Casio has a lot to thank engineer Kikuo Ibe for.
The watch he designed in 1983 — the Gravitational Shock — has endured and variations of it are still being made today.
On 1 September 2017 Casio celebrated the 100,000,000th shipment of G-Shock watches worldwide.
The G-Shock was all about 10s — it had a 10-year battery life, water resistance to 10 bar and was able to survive a 10 meter fall onto a hard surface (Ibe tested 200 prototypes by dropping them from rooftops or third story windows).
The shock resistant design has 10 layers protecting the quartz timekeeping module, including a urethane rubber bumper, the stainless steel case, the hardened mineral glass watch crystal, the stainless steel screwed down caseback, and the “floating module” where the quartz mechanism floats free in a urethane foam cradle, with the outer buttons and LCD module attached with flexible cables. [Wikipedia]
And this is it — the first one — model number DW-5000C-1A [QW240].
There have been several re-releases of the 5000, including anniversary editions at 10, 20 and 30 years, a Spike Lee version, and possibly a few others.
Recognisable by the brick pattern graphics on its face, the first DW-5000 came in two flavours — the C-1A that you see here, and the C-1B which had a gold-plated buckle and buttons, gold text on the bezel and a yellow (possibly also meant to be gold) border around the face.
The C-1B is less common and also less popular, but either of them are very rare and command prices usually starting at around USD500.
This particular watch was in an eBay auction lot and didn’t look so great:
and you can never tell from an auction photo like this just what is dirt and what is irreparable scratches and gouges.
Amazingly, though, all this watch needed was a light scrub with an old toothbrush and dish soap. I haven’t even polished it and it’s essentially unblemished.
It’s probably the best example of this watch I’ve ever seen (short of a NOS one, I suppose) and even had its original BR-2020 in the battery bay when I opened it up.
A new battery, original strap and bezel later, and it’s pristine — even has all of its original bezel screws.