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The Cult Of G-Shock

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Wearing a G-Shock came to signify an open declaration of her love for the rough and the great outdoors. Here are the best options to fight for

The subject of design is always a subject of debate – polarizing – with people on both sides of the spectrum loving and hating it with equal fervor. But good design is not only accepted and remembered, but also redefines design sensibilities for future generations. It is a talent and a skill few luminaries possess, and often it takes more than a lifetime to understand their impact.

One such product is CASIO’s G-Shock. Of course, it’s a watch, a simple battery-powered watch that tells the time. The founder of G-Shock aspired to no greatness or fame when he set out to design a durable watch. Kikuo Ibe, an engineer by training, had learned the hard way what it was like to have a precious thing shattered by falling on other ground. The untimely demise of the pocket watch left by his father in this manner was all the inspiration he needed. The goal was simple, a “Triple 10” resistance – a watch that can survive a drop of 10 meters, is water resistant to 10 bars (100 meters) and could boast a 10 year battery life. Remember, that was in the early 1980s; quartz movements had just been introduced (and were hitting the Swiss watch industry), but no brand even came close to such demanding performance standards. Watches were still glass, and metal cases with fragile movements that had to be handled with care, and the term shockproof was not on anyone’s mind when buying a watch.

The loss of Ibe-san gave him the best of two years, working on 200 models to achieve the unthinkable. Almost at the end of hope, “Team Tough” was about to give up when Ibe-san saw a child playing in the park outside his desk. The kid’s rubber bullet gave him an idea – why not hang the watch in a similar case? This is how the first G-Shock was born, a name inspired by the idea that it was a watch capable of withstanding the shock of gravity, thanks to the 10 layers of protection, to the inside which floated the mechanism. It was a square shape, now embodied as the DW-5000c.

I can’t imagine that many people instantly took G-Shock. The speech he made was utilitarian, but wristwatches were still an expensive affair, and people who could afford them preferred more standard, dressier things, plus they didn’t exactly lead busy lives. But that didn’t deter the team or the creator. As the following models followed, young people leading active lifestyles – sports and adventure enthusiasts, especially skateboarders – developed a liking to the brand. It stemmed from pure functionality – a virtually indestructible watch that worked effortlessly and looked good too.


Wearing a G-Shock came to signify an open declaration of her love for the rough, the great outdoors. In the 90s, the G-Shock was a brand force. 200 models had been launched until 1998 and recently, in 2017, they sold their 100 millionth watch. Newer versions now have solar charging, atomic time synchronization, GPS, a smaller Baby-G and Shock (formerly “minis”), audible and vibrating alarms, Bluetooth connectivity, and most recently, their first smartwatch. But if you are just starting out, OG is the way to go. So, if you are tempted to acquire one, here are some iconic pieces to compete with.

GMW-B5000: The original silhouette of the DW-5600E is revisited in this first all-metal iteration with an inverted LCD display, solar charging and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s loud and thick, but there was no other way for it to be. Personally, this is my go-to watch, with a shiny gold finish.

GA2100: This is a fairly recent launch, although the company claims it is reminiscent of an old original shape – the Octagon. The BoB (black on black) and Camo colors are what you need. It is also the thinnest G-Shock to date.

DW-5900: The one with an LCD screen and the three rotor face, an iconic G-Shock look.

GA110: The analog-to-digital combo, thick resin body with metallic accents.

GG-1000: Another ana-digi coin, but the first to boast of its mud resistance. Mudmaster, Gravitymaster and Gulfmaster together make up the Master of G series.

Read also: Breguet relives a 225-year-old tradition

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