The majority of the particular durable wristwatch’s models — and a quantity of other electronic items — are created at Yamagata Casio.
HIGASHINE, Japan — Yamagata Prefecture, within the north of Japan’s major island, Honshu, is recognized for the cherries. And when a person disembark from the Sakuranbo-Higashine train place, they will not let you overlook it: Generally there are big posters associated with cherries, a cherry-shaped monument, a cherry-themed souvenir shop and also images associated with cherries attached towards the train itself.
Yet Higashine offers more than simply cherries. It is where many of the Casio G-Shock watches come to life. It has been the desire of the creator, Kikuo Ibe: a wrist watch whose situation and movement would certainly not break.
In April, the particular chunky plus durable G-Shock — primary of so many enthusiastic watch forums — will switch 40. We decided in order to visit the manufacturer to find out how it had been developed.
So, just how does Mr. Ibe feel now that his baby is reaching middle age?
“The original focus on users of the first G-Shock were individuals working tough outside, ” he had written within an e-mail. “The success as it is right now was entirely unexpected plus surprising. ”
Mr. Ibe, 70, nevertheless works at the company’s research and development center in Hamura, a town in the Tokyo region, so it was organic for him to add: “We wish you’ll become looking ahead to the evolution associated with G-Shock in the upcoming. ”
Definitely the model’s fans are. As Andy McIntyre, the British enthusiast who posts on Instagram as @gshockin17 , published: “It’s the relief to keep it simple and value a wrist watch to get being a wristwatch! Why might I appear on the phone for your time once i can soak in the particular information on a G-Shock and that traditional screen? ”
Casio and G-Shock
At first, my visit to Yamagata Casio, since the manufacturing plant in Higashine is known as, seemed a lot such as stops on other large Japanese view manufacturers: I actually had to consider off our shoes and don house slippers, watch a presentation around the company plus walk together what appeared like endless lengthy halls. Other than the whole experience has been infused along with a lot of playful good wit, a Casio hallmark.
Shinichi Kimura, chief executive of Yamagata Casio, made welcome me along with fun specifics about the particular prefecture. (Did you understand fried poultry consumption for each capita in Yamagata is certainly the maximum in Japan, with 64 pieces per month? Or how the prefecture keeps a Guinness World Record for the particular most soup — imoni nabe, the hotpot dish — served in an eight-hour period? )
The prefecture’s connection to the first G-Shock was section of the recitation: “The history associated with G-Shock is usually the good Yamagata Casio. ”
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Plus both are woven into the good its mother or father, Casio Pc Company, a multinational consumer electronics manufacturing corporation that, amongst its several products, produced 38 million watches in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2022, and reported view sales associated with 152. a few billion Japan yen ($1. 1 billion) — which makes it Asia’s largest watch manufacturer by sales.
Yamagata Casio is amongst its subsidiaries. The manufacturer covers thirty, 701 square meters ( a little more than 7. 5 acres) within seven huge buildings; this was set up in 1979 as well as the latest building had been constructed in 2018.
The 600 employees create a range of items, including projectors, calculators, medical devices, hand held scanners and watches, including the higher-end G-Shock MR-G versions and the particular Oceanus. Given that 2020, this also has made employees’ medical masks along with (you guessed it) a cherry theme.
The affordable G-Shock versions, which range from about $150 in order to $300, are made in 3 factories in China and something in Asia.
Mister. Kimura said that when Yamagata Casio is usually charged with making the new view model, like the G-Shock MTG-B3000 that was introduced in May, it gets blueprints from your R. & D. operation in Hamura. Its workers then associated with needed molds and make use of them and the production automated programs to produce the model’s parts, associated with quartz watch actions as well as deliver the finished watches.
The factory’s employees also supervises production associated with various parts in the particular other industrial facilities (“I can watch the particular machines through my pc, ” Mister. Kimura said) and workers can become dispatched to take care of any problems that arise. “By doing that will, we can maintain the high quality, ” this individual said.
With regards to the high end watch versions produced on the Yamagata stock, “G-Shock are man-made, ” Mr. Kimura said — or, more accurately, woman-made. “The present assembly team is constructed of around 30 individuals; all associated with them are usually women. ”
Not just any worker may join the assembly team; each 1 needs to comprehensive a series of exams in the medalist system (achieving gold, platinum and Meister, the very best honor status). “They’re the best types in Yamagata, ” Mr. Kimura said from the set up team members. “They’re patient and dedicated. ”
The G-Shock MTG-B3000, which retails through ¥121, 1000, had been put together at Yamagata Casio throughout my go to (each work day focuses upon an alternative model). MT-G appears for Metallic Twisted G-Shock, a title that emphasizes the extremely shock-resistant character of the carbon-resin case with interlocking metal components.
The go to were only available in the showroom, which displays a few of the particular company’s watches and the creation technology used to make them. Groups, for example those through local educational institutions, are welcome to visit by appointment, but it is not available to the common public.
Right now there also had been machines utilized to test timepieces for endurance, vibration plus shock level of resistance — an example of those people used from the Casio main tests center in Hamura.
In the Yamagata display room, I put an egg onto a shock-absorbing mat made with Alpha Skin gels , a soft silicone gel that will adds shock reducing and oscillation damping in order to G-Shocks (the egg did not break). Also i admired a vertical tank for your fish where seafood swim among G-Shock timepieces (the seafood are given every morning) and presented with a 5-foot-tall plastic material figurine associated with the G-Shock mascot (its head is usually shaped like the face of a G-Shock).
From your showroom windows, I could see the creation lines, because well since the assembly table, that was in the particular form of a capital Gary the gadget guy, of course. But before a G-Shock can be assembled, the particular parts are produced within the nearby area: the factory.
Meet the particular Robots
The automatic timepiece movement assembly line is where the clean-room visit started. I slipped in to a head-to-toe glowing blue dust suit, with high blue boot styles that zipped up throughout the calf, then went through an airlock. Ryohei Saito, a supervisor within a section of the Timepiece Manufacturing Technology Department, led me around the particular factory, noting that its automated functions operate 24/7.
I could see several machines churning out small plastic gears and rotors that instantly were transferred by conveyor belt about the creation line toward their best assembly into movements. 1 machine ensured that the pieces were the perfect aspect up. “It also inspects the angles and sides, and gets rid of defective components, ” Mr. Saito mentioned.
“The devices are made in Japan by Casio, ” he or she said, directing out the particular Casio name on each one. One experienced the general appearance associated with a canine, complete along with a reddish colored light over the tip of its tail and two blue ears.
“Engineers can play with the form of the machines, ” Mr. Saito stated. “The machines are practical but playful. ”
Upon the floor, the edge of the machine area can be outlined in strips associated with silver steel. “That is usually the earthquake protection program, ” he or she said, detailing that one, 755 anti-seismic plates beneath the flooring keep your ground stable whenever the area’s frequent earthquakes strike. In March, for illustration, the business said that a magnitude 7. 4 quake hit nearby Fukushima, however the factory’s machines were not really affected.
I actually stepped in to the next area, the high quality timepiece production line, the one outfitted using the G-shaped putting together module.
Tadakazu Yuki, the manager in another part of the production technology department, and Masaki Nakano, an over-all staff member from the exact same department, brought me around the area. “The assembly begins inside the G and follows shape of the letter, ” Mr. Nakano said.
About thirty women in their early 20s to 40s, all wearing protective suits, were standing up at the particular G-shaped desk. As I walked around, I actually saw them performing the different steps that go straight into assembling the particular MTG-B3000 model: module assembly (the seven screws that will are screwed in the particular movement), sun panel and dial set up, adding the hands towards the movement (there are eight hands upon that model), hand setting and angle adjustment, hand height modification, installation of the particular hands plus fitting associated with the case. “Assembling G-Shock is a combination of human skills and machines, ” Mister. Nakano mentioned, and the particular team’s production capacity can be said to average about 8, 500 watches a month.
Once put together, a G-Shock still is not ready intended for sale, because it should be tested pertaining to things like water opposition, airtightness and durability, based on the model. “If the watch fails a test, it may be repaired, ” Mister. Nakano said. Each sophisticated G-Shock watch also is definitely inspected; lower-grade ones are not.
Following a staff associate attaches the particular strap, right now there is the final verify as well as the view then will be looking forward to shipping.
Back to 1983
Last arrived the actual treat: major 1983 G-Shocks (there are only a few associated with them, held in the Hamura office, but 1 was delivered over to get my visit). I used it upon my hand and has been surprised in order to see this didn’t look old or much different than present G-Shock models — the definition of timelessness.
Within 2017, the organization produced the 100 millionth G-Shock (the empty benefit barrel from the celebration is within the Yamagata lobby). Simply by 2021, the number of had arrived at 140 mil.
“G-Shock is really popular, it’s often copied, ” mentioned Mr. Shinichi, the president of Yamagata Casio, once we finished the tour. “But in the shape of G-Shock there exists an elegance that are not able to be copied. ”