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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
As noted above, don’t miss Tactical Distributors big Memorial Day sale if you’re in the market for a G-Shock.
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