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G-Shock Enters Luxury Market in U.S.

G-Shock is partnering with Tourneau for a limited-edition series of the brand’s best-selling MT-G model.

G-Shock is venturing into the luxury watch market, partnering with Tourneau for a limited-edition series of the brand’s best-selling MT-G model. On the heels of the brand’s 30th anniversary, the Casio-owned line has decided to enter the luxury stratosphere based on consumer feedback.

“We identified that there are a number of G-Shock enthusiasts that have expressed an interested in getting a watch that they can wear outside of their normal parameters,” said Susan Vander Schans, director of marketing communications at Casio America Inc.

The task of bringing “the toughest watch in the world” into the realm of Tourneau’s roster of luxury brands was no easy feat. The project, crafted at Casio’s Yamagata factory in Japan, has been in development for almost two years.

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“How do we take what we did digitally, turn it on an analogue platform, have it be metal and still have that shock-resistant structure?” asked Mike Princiotto, senior marketing manager of Casio’s timepiece division, of the challenge.

The answer came with the development of G-Shock’s new Core Guard Structure technology — an outer casing of stainless steel, resin and alpha-gel, a vibration-resistant silicon.

Unlike most traditional luxury watch offerings, the MT-G is both shock and water resistant. For additional comfort, a layer of resin on the inside wristband is designed to prevent skin irritation caused by overheated metal.

“A timepiece is a delicate device,” said Vander Schans. “The key with G-Shock is that it’s not delicate.”

The brand will premiere three exclusive models over the next three months. The first, a polished stainless steel and resin band with sapphire crystal mineral glass face, rolls out today, with a launch event held last Thursday, November 7, at the Tourneau’s Madison Avenue store in New York. Retailing at $900, the watch will be sold exclusively at Tourneau stores, tourneau.com and the G-Shock store in SoHo through Black Friday, before expanding to department stores and other mass retailers. There have been 160 doors confirmed, according to Vander Schans, with the ultimate goal of 200 nationwide.

A black ion plated stainless steel model, retailing for $1,000, will make its debut in December. The third model, a limited-edition piece that features a red-paneled band, bows in January and will retail for $1,100. Pre-orders for the limited-edition timepiece began at Thursday’s Tourneau launch.

Whether G-Shock will permanently enter the same arena of Tourneau’s top luxury brands — among them Cartier, Patek Phillipe and TAG Heuer — remains unclear, though not completely out of the question.

“Overseas in Japan, we do have higher-priced models in the $5,000 range, but I don’t know if we’d venture down that road here,” Vander Schans said. “Still, the possibility does exist. We do have that ability.”