WE’LL cut straight to the chase. Casio’s G-Shocks are not what you’d consider high-end watches. And that’s perfectly fine. The Japanese brand’s built up a reputation for reliability, edgy design, killer collabs and timely takes on trends. It’s also got its own collectors’ scene.
But when they drop a limited-edition that’s priced in the realm of haute horlogerie, ears prick up. The G-D5000-9JR sports a case, a band and screws and a case fashioned entirely out of 18K gold (24K would have been too malleable), and it’s being listed for a cool ¥7,700,000 (about S$93,000).
What could possibly skyrocket the humble G-Shock’s price nearly a thousandfold, marking new territory for street-style wristwatches? Will the timepiece hold value, as expected of a purchase this big? Should you snag one? Here’s both sides of the debate.
Yes: It was part of a secret project
There’s no better way to build up hype than to officially cancel a popular concept revealed on the 2015 Baselworld stage, then work on it quietly for 4 years before dropping a shock announcement that the product’s ready to ship later in the year.
It all makes for a great story – and that’s what collectors pay for.
No: You’re going to need a local’s help to buy it
All clues point to the entirety of the 35 pieces slated for a Japan-only release, with preorders opening 15 May.
This means you’ll likely have to log in to the site via a Japanese IP, and register interest with a valid Japan address on hand – or actually be first on site at this list of shops stocking the watch. The exact ordering details aren’t out yet.
Yes: Japanese QC is strong in this one
On to why Casio scrapped the concept back in 2015, despite favourable reception following the show. The prototype model reportedly couldn’t stand up to the rigours of testing. The Japanese, being Japanese, refused to besmirch their honour by releasing an inferior product, and so spent four years abusing the hell out of more prototypes.
The end result: a monster that can take some serious blows as well as survive at depths of up to 200m.
No: It weighs 300g
Unless you want to bulk up that forearm by strapping on with this bling wristweight, we can’t see this solid gold ticker being used on a day-to-day basis – and that’s supposed to be in any G-Shock’s wheelhouse. (For reference, it’s two to four times heavier than the most G-Shocks).
Yes: Investment potential is actually high
While Casio is by no means a small-scale producer – over 23,000 G-Shocks are made every day – special releases pegged to anniversaries are far more scarce and valuable than other limited-edition watches, for the obvious reason that the occasion comes around only once every five years.
A quick check on eBay shows that the 30th anniversary watches are at least holding their value, while those from the 25th and earlier anniversaries are appreciating slightly.
Plus, the G-D5000-9JR already holds down the moniker of “Most Expensive G-Shock Ever” – something that isn’t going to be upstaged anytime soon.
No: You can buy three other watches
Disregard this pointer if your bottomless wallet is unconcerned with the price tag. With the moolah shelled out for just one of these specimens, you could snag a few APs or Pateks (if you can bear the wait.) Then again, that simply adds to the prestige associated with this one.
Yes: It draws power from the Sun, and corrects itself using radiation
Right, we all love automatic watches. They’re artworks in themselves. Complications make us geek out. We get that.
What we also need to appreciate is how far digital watches have come as well. The solar panels of yesteryear are now embedded in the dial, and the watch actually taps into the surrounding radio waves to correct its time and timezone down to the split second.
While that last function currently only works in Japan, USA, UK, Germany, China and Taiwan, that’s a plenty interesting feature considering the watch doesn’t depend on a telecoms-provided data plan.
Your verdict is all that matters
Marketing spin aside, this G-Shock was very clearly targetted at wealthiest G-Shock aficionados, and not the majority of the Japanese brand’s customer base.
If you happen to be part of that well-heeled former group, we say go for it before it sells out.
If, like us, you’re happy with the editions which cost a few hundred quid, the G-D5000-9JR still makes some good conversation fodder.