Last March 3rd, I took an Uber from Chinatown to G-SHOCK Soho. I handed over my GMW-B5000-TCM camo titanium square for service. Needless to say, I’m just getting it back now. In the four months between then and now, G-SHOCK prices have gone on something of a wild ride. For while it looked like the market for Casio’s little square watches was going to go the way of the fashion-watch business. In particular . . .
second-hand prices for the titanium squares fell down to around $1,000, while the cooking-grade GMW-B5000 metal squares looked like they might touch the $250 mark.
If you panicked and sold during that time, that probably wasn’t a great decision. The pandemic has been murder on the Swiss luxury watch market. When it comes to G-SHOCKs, Coronageddon might be good for values. In the immortal words of KRS-One: Why is that?
Let’s start with a snapshot of the market as it sits now, using a few square bellwethers and looking at sold/completed listings only.
The GMW-B5000-TFG-9 continues to post sales in the $1300 range, as long as the watch is brand new. Used examples are clearing close to a grand. Remember, this was a relatively common item selling for $500 new.
Japanese-market GW5000 plastic squares continue to hold strong at around $280 for new examples and $230 for used. If you only have $300 to spend on a watch, and you’d like most of your money back when you’re tired of it, the home-market GW-5000 is an outstanding choice.
G-SHOCK prices for the infamous “Rainbow G” recorded multiple sales this past month between two and three thousand dollars; that’s up to 200% appreciation on a mass-market digital watch. Limited edition MR-Gs continue to bring strong money, with a “Bruce Lee” selling for $10,450.
To summarize the market in a nutshell: Japanese-made G-SHOCKs of recent vintage are bringing strong cash. Mass-market Malaysia and Thailand models? It depends. The Gorillaz collabs are still bringing above sticker, but others are not. Adrenaline Reds are dirt cheap, for example.
Now let’s polish up the mineral crystal of our watch-value ball. Will the price of particularly desirable G-SHOCKs go up or down in the months to come?
Right now, all signs point upward. The retreat to home offices seems to have people thinking about owning one or two “grail watches” rather than an endless stream of low-price novelty pieces.
There’s been a tremendous surge in “socially distanced” outdoor activity, although a drive by Lake Tahoe yesterday certainly removed any illusions I had about people actually staying apart. Under these conditions, the rugged Casios are a better bet than Swiss watches, by far.
Which G-SHOCK should you buy? The one you want, of course.
I continue to believe that squares will hold their value better than analog-digital models, with the exception of top-flight MR-G variants. I’m bullish right now on the all black GMW-B5000GD-1 model, which is appearing at some retailers around the $450 mark. It’s hard to imagine that this one won’t continue to fetch near retail for a while.
Last but not least, I should point out that These Challenging Times™ continue to make the case for Japanese-made Casio G-SHOCK watches. In a world which is quickly learning hard lessons about what is truly ephemeral and what is not, these hard-working, extremely reliable, straight-forward timepieces just keep looking better and better.
If you change your mind, chances are you won’t take too much of a beating on G-SHOCK prices. In other words: there’s never a better time for Japanese G-SHOCKs. You may not have heard it here first, but it’s true nonetheless. . .
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