In the grand scheme of all that is digital and analog, Casio has always stood resolute on the frontline of watchmaking. Leading the charge is G-Shock, the brand best known for its distinctive collaborations and "I don't break when you're buzzed and smash me into everything" ruggedness. Trusted by Navy SEALs, supermodels, and urbanites alike, the brand's been a tour de force in the industry for over 30 years, and should easily see 30 more to come.
Here are 10 things you didn't know about G-Shock, the watch inspired by a rubber ball and a man named Kikuo Ibe:
1. They are the unofficial official watch of Navy SEALs
SEALs were originally issued premium Rolex's, but in 1981, the cost to repair them became too high and they made the switch to analog G’s, using the extra money to invest in much needed diving equipment.
2. In Japan it's "FOX FIRE", in the U.S. "Illuminator"
FOX FIRE (FF) tends to only be found on Japanese domestic models. FF is the term for bioluminescence given off by fungus. A fungus that, on the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin, was used in the Turtle, an early submarine dating back to 1775. Exports on the other hand usually have the text "ILLUMINATOR", because that sounds way more useful than a pile burning foxes.
3. It's worn by '90s action stars who disarm bomb-rigged buses and make out with Sandra Bullock
Yup, that is Keanu Reeves' wrist sporting a DW-5600C in Speed (1994).
4. Only three of the original prototypes exist
The rarest Gs on the planet are the prototype DW-5000's from 1983. There were originally five, but today only three remain and they are in the hands of original "Team Tough" members who helped design the first G-Shock.
5. The above image is exactly what your G-Shock model number means
6. For watchmakers, it's all about real estate
On every official promo picture from G-Shock, the watch is set to 10:58 because that time takes up the most screen real estate and shows off the LCD display.
7. This is the most expensive G-Shock on eBay right now
It costs $5,230, is encased in white gold, and is studded with 356 diamonds of your color choice.
8. You can thank a rubber ball for your G-Shock
In 1981 Kikuo Ibe, an engineer working for Casio, dropped, and broke, the watch his father had passed down to him. In light of this tragedy, Ibe sought to build a tougher watch, so he put together a team (Project Team Tough) and set out to create a timepiece around the “triple-ten” ideal -- the ability to withstand a ten-meter drop, water resistance of up to ten bars, and ten years of battery life. Kikuo would throw prototypes out of a bathroom window at Casio's headquarters for 10 meter fall tests because he couldn’t use Casio’s testing lab for an unofficial project. After numerous failed attempts, Kikuo finally found the answer in a rubber ball, which he saw being bounced at a local park. The outer layer of the ball would absorb the shock, leaving the inner part unharmed. This became the inspiration for G’s shock-absorbing material, and was also the moment when the name "G-Shock" was coined, with “G” standing for gravity.
9. They throw BANGERS
G-Shock's 30th anniversary party was held last year and included the release of a number of new watches and collabs, including the stainless steel MT-G series which starts at $1,000, a collab with Brooklyn Net’s Brook Lopez & supermodel Jessica Stam, and a nightcap performance by renowned G-fan Eminem.
They also hold an annual "Shock The World
" event in different cities around the globe which highlights new watches and brings together the creative, urban fan base that have become a large portion of their supporters these past few years.
10. Despite creating 'em, Kikuo only owns two watches
In a semi-recent reddit AMA
he revealed that, "I only own the first G-Shock model and the DW5600, which has the same design as the first model". THAT'S how you know a G-Shock is for life.
Christopher DiScipio is the theThread's Editorial Assistant and he owns one white G-Shock. You can find him on Twitter @ChrisDiScipio.