G-Shock Watches: A Side-by-Side Comparison

It seems that people love to compare things. Whether it’s bullets, guns, clothing, or watches, we enjoy debating and pitting one against another. I’m not one to disappoint the audience, so I’ll give you what you want.

If you’re into guns and gear, there’s a better-than-average chance that you’re also into watches. For those who are into active lifestyles, a durable, rugged watch is necessary to survive our adventures.

Aside from being durable, though, many folks like to make a fashion statement. We can tell a lot by the way a person dresses. Sometimes, we can discern their occupation by their wardrobe. Other times, their interests bleed over into their style of dress. Aside from a person’s clothing, their choice of watch can suggest the sorts of activities, professions, or lifestyles they’re into.


One of the most popular brands in the current market is G-Shock. Their reputation stems from the durability of these watches, and it’s well deserved.

It all started in 1983 when Kikuo Ibe was developing watches that wouldn’t break when dropped. The process was not quick, and Kikuo ran into multiple obstacles in his research. He was beginning to sense defeat approaching when he saw some children playing with a rubber ball in a park. Seeing the kids playing with that rubber ball sparked an idea, allowing him to take his research to the next level. To make a long story short, he finally struck pay dirt. G-Shock wasn’t an overnight success, though. It took some television exposure to launch the G-Shock name to popularity. The rest, as they say, is history.

When people think of a watch that’s hard to kill, G-Shock usually comes to mind. Many people liken them to the “Glock” of the watch world.

The Candidates

How did I choose the candidates for this article? That’s easy. They’re my two favorite G-Shock watches, and I wear them often. As such, I’m well acquainted with both of them and thought it would be fun to take stock of each watch side-by-side. Because they’re my favorites, I can tell you that picking a favorite is very difficult because I love both of them.

Today, we’re looking at the Casio Rangeman and the Frogman.

Rangeman and Frogman.
The Rangeman on the left is slightly smaller than the Frogman on the right. They both have many similar features but come in different packaging. Both offer positive displays that are easy to read. The Rangeman gets in the way a little less on the wrist. Photo: Jim Davis.


Both of these watches have more features than you can shake a stick at. They’ll each do just about everything except the dishes. Like most people, there are a few features that I gravitate toward and others that I basically ignore. Maybe I’m weird, but I mostly rely on my watches to simply tell me what time it is.

I sometimes use the stopwatch feature or the countdown timer. Every now and then, I might even use the compass as well. Aside from that, a lot of the other features are lost on me, and I consider them to be window-dressing. Just because a watch has 39,000 features doesn’t mean I’ll be attracted to it.

As previously mentioned, the chief reason I’m attracted to G-Shocks is their durability and appearance. I’ve worn them on duty in the prisons where I worked, including on tactical operations. My G-Shock watches have taken some hard abuse over the years, and none of them ever faltered in the least.

Without further adieu, let’s jump into the meat of the comparison.

The Rangeman

This model is the GW-9400Y, part of the Master Of G Series. I believe this is the most recent version of the Rangeman, with a very dark gray case (it actually looks black) and yellow trim. I have to say, the dark gray/yellow color combo looks very fetching. I love it. As this is written, it’s available from GunMag Warehouse for $299.99. That price, by the way, is appreciably less expensive than most other sources that I’ve seen.

Another version is black with red highlights. Still, a third version has an OD Green case and yellow highlights. They all look very cool, and I wouldn’t call you crazy if you were to collect all three color combos.

Rangeman, Paramilitary 2, Streamlight ProTac, Rangeman.
The Rangeman pairs well with a Glock 43X, Spyderco PM 2 knife, and Streamlight ProTac light. Photo: Jim Davis.


The Rangeman is not a tiny watch, coming in at 55.2mm(L) x 53.5mm(W) x 18.2mm(D). It’s not so large as to be a pain to wear, but it’s substantial. I don’t have huge wrists, but this watch fits me pretty well, and I don’t find that it gets in the way when I wear it.


The Rangeman’s case, bezel, and the band are all constructed from resin. These materials really protect the watch from shocks, helping it live up to its moniker of G-Shock.

The face of the watch is comprised of mineral glass, which is very resistant to shattering. The design is such that the bezel is raised higher than the window of the face, which provides extra protection to the glass. It’s a very slick design that works great for protecting the glass. So far, I haven’t put one scratch on that glass.


The Rangeman’s buttons have checkering and are made of stainless steel, which helps the fingers to gain a good purchase and activate them. Each button is set within a yellow ring that seals the case.

Rangeman's buttons.
The Rangeman’s buttons are large and easy to press. The center button on the front just under the glass activates the light and is very easy to find in the dark. Photo: Jim Davis.

Because the buttons are in their natural metal color, they’re easy to see. The button that controls the light is located on the front of the watch face just below the window display, so it’s really easy to push in the dark. The light is an LED type and does a great job of illuminating the display in the dark.


Because the Rangeman is solar-powered, we never have to worry about the battery, which I like a lot.

This watch has an ABC feature, which is to say that it has an Altimeter, Barometer (complete with thermometer), and Compass. I’ve used the compass on a number of occasions, and it has proven to be accurate. If you’re going to use the thermometer, it’s best to remove the watch from your wrist for about 20 minutes or so for an accurate reading without your body temperature skewing it.

Aside from being generally durable, the Rangeman is water resistant down to 200 meters (660 feet), so you can use it while diving.

A few other features of this watch include:

  • Power saving mode.
  • 12/24 hour format.
  • Recalibration via atomic signals.
  • Five alarms and one snooze alarm.
  • 31 time zones, along with daylight saving time on/off.
  • Stopwatch.

These are just some of the features, but I won’t belabor the subject.


The display of the Gray/Yellow Rangeman is positive, which is to say that the background is light in color, with black characters, making it very easy to see in all conditions.

On the OD Green/yellow watch, the display is negative, which means the background is dark and the characters are light. It looks neat but can be less than optimal to see in certain conditions.

The display gives us the time, date, day, and month. It also tells us if we are in daylight saving time and what the battery level is. A circular display in the upper left of the window acts like a second hand. The display is uncluttered and straightforward.


The resin band is comfortable and secure. I like the fact that it has two rows of holes and a double clasp. The sliding keeper is made from metal, which makes it nice and durable. Another great aspect is that the holes are close together, so precise adjustments can be made. You know how, on some watches, you either get it too loose or tight on the wrist, but never “just right?” Not so with this watch. Overall, this is an excellent band.


As far as the G-Shock lineup is concerned, the Frogman is considered by many to be “The Ultimate” watch. It’s large and in charge. A casual glance at this watch tells us it’s meant for business. Even the name indicates that it was invented for serious duty.

It also commands a higher price tag; most are over $400, and depending on the features of the watch (different models have different features), that price rises sharply.

Frogman and Hellcat Pro.
The Frogman is a part of the author’s everyday carry (EDC) package, along with the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro. Photo: Jim Davis.

This watch is touted as a serious diving watch, and it even has a function that records several dives, storing the records in the watch’s memory. But to be realistic, divers who are doing serious dives are likely going to be using dive computers. The practicality of this watch replacing a dive computer is pretty slim and not realistic. Nevertheless, it’s a great diving watch.


The Frogman measures 58.3mm long x 52.8mm wide x 18mm thick. So yeah, it’s a big ‘un. It’s slightly offset from the center of the band, so it fits more easily on the wrist, and I like that design feature.


The Frogman has a mineral glass display window that sits lower than the case that surrounds it, which helps to protect that window.

The bezel and band are resin. The watch’s body is constructed of stainless steel with a resin shell.


The four buttons are stainless steel. Two are large and elongated with grooves. The other two are smaller and set into the case so they won’t be accidentally pushed. All buttons are easy to press.


This watch has so many features that the user’s manual is a book. I’ll list a few of them here without re-writing that book.

  • Dive time and surface interval measure.
  • Multi-Band 6 Atomic Time that updates the time regularly.
  • Tide and moon graphs.
  • Alarms.
  • Chronograph.
  • Countdown Timer.
  • Calendar.
  • Solar Powered.


The display is positive, making it very easy to read at any angle. The tide and moon graphs are at the top of the display. In the upper left is a round window that has a circular display that shows a graphic as the seconds tick by. The day, date, month, and time are also displayed, and it indicates if the period is in daylight saving time.

The light has a pleasant blue color and lights up the entire display very efficiently. It’s easy to activate by pushing a button in the upper right corner of the case.

Frogman on the author's wrist.
The Frogman’s display is large, bright, and easy to read. Photo: Jim Davis.


The resin Frogman’s band is secure and sturdy. There are two rows of holes in the band, so the clasp locks into both rows of holes. The keeper is resin, but I’d prefer that it were metal. My only complaint about the band is that the tail is rather long, occasionally snagging on things as I wear the watch. Aside from that, the band is very adjustable, so wearers can get a precise fit.

Which is the winner?

This is a tough one to call! I love both watches and wear them often. In fact, I love them both so much that I sometimes have difficulty deciding which to wear on a given day.

But I guess readers expect a winner, and declaring a tie just won’t do.

The Rangeman has a great band that is a little more comfortable than the Frogman. The Rangeman has the ABC features, which I like having, especially the compass. The color scheme is very cool, too. There are no aspects of the Rangeman that I dislike or can complain about.

The Frogman’s band is not quite as practical as that of the Rangeman because of that tail that hangs off the end. It’s packed with features, but I don’t use most of them anyway, so that doesn’t matter. It’s slightly heavier and larger than the Rangeman, and less compact.

From a practical, objective aspect, the Rangeman is winning. From a subjective aspect (my feelings), the Frogman is slightly ahead because I love the way it looks.

I’m declaring the Frogman to be the winner, as it’s my favorite watch. However, the Rangeman might be slightly more practical, given its smaller size, features, and more reasonable price tag. Plus, it’s more streamlined on my wrist.

There you have it. How about you – do any readers have experience with these watches and have a favorite? We’d love to hear about it!

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities. He is a dedicated Christian and attributes any skills that he has to the glory of God.

Sign Up for Newsletter

Let us know what topics you would be interested:
© 2024 GunMag Warehouse. All Rights Reserved.
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap