If you look at Casio’s connected G-Shock watches and like the idea of a hybrid-style, mildly connected watch, but aren’t on board with the brand’s unique designs, you may have been tempted by the Casio Edifice watches instead. The range consists more of motorsport-inspired watches and chronographs that look very different from a G-Shock, yet still have many of the same connected features and benefit from Casio’s understanding of what makes a great watch.
I’ve worn many connected G-Shock watches, and consider them to be excellent examples of how watch brands can embrace connected tech, without sacrificing the character and draw of a traditional timepiece. I was pleased to try out the Edifice EQB-1100, which I expected it to be more of the same, just with a different design, but while the watch itself is exactly what I wanted it to be, the tech isn’t.
One of the most successful G-Shock watches recently is the GA-2100 — and its metal equivalent, the GM-2100 — a low-cost, super-slim G-Shock with an octagonal bezel. It was propelled to cult status due to this unusual bezel, which is somewhat reminiscent of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak range. The Edifice EQB-1100 also has an octagonal bezel and, although it doesn’t quite share the same style as the GA-2100 or a Royal Oak, the presence of an octagonal bezel will be enough of a reason to buy for some people.
But there is plenty more to like here. It is an incredibly slim watch at 8.9mm, and this low profile means it will fit under just about any cuff, making it convenient and a good match with most outfits. This alone makes it very different from many G-Shocks. There are also some little design details to appreciate. For example, the screw heads are partially covered by the bezel, which helps visibly minimize the case’s substantial 45mm width. There are button guards around the crown, but not around the buttons that flank it, which also helps make the case appear smaller on your wrist. The integrated lugs have the same effect.
It’s a clearly masculine design with bold markings on the bezel, the large Edifice branding on the dial, and mix of polished and brushed stainless steel. However, I don’t think it’s only suitable for large wrists. It’s obviously a big watch, but the careful design and slim case means those with smaller wrists shouldn’t find it looks too large. For reference, I’m wearing the watch in the photos, and my wrist measures 6.5 inches.
Royal Oak vibes aside, the Edifice EQB-1100 is very wearable in comparison to some of the older Edifice watches I wore some years ago, which were far thicker and heavier. It’s this, along with the chronograph style, that made trying an Edifice out as a comparison to a connected G-Shock so appealing.
The right materials and build
This is an upmarket watch, not just in design, but also where it really counts — in the materials used. The case is made from stainless steel and so is the bracelet, while the dial is covered in sapphire crystal. All these things make the Edifice EQB-1100 tough — not quite G-Shock tough, but there’s no doubt it’ll withstand a few knocks, and the sapphire crystal should shrug off scratches, too.
The case cleverly mixes a brushed effect stainless steel with smaller polished sections, really emphasizing the shape. It reminds me of the recent G-Shock G-Steel GST-B400, which could be seen as the Edifice’s closest relation in the G-Shock range. The sapphire is flat and slightly raised over the polished blue IP bezel, which shows tachymeter markings.
Under the sapphire is a brushed metal dial with three complications. It has a subtle blue color that really brings out the brushed effect surface in the right light. The indices are raised off the dial and covered in bright lume, as are the baton hands, but there are no hour markings. The second hand stands out in red, and there’s a small date window at 4 o’clock.
I had to adjust the metal bracelet to make it fit. This can be done at home with a basic strap adjustment toolkit and doesn’t take any special skills. The clasp has two micro adjustments so you can really get the fit exactly right, but be careful when moving these, as the pins are spring-loaded and could easily shoot out, never to be seen again.
The EQB-1100 has solar charging, so there’s no need to put the watch on a charging plinth once every other day. According to Casio, the battery will power the watch for five months, with normal use, even if it doesn’t see any light at all, or up to 19 months in power-saving mode when kept in total darkness.
Tech takes a backward step
Now we come to the Edifice EQB-1100’s connected technology, and this is where the watch falters. Casio’s G-Shock range provides a variety of different connected features. If you buy the G-Shock GBD-200, for example, you get activity tracking and notifications, while the connected features on watches like the GWF-A1000 Frogman simplify functions like the world time and the stopwatch. The Edifice EQB-1100 falls into this second category, so don’t expect step tracking or any notifications.
It connects to Android and iOS using a dedicated Edifice app that shares basically the same design as the G-Shock Connected app, yet for some reason, it’s all considerably less reliable. It’s the initial connection that’s the issue. The app tells you exactly what to do: Long press a button and wait for the second hand to move to a particular point, but the watch doesn’t seem to respond in an expected way and rarely connects. On numerous occasions, I’ve just given up after multiple attempts at getting it to sync with my phone.
This problem seems to be exacerbated by the mode selection and activation of the chronograph and other features. It’s a little too complicated. There are beeps when you push buttons, but rarely is it clear what mode the watch is in, and it also seems to get stuck in certain modes that may stop the Bluetooth connection from activating. Unfortunately, when it’s difficult to connect the watch to your phone, you’re less likely to use the connected features. Worst of all is that the watch syncs the time with your phone, so you stumble across these problems before you’ve even put it on your wrist. It’s unfortunate the Bluetooth here isn’t as polished as the watch itself.
What surprised me is that I’ve connected dozens of G-Shock watches to the G-Shock Connected app without a problem. The first connected Casio watch I ever tried was an Edifice, at least five years ago, and the experience was poor at the time. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have improved, at least based on my experience here.
Is it worth getting a connected Edifice?
The Edifice EQB-1100 is stylish, thin, and lightweight, plus it’s built extremely well and made from top-notch materials. It’s a great watch, and the $320 price tag reflects the work that has gone into it. What it’s not is a great connected watch. Casio’s connected G-Shock watches are a shining example of how a watchmaker can incorporate Bluetooth and smart features without changing design direction, and it’s strange that the Edifice can’t repeat this.
I’d be quite happy to continue wearing the EQB-1100, and because the smart features aren’t essential like they are on a full smartwatch, it probably wouldn’t affect my use much once I’d (eventually) synced it for the first time. This isn’t the point, though, as I’ve seen firsthand that Casio can deliver a reliable, useful Bluetooth connection on its watches. Why it hasn’t here is a mystery, and it spoils an otherwise good watch.
If this is a disappointment, take a look at the most recent G-Steel GST-B400, which doesn’t look all that different and has a Bluetooth connection that has been faultless.