Hello there and welcome to the second installment of Room For Squares. In this column, I’ll be screeching in Asperger-esque fashion regarding the merits and demerits of various expensive G-SHOCKs, with particular attention being paid to those timepieces which claim direct descent from the 1983 “square” DW5000-C.
Casio’s just introduced a pair of squares (ahem) that have hithertofore-unseen features in this form factor: titanium case/bracelet combinations and sapphire crystals. The price is hilariously stout: $1550 if you want the stealth-wealth basic black and $1600 if you have the balls to buy the camo version above (GMWB5000TCM).
Unlike the Hodinkee Sistem51, these are not yet sold out. And unlike the aforementioned Sistem51, I didn’t buy two of them to sell on eBay next month when the FOMO hits the hoi polloi. Should you take a breath and spend used Speedmaster money on a digital watch?
Let’s start by consulting this photo, which features my girlishly thin yet disgustingly hairy wrist and also two watches for real men: the “positive display” (the black-on-grey, GMW-B5000-TFG-9) and the “negative display” (the grey-on-black, GMW-B5000-GD-9). The TFG-9 sold for $600 new; the GD-9, for $550. The TFG-9 is fetching $1500 on eBay, while the GD-9 is about a $450 watch in the secondary market.
Why? Other than display style and the style of polish applied to the bracelet, they’re identical. The TFG-9 was artificially production-constrained by Casio, the GD-9 was not. You can still buy a GD-9.
I recommend that you do so. The very existence of a gold-ion-plated G-Shock pisses people off. If you sit next to some Goldman Sachs MD wearing a bar wearing a white-gold Sky-Dweller, while you’re sporting the $550 GD-9, chances are that your female bartender will notice your watch and ignore his.
It’s a fun watch to wear. It’s about as heavy as a Speedmaster Broad Arrow while completely avoiding the “P U R E C L A S S, jerkoff” attitude some people give when confronted with anything besides a soyboy Apple Watch.
From the perspective of a G-Shock collector, however, the GD-9 is easy to get, while the TFG-9 is becoming quite hard to find indeed. So if you bought a TFG-9 at retail, you can make money. If you bought a GD-9, you should just wear it and enjoy it. Simple as that.
That said, there’s another factor at play: affordability.
There is room for a $600 G-Shock to appreciate a little bit, if conditions are right. Not that a more expensive model can’t gain value – the Rainbow MT-G (above) is trading at $2000 or more from a retail of $1000. But the higher the prices go, the harder these things are to move, because G-Shock collectors are too busy
stealing naked Japanese girl comic books meeting hot women on Tinder to earn the kind of money necessary to support Rolex Kermit levels of completely unjustified appreciation.
In terms of pure value, the titanium squares (GMW-B5000TB-1ER above) aren’t that bad. They’ll “wear light.” Unlike the Shake-Weight-esque Full Metal TFG-9 and GD-9, you can engage in a little self-reflection whilst wearing one without getting arm pump, if you know what I mean (and I think you do). They have sapphire crystals, which is a genuine improvement albeit one rendered slightly unnecessary thanks to the square G-Shock bezel protecting their displays.
The black one will draw a knowing nod from all the SEALs and underworld assassins out there who spend their days leafing through G-Shock catalogs, while the camo one is another great chance to stick your metaphorical finger in the metaphorical eye of people who take watches too seriously. The fellow who runs the G-Shock boutique in Soho said he had enough pre-orders to move almost his entire allocation, which is a fair indicator of market demand.
My concern is this: the black model isn’t limited production. So, like the GD-9, you should be able to buy one brand-new for a while to come. And the GMW-B5000TCM-1 Limited (above right) is $1,600. That’s pretty close to the upper limit of what the G-Shock market will accept, regardless of how special or interesting the watch in question may be. Which didn’t stop me from placing an order earlier this week and taking delivery today. So far, it’s a winner.
Protip: The Casio website charges sales tax, but Topper Jewelers doesn’t. (No commission on link.) On a $1600 digital watch, that makes a difference!
[Click here for all Room for Squares posts by Jack Baruth]