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Toughness, timelessness: Casio executive on G-Shock's continuing milestones |

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Toughness, timelessness: Casio executive on G-Shock's continuing milestones

Kristofer Purnell -
Toughness, timelessness: Casio executive on G-Shock's continuing milestones
Takahashi Oh, senior general manager - Timepiece Business Unit of Casio / Kristofer Purnell

MANILA, Philippines — During the early 1980s, an engineer at Japanese electronics company Casio named Kikuo Ibe set out to create an unbreakable watch — on the physical front and to stand the test of time.

This year, Ibe's creation, the G-Shock, marked its 40th anniversary, and Casio stepped up the celebrations for the watch series that continues to make its mark in the world.

The company brought its grand event "Shock The World" to Southeast Asia for the very first time to cement the importance of the region, given how popular the G-Shock series is in this part of Asia.

In an exclusive interview with, Casio's senior general manager of the Timepiece Business Unit Takahashi Oh discussed the timelessness of G-Shock, how it continues to adapt and innovate over the years, and the future of the watch as it looks ahead to a golden anniversary.

Oh has been with Casio for 30 years and worked on the G-Shock series for half that time, and since then he has felt the commitment of the brand's lasting nature.

"I've believed this brand would never die, and sure would reach 40 years," Oh said in Japanese, with a translator by his side.

The executive attributed the brand's lasting power to Casio's concept of "creativity and contribution," and that they never had to distance from it because through it they found the "toughness" that Ibe aspired for.

 "The direction was always one and the same," he noted. 

Casio is aware that adaptation is still a key factor in sustaining its popularity with customers, Oh noted. They had to go beyond making strong, waterproof watches and go into other kinds of "toughness," like protection from the sun and shock-proofing.

Related: How F&C Jewelry stays afloat for 50 years amid inflation, challenges

"Lifestyle changes was another thing to add and we had to expect them," Oh continued. "So we started from simple ideas then combined new things, but the creative direction was still the same."

A new innovation that Casio has ventured into in the past five years were smart watches. Oh said the brand had to decide what kind of functions the watches have to feature, such as notifications, checking heart rate and solar charging.

"It had to be solid, not where users had to install everything. It was a difficult phase that required a lot of discussions," he recalled. 

Another venture was trying out different materials like metal exteriors, a preference by most watch collector, and a shift in fashion styles and target markets.

"Collectors were really waiting for the metal designs. We couldn't really spread the word about it much because of the pandemic, so this anniversary celebration is an opportunity to express and explore these concepts," Oh explained to

The executive added, briefly speaking in English to state his point, "We're going to keep trying, like before, to make new things with the same direction. We want users to feel surprised and go 'wow.' But these surprises have to come from all our divisions — sales, marketing, designers."

Collabs, new products

Part of Casio's 40th anniversary celebrations was collaborating with several artists from music label 88rising, including the Philippines' own Ylona Garcia, and setting up a pop-tour around Southeast Asia.

Two 88rising artists, Niki and Warren Hue, both from Indonesia, even performed at "Shock The World" Southeast Asia last December 2 at Potato Head Beach Club in Bali.

Related: Ylona Garcia, 88rising collaborate for G-Shock 40th anniversary

"G-Shock's popularity started in the US (United States) but the Southeast Asian market is growing. We wanted to respect users, ensure they were happy, and know what they liked," Oh explained. "So we reached out to people with huge attractions, get some of their ideas — not just 88rising artists — to be closer to users."

Casio specifically collaborated with another Indonesian 88rising artist, Rich Brian, to create a G-Shock piece of his own. He confessed that he has been a longtime user of the watch type.

The end product was a colored bold seafoam green with salmon pink accents, inspired by a guitar he obsessed over as a child, and his signature on the case back makes it completely a stand out from previous G-Shock creations.

The brand also has the carbon-based GCW-B5000UN, which harkens to the original G-Shock model but roughly three times lighter yet as strong, and the MT-G B3000CXD in celebration of 2024 as the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac. The back cover of the latter model bears an engraved dragon illustration by Korean artist Han Tensho.

Perhaps the pièce de résistance of the celebrations is Ibe's dream project, the G-D001, its case and band made from 18 karat gold, its bearings with 55 rubies to reduce friction, and ring-shaped next-generation solar cells.

The previously mentioned watches are just a few of what Casio's creations for its 40 years of "creativity and contribution," and it doesn't appear to stop any time soon.

Oh acknowledged that lifestyles will change again, and teased to that the brand is looking to explore virtual reality. He expressed his excitement as there are already ideas floating for collaborations.

"We want to keep surprising people, it doesn't matter if its in the real world or virtually, we'll keep the 'toughness' going. I'm sure if we continue that way, people will indeed be surprised and be lifelong fans," Oh ended.

RELATED: 'Worldwide phenomenon': Disney CEO ponders on Disney 100, 'Frozen' 10th anniversary

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