December 9, 2016
by David Bredan
How (positively?) incredible is this new, $6,200 Casio G-Shock Gold Hammer Tone MRGG1000HG-9A? That was my first (actually two) questions when I glimpsed at this freshly debuted watch by Casio. It is among the most expensive G-Shock watches sold today but to understand why that is and how that may be justified, we must take a closer look. You may remember that we went hands-on with the so-called “Hammer Tone” G-Shock first at BaselWorld 2016 – though in a different, even more restrained color combination. In case you have missed that one, be sure to check out our live images and thoughts on that debut piece right here. Okay now, let’s see what this late-2016 version has in store for us.
The most important element to any Hammer Tone G-Shock is of course the Tsuiki finishing of the case. Tsuiki is a technique that is based on using a hammer to create a relief design on metal sheets and something that, Casio say, “has been handed down from 1,200 years ago.” It is an ancient Japanese metalworking technique that has been used to shape, decorate and harden pieces of metal used for armors, copper-ware and more.
A little bit of research into the matter reveals that there actually are literally hundreds of different types of hammers and nails that are used to shape a flat piece of bronze or other metal into the desired shape and/or to decorate them with the desired pattern. The Casio G-Shock Hammer Tone pieces are decorated by Bihou Asano, a master metalworker in Kyoto, Japan; needless to say, with all cases and metal bands being hand-made, no two will be alike.
The whopping 49.8 millimeter-wide and 16.9 millimeter-thick case of the new Casio G-Shock Gold Hammer Tone MRGG1000HG-9A is in fact identical to the Hammer Tone piece we covered hands-on, but this iteration features a fusion of Japanese colors with its deep, dark gold IP-coated case and bracelet and its indigo blue DLC-coated dial and case elements. To be clear, the base material of the watch and bracelet is “deep-layer hardened” titanium that was then gold-coated, saving the MRGG1000HG-9A from a mid-five-figure retail price. If anyone knows their way around metal surface treatments, it’s G-Shock, so you can bet all case and dial elements are going to be excellently executed.
There’s no way around it though, while the craftsmanship of each and every Hammer Tone G-Shock is genuinely incredible even by the high standards of fine watchmaking, the vibe (excuse my French) of this new, all-gold, $6,000+ G-Shock simply overshadows most all of that. Coated or not, an all-gold-colored, near-50 millimeter-wide, hefty watch is destined to be getting a lot of attention and, to my eyes at least, that renders this MR-G (casually and often referred to as Mister G.) version more of a Mr. T edition. Is that necessarily a bad thing though?
I think not. A G-Shock, save for some of the classic references of course, have in my mind always been about over-the-top styling and ruggedness, looks and features that you very clearly do not harness to their full potential as you go about your everyday life – and in that sense, this Casio G-Shock Gold Hammer Tone MRGG1000HG-9A is another true G-Shock, albeit infused with some steroids to highlight all that Casio is capable of (craftsmanship, technologies), without taking that “edge” of the G-Shock away.
Speaking of capabilities, mind you, the MRGG1000HG-9A is of course as feature-packed as they come, boasting GPS reception based time calibration, solar charging, a perpetual calendar, refined individual motors for the hands and a healthy selection of functions including world time indication, chronograph, alarm, perpetual calendar, latitude indicator and more.
Considering how strong the market has been for five- (and yes, six-) figure “beater” watches, this G-Shock – believe it or not – is not that out of place in today’s market… And yet, despite its crazy colorway, extremely high (for a G-Shock) pricing and remarkable craftsmanship, I feel this new Hammer Tone piece will still be a rare bird to see out in the wild. Which is too bad because, to answer my question from the opening paragraph, I think it’s absolutely and positively bonkers as well as a most, ahem, proper crowning of the huge family of G-Shock watches.
Price for the Casio G-Shock Gold Hammer Tone MRGG1000HG-9A is $6,200, same as that of the other version. Notably, there will be 300 made in total with Casio USA confirming that there will be only 10 coming to the US. gshock.com