I have to admit that the forged carbon watch case looks fantastic. Forged carbon in the watch world became popular several years ago as Swiss watch maker Audemars Piguet started to use the material (produced in-house by them) in some very high-end luxury sport watches. I recall visiting the room at the Audemars Piguet manufacture to see how the material was produced. My recollection is that forged carbon begins with carbon fiber, which is cut and then compressed into a block. It is then baked (the forging part), and the heat apparently makes it very hard and durable. From there, forged carbon blocks can be precision-milled in order to function as attractive and detailed watch cases.
Forged carbon is light and very hard. It also has a warm, smooth tactile experience that I really like. A close look at the material shows a richness of textures which is both visually distinct, and very much one reason carbon is appreciated in luxury men’s products. It isn’t the weave pattern of carbon fiber, as you can see, but something different and more organic in the way that wood grain is.
The detail that Alvarae was able to achieve with the its Forged Carbon Armour for the DW6900 is very impressive. Tolerances are good, and the overall rendering of the case is excellent. Unlike the one-piece injection model resin of the original Casio part, the Alvarae forged carbon case is three parts. I want to add here that the DW-6900 case is 50mm wide, 53.2mm tall/long, and 16.3mm thick with 200 meters of water resistance.
A very good question that I don’t have the answer to is “how much of a durable G-Shock is it with this new case?” The question is how does this aftermarket case protector fare compared to the stock resin one produced by Casio. My gut instinct tells me that Casio’s resin case is probably better for shock protection, because by nature the flexibility of the resin absorbs more shock than the harder forged carbon. This means that the Alvarae G-Shock isn’t going to be as durable in all ways as a stock G-Shock (though this is just my guess), but for the vast majority of daily use and even sport activities, users will not notice any appreciable durability difference between resin and forged carbon. Moreover, for some applications the forged carbon armor could be even more durable than resin, given its toughness.
I took an almost immediate liking to Alvarae’s forged carbon aftermarket Casio G-Shock watch, even though I was initially skeptical of the concept. The case, of course, doesn’t include Casio’s branding, and replaces it with “ALVARAE.” Little details on the case make it a winner, such as including the text that goes adjacent to the side pushers which communicate their purpose. I could see a company in a rush just skip details like this and focus on the overall shape of the case, but these minor details show that the people at Alvarae took this project seriously, and in my opinion, it is a clear testament to the enduring pop culture power of the G-Shock timepiece.
Alvarae currently offers three versions of the Casio G-Shock DW6900 watch with their Forged Carbon Armour case, as well as just the case by itself. These are good enough that I believe they will enjoy success, and Alvarae will be back with more interesting work on Casio and perhaps other watches in the future. If you love G-Shock, the look of carbon, and want something humble yet still exclusive, this is a great way to go. Price for just the forged carbon case is $430, and with the watch, the price is $499. alvarae.com
>Brand: Alvarae / Casio
>Model: G-Shock DW-6900 with aftermarket “Forged Carbon Amour”
>Price: US $499
>Size: 50mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Design lover with more than a soft spot for carbon materials and Casio G-Shock watches. Perfect for someone who wants to remain hip, but with an upmarket twist.
>Best characteristic of watch: Forged carbon case is a worthy alternative to Casio’s stock resin one for a high-end look that isn’t absurdly priced. Great detailing on the case and good product presentation.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Without a deeper understanding of how these cases are made it is easy to claim this is too expensive. It also a very cool process performed on a relatively mainstream watch – so it might be hard to find that perfect target buyer demographic.