What is it exactly that makes a G-Shock feel like a G-Shock? Outside of a common thread of immense durability and functionality, the G-Shock series has grown to encompass a nearly endless array of sizes, colors, styles, and price points over more than four decades, which can make pinpointing the heart of Casio’s fan-favorite watch line a difficult proposition. In some ways, the “spirit of G-Shock” is more of a feeling than an innate sense of criteria. With this in mind, though, it’s fair to say that the newest addition to G-Shock’s ultra-premium MR-G sub-family is one of the least G-Shock-esque watches the series has seen in recent memory – it’s also one of the most compelling. With a refined, pared-back, craftsmanship-centric approach more in line with its Japanese luxury rivals than with much of its own collection, the new Casio G-Shock MR-G MRGB2100B-1A reworks much of the traditional G-Shock formula but delivers a uniquely impressive spectacle of its own.

The Casio G-Shock MR-G MRGB2100B-1A’s “Un-G-Shock” philosophy begins with its 44.6mm wide, 13.6mm thick case. The basic silhouette is taken from the brand’s modern classic 2100 series “CasiOak” line, with a smooth integrated form dominated by a broad octagonal bezel and construction equipment-esque ridges flanking the integrated hooded lugs. Rather than the single one-piece resin outer case used by its entry-level inspiration; however, the MRGB2100B-1A uses 27 individual components for the outer case alone. This ultra-complex multi-layer construction allows Casio to make the most of its elevated finishing techniques here, with every facet of every surface (even narrow, recessed sides of small parts) topped with either ultra-crisp brushing or mirror-like Sallaz polishing. The effects of this intricate, painstaking construction and finishing aren’t immediately obvious on the wrist, but the longer one spends with this watch the more the sheer complexity of the processes begins to shine through. It’s a far cry from the usual G-Shock formula of rugged simplicity, but Casio goes to great lengths to ensure that the MRGB2100B-1A loses none of the line’s fabled durability. The main outer case components are crafted from black DLC-coated proprietary COBARION alloy, which Casio claims has a surface hardness four times greater than standard titanium along with a reflectivity comparable to platinum. The use of proprietary materials continues to the inner case, caseback, and pushers where the brand uses Ti64 titanium alloy for both durability and appearance. Like the rest of the G-Shock line, this watch offers a dive-capable 200 meters of water resistance, as well.

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It’s with the dial that Casio truly shows how different the G-Shock MR-G MRGB2100B-1A is from the usual G-Shock design brief. The keywords here are traditional craftsmanship and restraint, both of which rarely make their way into even the elevated realms of the MR-G collection. While the fully analog display isn’t particularly noteworthy on a high-end G-Shock these days, the solitary multifunction subdial at 8 o’clock puts the MRGB2100B-1A into greater perspective. There’s no chronograph, countdown timer, alarm, world timer, altimeter, compass, or any of the other myriads of complications we’ve come to expect from G-Shock over the years here – this is a simple day-date layout (in conjunction with the 3 o’clock date window) with an additional set of positions to indicate daylight savings or standard time. This lack of the usual G-Shock suite of functions and subdials gives the main dial surface, handset, and indices room to shine, and Casio renders these elements with the sort of traditional Japanese styling more commonly used by some of its largest rivals. The unique, sloping, faceted grid texture used for the deep black main dial aims to echo the patterns and techniques used in kigumi, a traditional Japanese wooden box-making style that dates back over a thousand years. To complement the dynamic lattice structure of the dial surface, Casio finishes the skeleton sword handset in a faceted mix of linear brushing and bright polishing. Each of the beveled applied indices, including the broad two-piece 12 o’clock index, receives the same treatment. The end result is a bright, elevated dial design that visually shifts dramatically at changing angles, with different layers of the dial, handset, and indices all catching the light at various stages. There’s another benefit to the lattice-style dial as well — the numerous openings give the solar charging panel beneath plenty of opportunities to gather light.

The in-house Module 5718 quartz movement inside the Casio G-Shock MR-G MRGB2100B-1A is yet another departure from the rest of the G-Shock collection. This is a brand new movement, shared with no other model, and as previously mentioned it’s far less loaded with complications than most of its stablemates. With that said, the features that are here are some of Casio’s most premium offerings, including a perpetual calendar accurate through the year 2099, along with Bluetooth connectivity, radio-controlled timekeeping, and setting through the Casio Watches app. Thanks to its radio-controlled time correction, the Module 5718 is functionally perfectly accurate as long as it has access to a correction signal, but in the event this connection is lost the movement is still rated for a respectable +15/-15 seconds per month along with an 18-month power reserve on a full solar charge.

For the G-Shock MR-G MRGB2100B-1A’s bracelet, Casio continues the case’s intricate finishing and layered construction but introduces a new material of its own. The dimpled single-link bracelet design may be familiar to fans of the brand, but look closely and this version differentiates itself with its own complexity. For example, each of the recessed surfaces in the dimples is, in fact, its own separate material layer, finished in a radially brushed charcoal gray to subtly stand out against the polished black DLC of its surroundings. Rather than the COBARION alloy used for the case, Casio uses DAT55G titanium alloy here, with a claimed surface hardness triple that of standard titanium and excellent workability. It’s a light, flexible, and commendably comfortable bracelet on the wrist, and Casio includes a locking mechanism on the two-button deployant clasp to help ensure security during the sort of heavy-duty action the G-Shock line was originally designed for.

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There’s a lot about the new Casio G-Shock MR-G MRGB2100B-1A that seems to go against the grain of G-Shock canon — it’s ornately constructed and finished, complications are kept to a minimum, and it’s far from entry-level price-wise. However, these same quirks help to make the first-ever 2100-series MR-G one of the most unique and interesting G-Shocks in recent years, and a sporty, compelling dark horse contender in the growing Japanese quartz luxury segment. The Casio G-Shock MR-G MRGB2100B-1A is available now through select authorized dealers, the G-Shock SoHo Store, and the brand’s e-commerce platform. MSRP for this watch stands at $4,800 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

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