On-Location With The New, Mid-Sized Titanium G-SHOCK MRGB1000D
We put G-SHOCK’s latest titanium timepiece to the test.
It’s interesting to note the importance of metal in cultivating a civilization. In the mid-4th millennium BCE, Western Asia and the Near East entered the Bronze Age. The indigenous people of Michigan mined and worked copper between 5,000 BCE and 1,200 BCE. Silver mining got its start in 3,000 BCE in Anatolia, located in modern-day Turkey.
In Central and Western Europe, the Iron Age took hold around 800 BCE. In South America, the Muisca used their goldsmithing skills to form the backbone of a sophisticated trade network with the Aztecs, the Maya, and the Olmec.
And in all of these examples, metalsmithing left an undeniable mark on culture, being used as currency or just to create beautiful objects. Which brings us to the 1970s, when a new age — the titanium era — began, and to the present, with the launch of the G-SHOCK MR-G MRGB1000D-1A, the latest release in its luxury flagship lineup.
In Japan, artisans have elevated metalsmithing to a rare artform. Back in the 6th century AD, ironworkers used a unique furnace called a tatara to forge metal. Sword makers would pound the steel into sheets, fold them over and hammer them flat again, to strengthen the metal.
The appeal of titanium in a sport watch is easy to understand. It’s a light material, so you have a timepiece with a lot of wrist presence that won’t give you carpal tunnel syndrome. And it’s stronger than stainless steel and much more resistant to dings and scratches.
And now the technique needed to manufacture a titanium watch would do the ancient Katana makers proud. Because it’s almost impossible to mechanically stamp titanium using an automated manufacturing process, each piece must be machined and drilled, usually by hand, to ensure a perfect fit.
Because of its reputation as a comfortable and hard-wearing material (it’s also hypoallergenic and corrosion-resistant), titanium has most frequently been used in tool watches. But just as sports watches are crossing over from the hiking trails to the board rooms, the soft grey color of titanium has also taken on a more elegant cast.
What makes the new G-SHOCK MR-G so aesthetically pleasing? The mid-sized case looks and feels less bulky. And then there are the subtle symbols of power in Japan. G-SHOCK’s designers have done everything in their power to reflect the metal crafting traditions of armor, swords, and other Japanese arms.
Even the finishing technique adds extra elegance. The case and band are fashioned from titanium that has been deep surface hardened and then given a titanium carbide finish. This creates a lustrous, silvery color. The bezel has been treated with a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating for a dignified black color while bright red dial accents are meant to evoke images of traditional, red braided armor.
MAKE IT WORK
Of course, the best way to appreciate the strength in this beauty was to photograph it at Nazz Forge, a teaching forge located in Industry City, Brooklyn. Because where else can you bounce sparks off the super-durable sapphire crystal?
Watching metalworkers ply their ancient craft made us appreciate the fact that, despite having such high tech functions as Bluetooth, Tough Solar, time correction using Multi Band 6 time calibration signals, and smartphone linking capabilities, what makes this handsome horological object so stylish is the alchemy between material, form, finish, and utility.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)