The Conception And Development Of Casio G-Shock

Apr 05, 2019
The Conception And Development Of Casio G-Shock

You’ll find a virtually endless list of watches in every category and for every age group. However, for every guy out there, the Casio G-Shock was definitely the dream at some point in their life. This watch has both history and pedigree. (Source)


But most importantly, it has quality.


Considering how cheap the Casio G-Shock is compared to typical high-end watches, it has a lot of excellent characteristics. It is a watch that’s intended to be sporty in every way. This is particularly the case for its design and engineering characteristics.


The approach behind the building of this watch is quite legendary. The way in which the Casio G-Shock has developed into an icon over the years is quite the story!

the conception and development of Casio G-Shock watches infographics

The Development

Perhaps the most interesting part of this watch’s history is its development process. The project lead, Kikuo Ibe, wanted a Casio watch that was reliable in every way. He created a team for this project that he called ‘Team Tough’ — and fittingly so.


He didn’t go into too much detail about design style. However, his main focus was to achieve three primary goals. All these goals were purely functional in nature.


He wanted the watch to fulfil the famous ‘triple ten’ criteria. The watch needed to withstand a drop of 10 meters. It had to have a water resistance of 10 ATM.


And lastly, it had to have a battery that could keep working for 10 years. The team worked day and night to create a prototype that would meet these demands.

A Stroke Of Genius

Developing the perfect G-Shock Watch was no easy task. Ibe and his team created more than 200 prototypes. This is a lot of effort to create a single product.


However, in Ibe’s vision, they could only do it once and they had to do it right. The inspiration for the final design came from a strange yet somewhat obvious source. Ibe noticed a bouncing rubber ball during a visit to the playground and saw the solution he was looking for.


He realised that the outer body of the ball protects the centre of the ball from shocks. The watch that he developed, as a result, has the quartz digital movement sitting in a gel-cushioned centre. Additionally, cushioning was inserted around other vital parts of the watch to protect them from impact. A PU bezel protects both the glass and buttons.



front view of Casio G-Shock Ref. GW-B5600FB-4JR watch

Marketing Challenges

As expected, the Casio digital watches didn’t receive stellar responses when they first launched. The world was much more focused on Swiss-style mechanical watches. This changed eventually in 1990 when Casio advertised the DW-5200C.


The advertisement showed an ice hockey player hit the watch across the floor towards the goal. The goalkeeper catches the watch and shows it to the camera.


The message was quite clear. If you’re doing anything extreme, the Casio G-Shock was the perfect watch for you. Thanks to that brilliant commercial, the Casio G-Shock gained popularity among firefighters, outdoor aficionados, and even policemen.


The real hype, however, came from west coast skateboarders and rap musicians.

Feature Development

The best part about this watch is that it never focused on aesthetics. That means the manufacturers focused on adding interesting functions to the watch.


For example, the 2002 GW-300 model came equipped with the likes of radio and solar-powered capabilities. Similarly, the GW-9200 could calibrate its time by receiving radio signals from six different stations globally.


The Frogman series is the only way Casio tried to bank on the design possibilities of the watch. It’s counted among the ultimate digital divers watches. The series included watches that had interesting colour combinations.


But the names used for these particular watches are even more interesting. There were exotic like Snake Killer, Magma Ocean, Black Helios, Gold Tornado. With their high-performance capability and the exotic name/colour combination, they quickly turned into collectibles.

Military And Tactical Background

Casio quickly realised the future G-Shock had in the military and tactical fields. They cashed in on that popularity quickly and introduced several models designed specifically for that use. Several models had camouflage patterns on them for military applications.


Casio also created specific models like the G-Shock Mud master which was specifically developed for harsher conditions. Whether you’re in boot camp or out on a muddy battlefield, you could rely on your G-Shock military watch. It’s no surprise that the watch gained incredible popularity very quickly after its launch.

Futuristic Innovations


front view of Casio G-Shock Gravitymaster Ref. GPW-2000-1AJF watch


With the passing of years, Casio has introduced new innovations to the G-Shock watches. In 2017, they launched the GPW-2000 which received calibrations from radio and satellite signals.


However, this was also present in the GPW-1000. Other important additions were the watch’s ability to connect to smartphones and receive updates from the internet.


Casio also entered the luxury watch market in its own style. They released a limited edition watch called the Hammer Tone which is the most expensive G-Shock ever sold commercially. The watch is has 18k gold components with fine Tsu-i-ki hammering done on the bezel and chain links.


Every single one of the 500 pieces commissioned is hammered by Bihou Asano who is a master craftsman. The technique has a Kasumi finish and it gives each piece its own unique look.

A Bright Future

With the features introduced by Casio in G-Shock watches and their history, we can look forward to an interesting future. The popularity of the series transcends itself. It’s no longer a sports watch and has long since become a cultural phenomenon. And we believe that it’s here to stay.

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