Of the three major Japanese watch manufacturers, Casio, and particularly its flagship brand-within-a-brand, G-Shock, has been the slowest to stray from its high-tech, digital-age approach approach to watchmaking and design and embrace more traditional luxury watchmaking techniques. That changes this year, with the release of the new G-Shock MR-G Special Edition (Ref. MRGG2000HA-1). In fact, the limited-edition timepiece is a rather deftly engineered amalgam of ancient Japanese craftsmanship and avant-garde technology.
The watch is immediately recognizable for its signature feature, a bezel sporting a hammer-tone “Arashi-Tuchime” pattern hand-applied by third-generation Japanese artisan Bihou Asano. This distinctively gritty texture is the same one found on the hilts of traditional Japanese samurai swords. The motif, achieved by Asano individually hammering each titanium bezel, is also used on the center links of the watch’s bracelet. The watch’s color scheme echoes the look of murasaki-gane, a deep violet-hued alloy which includes gold, and a type of copper called suaka, thanks to an AIP (Arc Iron Plating) process that creates a hardened coating to which a deep-layer hardening, for additional abrasion resistance, is added.
While the MR-G’s exterior boasts an artisanal technique from Japanese history, its interior is decidedly high-tech and modern, starting with its three-way time sync capabilities, powered by the movement’s Bluetooth connectivity to a G-Shock app, and the GPS Hybrid Wave Ceptor technology, which allows the watch’s wearer to accurately gauge his local time and location from anywhere in the world. Casio’s “Tough Solar” technology is also built into the movement, allowing for self-charging via sunlight or other light sources. At its heart, this extremely limited, analog-look timepiece is still a G-Shock, meaning it’s jam-packed with functionality, including a stopwatch, countdown timer, alarms, world times in 39 cities, day/date display, full calendar, and LED illumination.
The titanium case of the Special Edition Connected MR-G measures a stately 49.8 mm in diameter; both case and bracelet have undergone a deep-layer hardening treatment that renders them, Casio says, five times harder than standard titanium. The watch boasts 200-meter water resistance and the extreme shock resistance for which G-Shock watches are justly acclaimed. Limited to just 25 pieces, the MRGG2000HA-1 will be limited to just 350 pieces released worldwide, with only 25 of these making their way to the U.S. Priced at $7,400, it will be available at select retailers in July 2018.