activating LED backlight.
  • Rated for up to 12G of acceleration.
  • List price: $260USD.

Unusually for a G-Shock, the lume is excellent. Interestingly, the side sections of the bezel glow too, though other than style they aren’t particularly functional. I like the six and twelve numerals. The subdials aren’t lumed, alas, but they’re a little small to read at night anyway.

Just in case the lume doesn’t suffice, the 3500 also has a bright yellow LED at six o’clock too, complete with auto-on. If you’ve not seen it before, auto-on is almost magical; the watch has a tilt sensor and will activate when you tilt your wrist, and only if its dark.

Pardon the poor picture of the LED, it’s difficult to capture. Due to the angle, you can actually read the lower LCD display too.

The thing I like about analog-digital is the combination of instantly readable hands with the multiple functions and precision of digital. It’s really hard to make a precise analog stopwatch that’s easy to read, but a single LCD display does it perfectly.

In this case, the reversed LCD displays are closer to the black dial color and thus less obtrusive at a glance. You give up a bit of display contrast for reverse LCD, but not a lot and the result is very attractive. Casio adds two small subdials at three and nine o’clock as well, to complement the three LCDs.

This one has the Casio module 5173 (PDF), the usual powerhouse of multifunctionality. High-end G-Shocks are amazing that way.

It’s easy to wear, midsize compared to the new GX56s, and actually kind of unobtrusive in person. Very light and comfortable at 75g. I used for a lapswimming set and it worked OK, but the stopwatch display is  a bit small to read on the fly.

At $260 this is one of the more expensive of the G-Shock line, but if that exceeds your budget Casio has other models galore, and going without atomic and/or solar power reduces the price.

I like this one. You might too.

Our thanks to Casio for the review loaner.

17 Comments

  1. Looks like the lumed side areas are to illuminate the function of the pushers on the side in the dark, which is a great idea as long as you can read the text.

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  2. My favorite bit about this G-Shock? Rated for 12G. I’m not sure if I could come close to surviving a 12G turn, but it’s nice to know that my watch would continue functioning as they scraped me off the floor.

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  3. Casio has done it again here! The GW-3500B-1A is just an outstanding offering IMO. Nice write up. 

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  4. Casio has done it again here! The GW-3500B-1A is just an outstanding offering IMO. Nice write up. 

    Reply
  5. Nice I have a few gshocks. How much will it be and who will have it in stock

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  6.  @adbd80ff503b5d93df748927861117a6:disqus  The price is in the feature list for the watch and the last paragraph, its $260 USD. I would imagine it would be available wherever g-shocks are sold and lots of places online. Just google search the model number.   wherever g-shocks are sold and lots of places online. Just google search the model number.  

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  7.  @8404dcfdae631dca53b7baebf3e1c21c:disqus I totally agree, its nice to know something will survive. 🙂 I totally agree, its nice to know something will survive. 🙂

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  8.  Do the hands make it hard sometimes to read the analog display or the openings in the hands make it alright?

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  9. Oh, great.  I had to see this.  Now have I have to have it 🙂
    As always, a great review, Paul!
    Cheers,
    Paul

    Reply
  10. Oh, great.  I had to see this.  Now have I have to have it 🙂
    As always, a great review, Paul!
    Cheers,
    Paul

    Reply
  11. I just bought the 3500 b today 16/7/11 and all i can say is that gt is an amazing time piece.

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  12. i bought this watch at kansai airport duty free shop. The price was 33600 jpy,  no crew discount. Dunno why there is a different in price, but well, it’s really a nice watch

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  13. I got this watch from Amazon UK for £129.00 including delivery. Great watch highly recommended. Nice review

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  14. I just got mine today … Cannot seem to calibrate the watch from the (US) Fort Collins atomic clock signal. Currently putting it on a south facing window at night according to the instructions and leaving it there for the auto receive to happen. Watch showed that it was calibrated on August 30 last year with the city being TYO. So it must be the ex-factory date.

    Will see if it actually calibrates while I am sleeping.

    FYI … watch is located in West Coast Canada / Pacific Time zone.

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  15. It’s a shame the digital part can’t be seen at night. If that was possible, this would be the best military watch. Alas..

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  16. These are my favourite style of G-Shock watches. I think they look uber cool, and I love the analogue G-Shocks especially, but the styling on this is particularly cool

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  17. This watch is cool. One info which is not there in the manual is: the right dial which always shows the world time with a single hand moves once in every 12 minutes only. So the margin of error if you see the dial and guess the world time is max. 12 minutes.

    Reply

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