G-Shock founder Kikuo Ibe announces the firm's new sapphire crystal watch.

G-Shock unveiled its newest watch designs last week with a big-wattage event targeting Millennial men.

This year, the Casio-owned watch firm celebrates its 35th anniversary — a milestone marked by the 100 millionth timepiece sold in G-Shock’s history.

To drive longevity and a continued stream of young consumers, G-Shock recently partnered with collaborators tied to various elements of culture: fashion, music, art and social media.

Explained senior executive managing officer Shigenori Itoh: “We are always trying to touch a young audience through music, sport, art, fashion and culture — expressing everything through social network sites. We are trying to make G-Shock stronger and stronger to keep this brand position — we are always evolving our technology, material or display. We are always trying to grab a young audience’s mind, and we are always trying to catch a new audience.”

Itoh noted that for the past five years, the brand’s sales have grown by “double digits,” although due to various socioeconomic reasons, 2017 sales are likely to fall even with last year.

To target a young audience and rope in new consumers, G-Shock rented the Theater at Madison Square Garden to host a performance by members of A$AP Mob, with a DJ set by Virgil Abloh. There, G-Shock founder Kikuo Ibe unveiled a prototype for the brand’s forthcoming sapphire crystal watch. The company also announced a new design in its Master of G line, which utilizes solar GPS technology to connect to a G-Shock app.

The intention was for images, videos and media materials from the event to circulate internationally — drumming a buzz for the timepiece company.

Additionally, G-Shock has recently collaborated with a suite of influential creatives who have lent their individual taste to the company’s rugged sports watches.

Robert Geller, who has an ongoing collaboration, said of the brand: “I love G-Shock, when I was a teen it was the watch I wore. I had it in bright yellow. It was just one of those brands that was a part of my life growing up. Then we started talking about the possibility of an inclusion in our runway show. The brand has grown up, but it’s still at the intersection of youthful skate culture.”

Street artist Eric Haze, who began his collaboration with G-Shock nearly 20 years ago, said of the label: “I think over the last 10 years we have really seen a lot of growth — not only from the brand itself, but from its extensions into art, music and fashion. They have not strayed far away from brand identity; they’ve built on a strong foundation. Generally speaking, we’ve seen a lot of brands chase trends and chase markets — if you do that for too long, you lose a core identity.

“Especially in the last 10 years they have made concerted efforts to extend the brand outside of simply watch culture, and have brought in collaborations with people like myself to help shape the identity and develop new takes on watches. I think this relationship itself speaks for G-Shock’s ability to take risks beyond simply a watch market.”

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