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The Casio G-SHOCK Frogman GW-8230B-9AER celebrates the 30th anniversary of the famous diver’s watch with the asymmetrical design, which was unavoidable in the early 90s. Now the iconic toolwatch is back – in a black and gold look and with the usual weird bracelet!
The comeback of the cult diver watch
In the 90s, a diver’s watch enjoyed particularly great popularity. With the introduction of the first Frogman 30 years ago, the G-SHOCK brand received its most expensive top-of-the-line model for the time being. In this country, the clunky digital watches from Japan were until then rather known for costing little money with good performance. G-SHOCK watches were, so to speak, the counter-design to the expensive mechanical watches from Europe.
This changed with the Frogman. Casio entered higher spheres for the first time. Prices of about 400 DM for a digital watch were a novelty at that time. The angular toolwatch was particularly popular with the younger generation, which elevated the Frogman to a status symbol on the wrist. However, the Frogman was not a wristwatch for the masses right from the start, which was probably due to the price. Accordingly, few examples of the first generations were produced, and even fewer have survived to this day. This also explains the high prices for which old, unworn Frogman watches are offered today.
As early as 1993, Casio came up with the second generation, called DW-8200. It may be almost unimaginable today, but almost 30 years ago, the asymmetrical design of the resin bezel as well as the titanium case attracted more attention. In fact, the Frogman has always been more than just a fashion statement. Materials and functions were groundbreaking and underscored Casio’s professional standards. This made the Toolwatch appealing to professional divers as well.
More than just a clone of the original?
So the reasons why G-SHOCK Frogman watches have a special cult status among collectors and fans of the brand today are obvious. And since the 40th anniversary of G-SHOCK will be celebrated in 2023 anyway, they won’t miss the opportunity to follow it up with a 30-year Frogman special model.
It bears the reference number GW-8230B-9AER and visually refers to the watch from 1993, which was so groundbreaking. For this, Casio retrieves the black and gold color scheme of the DW-8200B-9A from the archives. However, the new Frogman is not supposed to be a pure rehash of the old icon. Casio speaks of a “new development” and announces the use of environmentally friendly materials. Will this make the Frogman fit for the next 30 years? And anyway – is it worth buying this limited edition? This watch review will answer that question.
My first impression of the Casio G-SHOCK Frogman GW-8230B-9AER
The Frogman looks like it used to! Up to and including the last generation, the angular diver’s watch has grown to a proud 56.7 millimeters in length and 53.3 millimeters in width. For comparison, I put two current special editions next to the GW-8230B-9AER. I am testing the GWF-A1000BRT-1AER (Rainbow Frog) and the GWF-A1000RN-8AER (Royal Navy) in parallel at this time. Both are significantly more bulky. The fact that the GW-8230B-9AER again has exactly the same dimensions as the original (52.0 x 50.3 millimeters) pleases me greatly. The downsizing has definitely done the diver good.
In general, we have to praise how carefully Casio has reconstructed the black design with the gold lettering and screws. A lot of attention to detail has been paid here. You first have to find differences to the original. At least at this point, one thing is certain: Casio has done everything right visually.
With the generation change, the Casio G-SHOCK Frogman also got back its asymmetry. This had diminished over the past few years and could only be seen on closer inspection. On the bracelet, the iconic “kink” ensures that the case sits much higher on the arm. This gives the diver freedom of movement on the wrist and allows him to perform work underwater more unrestrictedly. The bezel, which is wider on the left side, serves the same purpose. Consequently, the Frogman is worn exclusively on the left wrist.
The sustainability concept on the wrist
The same lettering, identical arrangements and shapes of the elements. Externally, the GW-8230B-9AER resembles the original DW-8200B-9A like a twin. But the impression is deceptive, because under the shock-resistant case the watches are completely different. The black case is made of the well-known titanium-resin mixture, which is mainly light and robust. However, things get really interesting when you look at the redesigned bezel. It is made of environmentally friendly biomass plastic. This is biodegradable, unlike conventional plastics. The G-SHOCK GW-8230B-9AER is the first Frogman ever made by Casio with this material. In general, the workmanship is impressive. With this level of quality, the Frogman does not have to hide from the premium watches from G-SHOCK.
On diving station it goes down to depths of 200 meters. For underwater use, the G-SHOCK Frogman is certified according to ISO standard 6425. The dial is covered by mineral glass. Of course, the watch lover in me would have liked to see even higher quality sapphire crystal, such as the Rainbow Frog or the Royal Navy have. However, they are also considerably more expensive at 999.00 and 899.00 Euros, respectively. The mineral crystal also protects against scratches.
I particularly like the engraving on the screwed case back. Here, a frog is emblazoned, which is framed by an anniversary lettering.
Functions of the Casio G-SHOCK Frogman GW-8230B-9AER
In the past, quartz movements in digital watches were usually said to last 2 years. With very cheap models, the battery along with the whole watch quickly ended up in the trash can. It’s a good thing that resources no longer have to be used so wastefully today. Casio takes the topic of environmental protection seriously. The Tough Solar System is powered by a solar panel, which is installed under the dial and was specially developed for it. Without contact with light, the digital watch can maintain operation for 14 months, and even 36 months when the battery is fully charged. You can find a charge indicator on the display.
The CTL1616 battery has an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds per month. But you can care less about that.
The Casio G-SHOCK Frogman GW-8230B-9AER also has a few other functions that are useful in everyday life. For example, a world time and stop function, a timer, alarms with snooze function and an automatic calendar. In addition, there are more exotic gimmicks like a moon phase display or an ebb-tide indicator. The latter comes in handy when you want to take the watch sailing or surfing. The functions can also be optionally controlled via app.
In the dark or even underwater, a super illuminator lights up the digital display on the dial. This keeps it optimally legible in any situation.
On the wrist
We have already clarified the question about the unusual shape of the wristband earlier in the text. At this point, I would like to highlight the great wearing comfort once again. This is also due to the low weight. Despite its size, the Casio G-SHOCK Frogman GW-8230B-9AER weighs only 84 grams. Like parts of the case, the strap is made of resin. Salt water or dirt can not harm the robust synthetic resin. After use, just wipe it clean – and you’re done! The strap can be adjusted to an optimal length via a pin buckle.
My conclusion about the Casio G-SHOCK Frogman GW-8230B-9AER
An original DW-8200 is a rarity. Either it was lost once during a move or it doesn’t work anymore. Also the fact, to have simply not had the money at that time, let germinate in many of us the desire to buy a black and gold Frogman today. Then there are two alternatives. The first is to try to find a used model. However, such a purchase is often a grab bag and expensive. Second – and this is what I would advise you to do: you reach for the new Casio G-SHOCK Frogman GW-8230B-9AER.
Visually, Casio has listened to the fans’ wishes and designed a digital watch that looks like the original from the 90s. Inside, however, the Frogman has long since arrived in the 21st century. I’m particularly impressed by the efforts to use sustainable materials and drive systems. With solar power and bioplastics, the Frogman GW-8230B-9AER is very resource-friendly.
In the test, the new edition of the iconic Frogman did not allow itself any notable weaknesses. Target group number 1 certainly remains fans of yesteryear, who want to wear a piece of the past on their wrist again with the black and gold diver. However, the 90s are experiencing a revival in many ways, for example in music and fashion. A Casio G-SHOCK Frogman GW-8230B-9AER completes the perfect retro outfit. Anyone can wear it. At a price of 599.00 euros, the watch also remains affordable for most people. The watch will be available from November 2022.
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