The History of the Casio G-Shock Watch

The first Casio G-Shock watch from 1983.

Born from a dream of “creating a watch that never breaks.” In 1983, CASIO engineer Kikuo Ibe won the battle against the laws of nature. He designed a watch that would resist centrifugal and impact forces, as well as high water pressure. Since then, the name G-SHOCK has become a byword for independence and pushing the limits.

The G-Shock is a line of watches manufactured by the Japanese electronics company Casio, designed to resist mechanical stress, shock and vibration. G-Shock is an abbreviation for Gravitational Shock. The watches in the G-Shock line are designed primarily for sports, military and outdoors-oriented activities; nearly all G-Shocks are chronographs, with either a digital display or a combination of analogue and digital. Other features such as countdown timer, world clock, alarms, electro-luminescent back-light and water resistance are included in most models. Newer high-end models in the line also feature GPS, compass or radio-controlled adjustment known as Multi-Band.

The G-Shock was conceptualized in 1981 by Casio engineer Kikuo Ibe when he accidentally dropped and broke a pocket watch given to him by his father. Heartbroken by a broken pocket watch given to him by his father, Mr. Ibe set about creating ‘the unbreakable watch based upon a triple 10 philosophy. It should be water resistant to 10bar, have a minimum 10 year battery life and most importantly, survive a minimum 10 metre drop. This new timepiece would go on to shatter the reputation of a watch as a fragile piece of jewelry.

A team of three individuals was selected by Ibe which was known as “team tough”. The team had assembled and tested nearly 200 prototypes but were still not able to achieve the conception criteria. During a visit to a playground, Ibe discovered that in a rubber ball, the centre of the ball doesn’t suffer the effects of the shock during a bounce on a rough surface which gave him the idea to implement that concept into the watch. With that in mind, the team set out to develop a watch using such a concept and in 1983, the first G-Shock, the DW-5000C, was launched.

The shock-resistant design on the original G-Shock has 10 layers protecting the quartz timekeeping module, including a urethane rubber bumper, the stainless steel case, the hardened mineral glass watch crystal, the stainless steel screwed down caseback, and the “floating module” where the quartz mechanism floats free in a urethane foam cradle, with the outer buttons and LCD module attached with flexible cables. The strap of the watch is also designed to protect the module during a fall.

Casio released the G-Shock in April 1983, to fill the demand for durable watches. Sales were sluggish in Japan as people preferred dress watches. In order to promote the G-Shock worldwide, the American division of Casio released a commercial in which an ice hockey player used the DW-5000C as a hockey puck to demonstrate the toughness of the watch. The commercial gained negative publicity and Casio was accused of false advertising. A TV news channel then set out to conduct live tests on the DW-5000C to check whether it was as tough and durable as advertised. This involved repeating the action shown in the commercial. The DW-5000C survived the impact of the hockey stick, and the G-Shock gained popularity among the general public. The popularity of G-Shocks increased throughout the 1990s. By 1998, Casio had released more than 200 different G-Shock models, with worldwide sales at 19 million units.

In 1994, Casio introduced the Baby-G brand G-Shock watches designed for women.

G-Shock Mini are 30% smaller than a regular G-Shock and were originally marketed for women. However, they were later released in unisex variants intended for people who have smaller wrists.

In 2013 in order to celebrate 30 years of the G-Shock, Casio arranged a party in New York and showcased new models as well as various prototypes of upcoming models. The party included a performance from rapper Eminem.

G-SHOCK has  continued its unceasing  evolution ever since,  in pursuit of greater toughness  in every respect, from structure  and materials to functions.

Today, the development team’s  passionate challenge and constant efforts  have reached fruition  in Triple G Resist, a structure with the strength  to withstand 3 types  of gravitational acceleration.

In its pursuit of usability  under any circumstances,  moreover, G-SHOCK realized installation  of Smart Access,  a system assuring agile,  reliable operability.

Stronger than ever,  and targeting even greater strength, G-SHOCK’s challenge is never-ending.

On September 1, 2017, Casio celebrated its 100 millionth shipment of G-Shocks worldwide.