Plaza Watch International - - Baselworld Roundup -

For a man of a cer­tain age, a Ca­sio may have been their first ex­pe­ri­ence of wear­ing a watch. Yet, all grown up and un­der the spell of the ro­mance of the me­chan­i­cal, to­day the watch afi­cionado is likely to shun its watches, and the chunky, ex­treme, quartz-run G-Shock in par­tic­u­lar. And they would be en­tirely wrong to do so. Cer­tainly one of the lat­est mod­els in the line recog­nises the prob­lem. The MT-G Metal Twisted is ar­guably the most re­fined G-Shock to date – sap­phire crys­tal glass, stain­less steel bracelet, stripped­back case and dial but still all the big boy's gad­gets: multi-band atomic time­keep­ing, a dual-layer dis­play, Ca­sio’s Smart Ac­cess elec­tronic quick-lock crown, al­low­ing an easy scrolling through func­tions, and, nat­u­rally, a steel, resin and gel struc­ture that makes it one of the tough­est watches around, able to cope with grav­i­ta­tional drop, cen­trifu­gal forces and the im­pact of be­ing dropped from a great height. In­deed, it was by do­ing just this – from the sec­ond floor of the Ca­sio HQ – that the first G-Shock pro­to­types were tested. Then there is the snap­pily-named GW-A1100, a pi­lot’s watch com­plete with compass, alarm, world time, so­lar power and fly-back chrono­graph.

G-Shock – which this year cel­e­brates its 30th birth­day – is ar­guably one of the 20th cen­tury’s most im­por­tant de­vel­op­ments in watch­mak­ing, de­spite the es­cape­ment and bal­ance wheel fetishists’ naysay­ing. So Ca­sio may be more as­so­ci­ated with the elec­tron­ics revo­lu­tion: it was es­tab­lished in 1957 with the launch of the world’s first all-elec­tric com­pact cal­cu­la­tor and didn’t en­ter the watch mar­ket un­til 1974 with the Ca­siotron, the first com­put­erised watch (in 2001 it would cre­ate the world’s first ra­dio-con­trolled watch too). But its 1983 DW 5000C, the first G-Shock, was equally ground-break­ing, the re­sult of Ca­sio designer Yuichi Ma­suda be­ing tasked with de­vel­op­ing an “un­break­able watch”, de­signed to meet so-called triple-10 stan­dards: a 10 year bat­tery life, 10-bar wa­ter re­sis­tance and 10-me­tre free-fall shock re­sis­tance. That achieved, he could lit­tle imag­ine that the line it led to would sell some 50 mil­lion pieces, be sought out for col­lab­o­ra­tions by fash­ion brands as in­flu­en­tial as Stussy and A Bathing Ape, or find a spot in the per­ma­nent col­lec­tions of de­sign mu­se­ums from New York to Lon­don. Few Swiss brands can make such claims. JS

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