History of G-SHOCK: Redefining the World of Watchmaking

History of G-SHOCK: Redefining the World of Watchmaking

Chelsie Rendon

History of G-SHOCK

Redefining the World of Watchmaking

G-Shock has become a prominent line within the world of fashion as their watches have defied the challenges of both practicality and style. Known for being the toughest watch in the world, G-Shock is well versed in many communities and has grown its name since its inception in 1983. G-Shock’s diverse designs not only catered to watch connoisseurs but athletes, military personnel, fashion aficionados, the music community, and so much more. Because of this, G-Shock has become more than just a watch brand but a wardrobe staple. G-Shock has a watch that can fit every aesthetic and can be a part of your everyday routine. As the label approaches 40 years, we would like to honor its historic upbringing and impact within the watch community by highlighting its creator, Kikuo Ibe, and the label’s long-time accomplishments.


Born in Japan, Kikuo Ibe has always had a close relationship with his family which was instilled at a very young age. As he started to grow up, his father gifted him a pocket watch. He was deeply appreciative of his father because the heirloom was passed from generation to generation. But shortly after receiving the present, the watch met its demise after a single drop to the floor. The broken watch left Ibe distraught and completely heartbroken. Though his pocket watch could not be fixed, Kikuo Ibe believed that he could prevent this from happening to other watches. During his time with Casio, he believed he was capable of creating a watch that’s nearly indestructible. Thus, he set forth on a watch journey that would lead him to one of the most successful and well-known labels to date.


“Time always surpasses you. In Japan, we have a common saying, “Time solves everything.” This is true because time is superior to everything else.”


Graduating from Sophia University in mechanical engineering, Kikuo Ibe was always destined for tinkering and development. So when the job opportunity arose to work within Casio’s technical department, he jumped at the opportunity. Casio is a multinational technology company that was discovered in 1946 within the heart of Japan. They’ve created a wide range of technological devices including mobile phones, instruments, and even cameras. But what really got them off their feet was their calculator line and its elements that were never available in prior models. Casio employed top-tier engineers in order to develop outlasting and smart devices that can withstand any mathematical equation. The company was able to create a powerful team and introduce a new line of innovations, wristwatches. After working with Casio for many years, Kikuo Ibe would undertake the project and become the Head of Watch Design within the newly created category.


During his time as lead designer, he would experience breaking his father’s pocket watch; making him question the integrity of the accessory. With his knowledge, experience, and education, Ibe decided to test his waters and devote himself to creating an unbreakable watch that can withstand and combat outer forces. Besides his grievance, he also believed that there was an untapped market for this kind of product as well. Construction workers can wear an indestructible watch while surfers can time their routine in the middle of the ocean- these were just some of the possibilities that Ibe wanted to accomplish. Ibe had, at the time, an outlandish goal; but in order to accomplish this he would put together a group that would solely work on this project; they would be known as ‘Team Tough.’


G-Shock Founder, Kikuo Ibe / Gear Patrol

In 1981, the project truly began, and Team Tough would be put to the test to conceive an essentially indestructible watch. It would take them two years of drop testing and over 200 prototypes before finding a silhouette that can withstand forces and uphold its integrity. During this time they would create new technologies and develop materials that can power through all of their tests. They also developed a name that explained their main goal of shock resistance. Introduced to the world as G-Shock, the sub-category of Casio would make its initial debut in April 1983. With its anticipated release, the sales were expected to skyrocket but instead, they fell short as they realized people in Japan desired a more professional dress watch. Their concept was great and they knew they had something monumental, but they needed the right market.

G-Shock then decided to push promotions worldwide and specifically target hockey players in the US due to their rugged demeanor and sport. Casio’s American division would then release a commercial showcasing their first model, the DW-5000C. The commercial gained traction, but not the attention they thought it would. Instead, people believed it to be a fluke, as it was hard to conceptualize an indestructible watch that also looked great. To put it to the test, news reporters would push the limits of the watch in real-time and many were completely astonished as the watch held onto its silhouette and build. Because of this, G-Shock would make the flight across the world and be known as the toughest watch in the industry. Since its inception, G-Shock has improved and released signature models that are now a part of many lineups. They have come a long way, but their original model and creation truly set Ibe and G-Shock apart from competitors.


The inception of the original model came with a lot of battles, Ibe was on the brink of surrender when creating the DW-5000C. Before accepting defeat, he took a breather outside to clear his head and saw some kids playing with a rubber ball. Watching the ball hit the ground without losing its integrity struck inspiration within Ibe. He wondered, “what would happen if you placed the watch inside a rubber ball?” After some tests, they noticed that the watch withstood the pressure and that this is how they would create an indestructible watch. The module would float in a hollow structure surrounded by some type of foam or gel to reduce the impact. This epiphany led them to the construction of the DW-5000C. Signature qualities include its digital square screen and a protective case with either red or black details. Its debut provided the perfect blend of function and sophistication.

This watch would then lead them into their reputation as they have become the world’s toughest watch that had never been seen before. The durability of the watch really set itself apart from other silhouettes commonly found within the 80s, gaining popularity in a unique blend of clientele from military members and extreme sports athletes to hip hop artists and sneaker aficionados. The DW-5000C will forever be known as the blueprint for G-Shock watches and pave the way for more iconic silhouettes.


The modern design of the DW-5000C was adapted into many styles, but what makes people stand by G-Shock is their constant drive to develop the very best technologies for watches. As a sub-label of Casio, all eyes were on G-Shock to constantly exceed modern trends and think towards the future. They’ve solidified high expectations for each watch, by implementing their ‘Triple Ten’ examination. Every model needs to surpass three tests which include being able to withstand a 10-meter drop and 10 atmospheres of water pressure while having the ability to live for 10 years. These advancements have evolved over time as the G-Shock team has developed new elements for future designs.

When introducing a new design, G-Shock enforces its shock and water-resistant ethos, but recently the watch label has created and added more abilities to its repertoire. Low-temperature resistance was added for avid hikers, while vibration and electric shock resistance are ideal for construction workers and more technical careers. With its rise in the military, G-Shock realized how important their development was and introduced Multi-Band 6 in 2008. This technology changed the game for watches as the watch synchronizes with one of the six atomic time transmitters. These towers are located in China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and two established in Japan. No matter where you are in the world, G-Shock’s Multi-Band 6 technology automatically provides accurate timekeeping without a single touch. Functionality is of key importance within G-Shock's heritage and high-quality materials including stainless steel, full metal, and carbon core guard elevate their lineup's demeanor.

Tough Technology / Cassius Life

Working alongside Multi-Band 6, G-Shock has elevated its silhouettes with municipal elements including daily or multiple alarm systems, backlight/LED lights, stopwatch functions, and countdown timers. Depending on the watch you get, they could also contain an auto-calendar for optimal date keeping or Tough Solar power. This technology is one of the latest contributions from G-Shock as it gives the watch a more sustainable option to recharge with the power of the sun or fluorescent lighting. G-Shock has also introduced its very own app that can be connected to your phone if your silhouette contains Bluetooth connectivity. Their commitment to evolving their portfolio is completely impressive and continues to prevail, leading the way in technological advancements within the watch market.


G-Shock’s impressive portfolio only grows as they introduce new categories and styles within their repertoire. Their men’s category contains some of their most sought-after watches as they have developed unique combinations of styles for every occasion. The MR-G line eludes luxury as top-quality finishes are implemented to each design. Full titanium construction is featured in each timepiece along with elevated touches such as Bluetooth connectivity and diamond-like carbon coating on the bezels. MR-G was Casio and G-Shock’s way of reverting from their traditional resin bands and introducing a more high-end finish. This was easily achieved with its debut and some of the rarest and exclusive models come from this line including the MRG-G1000HT-1A ‘Hammer Tone’ and MRG-G2000GA-1A ‘Gassan Sword.’ Alongside MR-G they also debut their Master of the G collection which is commonly known for its Frogman silhouette. This model has been a favorite as it really highlights the capabilities of the brand’s technological advancements and design. Made primarily for divers, the watch is extremely versatile and tough as it can withstand extreme water pressure and accurate timekeeping. Over time the watch label will include new labels and renditions of signature designs as seen with the Mudmaster, Gravitymaster, G-Squad, and Rangeman.

Their dedication to their craft allowed them to create styles for all types of workers including athletes. In 1996, they introduced their G-Lide collection specifically made for surfers. These models were the first to contain a count-down timer in order to help surfers during competitions. Their X-Treme limited edition line helped them evolve into more categories such as snowboarding and skateboarding. These watches were very similar and popular to the surfing models but instead, they offered different bands for easier application. In addition to watches, they continue to support major athletes in a variety of extreme sports including basketball, mountain running, skate, and more. They've also recently released their G-Shock Move capsule which highlights analytic performance during times of activity. Attributes found within the model include a heart rate monitor and bookkeeping of distance.

In addition to sports and men, G-Shock has transferred its distinct qualities into women’s watches and sizing. Baby-G was introduced in 1994 which slowly evolved into a full-fledged women’s category. Baby-G is still prevalent to this day as it reverts to retro and more classic styles whereas G-Shock Women and G-MS are styles made for modern times and high-end styles. The watch brand reverts to more neutral palettes and softer elements with the women’s line as it can be styled for casual occasions or worn for more functional events. G-Shock continues to grow as they produce styles for every occasion. Their limited releases and collaborative efforts with sought-after label allows them to stay on top when it comes to the watch industry.

FEATURE x G-Shock GM5600B

G-Shock’s ongoing collaborative projects prevail as we announce our latest partnership that transforms the iconic GM5600B. Combining G-Shocks tactical elements with our distinct monochromatic aesthetic, we’ve developed a style that can transition between outfits. Nicknamed, ‘Vegas Noir,’ our watch is a sentiment to our roots and our overall minimalist aesthetic. Stay tuned for more information throughout the week by following us on Instagram for the latest updates. Click here to visit our Instagram. The ‘Vegas Noir’ GM5600B watch will make its debut on Friday, July 16th at all retail locations + online.

Kikuo Ibe’s passion for engineering and invention helped solidify the name of G-Shock. His pursuit for an indestructible watch proved to be viable and because of that, the company has become a well-recognized brand around the globe. Starting off with just one model, they’ve created a wide range of silhouettes and styles that surpass similar brands. Kikuo Ibe is still a prevalent part of the company and continues to tell his story of determination in hopes to inspire other inventors and engineers just like him. Grab a closer look at inimitable designs from G-Shock here.


“As I have gotten older, I've become aware that time is something that is given equally. It’s a question of how you spend your time.”


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