November 9, 2017 marked a pivotal moment in an industry that some may say is dying: watches.
While very much alive and well, last night was the 35th Anniversary Celebration of Casio’s G-SHOCK watch where it continued to “shock the world”. To enthusiasts and nay-sayers a like, it can’t be denied that G-SHOCK is clearly more than just a watch. It has stood the test of time for decades and shows no sign of slowing down.
2017 has been a memorable year because it is also the 60th anniversary of Casio’s conception, quite a year indeed! Back in 1957 Casio’s lineage began with the impressive debut of the world’s first “small” all electric calculator. The groundbreaking innovations kept following so it’s no surprise that Casio is a CES Innovation Awards 2018 Honoree.
With its debut in 1983, last night kicked off the yearlong celebration of the 35th year of this iconic watch. Over the years G-SHOCK has adapted to the shifting tides all while maintaining its commitment to the fusion of technology and design. Since its debut, G-SHOCK has evolved and acquired a deserving fan base. So much so that on September 1st of this year it was announced that over 100,000,000 G-SHOCK’s were shipped! Let that sink in for a bit because in the landscape of this industry this is no simple feat!
The eventful night was held at Madison Square Garden in the heart of New York City. A world famous venue in an equally famous city befitting of such a celebration! After the routine security check guests were allowed entry and the set up blew away invitees! Nothing was arbitrarily chosen to adorn the walls and space leading up to the main event room. The walls housed display cases with at least one G-SHOCK watch for every year of its existence There was even the original G-SHOCK model DW-5000C from 1983 and of course it was still going strong. Matter of fact, all of them were calibrated and ticking away! These display cases led everyone to an open space where even more of G-SHOCKS treasures were proudly on display with their receptive inspiration as they surrounded a larger than life size sign reading “G-SHOCK 2017” emblazoned in lights.
The host of the festivities was the Vice President of the Timepiece Division of Casio, David Johnson. The celebration consisted of clips illustrating the pillars of G-SHOCK and how they manifest in each model intertwined with testimonies and heartfelt speeches. To start things off, a number of chairs were lined up on stage that would later be filled by individuals with unique and impactful connections to G-SHOCK. A speaker from the bunch was professional snowboarder Louie Vitoli. He attested to the durability and functionality of the G-SHOCK from his credible personal experience. After all, who is better to test the performance of a watch founded on “toughness” than someone who defies gravity in freezing temperatures?
Another eager speaker was creator and founder of popular New York shop Kith, Ronnie Freg. He prides himself on recognizing and collaborating with the best so having G-SHOCK in his life personally and professionally wasn’t even a question. He reminisced about his first G-SHOCK and of its special significance because he grew up with the watch, literally as they are both 35!
For this portion of the evening, Mr. Johnson saved the best for last. The last man to fill his chair could fill all of MSG with his dreams. It is the humble creator and visionary behind the watch honored this year and respected for all the ones preceding it, Mr. Kikuo Ibe. He is the reason there even is a watch to speak of let alone a celebration marking 35 years of its thriving existence. And to think it all began when his first watch shattered when dropped thus sparking the wish for an unbreakable watch. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.
Not only was the man behind the watch present that night to celebrate with everyone but he graced us all with the debut of another one of his dreams! Keeping in line with fusing technology and design (while meeting if not exceeding challenges and expectations) the newest addition will be one that includes the world most fragile material in the world toughest watch! You read that right! Casio has done it again, their next project is using crystal in their G-SHOCK and is set to be on sale in spring of 2018.
No product, especially in an ever-changing landscape, can survive 35 years without staying true to its foundation while growing with the times. That being said in an effort to deservingly pay homage to its humble beginnings, a clip of the very first commercial for G-SHOCK from 1984 was played for all to see.
This was the original G-SHOCK Commercial:
Much has changed since then but one thing has remained steadfast: the toughness of the G-SHOCK. To reiterate just that, a live reenactment of the aforementioned commercial was done right onstage and who better to wield the hockey stick then accomplished former New York Ranger Mark Messier! Mark along with Mr. G-SHOCK himself –Mr. Ito was there to once again demonstrate the toughness of the G-SHOCK by recreating the very first commercial complete with Canadian ice! Needless to say, the watch still held up and showed no sign of stopping even when hit with the force of a Ranger!
Mr. Ito had a demonstration of himself and had more than two dozen watches that were suspended in the air come crashing down with such a force it startled the audience! Of course the G-SHOCKS survived and he even proceeded to throw them into the crowd, talk about a party favor!
So many lines of this iconic watch were celebrated including the Master Of G: the Gravitymaster, Mudmaster, and Gulfmaster with the premiere of the newest addition: the Rangemaster. It has a solar powered battery and GPS navigation just to name a few of the state of the art features and will launch in spring of 2018.
The refined toughness line of G-STEEL was also spotlighted with new watches debuting at the event. After an invitee inquired about the need for women’s G-SHOCKs at the last anniversary celebration new additions to the S-series for women were debuted so as not to disappoint fans, and it was well worth the wait! It comes in a number of stylish colors and is the first ever fitness oriented G-SHOCK watch fully equipped with a step tracker.
Other series that were also highlighted at the celebration were the Winter Glide, GA700 in military colors, and Throwback To The 80’s and all were well received. As if debuts of state of the art G-SHOCKS weren’t enough to keep the audience entertained, more testimonies from collaborators themselves were brought to the stage. This included French designer of boutique Pigalle and DW-5600 model, Stephane Ashpool and gifted graphic designer Eric Haze who is no stranger to G-SHOCK anniversaries as this is his third milestone collaboration via the logo and GA-700EH model.
As the press conference came to an end, a cocktail hour satisfied the thirst and hunger of patiently waiting fans as a set by DJ Virgil Abloh introduced a performance by G-SHOCK supporters: ASAP Mob that brought the night to an official end.