What We Know
It’s only a few short months before the landmark 40th Anniversary of Casio’s G-Shock, founded back in 1983. For such a big moment in the brand’s history, it’s no surprise they’ve decided to kick things off early with a number of new watches, including two solar flare-inspired pieces and one with longtime collaborator and artist and designer Eric Haze.
G-Shock’s GMWB-5000EH-1, dropping today, is based on the same platform as previous GMWB-5000 releases with camo motifs like the G-Shock Full Metal Virtual Armor. Visually rooted in the very first G-Shock model, the iconic DW5000C, the new 5000EH-1 has everything you’d expect of the GMWB-5000 series: shock resistance, solar power, radio control, day of the week, date, month, chronographs, world time, light-up LED display, alarms, and more.
But the real difference lies with the legendary Eric Haze, who used the watch as his canvas, adding his trademark pattern of stars, arrows, and crowns onto the gloss black IP-finished stainless steel bracelet through a dot-pattern laser engraving. On the back, you’ll find G-Shock’s 40th Anniversary logo mark (also designed by Haze) on the screw-lock caseback cover, with a DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating. All this comes in packaging designed by – you guessed it – Eric Haze, and costs $720.
Now one of the most recognizable and widely-worn brands in the world, the first G-Shock struggled to find its commercial footing back in 1983. In a world of more traditional dress watches, the original DW-5000C was revolutionary but buyers didn’t quite know what to do with it. Compared to G-Shock’s most recent releases, however, the DW-5000C was incredibly staid. That’s certainly the case with the brand’s new Flare Red MTGB-3000FR-1A and GWG-2040FR-1A releases, which outshine that first G-Shock with more flash than can fit on a funky bezel.
These new Flare Red watches are, unsurprisingly, solar flare-themed. Extremely on-the-nose, albeit to good effect, G-Shock has created bezels from layered carbon and colored glass fibers that create a unique pattern for each watch. No two bezels are alike.
Underneath a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, the dials evoke a burnt-out husk of a planet’s surface in greyscale, with the Mudmaster GWG-2040FR-1A adding a geometric, almost digital texture on top.
The metal portions of the case use complimentary mixes of rose gold and black ion-plated (IP) steel, housing the shock-resistant, radio-controlled, solar-powered movement, 200m water resistance, alarm, stopwatch, full-auto LED lights, world timer, and more. That’s all standard for the MTGB-3000FR-1A. The watch, while incredibly loud in design, has a (very) slightly more traditional look to the dial, with what looks like three chronograph subdials, but in actuality conveys all that information without a digital display – and it comes in at $1,300.
True to its Mudmaster stylings, the GWG-2040FR-1A gives you all that and more with dust- and mud-resistance, a digital compass, barometer/altimeter, and thermometer. Cheaper, but with more features than the previous model, this new Mudmaster can handle a world of fire for $1,100.
What We Think
G-SHOCK fans may recognize Haze as the mind behind the creation of a number of preview watches, as well as the 25th, 30th, 35th, and now 40th Anniversary logos and identity for G-Shock. But for the uninitiated, the legendary artist has serious bonafides, with a successful art career beginning in the ’70s; he also exhibited his work alongside friends like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat in the ’80s.
It’s not a stretch to say that Haze’s impact on the art world has been massive and, as an art lover, that alone is enough to pique my interest. Haze was one of the first artists to take the graffiti he was doing in the 1970s and bring it into the mainstream. His hand-lettering is iconic and as a nod to that, his name is sketched in that lettering on the dial, completely hidden until revealed when the dial is illuminated. The rest of the piece is deeply referential to motifs of his career, with the abstract arrows, crowns, and stars showing up in a number of his pieces, including his 2018 exhibition in Tokyo.
Maybe I’m reading too much into this but I also see this watch as referential and honoring Haze’s friends. While the design of the motifs are different, Haze often used crowns to refer to his late friend Basquiat and stars for Haring, like in this 2021 piece “A pile of crowns and stars for Jean and Keith”. Whether or not I’m right, it’s the nature of art to be interpreted and imbued with the viewer’s feelings, and this one hit me in the gut.
The GMWB-5000 series has had a lot of great watches over its short lifespan. Its basis in the OG G-Shock makes it hard to find a negative, but I think these watches really shine in the patterned metal variations. The GMWB-5000TCF-2, with its blue camo pattern (as worn by our friend John Goldberger), has been a favorite of mine and has long topped the list of G-Shocks I need to finally buy. But the Eric Haze collaboration, in steel rather than the blue camouflage titanium, hits a much more affordable price of $720 and packs a lot more emotional punch.
With the Flare Red releases, people might say there’s nothing new under the sun. G-Shock is far from the first to release a watch where a key design element is truly unique from piece to piece, but the bezels of the new Flare Red watches are just really, really cool.
I mean that’s kind of the point, right? Sure, there’s the pretty much bulletproof quality of the watches, but that’s such an obvious part of G-Shocks that it’s barely worth mentioning. So what qualifies as cool enough to be of note when all G-Shock seems to do is try to outdo itself? How about a phosphorescent-embedded forged carbon bezel?
Yeah, I purposefully skipped over that bit of info in the last section. It seemed too impressive to reveal as just another feature. The press release implies that the black portions of the bezel are the parts that light up phosphorescent in the dark, but it seems to be more prevalent in the lighter orange portions in the provided photos. I don’t know what that phosphorescent material is or how long it will last, but it sure is a cool effect that kind of makes you feel like you’re getting the Northern Lights experience of a solar flare.
I’m a big fan of the Mudmaster line – I picked the GWG-2000 as my favorite outdoor watch a few weeks ago – and there are a lot of cool limited releases that have come out over the years. This model might be one of the coolest yet just because I find watches that have some unique element, watch to watch, particularly compelling. The designs, however harmonious to the overall effect of a solar flare-inspired watch, might just be a bit too bold for me. But for someone bolder than me (and frankly, that’s not a very high bar), these watches will shine on the wrist and mark a fantastic start to G-Shock’s fourth decade.
Model: G-SHOCK x Eric Haze, G-SHOCK 40th Anniversary Flare Red models
Reference Number: GMWB-5000EH-1, MTG-B3000-1A, GWG-2000-1A
Diameter: 49.3mm (GMW-B5000EH-1), 50.9mm (MTG-B3000-1A), 54.4mm (GWG-2000-1A)
Thickness: 13mm (GMW), 13.2 mm (MTG), 16.1mm (GWG)
Case Material: Stainless Steel (GMW), Carbon and Stainless Steel (MTG), Carbon and Stainless Steel (GWG)
Dial Color: LCD Display (GMW), Black and Grey Burn Pattern (MTG), Black and Grey Burn Pattern with Inverted LCD (GWG)
Indexes: N/A (GMW), Rose gold tone with red accents (MTG), Rose gold tone with orange accents (GWG)
Lume: LED (GMW), Lume (MTG), LED and Lume (GWG)
Water Resistance: 200m (all)
Strap/Bracelet: Stainless steel laser engraved (GMWB-5000EH-1), Rubber (MTG-B3000-1A), Rubber (GWG-2000-1A)
Functions: Shock Resistance, Solar Power, Full-Auto LED Lights (Super Illuminator), Alarm, Stopwatch, Countdown Timer, World Time (all), Date/month Display Swapping, Multi-lingual Day of Week Display, 12/24 Hr Time Formats, Low Battery Alert
Power Saving Function, Smartphone Link, 1/100 Stopwatch, Five Alarms And Hourly Time Alert (GMW), Dust- and Mud-resistant Structure, Digital Compass, Altimeter/Barometer, Thermometer (GWG)
Winding: None, quartz
Frequency: 6-band time calibration signals
Pricing & Availability
Price: $720 (GMWB-5000EH-1), $1,300 (MTG-B3000-1A), $1,100 (GWG-2000-1A)
Limited Edition: Yes, numbers not released.
Click here for more informatino about the Flare Red (MTG and GWG) watches.
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