G-SHOCK decided to celebrate its 40th anniversary like a hip-hop star: with as much bling as possible.
Casio said it wanted to do something special to remind consumers that G-SHOCK — the durable, square-shaped watch that became a surprise icon — is still going strong, 4 decades since it first launched. And what better way than to take a watch known for its gritty utility, but make it all gold!
And to really make it a “Dream Project” (the code name for Casio’s anniversary special releases), designers employed AI to analyze the entire design history of G-SHOCK and generate a 3D model that would serve as the foundation for the finished timepiece.
Initially, company executives believed the one-of-a-kind watch (dubbed the G-D001) would sell for between $70,000 and $140,000. But executives were pleasantly surprised Sunday when one watch-loving bidder at New York City’s Philips Auction House claimed the one-of-a-kind timepiece for a whopping $400,050.
If that sounds like a mere exercise in extravagance, Casio’s executives were one step ahead. The entire price tag will be donated to The Nature Conservancy, a spokesperson for the auction house said.
G-SHOCK G-D001: AI Works With Humans
But where does the AI come in, exactly?
Apparently, 16 designers dedicated 2 years to creating the watch, according to The New York Times. (Casio representatives couldn’t be reached for comment on Tuesday.)
These human designers combined their own work with AI suggestions, though the company didn’t specify what AI platform they used for this.
“For 40 years, G-Shock has gathered data on shock-resistance technology,” Kikuo Ibe, the Casio engineer known as “the father of G-Shock,” told The New York Times. “First, they let A.I. learn about the technology, then they merged the A.I. and designers’ ideas, and that would make an original piece with no parallel in the world.”
According to G-SHOCK, human designers fed data from the 40-year development of the G-brand into an AI platform, which then generated a three-dimensional model “optimized for factors including structural strength, material characteristics, and processing methods to be used.”
18-Karat Gold G-SHOCK
The G-D001, or Dream Project #2, comes after the 2018 Dream Project, which celebrated G-SHOCK’s 35th anniversary. For that anniversary, the company created 35 specialty watches, which quickly sold out. This time, there’s just the one watch, with a 45.1mM round case, an analog dial, and 18-karat gold for the case, bezel, and band.
Sound garish? Maybe, but it would probably pair well with Pharrell Williams‘ $1-million Louis Vuitton handbag — in both color and the negative press he got for wearing it.
Learn more about this one-of-a-kind watch on the G-SHOCK website.