The G-Shock is one of the most popular watches among soldiers, rescue personnel, extreme athletes, world explorers, and even astronauts. What makes G-Shock so popular with the most demanding professions in the world and the premier tough watch? That would be its world renowned shock protection. What is the “G-Shock Protection” that is so prominently displayed on most G-Shock cases? At its most basic it is extreme shock resistance (aka “Shock Resist” as seen on the case backs) and reliable water resistance up to 200 meters. The level of protection has also developed beyond that in some advanced G-Shock watches.
The G-Shock’s reputation as the world’s toughest watch is well deserved. The first G-Shock DW-5000C in 1983 was likely one of the most heavily tested products ever created. G-Shock Protection and Shock Resist were not just marketing gimmicks but the result of a dedicated personal mission and truly innovative design. G-Shock founding father and team leader Kikuo Ibe was driven by his passion to create an unbreakable watch. The team used over 200 prototypes to build and test the first G-Shock and it took over two years to develop the final product. Ibe created a heavily shock resistant watch using the concept of a hollow structure that was inspired by a simple rubber ball. The watch module was supported in the case’s hollow structure by just a few support points, allowing it to “float” and reducing the need for excessive shock absorbing material that would make the watch too large. Key components in the module like the crystal oscillator were outfitted with additional cushioning material. In addition to the floating module, the protruding case and bezel design protected the thick mineral glass display, metal buttons, and case back from hard impacts. The clever engineering and design of the G-Shock is what makes it such a tough watch. The effectiveness of the hollow structure, floating module, and protruding case design can be seen in the hammer test below.
Casio continued to develop its shock protection further throughout the years, introducing shock resistance for analog watches and extra protection in certain models. Some of the key advancements include:
1989: First analog G-Shock model with shock resistance
1992: ISO-certified 200-meter water resistance in the DW-6300 Frogman, continuing today with the GWF-1000 Frogman
1995: Use of titanium in the DW-8200 Frogman.
2007: Rust-resistance in the G-9100 Gulfman and mud/dust-resistance in the G-9000 Mudman
2010: Resistance to centrifugal gravity (g-force) in the analog G-1250 Gravitymaster
2012: Triple G Resist (dropping shock, centrifugal gravity, vibration) and the use of alpha gel in the GW-4000 and G-1400
In a testament to their effectiveness and durability, G-Shock watches became popular with those working in the most demanding occupations such as military special forces like the Navy Seals. The DW-5600C model was even qualified by NASA for spaceflight. Other watches that were officially spaceflight-qualified include the DW-5600E, DW-5900, DW-6900, and the G-9000 Mudman.
In the video below, the GD-X6900 easily passed the MIL-STD-810 Environmental Stress Testing Protocol also known as the military standard toughness test. The tests were conducted by National Technical Systems, a third-party testing facility, and included tests for drop shock, vibration, freeze/thaw, blowing rain, sand/dust, and salt fog.
G-Shock watches are also the subject of many other toughness tests on Youtube. Here is a G-Shock getting run over by a car.
Triple G Resist is now one of G-Shock’s flagship features in its Aviation Series and high-end models like the MTG-S1000. It gives analog watches the most protection possible against shock, g-force, and vibration. The centrifugal gravity force resistance surpasses 15G, the maximum required for cockpit instruments under ISO 2669. Vibration resistance surpasses the vibration endurance test standard (JIS D1601 Class 4 A) for in-vehicle parts on 2-wheeled motor vehicles, withstanding vibrations up to 20G.
Other protective features include anti-magnetic structures in most analog models and the use of sapphire glass in high-end models. Along with features for increased toughness Casio has also developed many other technical features that make G-Shock watches more useful and maintenance-free than other watch brands.
As much as G-Shock has become stylish and fashionable on the streets, the heart and soul of the brand will always lie in its image as a tough watch. The fact that Casio has so strongly adhered to the original G-Shock Protection mission without compromise and continues to innovate is what makes G-Shock one of the most beloved and trusted brands in the world.