Casio’s G-Shock has proved to be one of the most popular watches of our time, with a wide range of options and customizability that makes it capable of being just about all things to all people. The G-Shock, and its feminine counterpart the Baby G, manifests in so many different forms that there’s something there for everyone. Whether you’re aiming for the most affordable basic model, or cruising for the limited-edition high-end specialty pieces, there’s a G-Shock somewhere that suits your needs. However, the brand has now come out with a particularly specialized model that definitely nudges the top end of their price range.
This is the Casio G-Shock MH Hammer Tone. It comes with a case made of titanium and copper alloy. But it’s how the case has been fashioned that makes this limited-edition G-Shock so interesting.
The MRG G-1000 HT case has been shaped by a process known as ‘tsuiki’ which is a traditional Japanese metalworking technique dating from antiquity. Master Craftsman Bihou Asano is a third-generation artisan in his field. Under his trained hand, cases for 300 limited-edition watches were literally hammered into shape. In tsuiki, a sheet of metal is cut out and then hammered, literally blow by blow, into the required shape. Historically, the art was used to make copperware and metal containers, but also to make armor and helmets. Armor needs to be worn but it needs to provide protection; to meet both these needs, it has to be both thin and strong. Armor and helmets were crafted by tsuiki for generations. In the modern world, the metalworking technique is still used to create shaped components for rail cars and aircraft. It’s not as strange as it sounds: the piece is made from a single piece of metal, and then hammered into the shape you need it to be. Bihou Asano is considered such a master of the craft that he has created items for use in the Kyoto State Guest House. He is called in for repair work on cultural treasures, items of such intrinsic national value that Japan deeds them as Important Cultural Properties.
Seen up close, the MG1000 Hammer Tone has an incredible finish, a look that has been pounded into the metal. The bezel and the center component of the watch bracelet has been given an “Oboro-gin” color, a silver grey finish that is usually seen on the accessories and ornaments of Japanese swords.
In creating a watch to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the original MR-G series in the G-Shock line, Casio has reached deep into the traditional crafts lore of their nation, and brought forth a profoundly beautiful timepiece that wraps their greatest technology within the shell of their finest cultural skills. The Hammer Tone is a tribute not only to the Casio legacy, but to the nation of Japan that gave them birth.