Casio’s New Extremely Limited Hammer Tone
The MRGG1000HT (HT for Hammer Tone) is based on the various MRGG1000 models, which are among the most technically advanced G-Shock watches. Typically G-Shocks have used backlit LCD screens, but in recent years, Casio’s been making them with analog hands as well, and the MRGG1000 watches have analog-only displays. Home time is shown on a sub-dial at 8 o’clock; the main hour and minute hands show local time and the dial at 10 o’clock shows 24-hour time.
The dial at 3 o’clock has several functions and, depending on the mode you’ve selected, either shows the day of the week, the latitude at which you’ve taken your most recent time fix from the GPS system, whether or not the watch is in airplane mode and whether or not you’re set to summer or winter time. It can also function as a mode indicator, showing whether you’re in alarm, stopwatch or countdown timer mode.
One of the most interesting features of the Hammer Tone – and the MRGG1000 watches on which it’s based – is its use of the GPS satellite network to establish correct location and correct time for that location automatically.
What really sets the Hammer Tone apart from any other G-Shock is its use, not of conventional forms of horological ornamentation – and especially not of ones based in European cultural norms – but rather of decorative methods and materials that are native to Japan. The watch is made largely of titanium. The decorative technique is called tsuiki, which consists of painstakingly striking a metal surface with a hammer in such a way as to leave a pattern of tiny indentations (the technique is often found in traditional Japanese arms and armour). The technique creates a seemingly random pattern, yet despite its random nature it takes years of practice to be able to achieve the seemingly natural, artless effect.
The tsuiki pattern (applied by tsuiki master Bihou Asano) is directly applied to the titanium bezel and centre links for the bracelet, which are then hardened to make them four to five times harder than conventional titanium. The last step is to apply DLC coating to areas where a darker finish is desired, and a decorative metal coating to other areas. Most notably, the Hammer Tone uses oborogin, a silver and copper alloy, and akagane, a copper and gold alloy, to finish certain case parts, as well as the crown and pushers. The whole watch is eerily light, thanks to the considerable use of titanium in its construction (and, of course, the use of composites for the inner shock and impact shielding for the movement). As with all G-Shocks, the dial can be illuminated at night; since there’s no LCD display to backlight, the dial is lit, rather theatrically, by a sort of LED footlight at 6 o’clock.
Production is limited to 300 worldwide, with only one available in New Zealand.
gshocknz.com | RRP $9999