CASIO MTG S1000BD: The Luxury G-Shock

casio_ntgs1000_titlecard

When Casio announced the launch of their new MT-G (“Metal Twisted G-Shock”) series last year, executives sat up and paid attention. Finally now, here is a G-Shock that Casio claims is as at ease on the wrist of a delinquent skateboarder (stolen) as peeping out from under a crisp, cuff-linked three-piece suit sleeve. Just make sure it’s a XL-size sleeve.

Just to be sure however, Casio does have more legitimacy building big, unbreakable 58mm watches than U-Boat, Hublot, Panerai and other high-end manufacturers of so-called sports watches, and they really pulled out the stops Resin Undercoatingfor this one. There are a few things immediately noticeable about the MT-G. First, although the watch looks like it weighs a ton, the stainless steel case and bracelet feel no heavier on the wrist than say, Audemars Piguet’s latest Royal Oak Offshore, at around 190 grams. Second, despite its girth, the bracelet wrapped nicely and supine around my weeny 6” wrist – thanks to a clever, free-wheeling central lug – making it appear slimmer than it actually is (especially for models in black). In fact, I would even go so far to say that this juggernaut actually feels fairly comfortable, thanks to a resin layer that gives the inner lining of the band a spongy feel. Third, the 30th anniversary black ion-plated edition featured here is probably one of the priciest – if not the priciest – G-Shocks on sale today, so this watch appeals strictly only to those who can live with the idea of a thousand-dollar Casio. Even if that’s all ok with you, I still won’t try to convince you that this watch is ideal for those boardroom meetings, but most people can probably live with it on a daily basis. For versatility, check out this link for how Casio thinks you can wear the MT-G with a suit, starring “Iceman” (no not Val Kilmer).

IMG_0004

 Like other G-Shocks, this fella is built to be virtually indestructible. In addition to the raw iron plating of the case and bracelet, the watch also uses a shock-absorbing material called “Alpha-Gel”, to absorb even harder… shocks (I’ve checked the thesaurus, there are only so many substitutes for the word ‘shock’). As you can see, Casio clearly prepares its customers for any shocks the world throws at them on a daily basis. To add to the watch’s survivor gimmick, the MT-G doesn’t require battery replacements or even to be wound, because its dial is layered with little solar panels that harness the power of the sun. But just in case the Sun is destroyed the watch’s battery will still run for five months in complete darkness, so you can tell the time to start running from aliens or ghouls wanting to harvest your brains.

How to wear this seiko

Instructions for the world’s sleepiest watch.

Now here comes the negative or interesting bit, depending on whether you’re a glass-half-full or empty kind of person. Japanese digital watches (and G-Shocks in particular) have always been a pain to operate due to their complexity; you’ll quickly learn that Casio’s English manuals won’t be much help either. The MT-G is no different, and since it boasts a staggering number of functions, it truly has the potential to drive a user shockingly mad. I’ll just cover a few of its more interesting features here, and I assure you that this will be enough to turn this post into the longest article in Tourbullion’s short history.

 

#1: Adjusting the Time

Sounds simple enough right? I mean, just pull out the crown and… why the heck are the minutes and hour-hands spinning around like they just drank all the booze? Note: one simply doesn’t adjust the time on the MT-G like 99.9% of the other watches out there. Pulling out the crown to the second position, one sets the seconds-hand to any of the 24 time zones inscribed on the bezel, and presto! The hours and minutes hands automatically set themselves to the right time in accordance to the zone selected. Good for you Casio, a person who buys this watch shouldn’t have to go about menial tasks like setting the time himself…

All those pretty lines...

All the pretty lines…

#2: Adjusting the Day and Date

On most watches based on an ETA- movement this is a simple affair, pull out the crown (possibly just once) and turn it either clockwise or anti-clockwise. Not so on the cleverest watch in the world, and this is where it starts to feel pedantic rather than intuitive. Depressing the pusher at the 8 o’clock position (C) while the crown is pulled out activates the manual day-date setting mode. From then on, it’s a tedious matter of having to manually advance or reverse the seconds hand past 12 o’clock by furiously winding the crown (there is a “High-Speed Mode” to make the seconds hand go faster), until the desired day and date is achieved.

#3: You can automate #1 and #2

Ah, this is where you go “I should have read the instruction manual first”. Turns out that theoretically, you should never need toIMG_0042 adjust the time or day or date or Daylight savings Time by yourself, since the MT-G’s internal radio receiver automatically updates from atomic-clocks. If you’re one of those OCD types that demand proof that watch is not a fraud, a simple push of a button will set it to communicate with one of the six global atomic clocks. Or a few buttons in this case – holding down the 4 o’clock pusher (B) after giving the 8 o’clock pusher (C) a long press gets an enthusiastic chirp from the MT-G, and the seconds hand moves to either the “Y/N” indicators near the 11 o’clock position to remind you of how the last synchronisation attempt turned out. Depressing (B) again will move the seconds-hand to the “RC” indicator to sync with your nearest neighbourhood atomic clock. If all goes well, the minute and hour hands, and the day/date indicators will start to move by themselves to the right time for your zone. If all that sounds too tiresome for you, pull out the crown after depressing (B) in the earlier operation, and by pointing the seconds-hand to either Y or N, the MT-G can be set to auto-sync in the middle of the night, when you’re most likely snoring away after trying to figure out the watch’s functions.

#4: You can’t automate #1 and #2

If you live in Singapore, it’s almost certain that you’ll never get the MT-G to sync with any atomic clock…

#5: Secondary Time-Zone

"It's 12.27 pm. Time to see your optician."

“It’s 12.27 pm. Time to see your optician.”

The biggest sub-counter on the dial, at the 3 o’clock position, actually features a world or secondary time-zone function in the form of a separate mini analogue clock. Pulling out the crown to the first position and setting the second-hand to one of the 24 time-zones will cause the mini hour and minutes hand to automatically move to the corresponding time. Good luck trying to read it if you have myopia.

 

#6: Swapping the home and primary time-zones

One of the cooler functions of the watch, and one that doesn’t require a manic depressing of buttons. Holding down the pusher at the two o’clock position (A) will adjust the primary dial to the world/ secondary time-zone, while the sub-counter at 3 o’clock shifts to the time corresponding to the original home-time. It’s a pretty cool effect – the minute and hour hands move one after another, and the accuracy is precise to such an extent that even the second-hand picks up exactly where it left off.

#7: Chronograph Function

Casio says it’s really a stopwatch, but luxury brands prefer the more haute sounding term, chronograph. See Casio, if one aspires to muscle into the luxury timepieces market you really have to remember these details. Anyway, the MT-G packs a chronograph that measures milliseconds, which is two decimal places to anyone who bothers. So once you get into the stopwatch/ chronograph mode, depressing pusher (A) will start the count; depressing it again stops it mid-count, and pusher (B) resets it. The elapsed time is displayed on the secondary-time zone sub-dial (which operation is suspended when the chronograph is activated), so you can’t check the time in Jamaica when you’re already busy timing yourself for the junior high-school potato sack race.

IMG_0005

#8: Auto Start Chronograph

A bizarre function in an already bizarre watch. You can set the chronograph to start timing at a stipulated time within the next two hours, which I suppose is useful if you’re an extremely forgetful race official. Pulling out the crown whilst in chronograph mode allows the user to set the time to begin the count. The manual doesn’t say anything about stopping the count automatically, though…

IMG_0040

I could go on, but I guess you get the point now. Casio’s first genuine attempt at luxury also happens to be crammed-full of functions, more so than any other traditional luxury mechanical wristwatch can ever offer at its price point. Yes it uses a quartz movement (a pretty good one at that), but it only means that the MTG is more reliable when you go mountain-climbing or deep sea diving or partake in any other kind of dangerous activity that a luxury sports-watch was ever intended for. Still, even with its combination of affordable pricing, rugged good looks, wrist presence and real-world functionality, the MTG is unlikely to be anything more than a niche product in a niche segment, but being a Casio (albeit an expensive one) means you executive types will never be mistaken for trying to upstage your boss in the office.

Casio G-Shock, Reference: MTG-S1000BD, Casio caliber 5369 “Tough Solar” quartz movement. Ionised stainless steel case and bracelet. Sapphire crystal glass, waterproof to 200m. Recommended retail price: S$1,450.00 (USD 1100)

Special thanks to Mr. Justin Law for taking much nicer pictures than what I usually manage.

 

Leave a Reply

 

All Rights Reserved 2011 © tourBULLion