Does the Casioak Live up to the Hype? Casio G-Shock GA2110SU-3A Review
If you inhale watch blogs like I do, you’re probably familiar with the “Casioak.” And if you’re a G-Shock fan like I am, chances are that you’ve tried (and failed) to buy one.
Well watch fans, I managed to get my hands on the green “Utility Color” edition, and I’ve been wearing it for almost two months now. Keep reading and I’ll answer all of your questions.
Update: Since originally posting this article, I've reviewed additional versions including the metal ones. Click here to see those reviews.
What is it?
If you haven’t heard of it, “Casioak” is a nickname for a new series of Casio G-shock watches. This model has a similar vibe to the rectangular DW5600 range, but swaps out the squared-off all digital display for a round ana-digi design.
It packs all of the features you’d expect from an entry-level G. I won’t rewrite the mile-long feature list here, but it has LED light for the face, as well as backlight, world time, and the typical alarm, stopwatch, and countdown timer. Additionally, you can hold down two buttons and the hands move away from the digital display.
Why do they call it the Casioak?
As you probably know, watch people love to give insider nicknames to popular watches (i.e. Monster, Samurai, Turtle). The Casioak gets its name from its similarities to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (affiliate link). Casio + Oak = Casioak.
Both watches share an octagon bezel with a round crystal, and stick-shaped hour markers. The way the G-Shock integrates its strap into the case, and has round indentations is also reminiscent of the AP’s bracelet.
The biggest difference between the two is that Casio includes a perpetual calendar for free, while the AP RO perpetual carries a $42,900 up-charge from the “base” model.
Why can’t I get one?
Casio released the GA2100 range to the world in mid-2019 including black, black/white, red, Christmas, and some 90s throwback colors. The all black, and all red versions later went on sale in the US, both with an MSRP of $99. Unfortunately, globally all versions have been regularly sold out on the G-Shock website as well as at other authorized retailers. Subsequently, the black versions are still to this day trading hands for significantly above retail price on the secondary markets such as eBay (links in this paragraph are affiliate links).
In early 2020, Casio released its Utility Colors series of watches, including 3 new colors for the GA2100 range (dubbed the GA2110SU) which were black with a camo bezel, green, and yellow. The camo and green models were later released in the US, both with an MSRP of $110 (links in this paragraph are affiliate links).at this affiliate link. At the time of this writing, it is priced at $220.
Also, as a word of warning, I have already seen fake Casioaks on eBay selling for over MSRP. There are a few telltale clues on the ones that I have seen:
-The caseback sticks out from the case much more than on the real model.
-The LCD screen has a different layout.
-The size of the engraving on the caseback is different.
How did you get yours?
For a brief period, there were a few sellers in Spain selling the Utility Color versions on their websites and eBay for less than MSRP. I snagged mine from eBay before they sold out.
My expectation is that, as time goes on, Casio’s production will catch up with demand, and they will soon be readily available at MSRP new, and below MSRP second hand.
Why is it so popular?
The Casioak has a number of things going for it:
-At 11.8mm thick, it is the thinnest G-Shock available.
-The inner structure of the watch is made from carbon fiber, which makes it extremely lightweight (51g).
-The above two characteristics make it extremely comfortable.
-It has a catchy nickname.
-It just looks so cool (I will get into this more later).
So…what do you think?
I’ve really been enjoying wearing the Casioak. It’s fairly wide at 48.5mm, but the bezel is much narrower than the case, plus it is very lightweight. A 48mm G-Shock is always much more wearable than a 48mm steel dive watch. Also, the lug-to-lug distance (if you can call it that) is only 45.4mm on this watch.
This watch has quickly found a place in my collection as my “grab and go” watch. Unlike other G-Shocks that I’ve owned, not only is it durable and convenient, but it also looks stylish. The analog dial and octagon shape, combined with the green and black colors make you feel really cool wearing it.
Because of this, I find myself grabbing it for a wide range of activities from semi-abuse (for example playing with my son in the yard), to going to work or casual events where I still want to look stylish.
What don’t you like about it?
First, some of the throwback versions of the Casioak come with multiple strap colors, thus all versions have quick release spring bars on the straps. This seems great at first, until your arms hairs get caught in the strap. It hasn’t happened to me recently though, so maybe the strap has loosened up.
Second, the Casioak has lume on the hands, but it is not very bright, and there is none on the dial. I would prefer to have better lume and/or add the Auto EL function, to avoid having to use my other hand to press a button to illuminate the watch at night. The negative digital display is also small, and hard to read.
Finally, to make this my perfect G-Shock, it would have solar charging, and atomic clock sync. That being said, I’m sure those features would make the watch thicker and heavier (plus more expensive). I’m willing to sacrifice them in the name of comfort and style.
Based on its popularity, I would not be surprised to see Casio continue to expand the range to include those features in the future though.
What else can you say about it?
The dial looks great in person. The hour markers have a wonderful 3D layout that really give the watch character.
Unlike most G-Shocks, the buckle has a single prong. I don’t prefer this, as it is a little trickier to buckle it, but it allows the strap to be narrower, which is a plus. It’s not an issue once it’s on the wrist.
Does it live up to the hype?
To cut to the chase, Yes! The Casioak looks fantastic, is extremely comfortable, plus it has all of the great attributes that you know and love from the G-Shock brand.
Only at (or close to) MSRP. The Casioak is a great watch, but at its (carbon) core, it is still a G-Shock with a fairly basic set of functions. It is a fantastic $110 watch, but it is NOT a $250 watch.
If you’d like to buy one, my recommendation is to choose your favorite color and be patient (and diligent). Continue checking eBay (affiliate link), and the G-Shock website. I’m sure that your favorite model will be available soon enough.
- Looks so cool!
- The thinnest G + lightweight = Very comfy!
- World time feature.
- Inexpensive (if you pay MSRP).
- Arm hair pull.
- No solar, atomic sync or Auto-EL features.
- Digital display is small and difficult to read.
- Try finding one.
What do you think of the Casioak? Do you think it's the best looking G-Shock, or do you prefer a different model? Let me know in the comments below.