Hands-On: G-SHOCK GSTB400 Watch

Photo: HiConsumption

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Throughout most of its history, Japanese watchmaker G-SHOCK has been known as the producer of some of the world’s toughest watches. The brand’s venerated shock resistant technology has made G-SHOCK a favorite of adventurers and athletes the world over, and if it’s a rugged watch you’re after, there’s no beating G-SHOCK. But as the brand has grown in recent years, it’s also evolved, and these days G-SHOCK doesn’t just make ultra-tough outdoor watches. Increasingly, the brand has turned its eye toward more fashionable urban-ready watches that combine sleek style with their trademark toughness. And perhaps nowhere is that more evident than on the new GSTB400.

Part of G-SHOCK’S stainless steel-cased G-STEEL line, the GSTB400 is notable not only for its sharp looks and technical capabilities but also for its slimness. The watch is the thinnest to ever emerge from the G-STEEL line, with its case coming in at a scant 12.9mm. For regular wearers of G-SHOCKs, such a thin case may seem strange. Would this slender watch maintain the same trademark wrist presence and robust feel of the brand’s other watches, or would it feel too slight? To find out, we got our hands on the skinny new G-SHOCK to see for ourselves.

Photo: HiConsumption

Thin Is In

Meet The Slimmest G-STEEL Yet

We’re happy to report that the GSTB400 is, without a doubt, a G-SHOCK. Despite its thinness, it’s still a large watch, with a case that measures 49.5mm across at its widest point and 46.5mm from top to bottom. It feels rugged, too. While the watch is extremely lightweight, there’s nothing about it that gives off a “cheap” feeling. It’s built like a tank, and we never once felt like we had to baby it or take any precautions while wearing it. But while it is definitely a G-SHOCK, the GSTB400 is still unlike any G-SHOCK we’re used to.

The watch’s thinness is evident as soon as you put it on. It sits low on the wrist due to a combination of the case’s slim profile and the way the integrated flexible resin strap conforms to the wearer. We have the watch’s Carbon Core Guard structure to thank for its slenderness, as a carbon-fiber-reinforced resin inner case protects the module and provides excellent shock resistance while cutting weight and taking up little room. Whatever technological wizardry G-SHOCK pulled, we’re happy to say that it worked wonders, as the GSTB400 is extremely comfortable to wear all day while still carrying all of the presence and toughness we expect from a G-SHOCK.

Photo: HiConsumption

Luxurious Looks

Angles For Days

As we alluded to in our intro, the G-STEEL series is one of G-SHOCK’s more style-conscious lines, and the GSTB400 is certainly a looker. When it comes to appearance, this watch ventures closer to luxury watch territory than it does to coming across as a utilitarian tool, and there’s one big reason for why that is: finishing. Good finishing is what separates the luxury timepieces from the pedestrian watches, and it’s clear that G-SHOCK put a lot of effort into giving the GSTB400 a luxury-level finish.

This craftsmanship is most evident on the bezel and top steel portion of the case, which we can say without hyperbole is a work of art. Sharp lines, numerous angles, and a head-spinning blend of finishing techniques combine to create a dynamic watch that plays with light wonderfully. Mirrored details jut up against vertically-brushed edges which collide with circular-finished facets to create a constantly evolving display that makes for quite the show on the wrist. It’s a high-end look, for sure, and one that really elevates the wearing experience of the watch.

Photo: HiConsumption

Features Galore

Anything You Can Do...

As a modern G-SHOCK, you can expect the GSTB400 to do more than tell the time, and it does — a lot more. But first, we should discuss the timekeeping because that is impressive in itself. The watch has a Tough Solar movement that’s powered by light, and it keeps time via both a radio-controlled quartz module that automatically updates four times a day and a Bluetooth connection to your phone. And it’s in that phone connection where the GSTB400 really comes into its own.

While it’s not a smartwatch, it is a rather smart watch. Through its Bluetooth connectivity, the GSTB400 can be controlled via the G-SHOCK Connected app. Once synced, which takes just a few seconds, you can set the time and geographic location, update your world time setting to track a different city’s timezone on the watch, set the watch’s alarm, countdown timer, and reminders, and more. And if you don’t have your phone around, the watch still has plenty of functionality on its own, with three buttons that are easily able to cycle through and activate the world time, stopwatch, timer, and alarm complications — plus a fourth button that activates the powerful Super Illuminator Double LED light for nighttime visibility. In short, there’s not much this watch can’t do.

The Verdict

Not Your Grandpa’s G-SHOCK

If you haven’t picked up a G-SHOCK since the 1990s, then you owe it to yourself to revisit the brand. And in our humble opinion, there’s no better place to start than with the GSTB400. The watch combines the toughness and bold size that G-SHOCK is known for with a luxurious level of refined style, and then throws in a boatload of tech for good measure. It all adds up to an extremely attractive proposition, especially at the almost-too-good-to-be-true price of $320.

Purchase: $320