I didn’t really think about what a Poison dart frog looked like until recently, as — luckily — we don’t get many in the wilds of rural Surrey here in the U.K. But thanks to the new G-Shock Poison Dart Frog Frogman watch, I have a good idea of what to look out for, should I ever encounter one.
Why is that? Because the brand has done a brilliant job of bringing the amphibian’s bright colors to life on my wrist. Here’s a closer look.
Just like a poison dart frog
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Built to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the G-Shock Frogman range, the GWF-A1000APF-1AER Frogman is a variation of the existing GWF-A1000 analog Frogman watch, which I reviewed in 2020. The shape and features are the same, but as with most G-Shock special edition watches, the design and color scheme is completely different. It’s also something of a rarity, as special edition Frogman models don’t always make it out of Japan, but this one is available globally in limited numbers.
The bezel is made from multiple layers of carbon-reinforced fiberglass, randomly laminated to replicate the color of the Poison dart frog’s skin, and to make each watch different from the others. Unlike the standard GWF-A1000, the solid resin dial guards have been replaced by ones modeled from transparent urethane. This is one of my favorite design elements, as it minimizes the size of the dial and significantly changes the overall look.
I also really like the strap design. The solid black is covered in a splattered-paint effect, just like the Poison dart frog’s legs, which really stands out in sunlight. The metal clasp is a polished blue color, and the keeper is made from tough rubber. Flip the watch over, and you’ll see the iconic Frogman character has been given a Poison dart frog makeover too. This special edition is all done to G-Shock’s usual high standards, and it looks genuinely special placed next to a standard analog Frogman.
It’s smart … but not quite a smartwatch
The GWF-A1000 was the first Frogman model to feature a Bluetooth connection, but don’t think of it as a smartwatch, or even as a competitor to some of G-Shock’s more sporting watches like the GBD-200. Instead, the Bluetooth functionality simplifies everyday features and makes using the Frogman’s Dive Log a little easier too.
A while back, G-Shock introduced the Casio Watches app, which acts like an app-based hub for your collection. Oddly, the Frogman links with the app but then guides you to Casio’s old app, called G-Shock Connected, to use the functionality. You can simply not bother with the Casio Watches app in this case and just use the G-Shock Connected app unless you’re really keen to have two Casio apps installed on your phone.
G-Shock Connected works really well. It guides you through the connection process, and all the features too. It’s reliable, clear, concise, and straightforward. You can set the world time, start a timer, set an alarm, and check the status of the battery charge. The Dive Log records dive time and logs your location using the phone’s GPS, and all of this is performed using a few button presses in the app. It’s definitely easier than remembering different button combinations on the watch itself, plus the mapping feature looks great.
Like all analog Frogman watches, it’s solar-powered, so there’s no need to charge the battery with a cable or wireless pad. In my experience, provided it sees some daylight on a vaguely regular basis, you won’t have to worry about the charge at all. The correct time is set when you sync with the app, but the GWF-A1000 also has Casio’s Multi-Band 6 technology, where it periodically syncs with radio towers around the world and adjusts to the correct local time automatically.
Just as tough as it is poisonous
Is the Frogman tough? Do Poison dart frogs have poison on their skin? It’s a top-spec G-Shock, so that means shock resistance through the Hollow Core Guard structure made from carbon and resin, an anti-corrosion coating on any metal components, 200 meters of water resistance with ISO accreditation for professional dive use, and sapphire crystal over the dial.
The dial has an LED backlight and lume applied to the main hands, the hands in the subdial, the tip of the second hand, and above each hour marker. It makes the watch face legible in the dark, while the bright LED better illuminates the date window and the function subdial.
While the dial is busy, everything has a function, right down to the markings around the edge which show when features like Bluetooth connectivity are enabled. The screw-down crown ensures the watch stays watertight, and when you unscrew it, the watch activates different adjustment features automatically.
Wearing the poison dart frog watch
G-Shock watches are rarely small, and the Frogman is one of the biggest you can get. At its widest point, the GWF-A1000 Frogman is 56mm, plus its 19.7mm thick, so don’t expect it to disappear under your cuff or to naturally suit all wrist sizes. The bright color scheme makes it even more attention-grabbing than a normal Frogman, so it’s not really a watch for the shy and retiring.
The G-Shock Frogman, Poison dart frog version or not, is thicker than the Apple Watch Ultra; at 110 grams, it’s heavier too. But chances are, if you’re reading this, you already know G-Shock’s dive watch is a bit of a beast. It’s also the reason I love it, and why I own several different versions. It’s not like wearing a Seiko “tuna” dive watch, or a Tag Heuer Aquaracer, which are fairly subtle by comparison. It’s a statement-making piece, especially when the colors are turned up to the max like they are here.
Wearing the strap a little loosely is the way most G-Shocks should be worn, but here that does mean it restricts wrist movement due to the size. Wearing it tightly stops this, but it takes some getting used to. However, I’ll live with it when I smile every time I look down at it, plus the reassurance I’ll never mistake an actual poison dart frog for anything else.
The GWF-A1000APF-1AER Poison Dart Frog Frogman is a limited edition watch, made to celebrate the anniversary of the Frogman range, and it may not hang around forever. It’s expected to launch in the U.S. in the near future, but it’s available in the U.K. and some other countries already. In the U.K. it costs 949 British pounds, which is around $1,140. The standard GWF-A1000 costs $800 in the U.S., so expect to pay a little more than this when it becomes available.