Casio G-Shock Watch Review with Suunto Clipper Compass

by May 26, 2011 05/26/11
Casio G-Shock DW-6900

I get asked at least a few times every week, whether in our YouTube videos or through email, what kind of watch I’m always wearing.

I’ve been meaning to do a review on my Casio G-Shock DW6900 for quite awhile now and also share my thoughts on the small Suunto Clipper Compass that rides along with me wherever I go.

For the last 10 years I’ve worn exactly two G-Shock DW-6900 watches and have even tried other watches out. However, I keep coming back to my trusty G-Shock and feel I’m in a pretty good position to talk about their dependability.

Casio G-Shock DW-6900

My attachment to G-Shock watches started back before I joined the Navy, yet was pleasantly surprised when they were issued in Dive Phase during BUD/s too. As mentioned, I’ve owned two of them and only paid for one back in 2001 when they were a little cheaper than the $79 they currently run.

Before I continue with the review, I’d like to mention that Tactical Distributors has a huge Memorial Day sale going on this weekend and their G-Shocks will be 20% off, along with many other items in their store. So if you’re already interested in getting one, this weekend might be a great time to pick one up at a discount.

I think I actually bought mine at Wal-Mart all those years ago, but my memory is getting worse these days.

Anyhow, the reason I’ve owned two G-Shocks is that mine gave up the ghost about six years ago and stopped working. I’ve got some ideas on why, which I’ll describe below, but what’s important here is that with a simple call to Casio and a few dollars shipping they sent me a brand new watch for free!

They truly have awesome customer service and while I had an attachment to the broken watch they kept and replaced, you can’t beat free. Especially when it wasn’t under warranty any longer.

Dependability

I’ve literally exposed my G-Shock to some pretty harsh environments, scuba diving in the ocean, skydiving, rock climbing, below freezing temperatures and even the torture of Texas’ Big Bend National Park in July. I feel their dependability is the primary reason I haven’t switched watches, followed by functionality and comfort.

Casio G-Shock DW-6900

Shock resistance is one reason I feel the G-Shock excels in dependability. I know there are probably testing protocols for what exactly constitutes a shock test, but I know I’ve had some hard knocks against my G-Shock while climbing and it handled them just fine. And that’s shock from a fall, not getting hit by lightning or sticking your finger in a light socket!

While the G-Shock makes a great dive watch and is rated as water resistant to 200m, the deepest dive I’ve ever been on reached 130 ft. deep and I believe was around an hour in length. There was also the 110 ft. bounce dive everyone goes on after Pool Comp at BUD/s.

Functionality

The primary functions of my G-Shock I use on a consistent basis, other than the 12/24 hour time, are the date, stopwatch, countdown timer and occasionally the alarm. The alarm isn’t very loud though and I’ve found I sleep right through it unless my watch is off my wrist. The lower left “mode” button cycles through the three options I named above with an audible chime in between. This is the feature of the G-Shock I can’t stand.

Casio G-Shock DW-6900

Within the alarm settings you can turn on and off the audible chime on every hour and the audible alarm, yet there’s no option to turn off the chime in between menu options. The DW6900 keeps time very well and I’ve never found either of the two I’ve owned to have lost time severely. Casio quotes a +/- 15 sec. accuracy per month. They also quote that the battery life is approx. 2 years and I can tell you it’s been more than triple that for me so far on my second watch.

I actually really like the teal blue backlight and find it easy to read in the dark. The “afterglow” feature on the backlight is a gradual fade out of the backlight rather than a distinct “off.” After pressing the large “G” button on the bottom center of the watch, the backlight remains on for about 2-3 seconds before fading out.

The backlight can be quite bright when you don’t intend it to be, which can be a negative in certain situations. In BUD/s we experimented with cutting the colored discs from the US Issue Angle Head Flashlights with Trauma Shears and using them to cover the display.

You simply take off the back cover and lift out the guts of the watch and drop in the shaped insert. I think though that taking the watch apart contributed to the decline of my first G-Shock.

You can also use a photo gel or colored window tinting to slip in from the small space available between the bezel and the glass without removing the watch guts. It seriously cuts down on readability with either option, but it is possible to read without illuminating your space when you don’t want to.

As you’ll see below, Casio got the hint and started producing a “Military Concept Version” that has a significantly lower visual signature when the backlight is pressed. The digital readout is also red.

Comfort and Versions

There’s not much to mention here other than to say my G-Shock is comfortable! Nothing rubbing my wrist, getting pinched or cheap discoloration left behind. Yes, Casio watches are made in China and that may dissuade many from making a purchase, but I’m here to tell you this watch is one of the best out there. I tried and still have a Nike Oregon Alti Dark Watch and like it a lot, but don’t find myself using the altimeter, compass or other features. I like the Sunnto Clipper Compass which I’ll get into below.

I’ve had buddies that both swear by the Casio Pathfinders and consider them junk, I’m of the opinion that more fancy features on a watch mean lessened battery life and more things that can potentially go wrong. Plus I don’t trust digital compasses.

As mentioned earlier, the DW6900 is also available “blacked out” in the DW6900MS version with black buttons and finish. The issued G-Shocks at BUD/s were the DW6600 which is identical in features to the 6900 and the only real difference I could ever see is that the 6600 had a metal clasp on the watch band instead of the black plastic clasp that the 6900 has. I’ve never had any issues with the 6900 clasp and actually prefer it to the metal clasp of the 6600. To me the metal clasp oddly feels more flimsy than the black plastic one.

Suunto Clipper Compass

Something I added on to my G-Shock is the Suunto Clipper Compass. There’s two versions that I know about and I’ve had them both. In fact, I’m on my third Clipper. I lost one when I took it off at the range and had to replace the other because it somehow became demagnetized.

I think the demagnetization was from wearing my wedding ring on my watch band when I’d work out and the metal from it caused problems. I’m speculating though as I really can’t say what truly caused that. I do really like the Clipper Compass though, it doesn’t interfere with anything I do and I don’t notice it’s there at all. I also really like having a backup compass on me because I get lost easily. That’s a joke…

Casio G-Shock DW-6900

I would highly suggest melting the sharp points that can jab into your wrist like I’ve tried to show in the photo to the right. It doesn’t take much and will mean the difference between getting annoyed with it and not noticing it. The Clipper comes with a Velcro band to wear it stand-alone on your wrist, but the photo I took of it was the first I’d ever used one. It works great clipped to a G-Shock.

The two version offered are the one shown in my photos with a black bezel and blue face and a black faced version with glow-in-the-dark bezel. I started out with the GITD version until I lost it and could only find the blue faced version at REI when I went shopping for a replacement. I actually like the fact now that I’m not wearing a GITD one anymore and have grown attached to the blue faced version.

These are good quality liquid filled compasses that you should definitely look into if you’re after a watch compass, there are a lot of cheap ones out there that will fall apart quickly and I’ve never had any issues with mine other than the demagnetization.

Casio G-Shock DW-6900

Notes

I’m sure that’s more information than you wanted to know about G-Shock watches, but there you go. That’s 10 years of love for G-Shocks and I’m not planning on ever buying a different kind of watch in the foreseeable future. You definitely won’t be disappointed with a G-Shock purchase, but your wife may roll her eyes when you get dressed up and wear a G-Shock like mine does.

Click here to view the photos on Flickr.


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Trevor Ryan
Trevor Ryan

does anyone know where i can get a suunto clipper? it seems like theyve been discontinued. Or any suggestions of a similar style compass of equal quality? thanks

Jiten
Jiten

hi, i am planning to buy G-shock AW-591 MS-1DR, can any one tell hows that model and should i go for that or not?

Brad
Brad

my bad man, I meant to type Bryan*!

Brad
Brad

Brian, just curious but how many holes down do you wear the watch on?? If you count from the top down on the watch what slot do you wear it on?? Thanks brother!

Christopher C.
Christopher C.

I currently have 3 G-shocks. Two solar, (one is a solar atomic) and one Mudman in OD with a blacked out face/negative display. I'm also getting another mudman that's black. I'm going mudman because I took one of my MTGs apart that I let a buddy have that he gave back to me and good grief it was so dirty on the inside. It took me roughly an hour to clean all the dirt and grime out. The mudman is designed to be dust, mud, water resistant so that's why I'm moving over to that Gshock line. (Master of G)

Rob
Rob

FYI Found this watch on Amazon . com for $45 down from $80!!

Nate
Nate

I'm looking at watches and use the countdown timer a lot while exercising. My current timex pos doesn't reset the timer my old Expedition watches did and current models as well. You recommend the G-shock does that timer reset so I don't have to keep setting the timer?

aaroneous
aaroneous

I've had a 6900 since '06 and it gets more wrist time than any other watch I own. I removed the besel lettering paint with some goof-off for a more subtle "stealth" look. Keeps great time and has the most comfortable band too. Good review.

tacticalroy
tacticalroy

I recently added the Suunto Clipper Compass to my G-Shock Mudman. I have always noticed Bryan's compass during how-to videos/photos and had to have one. That being said I could have used this review about two weeks ago! I found there are very few quality clip-on compasses out there, luckily I found a close up photo of the compass and was able to read the brand name. I purchased mine from campmor.com and have been very pleased with it. The only design flaw is the pointy edges like Bryan mentioned but they are nothing a file or lighter can't fix. Great review Bryan! I highly recommend G-shock watches (the Mudman series is a great choice) and the Suunto Clipper Compass is a great addition.

Mike Petrucci
Mike Petrucci

I like the idea of having that Suunto Clipper on there all the time, although I've had a Suunto Vector for years and love that. But the problem with the Vector is that it requires batteries and sometimes a calibration. So it's not as fail proof as the Clipper. Great review!

Paul Corrie
Paul Corrie

Dammit, you guys make me spend more money than.......sigh......fine, I'm getting one......

Wayne K.
Wayne K.

I just left Tactical Distributors and I didn't see anything about a Memorial Day Sale. Maybe I'm too early. Thur. nite; 2355 hours.

Homer J. Simpson
Homer J. Simpson

I've been wearing the Suunto Clipper on my watchband for years. Here's a tip that will help ensure it doesn't get swiped off of your watchband: close the edge of the "clip" with some JB Weld. Before I did this, a couple times I looked down to find the Clipper partway off of the watchband. I formed the JB weld to close the gap but still allow the Clipper to be slid on/off the band. It has held up well for over 2 years.

Eric S.
Eric S.

I've owned two G-Shockes over the past 15 years. Great watches!

Austin Kopp
Austin Kopp

I've noticed you wearing a metal bracelet on your right wrist a lot, when not wearing a paracord bracelet or duct tape (during the breaking out of zipties expedition), and I'm not quite sure what it is.

Misanthropic_Gods
Misanthropic_Gods

I disagree with your assessment of the Pathfinder series....what you stated may have been true in the past, but the more recent models of the Pathfinder series are inching closer and closer to the G-Shock.

I currently have the Casio Pathfinder PAW-1500T 7V, which is the Titanium version. Battery life is not an issue, this has the Solar cell around the bezel and it is rated to last 5 months in power saving mode with NO light whatsoever. It is also dive rated up to 200m (which is the same as yours).

The compass actually seems fairly accurate...I have tried it both inside and outside and I have gotten surprisingly accurate readings every time that I have. Of course, this should NEVER be your primary compass, it is just a backup and good for getting a general bearing.

The only downisde that I have found in this watch compared to the G-Shock is the lack of vibration alarm.

Misanthropic_Gods
Misanthropic_Gods

I disagree with your assessment of the Pathfinder series....what you stated may have been true in the past, but the more recent models of the Pathfinder series are inching closer and closer to the G-Shock. I currently have the Casio Pathfinder PAW-1500T 7V, which is the Titanium version. Battery life is not an issue, this has the Solar cell around the bezel and it is rated to last 5 months in power saving mode with NO light whatsoever. It is also dive rated up to 200m (which is the same as yours). The compass actually seems fairly accurate...I have tried it both inside and outside and I have gotten surprisingly accurate readings every time that I have. Of course, this should NEVER be your primary compass, it is just a backup and good for getting a general bearing. The only downisde that I have found in this watch compared to the G-Shock is the lack of vibration alarm.

shadow4golf
shadow4golf

Chalk up another to the G Shock love. Bought my first G Shock at the troop store at Ft Knox in 1987. Don't know where it is today, but it survived OSUT, which was plenty good enough. I've got a G7500 with a mini compass on it that took almost everything I threw at it. Held up for a good 4 years of solid work, including a year in Iraq, 2 trips to NTC and assorted gunex's. It's got a silent alert feature that more than takes the place of the audible chime. I've also got a couple of the Mudman G Shocks, one green camo and a 'stormtrooper'.

Bought a couple of G Shocks not long ago, one went a to Brother in IRQ, the other to a Brother in AFG. If that's not a glowing recommendation, I don't know what is!

shadow4golf
shadow4golf

Chalk up another to the G Shock love. Bought my first G Shock at the troop store at Ft Knox in 1987. Don't know where it is today, but it survived OSUT, which was plenty good enough. I've got a G7500 with a mini compass on it that took almost everything I threw at it. Held up for a good 4 years of solid work, including a year in Iraq, 2 trips to NTC and assorted gunex's. It's got a silent alert feature that more than takes the place of the audible chime. I've also got a couple of the Mudman G Shocks, one green camo and a 'stormtrooper'. Bought a couple of G Shocks not long ago, one went a to Brother in IRQ, the other to a Brother in AFG. If that's not a glowing recommendation, I don't know what is!

Patrick Shaw
Patrick Shaw

I've had my current G-shock since 2005, and it's pretty awesome. Mine is the G-7500 (Nearest thing they make now is the 7510 ( http://amzn.to/mgsj47 )

What I like about my model is that it has 5 alarms, and the fact that you can set the alarms to Vibrate. That's great when you need a discrete alarm. It works for both the alarms and the timer functions, and on the timer, it gives you a 10-second vibrating countdown to 1 minute and to 0.

I just realized that I don't think I've ever heard it beep.

Patrick Shaw
Patrick Shaw

I've had my current G-shock since 2005, and it's pretty awesome. Mine is the G-7500 (Nearest thing they make now is the 7510 ( http://amzn.to/mgsj47 ) What I like about my model is that it has 5 alarms, and the fact that you can set the alarms to Vibrate. That's great when you need a discrete alarm. It works for both the alarms and the timer functions, and on the timer, it gives you a 10-second vibrating countdown to 1 minute and to 0. I just realized that I don't think I've ever heard it beep.

Pig Monkey
Pig Monkey

I've been trying out the analog thing for the past couple years with a Luminox watch, but for most the rest of my life I've sported a G-Shock. My last one, which I still have, was a MTG920DA. I wasn't a huge fan of the band, but the solar and atomic features are great.

A couple years into using the MTG, I started to get condensation on the inside of the watch face. I assume this was caused by my opening the watch up to dick around with the innards and not closing it back up properly. I ended up sending it into a private company called Casio Sales and Service. They cleaned and repaired the watch, and even performed a water pressure test to make sure that it was up to original spec. This was a few years ago now, but I think the whole thing cost me like $25 including shipping. I definitely recommend them if anybody has a G-Shock in need of some love. But if Casio themselves are sending out free watch replacements, that might be an even better deal!

I rock the Suunto Clipper on my watchband, too. Mine is the glow in the dark model. It never had any sharp points on it, though. Great little compass for general direction!

Pig Monkey
Pig Monkey

I've been trying out the analog thing for the past couple years with a Luminox watch, but for most the rest of my life I've sported a G-Shock. My last one, which I still have, was a MTG920DA. I wasn't a huge fan of the band, but the solar and atomic features are great. A couple years into using the MTG, I started to get condensation on the inside of the watch face. I assume this was caused by my opening the watch up to dick around with the innards and not closing it back up properly. I ended up sending it into a private company called Casio Sales and Service. They cleaned and repaired the watch, and even performed a water pressure test to make sure that it was up to original spec. This was a few years ago now, but I think the whole thing cost me like $25 including shipping. I definitely recommend them if anybody has a G-Shock in need of some love. But if Casio themselves are sending out free watch replacements, that might be an even better deal! I rock the Suunto Clipper on my watchband, too. Mine is the glow in the dark model. It never had any sharp points on it, though. Great little compass for general direction!

Nate
Nate

I answered my own question after comparing Timex and other Casio version watches. I got g-shock 6900. The timer function is perfect 1 button does it all. Thanks for the review. This watch definitely can go the distance.

Matthew
Matthew

It's probably a tribute to a fallen brother, we do the same in the EOD community

Matthew

USAF EOD

Matthew
Matthew

It's probably a tribute to a fallen brother, we do the same in the EOD community Matthew USAF EOD

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