Photographs by Yu Mitamura
Edits & Text by Yuzo Takeishi
The MRG-B5000 lifts the Origin watch, directly descended from the iconic G-Shock DW-5000C, to the level of the company’s flagship luxury line, while preserving the classic appearance of the first-generation model. The watch created a stir on its release in March 2022. Mere months later, a new variation was released in this summer. The new MRG-B5000BA is an impressive addition to the lineup, accents of blue throughout the design creating an understated impression of serenity. This is more than just a mere color variation — this is a full-fledged new model that clearly expresses an independent concept and shows a new side to the series from previous models. A new shock resistant structure and the use of advanced materials make this perhaps the finest expression so far of the Origin line’s core concept of strength and robustness.
New Design and Smaller Components Combine for Lustrous Finishing and Luxury looks
The MRG-B5000 marks the pinnacle of the full-metal Origin series so far. The concept behind the watch was to perfect the Origin concept. Black and silver models were released in March 2022. The lustrous black exterior cladding of the MRG-B5000B in particular was remarkably faithful to the original G-Shock, almost miraculously managing to recreate the iconic original in metal. Marked by the luxurious feel you would expect from the MR-G series, the watch naturally created a stir not only among confirmed G-Shock fanatics, but among watch aficionados and collectors in general.
Unlike the MRG-B5000B, which was closely based on the first-generation model and whose dial used the key G-Shock color of red, the defining tone of the new MRG-B5000BA is blue. The concept behind the design is the “ao-zumi” (blue ink) used in Japanese calligraphy. The deep blue creates a mood of peace and serenity quite different to the effect of the traditional red, bringing out the “quiet strength” typical of Zen spirituality.
The latest color variation in the MRG-B5000 series uses the same shock-resistant multi-guard structure and exterior materials as previous iterations, while adding hints of color inspired by traditional Japanese “ao-zumi” (blue ink) throughout the watch. The sharp-angled design is modeled on the first generation G-Shock, but incorporates cutting-edge features including mobile link, which allows the watch to be linked to a smartphone via Bluetooth®. Tough Solar. Approximately 22 months on a full charge (in power save mode). 64Ti x Cobarion (49.4 mm x 43.2 mm). Water resistant to 20 bars.
|The first two watches in the MRG-B5000 series, released in March 2022. On the left, the MRG-B5000B-1 created a stir as a remarkably faithful reproduction of the iconic first-generation G-Shock in metal. The titanium case and Cobarion bezel feature a black DLC coating. On the right, the MRG-B5000D-1 uses a titanium carbide coating for the lustrous silver finish of the exterior, making this an eye-catching upgrade of the stainless steel full-metal Origin watch. Tough solar. Approximately 22 months on a full charge (in power save mode). 64Ti x Cobarion (49.4 mm x 43.2 mm). Water resistant to 20 bars.|
For the MRG-B5000 model, Casio was determined to come up with the finest incarnation of the Origin yet. The chief focus was the polishing. The predecessor model was the full-metal Origin GMW-B5000 series, which was inspired by the idea of making a metal watch using the Origin mold. It would have been possible to make a watch by injection molding, by using a die cast the same way as with the resin models, but this would have led to difficulties with processing at later stages of the manufacturing process. Instead, the watch was made through more than 10 stages of iterations of forging and cutting, together with polishing and other finishing processes. This made it possible to replicate the iconic shape of the Origin together with lustrous mirrored surfaces. But since the bezel (which covers the outside of the case) was made from a single component, it was not possible to polish every part of the concave surfaces of the bezel.
The idea behind the new multi-guard structure that was devised for the MRG-B5000 was to alter the form of the watch to make it possible to give a full polish finish to all surfaces of the watch. The Origin may look like a rather simple design compared to watches like the Master of G and MR-G, but in fact the design features numerous indentations and concavities, which means that with single-piece molding it is impossible to polish some of the finer concave surfaces of the watch. To solve this problem, Casio came up with a new structure that divides the case cover including the top bezel into 25 separate parts. Fragmenting this single piece into smaller components means that each individual piece has a flat surface, making it possible to carry out full polishing on even the smallest parts of the surface of the watch.
There was a serious drawback with the new design, however. The GMW-B5000 series contains shock-absorbent material between the center case that protects the modules and the bezel, providing a damper effect. But in the MRG-B5000, the case cover (consisting of the top bezel, lugs, case sides, and other small parts) was now made up of numerous parts. This made it impossible to use the same structure, raising questions about how the designers were going to guarantee the shock resistance that is an essential ingredient of any G-Shock watch. The solution was to use T-shaped parts that enclose flat springs. These parts, which slide up and down to create a bumper-like effect, were placed at the four corners of the case cover, with additional buffering material placed on the top, bottom, and both sides of the bezel. This made it possible to ensure that the multi-guard structure could withstand the impact of shocks from all directions, despite having been segmentalized into smaller parts.
|To make it possible to polish all parts of the surface, the case cover including the top bezel of the MRG-B5000 was subdivided into 25 parts. This meant that the structure used in the GMW-B5000, in which buffer material was inserted between the bezel and the center case, could not be used. To solve this problem, Casio came up with a new multi-guard structure that places T-shaped bumper components at the four corners of the bezel to provide shock absorption, along with additional buffer materials inside the lugs and at the case sides.|
The Japanese-Developed Advanced Materials Behind the Ultimate Full-Metal Origin Watch
Another important aspect of Casio’s effort to produce the perfect encapsulation of the Origin concept was the materials used for the exterior of the watch. The regular full-metal Origin watches are made of stainless steel or titanium, but for the MRG-B5000, Casio carefully selected the finest advanced materials with excellent scratch resistance. As well as giving the watch a stunning esthetic appearance befitting the company’s luxury line, this also ensures that the pleasures of its high-quality exterior will continue to be enjoyed for many years into the future.
The base material in the MRG-B5000 is Ti-64, the same titanium alloy that has often been used in other models in the G-Shock series. In addition, Cobarion is used in the top bezel and DAT55G, another titanium alloy, is used in the links of the bracelet. Cobarion and the DAT55G alloy are both advanced materials developed in Japan. The MR-G series has offered several models inspired by Japanese armor in the past, and the MRG-B5000 is another watch that proudly emphasizes its distinctly Japanese heritage through its choice of these unique Japanese-developed materials.
|In designing the MRG-B5000, Casio’s team carefully assessed the characteristics and workability of the various materials used and ensured that the right material was used in each component. The top bezel (top left) uses Cobarion, the material offering optimal resistance to scratches. The center case (top center), case back (top right), and the buckle (bottom right) are made from the Ti-64 alloy, while the bracelet links (bottom left) are made of DAT55G, chosen for its excellent workability.|
Cobarion is a material originally developed for medical applications by Professor Akihiko Chiba of Tohoku University. It is allergen-free, meaning it can be worn close to the body, and is approximately four times harder than pure titanium. And when the surface is polished, it takes on a lustrous sheen like a precious metal. Although initially developed for use in artificial joints, thanks to this quality the material is now widely used for jewelry and other accessories. These qualities make the material in some ways ideal for watch exteriors. But it weighs almost the same as stainless steel, and Casio was reluctant to use Cobarion for all the exterior parts, since this would make the watch less comfortable to wear. As a compromise, Casio decided to use Cobarion in the top bezel only, which protects the display and is the key to the watch’s aesthetic appeal.
DAT55G, meanwhile, is a titanium alloy created by Daido Steel, a Japanese specialty steel manufacturer. Originally used in golf club heads, the material was developed to meet the demand for golf clubs that would make balls fly farther and straighter, and was successfully commercialized in 2001. A few years later, however, new restrictions on materials that could be used in golf clubs caused demand for DAT55G to slump. It was then that Casio noticed the material and started to use it in its G-Shock watches.
DAT55G offers unique properties that are not found in other titanium alloys. Although the base material is relatively soft and can easily be worked into complex forms, after heat treatment it becomes approximately three times harder than pure titanium. In the planning stage for the MRG-B5000, Casio planned to use Ti-64 alloy in the bracelet as well, but with this material it proved impossible to punch the small pinholes used to connect the individual links in the bracelet. And although heat treatment makes the material hard, applying heat over a certain level changes the composition of the material and makes it impossible to maintain this hardness. It was decided to combine the qualities of both these materials, using DAT55G, with its superior workability and potential for hardness, for the links of the bracelet, while using Ti-64 alloy, which is less easily workable but offers superior heat resistance, for the center case, cover, and other components. Using these materials in combination, each one used in the appropriate places according to the properties called for in each component, made it possible to come up with a stronger, more robust exterior for the MRG-B5000, while still keeping the basic form of the Origin design.
|As well as being approximately four times stronger than pure titanium, Cobarion produces a lustrous sheen like platinum when polished. Used in the top bezel, this material not only protects the display but also helps to emphasize the lustrous appearance of the watch.|
|The links in the bracelet are made from a DAT55G titanium alloy developed by Daido Steel, a specialty steel manufacturer. The material is comparatively soft before heat treatment, making it possible to insert the small pinholes used to join the bracelet links and other subtle machining details.|
Blue Accents Express “Quiet Strength”
Casio believed from the outset that these advanced materials with excellent scratch resistance and the new structure that subdivided the case cover into separate parts would make it possible to develop subsequent variations on the MRG-B5000 model. The MR-G series has always used color variations to give additional significance and narrative to the watches in the series, and it was only natural to want to impart these elements to the MRG-B5000 as well. But first, a simple question had to be answered: “What would be a fitting color for this pinnacle of the Origin range?”
Inheriting the design of the original G-Shock, the Origin series has a simpler exterior design than the MR-G watches, which incorporate an analog display. One example is the MRG-B2000B, known as the “Kachi-iro” (Victory Color) model, released in 2021. With its massive proportions and intricately shaped bezel, this model has an appearance reminiscent of Japanese armor, giving it a strength and fierceness absent from the Origin watches. Although all G-Shock watches share the common elements of toughness and strength, each model and series features designs that express this strength in different ways.
|One model that takes the sensibility in a different direction from the Origin watches, expressing a fierceness absent from the original models, was the MRG-B2000B-1A (right), released in 2021. Using the traditional Japanese “Kachi-iro” (Victory Color), the watch’s boldly imposing proportions and appearance are reminiscent of samurai armor from the Warring States period. The case and bracelet use titanium combining deep-layer hardening and a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating, for maximum scratch resistance. Tough solar. Approximately 26 months on full charge (in power save mode). Ti (54.7 mm x 49.8 mm). Water resistance to 20 bars.|
How to come up with a new expression of strength that would reflect the unique sensibility of this model? Casio’s answer to this question was inspired by an image of Zen. The Origin series looks to strip away superfluous elements, offering a pure and simple expression of the robustness and shock resistance that are the essence of the G-Shock concept. In this, the series is similar to Zen Buddhism, in which practitioners look to hone their mental strength through a quiet confrontation with the self. The key to bringing out this sensibility in an Origin watch was the “ao-zumi” (blue ink) mentioned above, which is credited with properties that can bring a sense of calm and inner peace. The use of this color gives this iteration of the Origin series a quiet strength quite different from the aggressive fierceness of the MR-G model.
On conventional models in the full-metal Origin watches, accent colors are added using ion plating on the bezel and bracelet (or each of its links), or laser-engraving is used to add patterning. Since the body of the MRG-B5000 is made up of smaller components, it is possible to add more precise pin-point coloring. The MRG-B5000BA uses vapor deposition to add accents of blue to the outer edge of the dial and ion plating to add accents to the concave surfaces at the four corners of the case and the bracelet screws. The combination of the DLC-coated black case and bracelet with subtle hints of blue coloring creates a feeling of tranquility imbued with an inner strength that is unlike anything seen before on a G-Shock watch.
|The outer edge of the dial features blue accents using vapor deposition. Ion plating is used to add blue touches to the flat spring components placed in the four corners of the bezel and the bracelet pins. The addition of blue accents to a fundamentally black color scheme gives the watch a relaxed and understated appearance that means it can be worn in a wide variety of casual and semi-formal settings, including with a jacket.|
As well as making use of advanced materials developed in Japan, the use of the “ao-zumi” (blue ink) theme transforms the MRG-B5000BA into a model with a clear and unique concept. This is more than a mere color variation. Created from a desire to create the ultimate version of a full-metal Origin watch, this latest model was made possible by the new structure and the attention to detail in the selection of materials. This new color expression hints at a further expansion of designs in the MR-G range in the years to come.
For more info: https://gshock.casio.com/us/products/mr-g/mrg-b5000ba/