In 1983, Casio launched its first G-Shock watch, a product that reinvented the image of the digital wristwatch and, with its unprecedented shock-resistant case, revolutionized watch case design as well. This year, the Japanese brand kicks off a year-long celebration of its most iconic timepiece leading up to the G-Shock’s 30th anniversary in 2013.
The first wave, introduced at Casio’s “Shock the World” event in New York last week, is a quintet of limited-edition models in some of the most popular G-Shock styles (“the best-selling styles over the past 30 years,” according to Casio America chairman and CEO Shigenori Itoh), all sporting distinctive red gloss or matte red finishes. Identifying each of these new watches as an anniversary piece is a special caseback with an engraved 30th anniversary logo designed by graffiti artist Eric Haze.
The most noteworthy (and most expensive) piece in the anniversary collection is a version of the popular Frogman model (Ref. GWFT103A-1) in a case made of titanium with gloss-red highlights, equipped with the brand’s trademark Solar Power and radio-controlled Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping functions (for an explanation of how a radio-controlled watch works, see our Watchmaking Glossary) . The other Frogman model (Ref. GF8230A-4) is also in gloss red, in the traditional shock-resistant case. Like all the Frogman models, both anniversary pieces are designed as multi-function divers’ watches, water-resistant to 200 meters, with built-in tide and moon graphs, dive timers with data memory, world-time functions (48 cities plus UTC) and an automatic EL backlight. The titanium watch retails for $1,700; the other is $500.
On the more affordable end of the price spectrum are the anniversary versions of two of the classic original G-Shocks, known to aficionados as the 5600 and 6900 series. The case of the latter, Ref. DW6930A-4, has the same red gloss finish as the Frogman models, and also includes an EL backlight and flash alert function. Its digital display is on a gold-mirrored face. The other watch (Ref. GWM5630A-4) features the classic square case in matte red, and features Multi-Band Atomic 6 Timekeeping, Tough Solar Power, and a full auto EL backlight. The DW 6930A-4 retails for just $120 while the GWM5630A-4 goes for slightly more, at $170. (For some background on the evolution of the G-Shock, see our report from the 2009 Shock the World event)
Rounding out the collection is a new iteration of the popular Mudman model, engineered for tough outdoor sports and activities. This one is also in matte red, with functions that include a twin-sensor-activated digital compass and thermometer, a moon graph and data, and 48-cities-plus-UTC world-time function, along with the ever-useful auto EL backlight. This watch retails for $220.
All of the anniversary G-Shock models will be available at select Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores as well as select jewelers, except for the titanium-cased Frogman, which will be available only at key jewelers.
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