Casio Computer Co., Ltd., announces that the total worldwide shipments of G-SHOCK watches have surpassed the 100 million unit mark in August, with the shipment of the MRG-G1000B-1A4 model. The model is part of the luxury MR-G series and features crimson accents that evoke the image of red lacquered armor of elite samurai – conveying the strength of G-SHOCK in its design. To commemorate this milestone, a special ceremony was held at the Yamagata Casio factory in Japan on August 31, where the model was fitted with a special back case engraved with the number “100,000,000.”
On the heels of G-SHOCK’s 35th anniversary, this momentous shipment marks a key time for the brand, which was first developed in 1981 with an engineer’s passion to create a rugged watch that would not break even if dropped. After over 200 prototypes, a hollow watch case structure was finally devised that supported the core module at certain points. This became the DW-5000C, the first G-SHOCK watch model, which launched in 1983. With the release of this watch, G-SHOCK overturned the notion that wristwatches are inherently fragile and susceptible to shocks, and established a new product category called the “tough watch.” G-SHOCK, whose name was coined from the concept of a watch that can withstand a strong shock caused by gravity, has since continued to evolve with improved functions and performance.
A Hit in the United States (1984 to 1990)
In 1984, a G-SHOCK commercial in the United States showed an ice hockey player hitting a G-SHOCK DW-5200C instead of a puck. After a TV series recreated the scene and verified the watch’s features, G-SHOCK became widely known as a shock-resistant watch, becoming popular with outdoor enthusiasts, firefighters, police officers, and more within the United States. With the adoption of innovative liquid crystal graphics for the DW-5900C released in 1990, the brand then became popular among skateboarders on the west coast of the United States.
A Hit in Japan (Early-1990s)
In the 1990s, American street fashion started to increase in popularity in Japan through features in local magazines, resulting in a new, global interest in G-SHOCK. While the DW-5900C was only available outside of Japan, it began to appear in Japanese clothing stores as an imported fashion accessory – gradually becoming a key staple among young, fashion-forward Japanese. By 1995, the total number of watches shipped in Japan grew from about 10,000 in 1990 to about 700,000, establishing G-SHOCK as a hit product and the first digital watch to be adopted by youth fashion.
Lineup Expansion / Connecting with Sport and Youth Culture (Mid-to-Late-1990s)
Aiming to increase the diversity of G-SHOCK wearers, Casio expanded the model lineup in the mid-1990s. In 1996, the new MR-G series released new models to appeal to both adult and youth including the MRG-1 and the MRG-100, which featured a full metal casing and shock resistance. These new releases marked the start of an initiative to make G-SHOCK a brand loved by both youth and adults.
During this time, G-SHOCK also began to connect with sports and music enthusiasts alike, becoming a popular accessory among snowboarders and surfers, as well as DJs and dancers – showcasing G-SHOCK’s growing influence within youth culture. From collaborations with sports teams and environmental protection groups, to sponsorships of some of the world’s largest sporting events, G-SHOCK’s brand strength was felt worldwide. By 1997, six million G-SHOCK watches were sold around the world, with 2.4 million of those units shipped in Japan.
Back to the Basics of Tough Performance (Late-1990s to 2000s)
After hitting a peak in 1997, G-SHOCK shipment numbers began to decline due in part to the brand’s dedicated focus on the watch as a fashion symbol. In response, G-SHOCK re-shifted its efforts to the basics of shock resistance, tough performance, and actively adopted new technology. New models began to evolve in function and performance, introducing new watches such as the GW-300 (2002), which was equipped with radio-controlled and solar-powered technologies, and the GW-9200 (2008), which can receive time-calibration radio signals from six stations worldwide.
Continual Innovation (Present Day)
Today, G-SHOCK is continuing to evolve, challenging the conventional notion of the watch. In 2012, the GB-6900 was introduced, featuring Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility that linked to the wearer’s smartphone. By 2014, the GPW-1000 offered a hybrid time acquisition system, allowing it to receive time-calibration signals from both GPS satellites and six radio transmitters worldwide. Most recently, in May 2017, Casio released the GPW-2000, which featured the Connected Engine 3-Way module, receiving both radio wave and GPS satellite time calibration signals, while also connecting to timeservers by pairing with a smartphone.
Delivering the G-SHOCK Experience to People Everywhere
In addition to product advancement, Casio has been developing marketing activities to convey the G-SHOCK worldview to people across the globe – most prominently with G-SHOCK’s full sensory, immersive SHOCK THE WORLD events, which currently have been held in over 70 cities worldwide. Casio has also opened locations where people can learn about and interact with G-SHOCK watches first hand, starting with the opening of the G-SHOCK Store in Odaiba (Tokyo, Japan) in 2003. Today, there are now six locations across Japan, including in Marunouchi and Ginza (both in Tokyo), as well as in eight other trendsetting cities around the world, such as London and New York City.