Casio’s G-Shock is probably the most widely known and loved ultra-tough tool watch in the world, and for much of its history, it’s been just about everywhere humans have gone and needed a watch that can take considerably more punishment than would be needed to kill its owner. However, the G-Shock is more than that â it’s become a symbol as well, thanks partly to its incredible durability as well as the instant recognition G-Shocks enjoy, despite the diversity of G-Shock designs. It has also, thanks to its adoption by many celebrities, become one of the most unlikely, if widely visible, status symbol watches â as well as a vehicle for expressing the combination of technology, and traditional cultural values of Japan.Â
TheÂ MRG-G10000HG-9A is now the second MR-G G-Shock to receive the tsuiki hammer-pattern decorative treatment (check out the original Hammer Tone from our hands-on last May) and once again, Casio has recruited Mr. Bihou Asano, who was born into a Kyoto-based family of tsuiki masters in 1943, and who decorated the original Hammer Tone watches.Â
Now, this is not a solid gold body (although as we reported in our original Hammer Tone story, they exist; G-Shock creator Kikuo Ibe created one last year) but rather, a titanium body with gold ion plating. The bracelet center links and bezel are each decorated individually by Mr. Asano â for all 300 watches.
The body is built around a G-Shock module identical to the one used in the original Hammer ToneÂ MRGG1000HT: this is an analog-dial, GPS controlled world time watch that uses national radio time signal broadcasts as a backup in case a good lock with GPS satellites overhead can’t be established. The watch can also show, on the dial at 3:00, the day of the week; latitude at which you’ve gotten a fix from GPS; airplane mode status; and whether Daylight Saving Time is on or off. There are also options to enter alarm setting, stopwatch, or countdown timer modes as well (and of course, the requisite full perpetual calendar, a battery life indicator, and a very bright LED light for nighttime viewing). Oh, and it’s Tough Solar as well. Case dimensions areÂ 54.7 Ã 49.8 Ã 16.9mm, so save your French cuffs for another day (or rock this guy on the outside of your shirt sleeve. In for a dime, in for a dollar, and besides, if you’re wearing a 54.7mm gold G-Shock you just kinda gotta own it).Â
I know that this sort of thing strikes a lot of people as absurd or even downright bizarre but I have a weakness for the Hammer Tone watches â there is something about this kind of collision of wildly disparate cultural and aesthetic symbolism, with cutting edge timekeeping technology, that I find kind of irresistible. It’s nothing if not risky, sure, but it’s also nothing if not imaginative, and the undeniable amount of skill and craft that goes into tsuiki decoration elevates it above seeming kitschy or gimmicky. I could see a certain kind of stereotypically brash and burly individual going for one of these, but I could also see it being embraced by a certain kind of meticulous dandy as well.
The Hammer Tone MRG-G1000HG is a limited edition of 300 watches, priced at $6,200 (the same as the original Hammer Tone). Check out the whole tribe of G-Shocks at gshock.comÂ and if you’re new to G-Shock, or just want to find out more about how they came into existence, check out our in-depth interview with Kikuo Ibe, who showed us one of the rarest G-Shocks in existence, taps his favorite model, and says where he hopes G-Shock can go from here.