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

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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David Ng
David Ng
1 year ago

Looking at the latest released full digital Mr.G, MRG-B5000B-1 and MRG-B5000D-1. They are both positive display. Maybe at these price tags, CASIO think its better to give the best selection of options if it really wants people to buy it. It make me wonder if its the strategy of CASIO not to create a “ideal” version of watch so that it is able to up sell the next version, positive display. For master of G series, being a functional watch, I think it should always have a positive display version, especially the GWG2000.

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