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THE ART OF TECHNOLOGY GMW-B5000TCC

THE ART OF TECHNOLOGY

G-SHOCK, which will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its debut in April 2023, is further accelerating the CMF (color, material, and finish) design that it has been focusing on for the past several years. Among them, the GMW-B5000 series, a fully metalized version of ORIGIN that inherits the form of the first model, has developed a variety of CMF designs since its birth in 2018. While the form is consistent, it always creates a fresh look and has gained strong support from G-SHOCK fans.

The GMW-B5000TCC is a new expression of CMF design, with a “circuit board” camouflage pattern applied to the bezel and bracelet, creating a look unlike any of the previous GMW-B5000 models.

The first time this pattern was used was actually in the square design resin model DWE-5600CC released in October 2020. G-SHOCKs with camouflage patterns have always been highly popular because of their familiarity as outdoor products and their affinity with military fashion, but Casio thought that it would be possible to express a more G-SHOCK-like design by rearranging the arrangement of the circuit board in a quartz module. The GMW-B5000TCC is the second model in the series that updates this expression.

Unlike the resin-made DWE-5600CC, which had a printed camouflage pattern, the GMW-B5000TCC, which uses a new titanium material, TranTixxii™, as its exterior material, uses a laser to express the camouflage pattern. Moreover, the original plan was to insert the circuit board pattern in a single laser engraving at the beginning of development, but since the prototype had a flat finish, the process was changed to two laser engravings for a more three-dimensional surface. After the first laser engraving was applied to the silver base, the entire surface was colored with black IP. After that, the second laser was used to create shading in the pattern, giving a sense of depth.

The most outstanding feature of this model is the process of designing the actual circuit board, which was made by extracting the appropriate parts for the camouflage pattern from the 3459 quartz module installed in the GMW-B5000 series, and creating a pattern. A total of eight patterns were used to compose the pattern, with different extraction positions for the front of the case, the right and left sides of the case, and even the fifth link of the bracelet. Moreover, although the patterns were selected from various locations on the base, they were combined in such a way as to create a sense of interlocking when the parts are put together, a design that was created through a mind-boggling puzzle-like process.

In addition, while the brick pattern is used on the dial of the regular full-metal ORIGIN, the GMW-B5000TCC has made a new attempt by applying the same circuit board pattern as on the dial. However, since the GMW-B5000TCC is equipped with Tough Solar, it is not possible to reproduce the circuit board pattern as it is. To secure the light-receiving area, some of the lines have been thinned out, and the width of the lines has been changed, but with exquisite arrangements to avoid giving an unnatural impression.

The circuit camouflage pattern is visually enhanced by the contrast with the base material, TranTixxii™. This is the second time that TranTixxii™ has been used in a G-SHOCK, and Casio's SuperTIX™ (kind of TranTixxii™) is the result of six years of joint development with Nippon Steel Corporation. The greatest feature of this titanium alloy is its outstanding mirror-like surface, which can be polished to a luster similar to that of precious metals. The material is also as resistant to corrosion as platinum, which is inherent to titanium, and is regarded as "a material transcending ages" not only by Casio, but also by Nippon Steel.

“TranTixxii™ began in 2001 with the development of titanium products that resists discoloration for use in housing construction materials. Since then, we have focused on the design and functionality of the metal and developed our own brand, focusing mainly on the texture and coloration of the material. The SuperTIX™ - 20AFG we developed with Casio is characterized by its mirror-like surface, but in fact, there was no material in the world that could achieve this level of mirror-like surface in titanium so far. We had no knowledge of this property, so started with a basic study of what components would be best and how to create the detailed internal composition of the material”

As described by the material development manager of Nippon Steel, TranTixxii™ SuperTIX™ - 20AFG was created from scratch as a material with completely new characteristics, an invention that the two companies unanimously describe as “titanium unlike anything that has ever existed before”.

“Titanium tends to leave an uneven surface after polishing as a material characteristic. This makes it difficult to have a mirror surface with polishing, but we went through a trial and error process, thinking that we could make the minute unevenness smaller and more similar to other metals such as stainless steel by controlling the material composition and microstructure of titanium. The microstructure inside material changes rather a lot depending on the manufacturing processes, such as at what temperature the rolling is done and how much the material is pressed down. We organized all the processes, created the material, polished it at Casio, and repeated the study. This SuperTIX ™ - 20AFG is characterized by 2% aluminum and a little iron. Basically, the harder the material is, the smaller the microscopic irregularities become. However, it seemed that the dry polishing (without water) performed by Casio sometimes softens titanium as the temperature rises due to friction with the buff. Therefore, we researched what additive elements could maintain hardness even when the temperature rises, and we came up with aluminum. The higher the aluminum content, the better the mirror finish, but the worse the subsequent machinability became, so we developed the watch by striking a balance”.

Compared to materials such as the commercially pure titanium and 64 titanium (Grade 5) commonly applied to G-SHOCKs, TranTixxii™ SuperTIX™ - 20AFG has superior mirror-like surface and workability, and it is technically possible to reproduce gold-like colors by applying a layer on the material. This suggests the possibility of G-SHOCK watches with even more color expression and a more aesthetically pleasing material.

The look of the original circuit board pattern with matte texture combined with the glossy texture of the TranTixxii™ is the essence of the GMW-B5000TCC and represents a further evolution of the CMF design. As seen in the past, when a camouflage pattern was expressed by combining dots of different sizes, design expression that makes full use of laser engraving has further possibilities, on the other hand, the CMF design in metal is still expanding its variations of expression, as models with a textured feel added by the forging process are also introduced. G-SHOCK's CMF designs are likely to accelerate on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its birth. We can no longer keep our eyes off Casio's creations and wonder how many new and innovative expressions will be presented in the future.