My favorite non-smart watches all tell a story, or at least make me formulate one in my mind. The new Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000TVA’s fits into this perfectly due to its unique design that’s part Mobile Suit Gundam pilot cosplay and part sci-fi inspired timepiece that’d be just at home on the wrist of a character from Aliens as it is on mine.
What makes the design special?
Saying something has a sci-fi-inspired design often means it will have an overly futuristic look, a cheesy name, flashing lights, or references to a material having been used in space. In short, they’re usually pretty embarrassing. Not so with the GMW-B5000TVA. Although Casio makes some references to science fiction — the advertising puts the watch alongside a robot, for example — it’s not something pushed on the watch itself.
It’s a decision that saves the watch from becoming a cliché. The laser-engraved text on the case and bracelet, the color scheme, and the materials are all related to the watch and watchmaking, not some fictional spacecraft dreamed up by a marketing department. The clasp is one of my favorite parts of the watch, and a great example of what I mean. It has the model number of the Casio Bluetooth-equipped module used in the watch etched alongside an explanation of the Multi-Band 6 feature, and a few logos, including one for Bluetooth certification.
It’s the kind of marking you may expect to find on mass-produced metal sheets for use on spacecraft and futuristic vehicles, and along with the matte and polished black color scheme, it gives the watch character, all without saying something ridiculous. This continues along the bracelet, with markings to show the direction in which the pins are removed, and on to the case itself, where the button functions and the exposed red resin is clearly labeled.
It’s a little playful, too. The borders around the Adjust and Receiving text on the dial are shaped like little speech bubbles. And the S-147DV label, which is a very cool-sounding sci-fi number, actually just refers to the model of the bracelet (it’s also used on the older G-Shock GMW-B5000TCM watch, to which the new B5000TVA is closely related). If you’re wondering what the TVA suffix stands for, it’s Titanium Virtual Armor, and the only blatantly over-the-top part of the watch’s identity.
There’s a lot of thought put into the GMW-B5000TVA’s design, far beyond just “let’s make a watch that’s a bit sci-fi,” and it has really paid off. I can wear this and enjoy imagining its sci-fi connections, without it shouting “nerd!” at everyone who catches a glimpse of it on my wrist. I absolutely love it.
Like the aforementioned GMW-B5000TCM, the B5000TVA is made from titanium, finished with a Diamond Like Carbon coating for the case and Ion Plating on the bezel. While many G-Shock watches use toughened mineral glass over the dial, the B5000TVA uses sapphire crystal. It also has an anti-reflective coating that’s very effective, and I’ve had no problems seeing the digital display in all lighting conditions.
What strikes me most about the B5000TVA is how light it is. Using titanium has stripped the watch down to 106 grams, considerably less than other metal B5000 G-Shock watches, which can be at least 60 grams heavier. It’s most noticeable in the bracelet, which is further lightened by having holes drilled in each link. The majority of the watch’s weight is held in the case. It’s extremely comfortable to wear, doesn’t catch the hair on my arm, and there’s plenty of adjustment to get the fit exactly right.
One thing to note is if you’re planning to adjust the bracelet yourself, each link is held in place with a pin and a tiny metal sleeve. The sleeve is very easy to lose if you’re not careful, and without it, the pin will not stay in place, which means the bracelet will just fall apart. Making the adjustment is simple with the right tools, but if you’re worried about it, get a professional to make the alteration for you.
Square B5000 G-Shock watches are surprisingly modestly sized, and this model has a 49mm tall, 43mm wide, and 13mm thick case. I think it suits most wrist sizes. My wrist is 6.5-inches and seen in the photos, for reference. It also meets the G-Shock standard for shock resistance and is water resistant to 200 meters, while the titanium and sapphire will resist scratches and damage from knocks.
The G-Shock-B5000TVA’s high-tech look is complemented by a decent array of technology inside. The Bluetooth connection links it with your phone, but it doesn’t have the same level of phone integration as the G-Shock GBD-200, and instead is in keeping with watches like the GWF-A1000 Frogman. This means the app sets the time, and can be used to manage alarms and timers, the world time, plus add waypoint data to a map so you can plot your travels.
I’m using an early version of the watch, and it connected without a problem to the G-Shock Connected app on my iPhone 13 Pro. And while the functionality was all there and working, it was missing the final in-app page design, as you can see in the photos. The watch doesn’t require charging, and instead relies on solar energy. Even without any light, a fully charged battery is expected to last for 10 months with normal use.
G-Shock often uses solar power for its high-end watches, but this model has an additional feature not always seen on others: A power saving mode where the display turns off when the watch is left in the dark. All it needs is a button press to wake it back up if you want to see the time at night, and the backlight illuminates the dial in a soft blue light.
Finally, the watch has Multi-Band 6, an automatic time adjustment system where the watch communicates multiple times a day with radio stations around the world, ensuring it stays perfectly accurate. The GMW-B5000TVA isn’t a smartwatch or a hybrid smartwatch, but a connected watch, meaning the app makes using watch features a little faster, rather than tracking activity or showing notifications.
All this, but at a high price
The GMW-B5000TVA gets almost everything exactly right. It’s light enough to be worn all day, the unique design gives it a distinct identity, there’s enough technology to satisfy me, and it’s immensely strong so I don’t have to treat it so carefully that I’m afraid to wear it. It’s one of my favorite G-Shock watches of the year.
However, limited-edition watches made from titanium and sapphire crystal don’t come cheap, and sure enough, this is one of the most expensive G-Shock watches you can buy at $1,650. That’s twice what you’d normally pay for a special metal B5000 model, and representative of the difficulty of working with titanium and the extra effort put into the design. Casio has not said how many GMW-B5000TVA watches will be made, but the exceptional, eye-catching style means this one may not hang around for long.