“My last wish and dream is that in 100 years anyone can travel around the universe and live in space and both humans and aliens are wearing G-Shock and the aliens are saying, ‘G-Shock is wonderful,’” says Kikuo Ibe, founder of the Casio G-Shock a few hours before the brand’s big 35th anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Mr. Ibe — if you couldn’t tell — is an eccentric man who is a far cry from your typical watch executive. This may explain the G-Shock’s rabid fanbase among people who wouldn’t normally wear a watch. It’s likely the most popular watch in the world and this year it became the first timepiece to hit 100 million sold.
In those 35 years the brand has changed in a manner of ways but its core mission of creating a durable watch has never shifted. In fact, Casio’s acceptance into the streetwear community is a rare example of the fashion industry accepting an outsider without that brand trying to appeal to them at all.
“Our stance hasn’t changed,” says Ibe. “We’ve always prized functionality and our style hasn’t changed much either. Somehow, we are becoming more popular within a certain group of street-fashion influencers and that’s really helping the brand perception.”
Casio has definitely embraced this new demographic. Along with sponsoring skateboarders, snowboarders, and pretty much every other sort of extreme sport athlete, the brand partnered with legendary French streetwear brand Pigalle to release a limited collection of two watches honoring the 35th anniversary.
“Globally as well in North America, we think that we have a product for everyone and that is the position that we want to keep,” says Ibe. “We have products for young people and products for those that are over 60. Our core principle remains the same: durability. Beyond that, we offer all these different palettes that depend on the audience so they can choose whatever they like.”
Other watches announced at the event include the Gold Tornado collection with new interpretations of the classic G Gravitymaster, G-Steel, and Frogman models and the comprehensive Big Bang Black collection that comprises of four existing G-Shock models in a new all-black matte colorway.
The watch that garnered the most applause during the night was a new G-Shock with a case made entirely out of Sapphire Crystal. Each of these watches will take over a month to produce and are developed to be completely scratchproof.