Ask a person on the street to name a strong and durable watch, and chances are the Casio G-Shock will be among the answers.
While there are doubtless many stories out there about G-Shock watches surviving harsh conditions, Kikuo Ibe, the engineer who designed the first model of the watch 35 years ago, has another memorable example of his creation’s durability – in the hands of the “youngest fan of the G-Shock”.
“At one event, there was one young mother and her two-year-old child,” Ibe, known as the father of G-Shock, told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore in an exclusive interview on Wednesday (25 April).
The woman introduced herself and her kid as fans of the G-Shock to Ibe, who understood why the mother would be a fan. “But, at first, I couldn’t understand why the two-year-old was a fan of the G-Shock,” the 65-year-old said.
“The mother explained that chewing the G-Shock is very good way to make the baby’s teeth stable. The watch is very tough and rigid, which why the baby is liked to bite and chew the G-Shock,” Ibe recalled with a smile, adding that he was “very moved to hear that”.
Ibe was in town for the launch of the first Full Metal 5000 Series G-Shock, the GMW-B5000. Based on the classic and iconic design pioneered by the DW-500C and the DW-5600, the watch comes in silver and a limited gold edition (GMW-B5000TFG-9).
Stocks of both models were sold out around Singapore shortly after they went on sale on Thursday (26 April), with some fans reportedly waiting in line overnight for a chance at the limited edition model, which retailed at $949. The regular model sells for $799.
Ibe said he hoped people who bought the new G-Shocks would value the philosophy that went into making the watches. “G-Shock is a watch that has a development story,” he said when talking about the new models. “It’s not just a fashion watch.”
The GMW-B5000 is part of Casio’s line up of watches for the G-Shock’s 35th anniversary, which also saw Ibe teaming up with fashion designer NIGO, the man behind Japanese clothing line A Bathing Ape (BAPE).
The neon yellow and pink watches that came out of the collaboration were as striking as they were limited – only 35 pieces of each watch were produced, and they were sold through an online raffle. While Ibe said he and NIGO were “very satisfied” with the watches, he also expressed his sorrow that not everyone who wanted one of the watches would be able to get one.
As for future collaborations, Ibe said he did not have a “clear idea” on any in the future, but he would welcome it if it was a “win-win situation”.
He cited the example of the G-Shock collaboration with Singapore sneaker customiser Sabotage (commonly known as a SBTG). “That was a very successful collaboration and it was a win-win situation,” he said, adding that he hoped Singapore customers enjoyed that model.
Ibe also acknowledged that the G-Shock had grown from its initial idea as a durable, everyday option, with some models costing in the four-figure bracket.
While the prices were higher than the others, Ibe felt the premium models would meet the needs of an older generation of fans who had grown up with the G-Shock from young. “I think the young people who become G-Shock fans… I want these people to be G-shock fans for a long time, even as they get older.”
Watch his interview with Yahoo TV here:
Correction: The number of G-Shocks produced hit 100 million, not 1 million as subtitled. We apologise for the error.