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Why so many G-Shocks with reverse (or negative) LCD displays?

Top 5 G-Shocks in Japan. 4 with Reverse / Nevative LCD Display

The most common complaint we hear at G-Central is about reverse LCD displays, a.k.a. negative displays. These are LCD displays that are inverted, from the standard dark digits on a clear background, to clear digits on a dark background. (The display, in either case, may also be tinted to give the background or digits a colored appearance.)

It’s true that reverse displays are not as legible as standard displays, especially when viewed at an angle and in low-light conditions (though the EL or LED light will help with the latter). The use of STN displays in some models helps to alleviate the problem, but there are not many G-Shock models with this feature and many people still prefer a standard display. With so many people constantly complaining online about reverse displays, why does G-Shock continue to make so many of these models? Because they look cool and a lot of people buy them.

Those who use G-Shock as a tool watch want it to tell the time (and provide other functions) in the most effective way possible, and for them a standard display makes the most sense. Other people may use G-Shock as a fashion watch, where maximum readability is not the main priority. Of course, it’s not an all or nothing proposition when it comes to utility versus fashion, and many people are caught somewhere in the middle. (We believe that this is where the frustration stems from, as they want a cool new watch, but can’t compromise with what they believe is an inferior feature.) There are also those who can appreciate both sides and buy multiples watches without having an issue, using some of their G-Shock watches as tool watches and others as fashion pieces.

Are there too many G-Shock models with negative displays? We don’t think so, because for people who need a tool watch, there is usually a standard model available with a standard LCD display (although we admit that this isn’t always the case). We realize that there seems to be more new models with reverse displays than standard displays these days. This is because most of the new monthly releases are of the fashion variety, and it’s probably safe to assume that G-Shock would like you to buy more than one watch. As most G-Shock fans will attest to, it’s very difficult to find that one perfect G-Shock that can be your go-to watch in every situation. There is nothing wrong with buying more than one watch for different uses and settings, just as you would buy different pairs of shoes. We believe in freedom of choice and having options, and this is something that G-Shock does quite well. Should G-Shock release more new models with standard displays? We don’t know, but a lot of people seem to think so. Would they look as cool and sell as well as reverse display models? Maybe not.

Let’s look at the evidence that reverse displays are popular. A visit to the best-selling lists of some of the top e-commerce sites provides the answer.

The number of the top all-digital G-Shock watches with a reverse LCD display at various retailers (as of October 11, 2019):

(We are excluding the GPRB1000-1 Rangeman from the digital models. We also excluded all analog-digital models because most of the top-selling G-Shocks are analog-digital watches with reverse LCD displays.)

www.e-casio.co.jp: 4/4 of the top 4 digital models have reverse LCD displays

*****: 8/10

MTLD: 9/10

*******: 5/8

Watches.com: 11/14

*******: 8/10

Zumiez: 6/10

The current best-selling G-Shock watch on Amazon.com (GD100-1BCR) has a reverse display.

A lot of people do buy G-Shocks with negative displays, and Casio will continue to make them, despite all of the complaining.

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Disclosure: G-Central is independently managed by fans and is not an official G-Shock site. For official support, visit world.casio.com. Please follow your country's official sites for more release information. G-Central may earn a commission on purchases from our links to Amazon, eBay, and Reeds Jewelers.

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Rhel
Rhel
2 years ago

I have never understood the complaints. I wonder if they’re coming from the same few people. Because I also wonder in what unicorn environments these people use watches that they can’t read the time. My super amazing GPRB1000TF-1 is readable in every ridiculous situation I’ve found myself in. All my negative display Casio watches from the squares to that GPRB 1000 are readable in the car, the office, at night, during the day, out walking, in a darkened NOC, trudging through the snow, and on long hikes, or on a bike. So where are these people unable to read the watch? And all these watches have backlit ELD displays. Whether button only or combo movement + button activated.

WG
WG
2 months ago
Reply to  Rhel

People with eye issues that’s who!

Tom
Tom
2 years ago

For me, the standard display is instantly readable while the reverse forces me to pause, look closely and concentrate. Thus it is far more usable. The reverse seems more an aesthetic choice. Which, apparently, a lot of buyers appreciate. In a perfect world, Casio would give us both options. For example, I’d far prefer the standard display on the new camo titanium square but Casio has decided otherwise.

IvanJ
IvanJ
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

I think the titanium camo square should have a green tinted positive display. A no-brainer

John
John
2 years ago

The analysis here is exactly my thinking. I like the look of reverse displays, but they aren’t as legible. For a watch that is for fun or for looks, reverse displays work fine.

Tom
Tom
2 years ago

Thumbs up, IvanJ.

Kuki Peter
Kuki Peter
2 years ago

I would like to see an STN display with that green reflection that changes tones from various angles from Timex lcd watches like the ironman implemented in a G-Shock.That would be something more than awesome

Theo
Theo
2 years ago

I don’t like negative displays. I have two which I find quite useless, as to their digital functions. The first one I bought being inexperienced, but the reselling price is so low that I keep it. The second I returned instantly , finding almost unreadable indoors. The third analog/digital I bought because I liked the design and because I have two other variants with positive displays. But still I’d prefer to exchange it for a positive variant.

I have another proposition for Casio: Why not give the customer the choice to simply invert the display via a menu function? It shouldn’t be a problem to do that, I guess. Then everyone can have it his own way.

Bjorn
Bjorn
2 years ago

There are absolutely way too many reverse displays.

The argument ‘they sell’ is a bit flawed – not when there’s no alternative. Let’s say I want the features of a GPRB1000… can’t buy a regular display. The new red, green and blue skeleton 5600’s? No regular display.

I buy them DESPITE of their displays, not because of them.

WG
WG
2 months ago
Reply to  G-Central

I agree wholeheartedly with you, there is a full metal red/burgundy model that came out in Jan. 2021, its $600. with a negative display. its difficult to read as a cataract patient, if they could only make it with a positive display id buy it in a heartbeat, the color matches my new Pilot to a Tee, my only alternative is to do a polarization surgery, which id be hesitant to perform.

Jan
Jan
1 year ago
Reply to  Bjorn

Hello.

I would like to confirm Bjorn’s opinion. At the moment I think about buying G-Shock square with Bluetooth connection. I’ve excluded steel models, so no 5000 series and the selection is limited to GW-B5600 series. But there are only one model with slightly yellow positive display. But this model is also yellow/gold colored, which for some people looks eccentric. Practically, there is no decent non-steel square model with Bluetooth technology and people don’t have the opportunity to buy a positive display if they don’t want to end up with a yellow/gold watch.
Due to the bad experience of the past with negative displays, I’m thinking about giving up to Bluetooth and going to 5610 classical look, which makes more sense to me than fighting with negative display.
In conclusion, I think the statistics provided by G-Central are highly influenced by the fact that people do not have the opportunity to buy G-Shocks with positive displays with the same functionality as negative displays. For example, in the GW-B5600 series, the ratio is 5: 1 in favor of negative displays.

ivan
ivan
2 years ago

Great explanation G Central!
Thumbs up!

Gabor
Gabor
1 year ago

I would like to buy a Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GWG-1000 watch with positive display, carbon-resin watch strap in black or camouflage ….
Does Mudmaster have a positive display ???
It doesn’t exist to my knowledge.
Because there is none, I do not buy. 🙂
Unfortunately, what I like about Pro Trek is that it has a negative display, so I don’t buy it either. 🙂
I’ve been waiting for the Casio to wake up for about 3 years.
For my Suunto watch I use for running, I choose to have a positive or negative display. I tried the negative while running = disaster. 🙂

pata
pata
1 year ago

I own a GW-B5600BC-1BJF and don’t mind the negative display. I find it as readable as I need it to be in any situation i’ve ever found myself in.
However, I didn’t buy this watch for the negative display.
I wonder if the purchasing bias we see towards negative displays isn’t about the display at all. Most of the neg display squares are paired with a simpler, less cluttered screen (no red pinstripe, reduced button text, less feature listing). Additionally the model i own’s “G-SHOCK PROTECTION” lettering on the bezel is not coloured (it’s black). For myself, apart from the feature set, I def chose the model I own based on the fact that the clutter was absent (and so was less childish/flashy/80’s to my eyes), than because it had a neg display and perhaps it’s features like these that people are being drawn to.
Maybe if Casio produced positive display with less “clutter” on the surround, the sales of those watches would improve.