After our news item about the GW-2500 generated a lot of email, we contacted Casio PR and got one to review. This review is of the GW-2500BD-1A version, which is the black-plated metal with a bracelet. There are also versions with non-plated case and a rubber strap. Due to the use of Flash, I can’t link to the product page, but you can find them all on the G-Shock site under ‘Classic.’ The GW-2500 is the flagship of the aviation-inspired watches introduced at Basel 2009:
- Highly legible dial and enlarged, high-contrast hands with numeric six and twelve on the dial for fast orientation.
- Six-band radio receiver (‘atomic’ timekeeping) paired with solar power for zero-maintentance timekeeping.
- Three reverse-LCD displays for complex functions such as alarms, countdown timers, multiple timezones, stopwatch, day, date and seconds.
- Automatic orange LED illumination at six o’clock on the dial, triggered by proper wrist movement in the dark for hands-free light.
- Ion-plated stainless steel case and bracelet.
- Hardened mineral crystal.
- As with all G-Shocks, it’s waterproof to 200m (660ft) and designed to survive just about anything.
Read on the for the full review and more pictures!
In terms of shape and size, the GW-2500 is a typical G-Shock: about 44m by 16mm, with raised plastic bezel guards, four buttons, and screwed steel caseback. The crystal is flat mineral, well protected by the tall bezel and plastic bumpers. Unlike the sister GW-2000 model, the 2500 dispenses with the second hand and uses the LCD instead; otherwise as you can see, they look similar.
The movement on the 2500 is the Casio 5064. (Manual link, PDF, 1.1MB) I always recommend reading the movement manual before you buy a watch, as it’s the best way to learn exactly what it can do and how.
As a general-use watch, the GW-2500 is excellent. Unlike the GS-1200, it has LED illumination, either via button, or (optionally) automatically. Light is provided by and orange-yellow LED just above the six o’clock position, which lights the hands quite well but leaves the LCD displays in shadow. Additionally, the hands are treated with decent-grade lume material which lasts several hours. It’s not as bright as, say, a Seiko diver, but it’s much better than previous G-Shocks and at least as good as the GS-1200.
The world timer is also quite handy – it’s easy to select a city (out of a list of 48 worldwide) and then ‘swap’ the timezones onto the hands. Perfect for flying there and back again, and one of my favorite features I used to have on the Citizen Navihawk.
The two analog subdials have different purposes. The two-handed one at 3 o’clock serves to display another time zone, and the one on the left displays mode, battery level, and a progress indicator.
One of the things I learned when I bought and reviewed the 1000BJ model is that, for some things, you just can’t beat a digital display. The GW-2500 is proof of this, using LCDs for stopwatch, the multiple alarms, city selection, countdown timer, day/date/seconds, last-set information, mode indicators and more. In many ways, it’s a natural division of work: the big hands are easy to read at a glance, and if you need precision, the LCDs do the job more readably than small analog subdials.
I live in San Diego, and the GW-2500 had no problems receiving radio signals. I took it along to Bristol, England for a couple of weeks and there it effortlessly synchronized to the UK signal, even during the day. Marvelous technology, this radio-set business. It’s a great watch for the international traveller.
The bracelet is a mixture of brushed-finish outer and polished inner bits. It’s fitted to the case, with links that taper from the case to the bracelet. Links are folded, and use a clever mini-springbar pin that is easier to change than the usual split pin & sleeve design. The clasp is pushbutton, with three micro-adjustments. I’m used to G-Shocks on rubber straps, but this is a bit nicer and quite comfortable; combined with the black case and aviation-style dial, it looks noticeably less geeky than the average G-Shock.
In reviewing the GW-2500, I discussed it with with one of our readers who flies helicopters and also drew a bit on my now-lapsed piloting of small planes. We both generally agreed that, for aviation, the Omega X-33 was still the best, but that this was also the best flight G-Shock yet. The X-33 still has the features (mission timer, 80dB alarm, countdown/up) and legibility (bigger LCD digits, full backlight), but the GW-2500 continues to get better. And of course, you can get an armful of G-Shocks for a lot less money, with no battery changes required, ever.
Overall, this is an excellent watch. The addition of the aeronautical-style numerals on the dial, the broader hands, lume and backlight all aid in making this a more functional, useful, and attractive watch. We love G-Shocks, and this one is a winner.
List price on the GW-2500 is $350, which seems good given the usual discounted street prices.
Our thanks to Casio PR for the review unit.
By Paul Hubbard