How Do You Make The World’s Toughest Watch Tougher? Make It Smarter.

How Do You Make The World’s Toughest Watch Tougher? Make It Smarter.
Already famed for toughness, the latest G-SHOCK is an experiment in maximalist design, pro features, and lasting functionality.

G-SHOCK believes a watch should be resilient and stylish; just like a modern man. We're proud to partner with them on this post!

What is this?

There’s a thing called “maximalism” in fine arts.

Maximalism is a reaction against minimalism – it’s all about big color, big patterns, and a philosophy that says: Forget “less is more…”

More is more.

What happens when you build a maximalist watch? You get the G-SHOCK MTGB1000-1A. I mean, just look at the thing…

Descriptors that come to mind: strong, tank-like, technical, TOUGH.

Questions, too: How much does it weigh? How thick is the user manual? Are the buttons as satisfying to push as they look?

Even the stats are maximalist: 51.92mm case, carbon-fiber reinforced resin case, built to withstand three kinds of gravitational acceleration, Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping Technology (more on all that later).

It’s like Expendables 1, 2 AND 3 rolled into a watch.

It’s the watch equivalent of a tactical power lift.

It’s like a regular G-SHOCK ate aircraft-grade aluminum and another G-SHOCK and … evolved.

It’s a watch that can literally crush other watches.

Origins Of A Beast

The G-SHOCK line was born in the early '80s when a team of engineers was assembled by master watch designer Kikuo Ibe to build an unbreakable watch. After years of testing and hundreds of prototypes, Ibe hit on the concept that underlies every G-SHOCK that followed: the “floating module.”

In earthquake-prone cities, the tallest skyscrapers are built with a floating foundation that’s designed to receive and dissipate seismic shockwaves rather than pass those forces through the building’s structure. The same principle applies to G-SHOCK technology: the watch is suspended within a module that contacts the case at just a few points, giving it huge shock protection with minimal materials.

On the MTGB1000-1A, the floating module design isn’t subtle. The layers of casing that contain the floating module are laid bare as a stylistic statement. A precision-crafted metal guard structure fits over a carbon-fiber reinforced resin case containing the five separate motors that drive the watch’s complex movements.

g shock case

Tough Among Tough

G-SHOCK watches are already prized by special forces, first responders, and adventurers for their toughness. Stories of G-SHOCKs doing multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan are by now so plentiful they don’t even surprise anyone anymore.

So what kind of toughness-crazed maniac would go and make a watch that’s tougher? Who builds a tank and then says, “You know what this tank needs? More tank.”

g shock mt g

So do you – a puny civilian and not a mythical being made of rock and hate – need a watch this tough? We can answer that question with another question.

The average 0-60 mph time for a car in the U.S. is around eight seconds – much faster than it was 50 years ago. Do you, a non-special operator, need that kind of acceleration? Of course you do.

Once you have a capability, you don’t want to go without it again.

A Very Tough, Very Smart Watch

You buy a smartwatch for the connectivity, right? What if you could get high-IQ features in a watch that, if you dropped it, punches the ground instead of breaking?

The MT-G MTGB1000-1A isn’t just a chiseled jaw in watch form – it packs some serious tech, too.

g shock app

The paired smartphone app lets you set time, alarms, and tells you radio time reception status, solar power-generation status and internal data updating. The app also enables you to set different world times, so if you’re going to sleep on the San Francisco to Shanghai long haul you’ll wake up with the correct time already swapped on your wrist.

The app can even help you locate your watch via Bluetooth if you set it down and forget it somewhere.

Serious Metal

Another feature that sets this G SHOCK apart is the metal integrated in to its design. In addition to the all-metal outer case, the band connector, dials, and screws are all premium, Sallaz polished metal.

Sallaz polishing stands out as a technique first used by Swiss watch manufacturers, but not primarily found in high-end Japanese makes.

At this point, it’s worth returning to and breaking down the phrase “radio time reception status” – because what it means is pretty cool.

Radio-Set Time

Time reception status refers to Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping.

Come again?

Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping means the MT-G MTGB1000-1A is embedded with a radio antenna that receives radio waves from six transmitting stations worldwide. Receiving these transmissions allows the watch to set itself to standard atomic time – the most precise in the world.

It also means the MT-G will adjust itself when you cross time zones. One of the smaller dials is the time in a different city – The MT-G will swap the dials as you cross the zone line. Pretty awesome.


Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping means the MTGB1000-1A will literally never drift like even high quality quartz or mechanical movement watches.

But what about a dead battery? No battery power = no fancy atomic doo-dads, right?

Wrong. Did you really think a watch this tough can run out of battery? The MTGB1000-1A charges off of both solar radiation (i.e., sunlight) and indoor illumination, meaning it won’t lose power unless you decide to live in a cave for a year.

Durability Meets Usability

The MT-G MTGB1000-1A has all the usual tough-guy watch features, as well. Sapphire crystal protects against scratches and it boasts the usual G-SHOCK standard of 200 meters of water resistance and drop resistance.

You might think such a wrist tank is tough to wear, but the rubber band is surprisingly plush and the whole package weighs in under 16 ounces. Not bad for having the equivalent of a wrist-top JTAC.

The True Pleasure?

The real argument for the G-SHOCK MTGB1000-1A isn’t the impressive features list or the fact that you can drop this watch from the top of your apartment building every day for a year and it’ll still work…

It’s that this watch exists.

It’s the most of a line of watches that were already the most. The most of the most.

Is such a creation necessary? Not unless you’re an asteroid miner. But it’s thrilling and a lot of fun to behold.

See how we wear the MT-G in our Winter in the City Live Action Getup!

Closeup of a man wearing a denim jacket under a topcoat

What does it mean to me the toughest of the tough in a watch? Share your thoughts below!

Stillman Brown

Stillman Brown is a writer and TV producer who has created prime time content for National Geographic, Discovery, Travel Channel and many others. His interests span science & the natural world, personal growth, and food. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.