The new limited edition Casio MRG-G1000HT was unveiled at the 20th anniversary launch of the G-Shock MR-G – the most exclusive premium range of timepieces from the Japanese watch brand.
This premium model features a tsuiki theme, which is a metalworking technique where a sheet of metal is hammered out thinly into a three-dimensional shape. Despite the slightly pricier positioning (the watch retails at $8,888), the limited edition timepiece has already been sold out in Singapore.
Kikuo Ibe, the 64-year-old creator of the ubiquitous Casio G-Shock was in Singapore recently for the anniversary launch, and we caught up with him to find out more about the iconic watch. Here are five things that you probably didn't know about the Casio G-Shock:
1. It isn’t just a fashion watch
Even though the G-Shock is favoured by style icons like Pharrell and Kanye West, Ibe insists that the Casio icon isn’t just a fashion watch. “G-Shock has a sense of solid identity and toughness that you will not find anywhere else. Also, in terms of technology, design and finish, it is constantly evolving and has always presented users with new value.”
2. The G-Shock didn’t always sell well
After its launch in 1983, the G-Shock performed exceptionally well in the ‘90s. However, the boom peaked in 1997, where subsequent sales dropped to a third of its original.
3. The team did not give up and broke their sales record in 2014
After experiencing the decline in sales, the G-Shock team re-examined their product development, which was then mostly focused on its appearance. In order to make a difference, the team decided to return to its roots – toughness and technology.
“We invested in development of radio-controlled technology and new analog movements. At the same time, we reconsidered our marketing, and along with improving distribution, held ‘Shock the World’ promotional events worldwide."
The team also worked on creating a shock-resistant metal watch to suit grown-up users in the corporate world. Unlike resin, metal is not shock-proof and the team had to undergo rigorous product research before the first metal MR-G was produced in 1996.
"Conveying G-Shock’s toughness as well as its coolness had a direct correlation with increased sales. In this way we reignited consumers’ interest in the brand and captured new fans, and in 2014, we sold six and a half million units, a figure that exceeded the boom in the nineties. Since then we have continued to break our own sales records, with sales of 7.3 million (2015), and then 8 million units (2016).”
4. G-Shocks were thrown out of a third-floor bathroom window
“As an experiment, I threw G-Shocks out of a third-floor bathroom window hundreds and hundreds of times, but I never used the elevator, always the stairs to go up and down. Thanks to that, even now my legs and my lower back are really strong.”
5. There might be a G-Shock smart watch coming your way soon
In addition to the current models of G-Shock that have Bluetooth and are compatible with phones, Ibe reveals that the team is currently working on producing smart watches. “We are looking into producing models that can provide user with a greater amount of information.”
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