Call Me Mister—G-SHOCK MR-G Line Takes Technology And Traditional Craftsmanship To Luxurious New Heights
No matter how exclusive your collection, there’s always room for a G-SHOCK. Here’s an in-depth look at the new MRG-G2000R-1A and the traditions behind G-SHOCK’s most high end, innovative, and artistic collection.
It’s been a busy year for G-SHOCK. 2018 marked G-SHOCK’s 35th birthday with many limited edition anniversary editions. There were also much hyped, exclusive collaborations like the Tomy Transformers watch or the limited edition DW-5600BBs with the British band Gorillaz. And just last week and the brand announced the debut of an all-new timepiece (GA110FRG-7A) created in collaboration with chart-topping rapper, A$AP Ferg.
But G-SHOCK really outdid itself with its premium MR-G collections. The MR-G watches’ combination of robust construction and delicate finishes has proven to be irresistible to collectors of both street and upscale style.
The Art Of Time
MR-G derives its name from “M” for “Majesty” and “R” for “Reality.” The entire line was created with the goal of surviving a 10-meter fall, withstanding 10 atmospheres of water pressure and having a 10-year battery life — that’s the reality. The majesty is encapsulated by how the company also wants traditional Japanese artisanal techniques to survive and thrive.
For example, the city of Kyoto is home to home to the most significant number of local traditional artisans in Japan, working in a total of 74 categories of crafts. In one of these studios, you'll find Bihou Asano, a third-generation artisan in the field of tsuiki metalworking.
Tsuki means using a metal hammer (tsui) to raise (ki). The craft dates back to the Edo period and is a painstaking process that involves shaping thin pieces of metal through meticulous pounding. Historically it was used to make copperware and other metal containers, as well as armor and helmets, which needed to be made both thin and strong. The technique is so tricky that it takes about 20 to 30 years to master all aspects of the process.
Which is why collectors quickly snapped up the handcrafted, limited edition MRGG2000HA-1, unveiled at Baselworld in March, these watches were a collaboration with third generation master craftsman Biho Asano.
Born in Kyoto in 1943, Asano is primarily employed in the repair of designated national treasures, but he also pushes the boundaries of his craft activities as Heian Bihou III.
For the MRGG2000HA-1, Asano was inspired by the unique texture found on the hilt guard of traditional "Tetsu-Tsuba" Japanese swords. He personally hammered each bezel with a technique called "Arashi-Tuchime." This resulted in a one-of-a-kind finish. Each mark is like his brush stroke and his signature.
Additionally, the bezel and the band were colored to recall shades of copper and deep violet found on the handle of Japanese swords. This color scheme was accomplished through an abrasion resistant coating called Arc Ion Plating.
The MR-G line also seeks to recapture important eras in Japanese history.
For example, 2017’s MRG-G1000B-1A4 Akazonae, incorporated red accents used in traditional Japanese samurai armor – in particular, the armor is worn by the senior samurai of the Takeda clan, during the feudal Sengoku period (c. 1467 - c. 1603). For these ancient warriors, symbolism was important. Samurai decorated their swords and armor (Kikko) with patterns that represented strength and victory.
Like the Samurai’s sword, the newest MR-G model — the MRG-G2000R-1A — is a tool. Weekend warriors need to project power while looking good too!
The MRG-G2000R-1A created to be the epitome of luxury and strength by engraving a traditional, interlocking hexagonal pattern on the band. This interlocking arrangement represents the armor of Bishamonten, the Buddhist god of warriors and punisher of evildoers.
The MRG-G2000R-1A is also the first MR-G model to feature a Dura Soft Fluoro-rubber band. While this extremely durable material is the innovation, the beauty lies in its gorgeous decoration.
The Future Is Now
As much as G-SHOCK is committed to preserving ancient craft techniques and promoting history, the Land of the Rising Sun also has a rich tradition of innovation. Man-made materials have come a long way in the upscale market. Everybody from Patek Philippe to Rolex now offers some sort of rubber strap. This is a reflection that for many buyers — especially Millennials — comfort is a luxury.
The MRG-G2000R-1A is an ultimate warrior in many other ways. Its solid yet lightweight 49.8 mm titanium case not only has a lot of wrist presence but has also gone through a deep layer hardening process. It has diamond-like carbon coating to increase abrasion resistance. And it has a hard-wearing, scratch-resistant sapphire inner crystal coating.
In another first for the brand, the Dura Soft Fluoro-Rubber Band and titanium case are connected via an "L/R-Δ Loc" (pronounced "L-R Delta Lock"), which Casio co-developed in partnership with NejiLaw – a company known for having "screws that never come loose." to achieve the ultimate in shock absorption for the band connection.
Based on an L/R bolt*3 with two nuts that are locked together and rotate in opposite directions, this mechanism uses the (delta) Loc principle of the mechanics of elastic-plastic mechanics to prevent loosening due to vibration and other forces.
The clasp is machined out of titanium and, along with the bezel, is coated with diamond-like carbon (DLC) to increase abrasion resistance. All titanium parts are also subjected to a deep-layer hardening process, which makes their surfaces four to five times harder than plain titanium, for a second hardening treatment. The titanium case and back cover are also treated with titanium carbide (TIC) to improve abrasion resistance
The high-performance MRG-G2000R is also equipped with “GPS Hybrid Radio-controlled Solar-powered Timepiece with Bluetooth” to provide the most accurate world time readings. It also comes equipped with standard MR-G offerings such as 200M water resistance and shock resistance, smartphone-linked functions and a Super Illuminator high brightness LED light.
The MRGG2000R-1A will retail for $2,800 and is available at selected Authorized G-SHOCK retailers and G-SHOCK's Soho Store.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)