The GW-3000M-4AER is a watch I have looked at for some time from afar and I was never quite sure why. The orange strap married to the aluminium and black resin body make for an unusual combination, but one that works in my eyes. The side view of the watch body is stunning; resin atop aluminium atop more resin with clearly defined buttons that are glossed rather than matt. Add blue accents on the face and an extremely busy interface and you end up with a watch that you will either love or hate with a passion. The reason I love the design is because it is different from most G-shocks, but not childish, it is premium without being pretentious and it contains everything I need in a watch.
I don’t require Bluetooth connectivity to my phone, I don’t want to be running apps on it and I certainly don’t want it to beep and buzz every time someone tries to contact me. I want balance. A good looking watch that is deadly accurate and that can take daily knocks with no problems at all. If it happens to look fantastic as well then all the better, and that is why the G-shocks have long appealed to me. I get that many people feel that G-shocks are ugly and that they are not for adults, as evidenced by the messages received below when I showed a picture of the 3000M to Neil-
OK, so let’s presume that Neil is incorrect and move on to the watch itself. It is obviously very different to most G-shocks purely because of the strap, a bright orange design that first attracted me to the watch. However, within 10 minutes of receiving the watch I had ordered a black strap because the colour is just too much. It does work, don’t get me wrong, but I’m 43 years old and it just doesn’t suit me. I find myself worrying about what colour shirt I am wearing and if it will clash with the orange strap (shudder) and the realisation that a watch should be subtly impressive dawned on me quite quickly. I want to enjoy the watch I wear, but I guess I don’t want to show it off.
In other areas the design is striking, but there are many practical aspects of this watch that deserve some attention. The domed glass front ensures that reflections are kept to a minimum and at times it magnifies the display when viewing from obtuse angles. It is a simple touch and one that I would like to see used more in other watches. The two pronged strap attachment ensures that there is minimal horizontal movement when the watch is worn. Again, a touch that most will not even consider, but in daily use it is a practical addition that offers benefits.
The luminous hands and numbers work extremely well and supposedly only a small amount of light is needed each day to ensure they work throughout the night. I was initially concerned about the lack of a backlight, but in truth I haven’t missed that function so far. And finally the bizarrely traditional date feature which works better than any digital display for me. It harks back to a previous time, but also does not feel out of place. Unlike the day marker which is an odd way to tell you what day it is- difficult to read, takes up too much space and is completely unnecessary anyway.
The multi-band technology is as ever quite superb. Set your location and then let the watch do the rest. The exact time will be checked in the background each day, often multiple times, and you will always have accurate timekeeping. The watch will also auto-correct the hands every hour to account for knocks or strong magnetism. Solar power will keep it powered with ease provided it is exposed to sunlight on occasion. In my experience with any G-shock bright sunlight, even for a short time, will push it up to the maximum levels, but the official specs suggest that 8 minutes of sunlight will keep it going for 24 hours and less behind glass or under fluorescent lighting. Seeing the current power levels on the 3000M is a bit vague. In the timekeeping mode you need to look at the second hand; if it’s moving at 1 second intervals the power is good and if at 2 second intervals it will need a top up. That’s all you get, but the reality is that it doesn’t really matter because you will likely never need to charge it consciously. The sun, and other light sources, will do that for you during normal daily activities.
There are many other features included such as a daily alarm, a stopwatch which bizarrely indicates elapsed time up to 23 minutes, 59.99 seconds and the expected world time functions alongside automatic calendar functionality. I admit to not having played too much with these features for a number of reasons. They are somewhat fiddly to use on a non-digital display, I prefer to use my phone for stop watching and world times and the calendar takes care of itself. The fact that this watch takes care of itself once set up, like all G-shocks, means that you can just strap it on and you are done.
Concluding a review of a watch is not always giving opinions of how well it works and how feature-laden it is. The 3000M does indeed pack in the features and offers much technology in a very small space, but that to me is not what’s important. My GWX8900B which offers multi-band timekeeping, solar power and many other features present in the 3000M will be replaced by the latter. The 3000M costs £250 (rrp is £285) and the GWX8900B can be bought for less than £80, but that really isn’t the point.
To me, this watch is stunning and offers everything a G-shock enthusiast could want, but with a design that sets it apart from the rest. Even forgetting the orange strap, the actual design is completely different to most other G-shocks and indeed almost every other watch. I spent some time recently considering Citizens and Omegas, but came back to the G-shock and it was this particular model that settled the choice for me. It can be fiddly to use, the styling may not suit everyone, but this is by far the most likeable watch I have ever owned. It has personality, deadly accuracy and every feature most people could possibly need in a watch. I don’t want a smartwatch, I want a smart watch, and this is the smartest watch I have owned, both physically and technologically.
This is the last of the recent batch of watch reviews. Many, like the one above, were written some time ago, but have been re-published to keep them somewhere on the web.