By Meor Amri Meor Ayob

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Casio’s high-end watch series, the MR-G line. The MR-G line made its debut in 1996 and features metal-bodied watches with full shock resistance similar ever more capable than the original G-Shock class of watches. The MR stands for “Majesty + Reality” which goes to show how Casio set the standard of any model under its stable that wants to have the MR-G badge.

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Recently, during Baselworld 2016, Casio launched their new limited edition Hammer Tone MR-G. The G-Shock MRG-G1000HT is a special edition created using the Japanese ‘Tsuiki’ technique; a traditional craft method that creates unique relief patterns through hammering. The design is in collaboration with a master metal craftsman Mr. Bihou Asano from Kyoto. As this technique can only be done by hand, only 300 units will be made.

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The watch also has Oboro-gin and Akagane highlights which are traditional Japanese crafting materials. Oboro-gin is a dark silver hue while Akagane is a copper alloy with a small percentage of gold. The Akagane-colored accents include the front facing screws, buttons, crown, and elements of the display.

The G1000HT is a fully analog G-Shock featuring GPS hybrid timekeeping and a sapphire crystal glass covering the dial. It is manufactured at Casio high-end production facility at Yamagata on Honshu Island in Japan.

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Apart from the traditional decoration on the watch, it is packed with all the gadgets expected of a G-Shock. It features a GPS controlled Multi-Band 6 movement which will be able to calibrate the time using either GPS or radio signals anywhere on Earth; Tough Solar to capture the energy from any light source to power the watch; an anti-glare protected sapphire crystal to make the dial clearly visible in any lighting environment; casing and bracelet made out of titanium that undergoes a deep layer hardening process and DLC coating making it extremely tough; and having a casing design to withstand the impact drop of 10 meters onto a hard floor (a Casio G-Shock legendary shock resistance capability).

Other functions worth noting includes the 200 meter water rating, Latitude indicator, Airplane Mode, UTC World Time (40 time zones, 27 Cities), LED Super Illuminator lighting, daily alarm, perpetual calendar, stopwatch, countdown timer and day & date display.

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This is a rather large watch. With a case size of 54.7 mm you should have the necessary wrist size to be able to wear it comfortably. Nevertheless, from a fashion perspective, wearing ‘oversized’ watches is no longer seen as a ‘styling mistake’. More importantly, the weight has been kept to a minimal with the use of titanium which make is easier to wear the watch despite its large dimension.

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This marriage of tradition and technology has a price – USD6,200 per piece to be exact. To existing G-Shock owners, fans and the general public alike, this price point would seem like a shock (pun intended). However, the true value of the watch goes beyond the ‘standard’ G-Shock functionalities. Instead of just viewing it as a “quartz powered” watch, Casio wants all of us to look at it as ‘the’ watch – the intricate design elements, the uniqueness of each individual handmade watch and it scarcity.

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I can accept the argument but the price point does not seem to justify the cost of the expert-human element invested in the watch. Master metal craftsman Mr. Bihou Asano is well known in Japan but outside Japan, he is virtually unknown except to the most discerning metal craft followers. This mismatch in price expectation makes it unlikely to see a demand spike outside Japan.

Nevertheless, purely from a watch connoisseur point of view, the MR-G looks cool. For more info, please visit casio-watches.com

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MEOR AMRI MEOR AYOB – CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Meor Amri is a passionate watch collector from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Having bitten by the horology bug in 2010, he has written extensively about the watch scene and has assembled a large collection of watches (excessively!!!) on his own free time. His blogs on the same subject are: Eastern Watch & Western Watch Read his articles here