The new Casio G-Steel B100 is a smartwatch that hides its brains

Casio has been doing some interesting stuff lately. With their latest Edifice model they began toying with the idea of an analog watch that connects to your phone and can set itself to any timezone automatically. This decision to focus on function over OLEDs is a good one and the G-Steel B100 is the latest example of this move.

The B100 is a slim, rugged watch with a multi-layered architecture designed to look cool/withstand massive abuse. Nearly every feature of this watch is modified on the phone, from the time/world-times to alarms and timers.

The dial at noon shows the current day of week as well as function activity. A sundial at 6 o’clock shows a second time zone while a small dial shows AM/PM for that zone. There is a date window at 5 o’clock.

When you want to swap timezones you open the app and set things up the way you want them. You can even swap between current zone and the second zone instantly, the hands snapping into place like magic.

That, as they say, is that. The watch also has a “find phone” feature that lets it buzz your phone and the entire watch is set to various atomic clocks via the Internet, ensuring you’ll never go out of sync. Finally, it includes a nice, bright LED light at the bottom of the face which lets you light things up quite nicely. It charges via solar through the front crystal.

Sometimes a watch is just a watch. Can this watch sense your steps? Locate you on a raft in the middle of the ocean? Tell you to breathe? No. But it can swap between time zones seamlessly and wake you up in some far-off place. Casio’s simplicity in this case is its strength, a strength born of not being all things to all people. While this watch is almost an analog accident in a digital world, it’s nice to see that some things stay the same.

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