From Resin to Metal: The G-SHOCK 2100By Suan Futt Yeo
Since Casio rewrote a chunk of the wristwatch paradigm in 1983 with the first G-SHOCK watch, the DW-5000, the collection line has grown from strength to strength, showcasing the company’s broadening repertoire of production capabilities and design expertise in the ever-expanding range of features, colors and quality finishes in the G-SHOCK catalog.
At its launch, the DW-5000 was so radical in its proposition — that a wristwatch could be a precision instrument, yet at the same time built tougher than its wearer and be dropped without breaking — it took a while for consumers to understand the possibilities it presented, and rally around it.
Since then, the G-SHOCK has become a bona fide cult watch, quietly building a tremendous reserve of clout and appeal among the millions from all works of life who have come to rely on its superb hardiness and performance every day.
For all its ground-breaking toughness, the DW-5000 was an unassuming watch. That changed when Casio showed off a modernized, solid gold variant of the DW-5000 at Baselworld 2015. Labelled the “G-SHOCK Dream Project,” the G-D5000-9JR featured case, bracelet, pushers and even its screws in 18K gold. Just 35 pieces were made, to be sold from 2019, at a whopping USD 70,000 apiece. It sold out immediately.
Casio did not forget its legions of fans: that same year, Casio also released non-limited, all-metal versions in stainless steel and gold-IP treated stainless steel, the GMW-B5000 series, bearing strong resemblance to their DW-5000 forebear but equipped with present-day bells and whistles like smartphone connectivity, solar power and multi-band radio control. At under USD 600, they were much more accessibly priced than the solid gold version but still cost substantially more than conventional resin-cased models. But it was as if Casio had blown the floodgates.
Actually, Casio had already researched and introduced all-metal watches in the 1990s, with the round-cased MRG-100, but such was the emotive cachet of the DW-5000 that demand for the GMW-B5000 came as a flash flood.
What the GMW-B5000 affirmed to Casio was the strategy to rise up the value hierarchy, to orient the company towards producing watches with stronger emphasis on design and refinement, in steering a collection with resin as its origin towards metal construction that offers a degree of luster and luxury that resin cannot. This newfound momentum and direction came just in time for Casio’s next big splash on the watch collecting community: the GA-2100, which made its debut in 2019.
From Resin to Metal: GA-2100 to GM-2100
The GA-2100 is the slimmest G-SHOCK watch in production. Wearers get the assurance of G-SHOCK’s legendary hardiness in a thin watch at just 11.8mm in thickness. It’s not paper-thin, but thin enough considering its G-SHOCK fundamentals of hollow, multi-part case construction including a carbon core that shields the module from external shocks and water pressure up to depths of 200 meters.
In addition, the styling of the GA-2100 is much more compatible to a wider range of everyday circumstances than the typical G-SHOCK that likes to be in mud, scaling cliffs, and generally laughing off a nasty beating. The GA-2100 has the resilience to weather the worst, yet gone are the hulking bezels and crown guards, and in their place is design that is much more subdued, urbane, and with the added benefit that the analog display with hands and indexes is much more legible than a calculator screen.
Indeed, GA-2100 unites the design of the first G-SHOCK (the DW-5000, its bezel shape a squared octagon), with that of G-SHOCK’s first analog model (the AW-500). As such, the GA-2100 sports a more pronounced octagon bezel with round dial face, and hybrid analog-digital display, with day subdial.
Eschewing the more complex features like Bluetooth connectivity and multi-band radio time control has kept its price aggressive and having user-replaceable battery instead of solar power is actually preferable for users with an eye on long-term ownership. As such, for style, performance and affordability, the GA-2100 has very, very few watches to rival its value and attractiveness.
The extreme popularity of the GA-2100, as a result, has made it a favorite for those looking for a watch that they can adjust and adapt to their own personalities, and Casio itself has not been slack in releasing it in a rich variety of colorways. As attractive as these are, it was always going to be the “metal” treatment that would push the model to its peak in refinement, hence the “metal covered” GM-2100, introduced in 2021.
To protect the watch module, the GM-2100 features an inner case made of carbon fiber reinforced resin. The outer case of the GM-2100 is made of stainless steel, with hairline brushed finish on the top surface of the bezel, and mirror polish on the sides. Paired with textured urethane strap, the GM-2100 exudes unique luxury and elegance while expressing the conceptual design of the original DW-5000.
The GM-2100 is a significant evolution from the original G-SHOCK, rooted in the design and performance philosophy of the original, yet exuding luxury and refinement of a different level to meet the consumer’s evolving needs. It is already an icon in its own right, upon which Casio can build much in the years to come.
Movement: Quartz module; approximate 3-year battery life on SR726W × 2
Case: Stainless steel bezel and resin case; 49.3 × 44.4 × 11.8 mm; water-resistant to 200m
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds; full auto-calendar; world-time; stopwatch; countdown timer; alarm; 12/24-hour format; button operation tone on/off; hand shift feature; double LED light (Super Illuminator, afterglow with selectable illumination duration: 1.5 or 3 seconds
Price: GM-2100-1ADR (black) – S$299; GM-2100N-2ADR (navy blue) – S$319; GM-2100B-3ADR (green) – S$319; GM-2100B-4ADR (red) S$319
More information: gshock.casio.com