In 1980, Kikuo Ibe was a watch designer and engineer for Casio. Years later, he would later be known as the innovative mastermind behind G-Shock watches. The story of the world’s first G-Shock begins with Ibe at his workplace where he accidentally dropped the watch his father gave him. He would witness the watch hit the ground and shatter apart into pieces. Ibe then set out to accomplish a seemingly simple goal, design a watch that wouldn’t break if it were accidentally dropped.
Casio had been manufacturing wristwatches for several years at this point. Ibe pitched his idea in a meeting and began his project with a small developmental team. The inspired Ibe and his team entertained their ideas and designed various watch prototypes. The team tested the shock-resistance of their prototypes by dropping them 10 meters to the ground from a third-story window. As each prototype fell to its eventual demise, Ibe and his team would make observations, administer improvements to additional prototypes, and drop them through the window again. Early prototypes of the watch are claimed to have been so overly padded that they were literally the size of a softball.
After incessant trial and error, Ibe was on the verge of giving up until he experienced an epiphany. He observed children bouncing around a rubber ball and realized a hollow watch case would withstand shock better than a dense one. Ibe and his colleagues succeeded in engineering a hollow-structured design with adequate cushioning and protection to withstand a 10-meter drop. After a couple years of refinement, Casio released the world’s first G-Shock in 1983, the DW-5000C. Fast forward a few decades to the present day and G-Shocks still have a reputation for being some of the toughest watches around.
Watch the video below to hear Kikuo Ibe illustrate about his own experience, or you can read the unabridged story from the official G-Shock website.
*Featured image courtesy of gshockeu YouTube Channel