G-Shock Watch Review
Wednesday - 01 May 2013
Back in the early 1980s, wristwatches had been around for over a hundred years. During that century, watches were seen as fragile objects that broke easily. With glass faces and delicate mechanisms, if you had a watch on your wrist you had to think about keeping it safe.
There were a few exceptions, such as The Reverso, where the watch face could be flipped to prevent the glass from cracking while playing sport. But as a general rule, if there was any risk of rough and tumble, you left your watch at home.
One man took it into his hands to change all that.
“Never give up, that has always been my motto.” - Kikuo Ibe
When Kikuo Ibe finished his secondary school exams, his parents gave him a beautiful new wristwatch to celebrate. Ibe loved the watch, but his heart sank when he dropped it, and it smashed on the ground before he could catch it.
In that moment, he decided he'd create a watch that would survive being dropped. It was a dream he pursuied relentlessly. “Never give up, that has always been my motto,” he once told watch journalist Kathryn Bishop.
The first step towards his dream came true when he was hired by Casio as their lead wristwatch designer. But no matter how much he asked Casio if he could design an indestructible watch, he was told, "No, that's not what we want to do."
It was 1981, and less than a decade since Casio - famous for pocket calculators - had released the first electronic watch.
Ibe remained resolute to achieve his dream.
Fed up with Casio's rejection of his proposals, Ibe put together an unofficial team to work on his secret dream: Project Team Tough. Together, in their spare time, they created over 200 prototypes for an unbreakable watch. Because the project was unofficial, they couldn't test it in Casio's labs. Instead, they dropped these watches out of Ibe's apartment window.
All of them broke.
Sometimes the watch cases survived the smash, but the electronics inside the watch always died on impact with the ground.
Ibe refused to give up - but it was a chance encounter that provided his Eureka moment. Walking through a park, he noticed a girl playing with a ball, bouncing it on the ground. Watching the girl, he realized the solution: he'd create a watch with a floating circuit. He tested it, and the electronics survived the fall.
The Casio G-Shock was born.
First launched in 1983, G-Shock watches are 30 years old this year, and there are no hints of them going out of fashion anytime soon.
Sales were slow to begin with as people got used to the idea of a shockproof watch. In the 1990's they become a youth fashion icon, and sales rocketed. Fashion magazine AskMen have said the G-Shock is the only digital timepiece "that is acceptable to wear even among the snobbiest of watch snobs."
G-Shocks are now popular with police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, paramedics, professional divers and astronauts.
The rich and famous love them too. G-Shocks have been spotted on the wrists of movie stars including Vin Diesel, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Sean Connery. Musicians are also fans, with photographs having been snapped of both rapper Dizzee Rascal and singer Justin Beiber wearing G-Shocks.
Have you got a G-Shock in your collection?