This $3,000 G-Shock Is Inspired bySamurai Armour
Hands on with Casio’s latest high-end G-Shock, the MRG-G1000B-1A4 Akazonae
The Casio G-Shock is the most heavily armoured watch in the world, and for most of its career, irrespective of its incarnations, the armour it has worn has looked distinctively modern, whether in the original palette of blacks and dark greys, or in the neon-bright colors of more fashion-forward G-Shocks. No matter the color scheme, however, the G-Shock has remained the G-Shock—capable of surviving impacts that would destroy virtually any other watch you can think of, and often with additional protection added depending on the model (the Mudmaster series, for instance, has gasketing specially designed to resist the intrusion of, well, mud).
In the last few years, Casio’s MR-G series of high-end G-Shocks has come to be populated with timepieces that reflect more traditional Japanese crafts, and elements of Japanese culture—probably the best known example of this approach are the “Hammer Tone” MR-G watches,which are decorated using the tsuiki hammering technique, as applied by master craftsman Bihou Asano. At Baselworld 2017, Casio debuted the latest entry, the MRG-G1000B-1A4 Akazonae, which incorporates red accents meant to reflect the shade of red used in traditional Japanese samurai armour—in particular, the armour worn by senior samurai of the Takeda clan, during the Sengoku.

The Sengoku period ended with the victory of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and his ascension to the rank of shogun, (supreme ruler of Japan) which marked the beginning of a long period of peace, and the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Aka-zonae means “red-colored armour” and although there had been red armour prior to the Sengoku period, Akazonae specifically refers to the crimson armour worn by General Sanada Yukimura. A renowned tactitian, he was hailed with such epithets as “A hero who may appear once in a hundred years” and “the crimson demon of war”, and he was especially well-known for winning battles through superb generalship against numerically superior opposing forces; during his lifetime he was the “number one warrior in Japan”.

Now, if you’re going to be named for the leaders of shock troops commanded by “the crimson demon of war,” you’d better measure up in the toughness department, which the MRG-G1000B-1A4 certainly does. The case and bracelet are titanium, which has been given Casio’s “Deep Layer Hardening” treatment (making it about five times harder than ordinary titanium) and for scratch resistance, both case and bracelet are coated with DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon). In a departure from normal Casio practice, many operations are accessed via a screw-down crown (a feature characteristic of this Casio module). Water resistance is 200 meters; and a number of construction features are in place which enhance shock resistance, such as a carbon fiber low-mass seconds hand (less apt to be displaced by strong shocks) and a one-piece structure for the hour markers—they're all part of one, crown-like unit, most of which is hidden by the dial; this means indexes aren’t going to drop off (ever). The crystal is sapphire, with antireflective coating.

This is a Tough Solar G-Shock, and timekeeping accuracy is ensured via a GPS receiver, with six-channel radio backup. The subdial on the right will show you, in addition to the day of the week, your approximate latitude when a GPS lock is achieved. Other features include automatic correction of the position of the hands in case of accidental displacement, a chronograph and countdown timer, alarm function, calendar correct to 2099, and date display.
It will probably surprise no regular Hodinkee reader to read that this is a massive watch—well, you don’t get into G-Shocks because you want something that will disappear smoothly under a French cuff. The case is 54.7mm × 49.8mm × 16.9mm and the watch weighs 153 grams, which is a bit over our standard reference for watch weight, the Seiko SKX-007. It doesn't wear as heavy as it sounds, however—maybe the sheer size has something to do with it; you expect it to weigh quite a bit more than it actually does.
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