Since it’s initial introduction back in 2013, the G-SHOCK Rangeman series quickly made the rounds in the watch world – soon becoming one of the most valued and desired all-digital G-SHOCK watches. They were released as part of the Master of G lineup – one of the many offerings from Casio that receive meticulous manufacturing oversight in Japan – and boasted not only an intensely durable construction but were built for rugged travelers all over the world. Now, G-SHOCK has upped that ante once again in terms of both connectivity and capability with the release of their GPRB1000 Rangeman watch.
What do we mean exactly? Well, through intense research and design, G-SHOCK was able to build the first-ever Rangeman complete with solar-powered GPS navigation. That groundbreaking feature, combined with their steady lineup of burly backcountry settings already embedded in the watch’s durable build, made us quite curious as to the functionality here and (better yet) reliability this tank-like timepiece could offer those who wish to get as far off the grid as possible. Luckily, we were fortunate enough to take it on a test run ourselves to find out.
Built to Last
One of the first impressions you find with the GPRB1000 Rangeman is its size – clocking in at 60mm. This thing is beefy, to say the least – which in all honesty – is something we’ve come to know and love from G-Shock thanks to their myriad of additional features. Remember, it’s a lifestyle, not just timekeeping. Surprisingly enough, the 142-gram Rangeman remained comfortable and relatively lightweight on the wrist – especially when wearing it loosely. Then again, this isn’t an office watch. Instead, it became clear to us that the newest addition to the Master of G lineup was designed with experienced outdoor adventuring in mind. It became clear to us that the newest addition to the Master of G lineup was designed with experienced outdoor adventuring in mind.
From here, we also noticed a certain similarity to their Mudmaster watches. Namely, its meaty appearance and sleek dial surrounded and protected by a nearly indestructible bezel. In fact, the entire watch appears to function as an indestructible timepiece. It’s also the first G-SHOCK to host a ceramic 2mm thick case back as opposed to steel. Reason being, other than weight reduction of course, is that the ceramic construction allows for signals that would otherwise be blocked by metal to pass through with ease. Which brings us to the “meat and potatoes” of the watch so to speak.
Solar Assisted GPS Navigation
A World’s First
Much like their previous iterations, while the watch itself is digital, it isn’t a touchscreen device – which, we found out, was a benefit to its overall construction. Here, it’s all manned by a series of four durable push buttons around the watch’s perimeter that are easily accessible and workable even with gloves on thanks to gaskets located in the buttons, shafts, and shock absorbent silicon working to protect the lower part of the crown. It’s the navigation functionality, however, is where the Rangeman truly shines.
As previously mentioned, what sets this Rangeman apart from the rest is its solar-assisted GPS function – a first for the brand – that we found incredibly useful and handy during our field testing expedition. Also, thanks to the watch’s Bluetooth® low energy technology syncing the piece up with our smartphone to help track and trace our route was both easy and useful.
Basically, G-SHOCK took their already established solar-powered charging technology and implemented it into the functionally of the GPRB1000. Meaning, its GPS tracking process is mainly powered by the sun – assisting you in traveling from point A to point B with on-screen directional guidance via the watch itself. In doing so, routes, landmarks, and waypoints are tracked and marked in the corresponding application and can even be viewed as a 3D map in the G-SHOCK Connected app.What sets this Rangeman apart from the rest is its solar-assisted GPS navigation – a first for the brand.
We also found that once the watch pinged GPS satellites, a real-time bearing to our destination was displayed which helped us backtrack to where we began using tracking data collected during the hike. Point Memory is also another feature we found useful. Here, we were able to log conditions such as altitude, atmospheric pressure, temperature and coordinates with the simple push of a button – helping us keep tabs on any changes to our environment.
Everything You Need For Backcountry Living
We also noticed G-SHOCK outfitted the new Rangeman with what they call their Triple Sensor technology – an altimeter, barometer, and compass. This “ABC” set of functions were both discernible and easy to use throughout the course of our field test. The watch also came equipped with a new feature (as far as we’re concerned) presenting sunrise and sunset data – a feature that would certainly come in handy over the course of a multi-day backpacking trip.G-Shock also equips their newest Rangeman with a wireless charging system in addition to its solar charging technology
Also, as you’d expect from any G-SHOCK watch, the GPRB1000 hosts key elements that make these intense timepieces so outdoor-ready: resistance to electric shocks, gravity, and temperatures as low as -20°C/ -4°F;; water-resistant to 200 meters; and a dust-and-dirt and mud-resistant construction for uninhibited use in even the harshest conditions. Additionally, this particular Rangeman also features a carbon fiber insert band and abrasion-resistant sapphire crystal for good measure.
Finally, since access to the nearest power source might be difficult, G-SHOCK equips their newest Rangeman with a wireless charging system in addition to its solar charging technology – allowing for up to 33 hours of GPS navigation on just a five-hour charge. Now, while we weren’t field testing this watch for 33 hours straight, the GPS functionally stayed true to the course throughout our experience with this survival-ready timepiece.
Out Of Time
In this contemporary age of growing sentiment towards casual outdoor expeditions and #vanlife lifestyles, we found through our brief yet well-rounded hands-on experience with the G-SHOCK GPRB1000 that this isn’t a watch for someone who doesn’t take the outdoors seriously. Instead, what we have here is a legacy brand building a no-nonsense timepiece for the avid outdoorsman, mountaineer, or deployed Armed Forces personnel looking for survival-ready features right from their wrist.
That said, the Rangeman does prove that G-SHOCK is indeed a serious contender, if not THE brand to beat, in this world of survival watches. It’s reliable, dependable in times of need, and tough as hell. And while some may question the $800 price point the new Rangeman carries with it, we found the intense features and construction here more than support that price tag. This clearly is not just another G-SHOCK.
© Photography by HiConsumption
The Watch: G-Shock's GPRB1000 Rangeman
The ultimate survival piece, G-Shock’s GPRB1000 Rangeman GPS Navi is outfitted to the teeth with everything you need for both international and domestic excursions.
For example, we’re talking shock, mud and water resistance in conjunction with advanced survival features such as GPS signal reception, a Backtrack and Point Memory function, Triple Sensor Technology, Bluetooth communication, and 200 meters of water resistance. Ideal for any serious traveling outdoorsman.