G-SHOCK And Awe: The 10 Coolest G-SHOCK Watches From The Last Year
Every year, journalists and enthusiasts gather to make their lists of their favorite timepieces. And during all the discussions of which watch was best, we came to an epiphany of sorts. The Casio G-SHOCK is the only brand that deserves its own best-of list.
Hear us out: Sure, Panerai, and Patek had some incredible novelties, but can you say that there were 10 distinct standouts, as opposed to variations within a collection? And of course, G-SHOCK has an advantage because it releases a lot of novelties in a year.
But if we’re wrong, Casio G-SHOCKs are so fun and affordable (solid gold versions notwithstanding) that even if you invested in all of the following timepieces, you would still have a good time.
MT-G 20th Anniversary Rainbow
The past couple of years have been celebratory for the brand. In 2018 they marked Casio G-SHOCK’s 35th Birthday. And 2019 saw the 20th anniversary celebration of the brand’s MT-G line, a premium solar watch collection best known for combining toughness and technology. But at Baselworld 2018, Casio unveiled the MT-G 20th Anniversary Rainbow. With a simply stunning iridescence, achieved through ion plating, as the wearer shifts their wrist, the metal switches from blue and yellow to violet or green. This fantastic finish makes each piece as unique as a snowflake.
Only 120 pieces were available in the US, and they, unfortunately, are all gone.
Every year, Casio G-SHOCK introduces a special addition to its MRG family. These luxe timepieces usually focus on an element of a traditional Japanese craft.
This year’s offering, inspired by the strength and refinement of Japanese sword making, was exceptionally cool. Each of these watches, limited to 300 pieces, is hand-finished by master swordsmith Sadanobu Gassan. And the watch echoes design elements typical of traditional blades.
For example, the case is made of recrystallized titanium that recalls the sparkle of a temper line on the blade of a sword. Arc Ion Plating (AIP®) is used to create the deep purple traditionally associated with nobility in Japan. The bezel is made from COBARION® — a material twice as hard as stainless steel — and is a beveled shape inspired by a blade’s tip.
Unsurprisingly, the 300 pieces of this tribute to traditional Japanese sword making sold out with the speed of a samurai.
Do you know what also makes G-SHOCK unique in watch collecting circles? They appeal to Gen Z as much as they do to millennials and Gen Xers. Okay, maybe even boomers too. And, they are just as desired by hypebeasts as they are by folks who need a serious professional timepiece.
This limited edition series also expanded the Casio G-SHOCK’s reach beyond watch collectors. It is the second collaboration between Casio and the “virtual” British band Gorillaz, fronted by Blur vocalist Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett. It took about a minute for collectors to snap up the two pieces in this now sold-out series: an ‘80s retro-looking DW-5600, and a camo-themed GA-2000.
Limited-edition 18K GD5000-9JR
One of the guiding lights for the G-SHOCK design team is that "every design has meaning.” And, while rumors circulated for many years about one-off solid gold versions, it wasn’t until 2019 that the rumor became a reality (for anyone who had $70,000 to spare).
The 18k gold G-SHOCK paid tribute to the brand’s iconic square case and shock-resistant structure. But it still required a lot of research and development to ensure that using this new material wouldn’t prevent the timepiece from functioning according to Casio’s exacting standards.
Alas, this limited sold out before it even hit the stores, quickly returning this golden boy to its mythological status.
Gravitymaster Carbon GWR B1000X-1A
Not all of G-SHOCK’s limited editions are as elusive. But they are still very desirable.
Take, for example, the Gravitymaster Carbon. By now we should all be able to recite the seven properties of a G-SHOCK: electric shock resistance, gravity resistance, low-temperature resistance, vibration resistance, water resistance, shock resistance, and toughness.
The Gravitymaster Carbon takes these principles to an even higher plane. Made for aviation professionals, this elevated expression of the Gravitymaster comes in a premium black Monocoque case that uses carbon and epoxy resin to boost its strength and durability. Rust-resistant titanium material adds extra ruggedness. It also boasts the most up-to-date Bluetooth to keep you connected and to ensure the most accurate timekeeping.
G-SHOCK Carbon Series
G-SHOCK also updated its accessibly priced GA2000 line. These four watches with a new Carbon Core Guard structure, eliminated the need for button guards, allowing the designers to remove them entirely.
It’s a game-changing technology that provides extra toughness in an ultralight case.
In 2019, G-SHOCK also brought color, material, and finish (aka CMF design) to the forefront. This allowed the brand to experiment with a slew of new hues, including yellow (GA2000-1A9), bright blue (GA2000-1A2), and red (GA2000E-4). There are also some military-inspired shades, like navy (GA2000-2A), olive green (GA2000-3A), and khaki (GA2000-5A).
The GA2000-2A, 3A, and 5A are currently $130 each; the limited-edition GA2000E-4 is $160; and, the GA2000-1A9 and 1A2 will also be $130 beginning in April. All are available at select jewelers, the G-SHOCK Soho Store, and gshock.com.
Full Metal Titanium GMW-B5000TCM
In another first for G-SHOCK, the company also added titanium timepieces to its already wildly successful Full Metal collection.
This iteration is particularly impressive for many reasons. It’s 57 grams lighter than the stainless steel versions, and it features an intricate laser-etched camouflage design on the case and band. And because titanium isn’t easy to work with, Casio built a dedicated production line just to manufacture this watch.
The Full Metal Titanium is tough inside as well, featuring many of G-SHOCK’s most premium features. It has, for instance, two-way time sync which uses Bluetooth to pair with smartphones via the G-SHOCK connected app. And it has Multi-Band 6 atomic time calibration for a self-adjusting and accurate hour/date display almost anywhere in the world.
Clear Skeleton GA700 (GA700SK-1A) and DW5600 (DW5600SK-1)
As previously mentioned, G-SHOCK paid tribute to an ancient craft with last year’s Gassan. However, they also honored more recent history with the Clear Skeleton Series. With a nod to ’90s nostalgia, these two new models sport all-clear cases and bands and rock the iconic silhouettes of the DW5600 and GA700.
They are also a great value proposition. The GA700SK-1A retails for $120, and the DW5600SK-1 is priced at $110. Both are available at G-SHOCK retailers, including Macy’s, the G-SHOCK Soho Store, and gshock.com.
In 2019, G-SHOCK also updated its S-Series of analog-digital watches for women with the GMAS140.
Although the company produced these timepieces in multiple colorways (think pink, mint, and black straps), this overhaul was more about exploring connectedness and expanding that technology to the G-SHOCK women's line up.
5600 with Stainless Steel Bezel
Perhaps the most emblematic of all G-SHOCKs, the 5600 was introduced in 1983. Despite its age, it is always evolving thanks to advancements in technology and materials.
The 2019 take on this timeless model uses technological advancements to outfit it with a stainless steel bezel. The watch is available with either shiny steel or black finish, both of which give it a more elegant look. There are also different color options for the band. Still, because the watch retains the resin case and strap of the original model, it is comfortable and light on the wrist.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)