In 1996, MR-G debuted with a full metal exterior while maintaining the shock-resistant performance that is at the core of G-SHOCK. Since then, MR-G has continued to evolve its performance and functions, while at the same time thoroughly refining its exterior and developing a look befitting the pinnacle of the G-SHOCK line. MRG-G1000B-1A4 "Akazonae" released in 2017 is a further sublimation of this creativity. It was inspired by the armor worn by samurai-warrior in a period in Japanese history of near-constant civil war, social upheaval, and political intrigue from 1467 to 1615, and the red color, a symbol of strength, was expressed in the traditional Japanese color of deep red "Kokibeni" to show the toughness of G-SHOCK. The brave and luxurious look of the G-SHOCK watches was a big hit not only with G-SHOCK fans but also with mechanical watch enthusiasts.
The next model to be released was the MRG-B2000B-1A, named "Kachi-iro". The design of this model is accented with the "Victory Color", a color that has been familiar to the Japanese people since ancient times, when it was used in armor to boost the morale of samurai warriors. In addition to using traditional Japanese colors, the details of this model were also designed to express the gorgeous and powerful atmosphere of armor from the Edo period onward. The creativity of this model also helped to promote the value of "Japan-made" products manufactured at Yamagata CASIO.
As with the recently released MRG-B2000BS-3A Hana-Basara limited edition timepiece, the MRG-B2000B-1A incorporates the spirit of samurai as a design in modern times. The "Uroko-mon" pattern, a typical traditional pattern in Japan, is printed on the dial, while the cut surface is reminiscent of a fan or folding screen on the periphery, and the indexes resemble the warp of a traditional katana sword.
Riding along the outer edge of the dial, the timepieces markers recall a sensu, or traditional folding hand fan—another piece of essential gear for over-heated samurai in battle—but it also provides an artful nod to that same fan pattern so prominent in Japanese culture, dance and calligraphy. A gentle reminder that a samurai was also expected to be as cultured as he was brave.
To achieve a luxurious look, it would be ideal to accentuate it with edges and shiny metal parts in key places. However, in this model, the indexes are made of lightweight resin to prevent them from falling off the dial in case the watch is dropped and receives a shock. However, it is not possible to create an edge by using a mold used for general molding.
In response, CASIO used fine cutting technology to create a master model that would serve as the basis for the mold. By using electroforming technology to laminate metal onto the master model, CASIO was able to create a mold that was more faithful to the original model, enabling mass production of a sharp form that looked like a direct copy of the master model. In addition, the edges of the gently curved index surface, the beautiful mirror surface, and the luster of the fan-shaped cut surface on the outer circumference of the dial would not have been possible without nano-processing technology. Even though plastic parts are used to prevent the watch from falling off or being damaged by impact, they are given a shine and a sense of weight that could be mistaken for metal, completing a look that is worthy of MR-G, the pinnacle of the G-SHOCK line.
Ultimately, however, the armor and sword metaphors win out in terms of cultural references in the Kachi-Iro. The titanium bezel of some of these models are constructed from re-crystalized titanium: A process that creates an individualized pattern on the component itself; like the natural patination, or nie, of a sword.
The MRG-B2000B-1A Kachi-Iro’s close cousin, the MTG-B2000D-1A offers up a distinctly more-modern, all-metal approach (including blue, red and grey metal bezel designs) that highlights its bold functionality, with clean pops of color-matched details and unorthodox sub-dial sizes, positions and accents, for today’s weekend warriors. But in the Kachi-Iro, the next generation of G-SHOCK fans have access to a timepiece with abundant roots in both innovation and tradition.
All content including images is credited to Hodinkee.