On March 4 of this year, I woke up in a Chinatown hotel with two objectives: get my G-SHOCK TCM (Titanium Camo Limited) to the SoHo store for service and get the hell outta town. “Wait,” you’re no doubt saying, “since when has a Casio digital watch needed service?” Good question. The “squares” are not known for failure. Not even the $19.99 models. This being the $1,700 model, however, The Law Of Watch Drama, in which the likelihood of a timepiece giving trouble rises with the square of the retail price, applies . . .
I’d noticed that the display was blanking far more often than I’d come to expect from other “Tough Solar” G-SHOCKS. The Tough Solar models use – you guessed it – solar energy to keep their batteries alive. When there’s an extended period without that energy, such as storing the watch in a box or case or bag, the display will blank out and the module will go into ultra-conservation mode.
My experience with a few dozen of these watches suggests that a full day without light will cause the display to blank. For this one, however, it was happening after as little as an hour.
Since I was in NYC anyway for business, I figured I’d hit the SoHo store for service. It’s a great place, and they have a lot more stock than one would expect. (At the time of this writing, they have both the all-black Carbon Cores and the new rainbow IP MR-G.) The store took the watch, gave me a receipt, and said they’d call me.
Then G-SHOCK SoHo closed for the better part of half a year due to COVID-19 or the overreaction thereof. Nobody answering the phone, nobody returning email. I ended up sending them a message on social media and was told they would look for my G-SHOCK TCM.
When SoHo opened back up, I was on the phone with them pronto – only to be told that they couldn’t find my watch. To my raw amazement, the store manager took this as seriously as I did. “I have one new G-SHOCK TCM in a box,” he said, “and it’s yours if I can’t find the one you sent us for service.” Seventy-two hours later I had an insured UPS box on my front doorstep. They’d found mine.
Casio replaced the module and the battery, leaving everything else alone. They performed some pressure testing on my hapless little watch. On July 30th, the initial deformation was -157.1 um at 10.334 bar. On August 5, after the module had been swapped, the case showed an initial deformation of -91.0 um at 10.304 bar. The watch had been previously tested in March, posting similar numbers. In none of the four tests total did the case retain more than 0.4 um of deformation.
Despite the minor issue of temporarily losing the watch aside, this incident did nothing to dissuade me from G-SHOCK fanaticism. Casio addressed the problem to my complete satisfaction, fully testing the watch at all stages of the repair. My G-SHOCK TCM now waits a reasonable couple of days before blanking the display.
In all regards the Titanium Camo Limited has been a joy. I’m a notorious destroyer of watches – every high-end Swiss watch I own has visible damage – but the Casio has withstood most of my attempts to damage it. The abuse includes a BMX crash that broke my fibula, leaving just a few hairline scratches in the DLC coating (of the watch) and no harm to the metal structure itself.
The purchase of a four-figure digital watch remains a fringe activity, but for those of us out there on the fringe, the product continues to justify the behavior. Nor am I worried about losing my watch during another pandemic. This is a one-in-a-lifetime situation, right? Right?