Gulfmaster or Rangeman?

A friend asked me the other day what I thought of the Gulfmaster Ocean G Shock  series of models from Casio, which appear to be the culmination of the “pack it all in” concept with both digital and analog (motorised) display and taken to it’s limits?

Casio Gulfmaster

Casio Gulfmaster

If you check out the many videos that are around, this is a watch absolutely stuffed with functions, is the latest thing and I should like it.  BUT when considered against the Casio Rangeman for example I’m of the opinion that maybe it’s just too much.  With the addition of analog function it’s almost overloaded and more importantly it’s twice the price.  Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m all in favour of more functions and I like the Gulfmaster but would I buy it?  and the answer I’m afraid, is no I wouldn’t.  There is also a point when you start adding analog and digital functionality where you have to be careful of over-complication and despite how clever Casio have been, I’m not sure if they’ve carried it off.

Compass mode - Hands become True North pointer.  The digital display indicates angle in degrees between the 12 o'clock and the True North pointer. Declination can be set in menu.

Compass mode – Hands become True North pointer. The digital display indicates angle in degrees between the 12 o’clock and the True North pointer. Declination can be set in menu.

Take the Tissot Solar Expert Pro for example – now that’s a feat of display engineering if ever there was – utterly simplistic analog appearance and yet with enormous ABC functionality.  Done with the most clever fusion of touchscreen, digital and analog micro-motor technology, it easily surpasses Casio in the complication v clarity stakes.

Casio Rangeman GW-9400CMJ-3ER

Casio Rangeman GW-9400CMJ-3ER (tougher than old boots!)

The Casio Rangeman on the other hand I like why?  Well first off I like owning it.  I like it because it manages the same functions (which are ideal for me) as my Protek ABC 270B, but in the G Shock classic tradition.  I like it because it’s all digital with no analog provision and looks actually quite plain, or unobtrusive perhaps is a better description.  Just another G Shock you may think, but it’s actually very much a wolf in sheep’s clothing.   The function (QW3410) set is actually very similar to the Gulfmaster, but with the omission of any analog clutter, is without Tidal information, but has the added bonus of a Sunrise/sunset function and a snooze Alarm (don’t know why that got missed on the Gulf).  The Rangeman is also in practice, smaller on the wrist, which is an important consideration when dealing with these multi-function models.  

Both models use the “Smart Access crown, rather than separate pushers as my Casio Pro Trek PRG270B-3, which is an improvement and as I say feature wise are very similar.  And with such large functionality it is pretty obvious all these models are going to be big (though that said, the advance in miniature technology is nothing short of amazing) – indeed they are all similar, but shape and band/case fit tends to dictate which wears smaller on the wrist and the Rangeman, surprisingly for a multi-function G Shock, though large is neater than expected.

None of the models are heavy though with the use of resin case technology.  One of my dreams however would be if Casio could reduce the sizes of these watches to around 45 mm x 45 mm and under 15 mm case depth, but I’m very doubtful that will ever happen as there is this compulsion to pack more in with every model . . . .

However function wise the Rangeman is very comprehensive and with basically 3 versions – the GW-9400CMJ-3ER shown here with Green case and Positive display – the GW-9400-1ER with Black case and Positive display and the GW-9400-3ER with Green case and Negative display.  I should say that my personal view is most Casio Negative displays are not in the same league as Positive ones.

The technical data for this Limited model is as follows –

Casio G-Shock Rangeman Men in Camouflage Wave Multiband 6 Watch GW-9400CMJ-3, GW9400CMJ

This latest addition to the Master of G Series designed has the camouflage pattern on the resin band.  Based on the previous RANGEMAN plus a carbon fiber insert on the band and with the Triple Sensor Version 3 (altitude, bearing, barometric pressure).  Part of the new New Master of G Series of models from Casio.

Specifications

Mineral Glass
Shock Resistant
200-meter water resistance
Case / bezel material: Resin
Carbon fiber insert Resin Band
LED backlight (Super Illuminator)

Great illumination for dark use.

Great illumination for dark use.

Full auto LED light, selectable illumination duration, afterglow
Solar powered
Time calibration signal reception
Auto receive up to six* times a day (remaining auto receives canceled as soon as one is successful)
*5 times a day for the Chinese calibration signal
Manual receive
The latest signal reception results
Time Calibration Signals
Digital compass
Measures and displays direction as one of 16 points
Measuring range: 0 to 359°
Measuring unit: 1°
60 seconds continuous measurement
Graphic direction pointer
Bidirectional calibration
Magnetic declination correction
Bearing memory
Altimeter
Measuring range: –700 to 10,000 m (–2,300 to 32,800 ft.)
Measuring unit: 1 m (5 ft.)
Altitude Memory Function:
Auto Save Data: High altitude, low altitude, cumulative ascent, cumulative descent (1 value each)
Others: Relative altitude readings (–3,000 to 3,000 m)
Selectable measurement interval: 5 seconds or 2 minutes
*1 second for first 3 minutes only
*Changeover between meters (m) and feet (ft)
Barometer
Display range: 260 to 1,100 hPa (7.65 to 32.45 inHg)
Display unit: 1 hPa (0.05 inHg)
Atmospheric pressure tendency graph (past 42 hours of readings)
Atmospheric pressure differential graphic
Barometric pressure tendency information alarm (beep and arrow indicate significant changes in pressure)
*Changeover between hPa and inHg
Thermometer
Display range: –10 to 60°C (14 to 140°F)
Display unit: 0.1°C (0.2°F)
*Changeover between Celsius (°C) and Fahrenheit (°F)
Manual data recording of up to 40 records (altitude, barometric pressure / temperature, bearing, time (Time Stamp))
World time
31 time zones (48 cities + coordinated universal time), city name display, daylight saving on/off
Sunrise, sunset time display
Sunrise time and sunset time for specific date, daylight pointers
1/100-second stopwatch
Measuring capacity: 999:59’59.9”
Measuring modes: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times
Countdown timer
Measuring unit: 1 second
Countdown range: 24 hours
Countdown start time setting range: 1 minute to 24 hours (1-minute increments and 1-hour increments)
5 daily alarms (with 1 snooze alarm)
Hourly time signal
Battery level indicator
Power Saving (display goes blank to save power when the watch is left in the dark)
Full auto-calendar (to year 2099)
12/24-hour format
Button operation tone on/off
Regular timekeeping: Hour, minute, second, pm, month, date, day
Accuracy: ±15 seconds per month (with no signal calibration)
Approx battery operating time:
8 months on rechargeable battery (operation period with normal use without exposure to light after charge)
23 months on rechargeable battery (operation period when stored in total darkness with the power save function on after full charge)
Size of case: 55.2 × 53.5 × 18.2 mm
Total weight: 93 g
LED:White

Not many downsides for this model, though I would liked to have seen a sort of 2nd Time Zone/Home Time SWAP feature, but I’m nit picking – changing to another World Time is easy enough so hardly an issue.
So in answer to my friend’s question – Yes I like the Gulfmaster but it’s not perhaps as tough as it could be with that unprotected glass, the analog hands feature whilst very good I don’t really need, the prominent text bezel seems over-large for purpose, Tidal and Moon stuff I don’t need and I just prefer the rugged tough look of the Rangeman, which is as well specified anyway.  Now that said, there is no doubt it is a superb watch and might well suit everyone so much that I’m the odd guy out, but it’s a personal thing and remember this was a question posed to me just the other day.  I have NOT seen the Gulfmaster in the flesh, so it’s a sort of remote opinion (which I never like doing) and who knows if I had it in my hand or on my wrist, my opinion might change and I might love it, though as I say fortunately I haven’t seen one close up – 😉

The Casio Rangeman GW-9400CMJ-3ER shown in conclusion is what I call a set and forget watch, looks like any other G Shock, which it isn’t and is probably the toughest watch produced, so I’ll stick with it until I see better.  Which could be a considerably long time . . . . What can I say . . . .

Note – this post not intended as a comparison between the two models shown, rather I was asked for my personal opinion which I gave “in Post” as it were. . . and as I was about to Post on the Rangeman, it seemed the ideal opportunity.

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