Wearing a G-Shock came to signify an open declaration of one’s love for the rugged life, and the great outdoors. Here are the best options to vie for
The subject of design is always one of debate — polarising — with people on both sides of the spectrum, liking and hating it with equal fervour. But great design not only gets accepted and etched into memories, but also redefines design sensibilities for future generations. That’s a talent and skill that few luminaries are endowed with, and often, it takes more than one lifetime to comprehend their impact.
The G-Shock by CASIO is one such product. Sure, it is a watch, a simple battery-driven watch that tells time. The founder of G-Shock didn’t aspire to any lofty greatness or fame when he set himself to design a durable watch. Kikuo Ibe, an engineer by training, had learnt the hard way what it feels like to have a precious thing smashed by falling other ground. His father’s bequeathed pocket watch’s untimely demise in this manner, was all the inspiration he needed. The goal was simple, a ‘Triple 10’ resistance — a watch that can survive a 10 metre drop, is water-resistant to 10 bars (100 metres), and could boast a battery life of 10 years. Remember, this was back in the early ’80s; quartz movements had just been introduced (and were pummelling the Swiss watch industry), but no brand was even close to such exacting standards of performance. Watches were still glass, and metal cases with fragile movements that needed to be handled carefully, and the term shockproof was on nobody’s mind when buying a watch.
Ibe-san’s loss saw him spend the best of two years, working away at 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 office. The child’s rubber ball gave him an idea — why not suspend the watch in a similar casing? And so was born the first G-Shock, a name inspired by the idea that it was a watch that could withstand the shock of gravity, thanks to the 10 layers of protection, inside which floated the mechanism. This was a square-ish shape, now epitomised as the DW-5000c.
I can’t imagine many people having taken to the G-Shock instantly. The pitch it made was utilitarian, but wristwatches were still an expensive affair, and people who could afford them preferred the standard dressier stuff, plus they weren’t exactly leading actively engaged lives. But this didn’t deter the team or the creator. Gradually, as subsequent models followed, the young ones leading active lifestyles — sports and adventure enthusiasts, especially skateboarders — took a liking to the brand. This stemmed from pure functionality — a virtually indestructible watch that worked effortlessly, and also looked good.
Wearing a G-Shock came to signify an open declaration of one’s love for the rugged life, the great outdoors. By the ’90s, the G-Shock was a brand force. 200 models had been launched till 1998 and recently, in 2017, they sold their 100 millionth watch. New versions now have solar charge, atomic time sync, GPS, Baby-G and smaller Shock (erstwhile ‘minis’), sound and vibration alarms, Bluetooth connectivity and, most recently, their first smartwatch. But if you are starting off, OG is the way to go. So, if you are tempted to acquire one, here are a few iconic pieces to vie for.
GMW-B5000: The original silhouette of the DW-5600E is revisited in this first all-metal reiteration with a reverse LCD, solar charging, and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s loud and chunky, but then there was no other way for it to be. Personally, it’s my go-to watch, in shiny gold finish.
GA2100: This is a fairly recent launch, although the company claims it harkens back to an old original shape — the octagon. The BoB (black on black) and Camo colourways are the ones to go for. It is also the thinnest G-Shock yet.
DW-5900: The one with an LCD display and the three-rotor face, an iconic G-Shock look.
GA110: The analog-digital combo, chunky resin body with metal accents.
GG-1000: Another ana-digi piece, but the first to boast of mud resistance. Mudmaster, Gravitymaster and Gulfmaster together constitute the Master of G series.
Also read: Breguet is reliving a 225-year old tradition