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Casio’s updated watch for pilots can track GPS coordinates and sync over Bluetooth

Casio’s updated watch for pilots can track GPS coordinates and sync over Bluetooth

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Casio announced a new model in its G-Shock Gravitymaster line at this year’s Baselworld 2017 watch show, and it brings a new feature to the company’s line of high-end pilot’s watches: Bluetooth connectivity to sync flight data to your smartphone.

The original Gravitymaster GPW1000 was a pilot-focused watch that included the ability to track latitude and uses a hybrid GPS and radio system to automatically update the time zone, even when in flight. The updated Gravitymaster GPW2000-1A is similarly meant to help out pilots by adding the ability to also track longitudinal location, but the biggest addition is the Bluetooth connectivity, which the watch can use to both update the time to ensure accuracy and sync a “Mission Stamp” of location and time data to preserve flight logs in a companion smartphone app. It’s a very niche application of smart tech, to be sure, but it’s easy to see how the feature could be valuable for an advanced user who needs that kind of detailed data.

A very niche application of smart tech

Both Gravitymaster watches are part of G-Shock’s high-end Master of G line, along with the Gulfmaster (meant for marine use, which includes a barometer and tide graph) and the Mudmaster (rounding out the trio as an ultra-rugged watch designed for use on land). On the less digital side of the hardware, the GPW2000 offers the signature G-Shock shock resistance and water resistance, a sapphire crystal, and some carbon fiber details (including the second hand). The case itself measures in at a fairly large 57.1mm — even at the high end of the product range, a G-Shock is still a G-Shock.

But the Bluetooth-equipped Gravitymaster is also emblematic of the weird place that the wearable market is in right now: on the one hand, we’re seeing a lot of watch companies try to figure out how to apply their horological knowledge to smartwatches, like Fossil, Montblanc, and the $1,600 Tag Heuer Connected Android Wear watch. But as users begin to tire of the broken promises of most smartwatch companies, we’re seeing an increasing number of hybrid watches — more mechanical timepieces that hew closer to a traditional watch, but also add in some extra smart features, like activity tracking or notifications.

The Gravitymaster GPW2000-1A will be available for $800 when it launches in May.