On December 5th, Arizona Fine Time hosted its 5th annual Grand Seiko Roadshow, which needless to say, was another tremendous success! This year was very special indeed as we welcomed Mr. Ikukiyo Komatsu who has been with Seiko for 32 years, worked on Spring Drive for over 10 years, and is one of few talented craftsmen who can assemble the complex 9R86 Spring Drive Chronograph GMT caliber and make it look easy!
Last week I had the distinct honor and pleasure of going to New York for the national release of the latest and greatest from Casio G-Shock. The event was held at the top of Trump Soho, and the image above is the beautiful view we had at the top.
The first stop on my visit was to the G-Shock store in Soho, where I met up with our friend Michael Eckhaus, the Director of Sales for Casio’s watch division. Coincidentally, the founder, father and creator of G-Shock himself, Mr. Kikuo Ibe was at the store signing autographs and taking pictures with some of his biggest fans. It was truly an honor to meet him.
The upstairs of the Soho store is where we met Mr. Ibe which was not just in any room, but practically a museum of some of the great models of G-Shock ranging back from the early 90’s. People were standing in line to meet Mr. Ibe, even a couple of which got his autograph on their arms, and went right away to go get it tattooed. Their fan base is some of the greatest out there, with a strong dedication to the world of G-Shock.
We even got ourselves a nice autograph for the store which is now on display. Mr. Ibe proved himself to be an extremely nice guy, and very funny to boot! The following he has created for the G-Shock brand is something like I have never seen, ranging from people who strictly collect G-Shock for colors, limited editions, and the funkiest pieces they can create, all the way up to avid collectors of high-end timepieces. The range of people into G-Shock is astonishing.
The whole reason I was even there was because of the launch of G-Shock’s newest technology, the new GPS Hybrid Wave Ceptor GPW1000. The technology they crammed into these pieces is overwhelming in a way, but thankfully it’s as intuitive as an iPad, maybe even the Apple Watch (which is still really yet to be determined). Overall though, The GPW1000 is very easy to use.
The event started and David Johnson (DJ), Vice President of Casio’s watch division started the night and when he did, you could tell he was incredibly passionate about their products. He’s not the only one, everyone at Casio takes great pride and works so well together, it’s truly impressive.
DJ then introduced Mr. Shigenori Itoh, CEO and President of Casio USA to take the stage. Mr. Itoh discussed the success of the Metal Twisted (or MT-G) G-Shock’s which he was a huge part in the development of. Mr. Itoh then introduced Mr. Ibe to speak about the challenges of creating the MT-G.
I mentioned Mr. Ibe was funny. The story he told was surrounded by a “little white lie”. With a team of 8 young designers, Mr. Ibe had motivated them to create what was thought to be impossible… A metal G-Shock that still maintains the durability of every G they had previously created. The “small white lie”, Mr . Ibe told his team was that there would be a BIG interview with a world famous magazine after the project was completed. Of course, he had no idea how he was going to get this interview, but he remained confident it would happen. He motivated his team, telling them they were the only ones who could do it. In the end, they got their “famous” interview and Mr. Ibe could wipe the sweat from his brow. A great story, and the entire speech can be seen in the video below…
While this video is 30 minutes long, it is very entertaining and very exciting. This proves the evolution of G-Shock in the watch world. They have some amazing new products that we know everyone across the globe will love.
Another part of the reason I was there, was Casio had asked me to speak at their event along with a couple of other retailers. My part was to talk about GPS and it’s use in watches today, but most importantly, the expectations of the new GPW1000. I had a great opportunity to play with the piece prior to the release and learned a lot about it. You can see our first hands on review of the GPW1000 HERE.
The watches unveiled that night were incredibly impressive and expand on G-Shock’s expansion into the luxury market (especially in this country). They introduced two new versions of Metal Twisted G-Shocks, one with black hard coating, rose gold and orange accents, which will be limited production under model number MTGS1000BD-5A. See it on our site HERE.
Another piece introduced was the MT-G Basel World Special. Getting to see it hands on was a treat. It has a truly unique finishing process utilizing a gold ion plating that is then layered over in black. Burnishing away the gold, and blending with the black plating that gives it a distressed or vintage look to it that only contributes to its character. This gives a weatherd bronze type color that expresses the toughness of G-Shock’s as they are worn over the years. Sadly, this model is limited to only 500 pieces globally, and will be extremely difficult to find.
The new GPW1000 models were also featured during the event, but the big news was at the very end. For the first time ever, MR-G is making its debut in the US market! Not only that, but this will feature a MR-G exclusive version of the GPS Atomic Solar Hybrid movement. This new MRGG1000B-1A will feature a 49mm wide by 16.6mm hardened titanium case and bracelet that also has a DLC (or Diamond Like Carbon) coating. This will be now the highest priced G to ever touch US soil at a $3,000 retail. These will become available in limited quantities at the beginning of 2015. See it on our site HERE. The crowd was amazed and ooh’s and aahh’s filled the room. The night came to an end and people relaxed, had a few drinks (including some GPS-tini’s) and chit chatted for a while. Afterwards, I was lucky enough to spend some time with some of Casio’s team and our friend Ariel Adams from aBlogtoWatch. Earlier, I brought up the new Apple Watch as Ariel and DJ had a great discussion about smart watches. While I think all of us there are big Apple fans, the topic of the “smart watch” was something discussed and ended something along the lines of “that’s not a smart watch. It still needs the phone in order to really do much of anything. Now this… (as he shows the GPS Hybrid) is a SMART WATCH”. A totally proven point as it is independently controlled, has tons of functionality , breaks down the Earth to a 2.6 billion piece grid, determines your location through GPS and is powered by light, not an outlet. I’ll admit, I was impressed by the Apple Watch, but DJ had an excellent point that I totally agree with.
Ariel got some really impressive pictures of the new G-Shock MR-G MRG-G1000 GPS Atomic Solar Hybrid and a great write up on aBlogtoWatch HERE.
Before I knew it the trip was over and I was saying good bye to NYC. I would sincerely like to thank everyone involved for such an awesome trip and being such a great company to work with. As I mentioned in the video, all of us here at AZ Fine Time are extremely proud to be a part of the ongoing evolution of G-Shock! Can’t wait to see what’s next!