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G-SHOCK collaborations and fresh GA-2100 design maintain watchmaker’s status as king of cool

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Retailers craving constant newness and inspiring stories to tell customers need look no further than G-SHOCK with its frequent collaborations and creative concepts like this year’s new GA-2100 design hitting all the right design notes.

Casio and its G-SHOCK brand have been pioneers in creating limited and special edition watches — often in collaboration with strategic partners— that appeal to new and different customers and also give retail partners fresh stories to tell with every launch.

The strategy is helping to build a community of collectors and fans that are constantly engaged with the brand and are eager to be first to know about what special projects are on the horizon.

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This not only generates loyalty, it also keeps customers on their toes because popular limited editions sell out fast, and then become difficult and sometimes expensive to buy from other collectors.

Several collaborations over the past year have opened up Casio to new audiences. Take the Bamford London x G-Shock partnership, for example. Bamford London, a sister company to Bamford Watch Department, is a London-based specialist in creating customised watches through official partnerships with watch brands including TAG Heuer, Bulgari, Franck Muller, Girard-Perregaux and Zenith.

Last September it introduced a limited edition G-SHOCK 5610 with a signature aqua blue theme borrowed from Bamford Watch Department.

Bamford Watch Department’s G-SHOCK interpretation.

Bamford is particularly well-connected with high end watch collectors, many of them personal friends of the company’s founder and CEO George Bamford, and news of the 5610 went viral when it launched, helping the £149 watch sell out within days.

It was a timely partnership for Casio, and a boost for Bamford, which adds its name to a long list of successful collaborations for G-SHOCK that includes A$AP Ferg, BAPE, Dragon Ball Z, Stüssy, Gorillaz, Takashi Murakami, Transformers and many more.

But Bamford does have a different audience to Casio and G-SHOCK, so the benefits flowed both ways.

Another huge community that has always been a fan of G-SHOCK’s indestructible timepieces is the military, and early in 2020 the brand introduced its first watch under a new partnership with Her Majesty’s Armed Forces in the form of a British Army X G-Shock Mudmaster GG-B100BA, and followed up more recently with the RAF Gravitymaster and GWF-A1000RN-8AER Royal Navy Frogman watch, which takes design inspiration from British naval history and particularly the recently completed HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest aircraft carrier ever to serve the Royal Navy.

G-CHOCK Frogman created in collaboration with the Royal Navy.

Designed in conjunction with the Royal Navy, the GWF-A1000RN Frogman has been built to navigate the hostile environments faced by naval personnel, at sea and on land thanks to the protection of G-SHOCK’s shock resistant carbon core guard structure and its 200 metre water resistant case design. It is on sale now for £799.

G-SHOCK’s King Nerd collaboration.

The most recent collaboration, revealed in March, was with King Nerd, an artist and engraver whose previous partnerships have included working with British footwear icon Dr Martens, Harley Davidson motorcycles and limited edition watches for the likes of Franck Muller and Jaeger-LeCoultre.

King Nerd designed a special gold PVD version of the GM-6900 (GM-6900GKING-9ER) in a limited run of 300 pieces priced at £249. Each watch comes on a custom printed strap designed by King Nerd and is sold with a sticker, a limited hand-signed and numbered print, and bespoke packaging, each featuring the unique artwork by the British designer.

Collaborations are big business thanks to the way they bring cross-over appeal to each brand in the partnership, and G-SHOCK has led the way with special editions that have become instant collectables that are then discussed and even traded within social media communities and forums.

In a perfect virtuous circle, as these communities grow, they make future partnership watches even more attractive to customers, which in turn makes Casio a better collaborator for high profile brands and artists.

Retailers are responding by buying into watches with stories behind them because they attract new customers who are willing to buy more expensive watches. Knowing that clients will be clamouring for these limited editions, retailers also jostle to make sure they are first in the queue for allocations.

G-SHOCK says it has even more exciting partnerships on the horizon as it heads towards its 40th anniversary year so retail partners and watch lovers are urged to “watch this space!”

G-SHOCK GA-2100

G-SHOCK GA-2100 ‘blackout’.

Casio is upgrading its core collections as well, and has added a fresh design concept in the form of the GA-2100. The family draws design inspiration from the very first G-SHOCK, the DW-5000, which launched in 1983 and established the signature 8-sided style and the brand’s reputation for indestructible timepieces.

G-SHOCK describes the GA-2100 as nothing less than its new standard-bearer. The watches are slimmer, more compact and simpler in a way that overturns the impression that G-SHOCKS are always oversized and complex. They are, the company says, “The ultimate in minimalist design for contemporary lifestyles”

The 8-sided fixed bezel is a perfect octagon and can be the same colour as the strap, dial and interchangeable resin strap, or it can make a statement in a contrasting hue or pattern such as the GA-2100SU-1A, which has a camouflage design.

A slim module powers features including analogue hours and minutes hands along with a date indicator and a small LED display for functions such as alarms and a stop watch.

That module is protected by a carbon core guard structure that keeps the case as slim as possible — 11.8mm to be precise — without compromising shock resistance. The whole package is also water resistant to 200 metres.

More recently a GA-2100 ‘blackout’ and a Skeleton reference have set social media and sales alight while the GMA-S2100 has made the collection attractive to people favouring a smaller watch size.

GA-2100 has all the hallmarks of another G-SHOCK classic, which will doubtless attract collaborators wanting to add their creativity in the form of future special editions.

That’s a win-win for G-SHOCK retailers and customers: a new design direction from the brand and a family of watches that is launching with prices ranging from £99 to £109, but has the potential to command even higher prices when limited editions hit the market.

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