The year 2023 will mark the 40th anniversary of G-SHOCK, and the same year will also mark the 30th anniversary of the debut of G-SHOCK's popular Frogman series. Casio, which has always been proactive in releasing innovative new models and special models in milestone years, naturally could not let this double anniversary pass by without announcing a truly surprise model prior to the actual launch in 2023. That model is the Frogman GW8230B.
Casio chose the DW-8200B, the second-generation Frogman model known for its black and gold coloring, as the base model for the GW-8230B, which was created under the concept of "reissue and evolution". However, if Casio is claiming a reissue, it would seem that the standard practice would be to base it on the first-generation DW-6300 model, which gained attention for its asymmetrical design. However, Casio chose the "black and gold" model, which sold out immediately after its release in 1995 and has been sold at high prices at auctions since then. By selecting a model that has been highly popular throughout Frogman's history, Casio was aiming for an impact befitting the anniversary.
The GW-8230B is a faithful reproduction of the original in form, color, and even size. Compared to the recent MASTER OF G models, it is surprising to see how much smaller the early Frogman models were. One of these was the inclusion of Tough Solar. Unlike in the past, the power generation efficiency of solar panels has improved, but it still took a great deal of trial and error to create the look of the original model while securing the light-receiving area.
In addition, the sub-display, which in the original displayed diving time and calendar, has been changed to a tide graph and moon data in this GW-8230B. In its long history, Frogman has always made products that reflect the requests of divers, and all of its recent models have been equipped with a tide graph, but since "evolution" is also an important theme for the GW-8230B, these functions were deemed essential. However, it was extremely difficult to incorporate the tide graph and moon data into a small display while maintaining the original aesthetic - in other words, ensuring legibility - and this too was achieved through repeated trial and error.
The highlight of the GW-8230B is the biomass plastic used for the bezel and band. This is the first G-SHOCK to use this material, which is made from renewable organic resources such as castor oil and corn, to reduce environmental impact. Casio's PRO TREK, the first watch to incorporate this material, was released in March of this year, and now, with the adoption of Tough Solar and biomass plastic, Frogman has become another series of diver's watches that is environmentally friendly.
Of course, in terms of the key specifications, the GW-8230B is water resistant to ISO 200m, just like its predecessors. Furthermore, since the birth of the Frogman, Casio's evaluation of diver's models has become increasingly rigorous, and this has also been carried out for the GW-8230B. Of particular importance for the Frogman is the underwater button endurance test. In this test, the watch body is immersed in a water-filled testing apparatus, and the buttons are repeatedly operated several thousand times or more. Frogman also conducts underwater button durability tests under pressure to ensure that the watch is resistant to button operation under water pressure, and other evaluation tests are conducted in conditions similar to actual diving environments.
On the other hand, in addition to drop shock tests, which are essential for G-SHOCK, there are also evaluations directly related to daily use, such as static electricity tests. In the electrostatic test, the watch is discharged with electricity equivalent to 10,000 volts to check for any malfunctions or failures caused by the discharge. Frogman conducts multiple tests at a much higher level than ISO standards.
Frogman once released a model in collaboration with the Japan Coast Guard Special Rescue Team, and it is this highly reliable tool that has passed rigorous evaluation tests that has earned Frogman high support not only from fan divers but also from professionals. In other words, the GW-8230B is truly a model that combines "reissue and evolution," looking back on the history of Frogman's earnest product development efforts and at the same time experiencing the latest performance.
The frog illustration engraved on the back of the Frogman is one of the elements that attracts attention, but surprisingly, the GW-8230B features a basic diving frog. In the past, various frogs have appeared to match the concept and functions of the Frogman, but this time the illustration is faithful to the original to show respect for the legendary "black and gold" form and design. Frogman will continue to develop new models that further evolve in the future, so we should celebrate the 30th anniversary with the GW-8230B in our hands, while looking forward to seeing the new diving frogs.
This article was originally published on October 23, 2022 via Hodinkee