Casio G-Shock Frogman

g shock frogman review
May 1, 2017  
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Categories: Gear Curious

Today we’re looking at the G-Shock Frogman, a professional dive watch from Casio.

Back of the G-Shock Frogman clockface.

G-Shock: You Get What You Pay For

To start out, let me throw this at you: it’s a $1000 G-Shock. That’s fucking right.

It’s a Casio. It has a rubbery cover and a resin strap. It looks just like many other G-Shocks at your local Target. At first glance, it’s a $100 watch. So why is it ten times that? The case made from unobtanium, perhaps ??

G-Shock Frogman clockface.

My initial reaction was, WTF? How in your right mind could you expect to spend this much on a throwaway watch?? After a few weeks with this watch, my mind changed – slightly. Is this diving watch worth $1000? No way. But do I think it’s worth $500? Absolutely.

Close up of the watch on a person's wrist.

Two is One, and One is None

Over the past fifteen years of diving, I was always on the lookout for a minimal but highly functional kit. “Two is one, and one is none” is a rule that will save your life while diving. I had a few really close calls, with one ending in the death of my dive buddy. It changed my entire outlook on diving and equipment. I learned that your life depends on very simple things; for instance, how easily can you get to your secondary regulator? I’ve learned that it’s absolutely life-critical to avoid a cluster fuck on your buoyancy compensator and the rest of your gear. Minimal but redundant is the key.

Extra closeup of the G-Shock clockface.

Backup Your Backups

A dive computer is a must. It measures and displays your depth, dive duration, and temperature. Calculates your no-decompression limits and tells you if you are ascending too fast. Some really expensive models have a built-in compass. It’s great technology, but having a backup (since shit breaks) is also very important. If you’re at 100ft, 35 minutes into your dive, and your computer goes dark, you’re royally fucked. Critical instrument backups are:

  • Dive watch with the ability to measure elapsed time
  • Depth gauge
  • Compass
  • Dive tables

Extra closeup of the clockface on a person's wrist.

G-Shock for Sale

tactical Lookin’ for a G-Shock for sale? Here ya go!

Where to Find Your G-Shock

Depth meter.

 

G-Shock Frogman.

In my experience, this is the beginning of the cluster. You can load your dive console with all the instruments above, hang them off your gear, or wear them on your wrist. Low speed/high drag. Literally. Clusterfuck.

Size comparison to miniature combat boots.

Casio combined the functionality of all of the above into the new Frogman.

Frogman watch band.

At this point, you may be thinking, why not just pick up another $500 dive computer? Well, daily wearability becomes a consideration. You can’t wear a dive computer as a daily watch, but you can wear the Frogman daily. It excels in this role.

Another angle of the Depth Meter.

Froggy vs. Sinn U1

I haven’t had a chance to dive with the new Froggy yet (Lake Michigan is not a nice place in February). Of course, I can’t wait to get some dives in when this place unfreezes in June.
Now let’s take a closer look at this beast.

The Frogman next to another watch for comparison.

First of all: the size. Holy shit. As you recall, I don’t even consider a watch if it’s smaller than a hockey puck. Well, this guy is almost too big for me. I’m including pictures of the Froggy next to another dive monster, Sinn U1. Sinn is a massive diving watch at 44mm. Froggy makes it look like a child’s toy in comparison. It’s 53mm across!
Although dimensionally similar to Casio’s Mudmaster, the Frogman was designed to be a tool first and daily watch after. It’s not uncomfortable, but it’s clearly made to be worn over a dive suit, not under the cuff of a dress shirt (yep, I tried it – no fucking way). Speaking of the dive suit, the strap on the Frogman is the longest strap of any Casio, long enough to fit over a dry suit.

The Frogman next to another watch for comparison, both facing forward.

Frogman Features and Functionality

Here is a quick dump of the features and functionality:

Key Features:

  • ISO-rated 200m diver. While most G-Shocks are water resistant to 200m, they are not dive-rated. Frogman is.
  • Buttons are fully rated for operation underwater – up to 200M.
  • A key feature is the sapphire crystal glass, first on a Frogman. Remember, if used for diving, some coral can scratch it, but it’s scratchproof in daily use. The crystal is about 5mm recessed and is protected by a resin bezel – I don’t see it getting scratched or shattered unless you really fucking try.
  • Full metal and DLC-coated case with a screw-in back. It’s the only Casio model (other than the GW-5000) to have this.
  • Carbon Fiber reinforced strap. Yep. They sandwiched a strip of woven carbon fiber between two resin strips, then pressure-bonded the whole thing. You can hang a kettlebell off this strap.
  • Thick carbon rods connecting the strap to the watch case
  • The entire case is covered in thermoplastic/resin – you can’t tell it’s a full metal watch, other than two small cutouts by the strap attachment points.

Bonus Features:

  • Did I say it’s black DLC coated? Fucking sexy
  • One button has completely new functionality, never before seen on a G-Shock. The 9 O’clock button is a “stamp.” The press is for about a second during a dive and marks that very moment – depth, time, etc.

What I thought was really great is that this button works in all other modes. For instance, you get home totally hammered late at night and want to know what time you got in the following day. As a result, you can effectively have a wife-happy strategy. Boom. Push the button and go to sleep. Then the next morning, it will tell you that you pushed the button at zero-dark-thirty…on February 11, 2017, after nine red bulls and Jamesons (trust us, that drink is the shit).

  • Depth meter with fast ascend alarm, functional to 90m. Remember that this works like a dive computer minus the no-decompression algorithms. It shows depth, dive time, temperature, compass, min/max values, etc. And it logs all of it. This timepiece is the TITS.
  • Moon graph. If the moon is out, you may want to wait a few days to do ninja shit.
  • 3D compass. You might ask, what is this crazy 3D shit? It’s pretty brilliant, actually. Unlike any other watch or dive computer today, you don’t need to hold Frogman parallel to the ground to get an accurate compass fix; it works while tilted !! (up to 80 degrees from horizontal).

Bonus Bonus Features

  • Tide graph. It’s totally useless to me, but it’s great for the folks who live by the water.
  • Thermometer
  • LED backlight – this is also new for a Froggy.
  • The rest of the functionality is similar to other higher-end G-Shocks: Solar charging with a two-year power reserve, atomic radio timekeeping, multiple alarms, stopwatch, timer, world time, etc.

On a bar, the Frogman in a glass with miniature combat boots in front. Drink to the right.

Therefore, stay tuned for an in-depth review after I take it on a few dives. The Frogman is a fundamental tool. If you’re a serious or professional diver looking for a great dive watch – and have some cash to spare – this fits the bill very well.

-Timur


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Timur Alexander

Timur Alexander

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