Let's face it, Casio's G-Shocks are one of the most iconic watches known.
They look great. They're affordable. Are super accurate. Resistant to water – 200 meters or so. Virtually impact proof.
Well, the straps just leave much to be desired. They're hard, uncomfortable, and crack all too easily.
Poor straps and bracelets are all too common, unfortunately, with a number of Japanese made watches. Seiko still rolls their steel on many of their bracelets and Casio…well enough said.
The History of the G-Shock
G-Shock is an abbreviation for Gravitational Shock and was conceptualized in 1981 by Casio engineer Kikuo Ibe when he accidentally dropped a pocket watch gifted to him by his father, thus breaking it.
The G-Shock was developed as a watch that would have triple 10 resistance, meaning it would have a battery life of 10 years, have a water resistance of 10 bar, and could survive a fall of 10 meters.
After assembling and testing nearly 200 prototypes without success, Ibe discovered, during a visit to a playground, that in a rubber ball, the center of the ball doesn't suffer the effects of the shock during a bounce on a rough surface. The observation gave him the idea to implement that concept into a watch.
Further tests, which included throwing the prototype out of a third-story bathroom window at Casio's headquarters, resulted in the G-Shock that met Ibe's requirements.
Today's G-Shock includes all the requirements of the original concept with even further enhancements, especially in water resistance. Some include a number of smartwatch features including atomic time synchronization, solar cell charging, and Bluetooth technologies.
The little G-Shock just continues to improve, it even has a quick release, but that strap…
How to improve on iconic
Since the G-Shock is perceived to be a military type watch, the ideal solution would be to adorn it with a NATO strap.
The Casio is fitted with a 16mm spring bar, which expands to about a 22mm strap. Therein, lies the problem.
Someone has come up with an interface. Something that will attach to the 16mm lugs of the G-Shock and expand to accommodate a 22mm NATO strap. There are a number of plastic configurations available on Amazon, but none really meet the needs of a serious watch collector.
Along comes JaysandKays, an eBay concern, that produces and sells just such a conversion kit. Available in Black Aluminum, Stainless steel, and gold (obviously not 14K :)), their kit works perfectly, and all for $30. Their kits are easy to install, and even include a mini travel spring bar tool.
Below is a shot of my G-Shock with just such a conversion.
To make sure your watch fits, it's a good idea to check with them first as they offer a number of configurations. I did and they responded very quickly.
Adding the NATO strap
So, now you have the choice of, possibly, thousands of different NATO straps at a very common 22mm.
I have addressed the available vendors in my post on watch straps here. But, let me give you a little more insight.
BandrBands carries a line of Nylon Nato straps that are superb for only $24.99. The nylon is somewhat softer than other straps and the buckle is definitely more robust. The cut and finish are top quality.
Crown and Buckle offer their Supreme Nato which is a bit stiffer than BandrBands but not as robust with their buckles, at around $34.
Unimatic offers a line of NATO straps for their watches which are excellent; the strap is slightly stiff, which I believe holds the watch better, and the buckle is very robust. A great combination for around $35. They also have a version with black DLC vs. the lesser robust PVC or brushed stainless steel which would look especially good on this watch.
Finally, I list others in the above blog post which you might want to check out. I even have an offering from Amazon which is really nice considering the price, around $14, and availability.
NATO straps are inexpensive and you may want to try out several options to see which brand fits comfortably on your wrist. They're all a bit different and price is not definitively determinative.
And now the watch
The watch that I chose to modify with the JayandKays configuration kit and the NATO strap is the Casio G-Shock GM5600B-1. Not too big, nor too little, the GM5600B is a black ion-plated stainless steel cover over a metal look resin case.
Boasting a water resistance of 200 meters, with multi-function alarms, a full auto-calendar, and backlight, this example of the G-Shock is perfect even for my relatively large 7 1/2″ wrist. Coming in at around $189 on Amazon, it's a perfect solution. There are bigger models with more features, as there are smaller models that don't quite look the part when one is serious about their watch, but the GM5600 is a great choice.
So how does it look? I believe it looks great and it fits nicely.
Here it is on my wrist.
I believe many legitimate timepieces are ignored or one decides not to purchase because of the perceived problems of the strap. If done correctly, the strap can be modified and the look even enhanced. All it takes is a little knowledge and a willingness to experiment. Enjoy.