The G-Shock Collector Interview
If you’re a G-Shock junkie then chances are you’ve heard of Sjors. His G-Peopleland website is the ‘A to G’ of G-shocks… his boundless passion and knowledge for these unique timepieces makes him an authority on their every facet. Whether it's a G-Shock mens or ladies watches, a cool bag or some epic sneakers, accessorising is king, and this man is an accessory addict! With G-shocks very much in the limelight this year on the back of Casio’s monster ‘Shock the World’ promotion we decided to check in with Sjors for a guided tour of his amazing collection - which at the time of writing was pushing on 500 Casios!
Hey Sjors, tell us about how your G-Shock addiction started… was there one particular watch that sucked you in?
I live in Middelburg in the south of The Netherlands. In Vlissingen (Flushing), a nearby town, there was a Casio dealer who had a nice selection of G-Shock models. I discovered the shop sometime in 1998 or 1999. Several times I stopped to look at the colorful collection. I had a Timex with a badly scratched crystal. I noticed G-Shocks had a raised rim around the crystal which drastically reduced this scratching. In June 2000 my Timex had a dead battery and the bracelet was almost broken. Secretly I hoped for this day! I visited the shop and asked for more information about their G-Shock models. Two maroon versions caught my eye... a basic DW-004 and a DW-003 G-Lide with a double velcro watchband. It was a hard decision, but after trying them on several times I went for the DW-004 with the leather strap. The price was 250 Dutch Guilders, which now would be €115.... back in 2000 it was quite a lot of money. In another shop I stumbled upon a DW-003 Tough Label with a BPM counter. As a musician and former DJ I thought this was a cool feature so I bought that one as well. Later I purchased the DW-003 G-Lide and I also found a Gaussman in a sale. Around the same time I became active on the internet... my interest for G-Shock was born!
How many watches do you have in your collection right now? Do you try and wear them all regularly, or are some too rare and to ever see the light of day?
Do you really want to know? I have exactly 475 G-Shocks and 28 baby-Gs and there are three more G-Shocks on the way! I also own three Pro-trek models and some other watches. I don’t wear them all. If I have a rare piece I want to wear I usually search for a second one. For instance I wear a GW-9100K-7JR (I.C.E.R.C. Gulfman of 2007) at the moment and I also have one brand new in its box.
Everyone knows about G-Shock’s legendary shock-resistance, but what are some of the quirkier functions that G-Shocks have had over the years?
My favorite functions are the Countdown Timer and the Tidegraph. Most models have a Countdown Timer, but the Tidegraph is only found on certain models. I live near the sea and we have quite big tides, so it can be nice to see if there's a broad or narrow beach before planning a walk.
When did G-Shock start moving towards their super chunky designs?
In 1990 I think the DW-6000 was the first bigger G-Shock. In 1993 the first Frogman model (DW-6300) was released, which was pretty heavy too. I noticed that Casio has actually been making more 'mid-sized' models since 2000, like the G-2300. But the recent G-7800 and G-7900 have gone back to the bigger look. The smaller squares derived from the original DW-5000C are also still popular... the latest model, the GW-5000 looks very nice in person.
You recently got to meet ‘Father G’ Ibe Kikuo, the man who developed the G-Shock concept for Casio in the early 80s. What was he like? Did he talk much about the early days of the G-Shock project?
I had a nice but short conversation with Ibe Kikuo-san. First of all, I think he is a great, down to earth, person. I mostly spoke about the prototype he was showing off and asked him about the DW-5000C without a serial number that was in one of the displays. He told me ‘It’s the number one’. I thanked him for creating G-Shock. I was with nine G-Shock collectors in Barcelona... I never would have met those people if he hadn’t created the DW-5000C.
What’s the chunkiest, rudest G-Shock ever released (and do you have it?).
Size can be a tricky thing to measure. For instance the G-2300 looks kind of small. When held against a DW-6900 though it appears to be the same size... and the DW-6900 is not exactly a small model! I think the DW-8300 is about the chunkiest model ever released. The big chunky metal parts and pretty large display look very big and robotic. In Germany this model was called 'Heavy Metal', which I think was the proper name for it. Later it became famous when it was worn in the series Stargate SG-1.
If you had to pick a favorite from your collection what would it be? Tell about why it’s so special to you.
With a collection of 475 G-Shocks it’s pretty hard to pick a favorite. The funny thing is that I tend to change favorites from time to time. A year ago I would probably have included the pink Crazy Colors. I love my red jelly GW-203K-4JR Frogman (I.C.E.R.C. model of 2003) and my Men In Yellow Frogman. If I need something formal, the analog MRG-121 is one of my favorites.
Is there one G-Shock that’s your holy grail? Something still out there that you’re always searching for?
I just saw the Crazy About Surfing model which looks awesome. The new (pretty expensive) atomic Frogman looks interesting too, but both are not hard to find now. The models that took the longest for me to find were my Men In Yellow Frogman and the Men In Black Mudman and Riseman. I can now happily say I am a proud owner! These were my holy grails. A current holy grail for me is the DW-8195-4. This model was released in 1995 as a limited edition and shows a pin-up with red hair in the backlight. I love red hair (in case you hadn't noticed!). A DW-5000C would also be a great addition... when you hold one in your hands you hold a lot of history.
What’s the most money you’ve ever paid for a G-Shock?
It was for a special MR-G model, the MRG-121TS-3A. It’s the Straight No Chaser model. It cost me around €400 back then. This model was released for a jazz magazine. With a suggested retail price of ¥52000 I think it was still a good price. I don’t think I ever saw one for sale. You’ve got to see this watch in the real... it was worth the price!
You're also a big KIKS TYO collector. What got you into that label? Is it hard to find in Europe?
As I said I live in the south of the Netherlands. My hometown is not big and the nearest big cities are at least 75 kilometers from here. There's a cool store in Rotterdam that sells KIKS TYO (Gorilli). I unfortunately do not come near Rotterdam often, so for me the best way to get cool stuff is from the net. I do communicate a lot with Japanese G-Shockers, so when I noticed the KIKS TYO website I tried to order from the website. Although I put my message in Japanese, I got an answer from an English speaking staff member. They are quite busy I think, because communication is not always fast, but I managed to buy from them before the international website was on-line. It was an Aki Hoshino tee. They informed me of the G-Shock x New Balance x KIKS TYO collaboration package a little later. I see they have still some of the sneakers.. I'd really like to add a pair of these to my collection!
Do you have any advice for anyone out there who is just starting to get into the world of G-Shock collecting? How do you work out what a fair price is and steer clear of all the fakes out there?
There are a lot of different G-Shock models out there. Get yourself acquainted a bit before you decide which G-Shock fits you best. I think you are the only person who can decide what you like. If you buy in a shop, check if it’s an authorized Casio dealer. On-line you have to be a little more careful. There are a lot of fake models that might look pretty good to someone who isn’t into G-Shocks. Even I fell into that trap once. I bought a G-2000, at least I thought I had. It was one of the first good looking fakes. It's a shame people bid these up to ridiculous prices. These watches are worth less than $20, but auction prices often end up exceeding $100. There are so many fakes I stopped reporting them to eBay.
Over the past few years the web has been crowded with fake Bape watches. If a seller has them at an unbelievably low price and has more than one color, you might want to ask yourself how this is possible. We are talking about highly popular models that sold out in a couple of days. Buy them at a Bape store, or just stay away from them. Although the photos look good they are really poor, low quality, fakes.
What’s one feature you would love to see incorporated in future G-Shock models? What future technological advances do you think we will see in the G-Shock?
I think Tough Solar and Atomic time keeping are the best features on a G-Shock. You can of course imagine exotic functions, but a combination of these features with a Tidegraph would be perfect for me. Casio recently released two models with these functions, the Atomic Frogman (GWF-1000) and the GW-7900. You can imagine a GPS function, but this would be very power draining and the display of a watch is quite small and probably unsuitable. Maybe a Tough Solar Gulfman, upgraded with a Tidegraph function would be a nice addition in the future. Casio did release an improved Mudman (GW-9010), so maybe a GW-9110 would be a nice model number for this upgrade.