The Ambition Archive – contextualizing the present hip hop culture by exploring the past.

The Ambition Archive #5 – G-Shock and hiphop

Welcome to our format #AmbitionArchive where we will contextualize the present hip hop culture by exploring the past.

This time we look at G-Shock and how they managed to stay relevant in hiphop and streetwear.

Not your ordinary watch

When you think of hiphop and watches, the first thing that comes to mind is probably expensive, diamond encrusted and custom-made watches with a hefty price tag. But surprisingly, one watch model has been a constant presence in the scene for decades now, despite being chunky, plastic, and fairly affordable. Or is that exactly why?

Let’s take a look at the legacy of Casio’s legendary G-Shock:

The idea of the G-Shock came about 35 years ago when Casio engineer Kikuo Ibe wanted to create a watch that would withstand all the hardships of life. He designed a “floating module” (the thick rubber ring around the case) to make the watch shockproof and water resistant. The G-Shock was launched in 1983 and quickly became popular with those who sought those very qualities: Firefighters, workers, hikers, etc. The durability of the G-Shock also caught the attention of the skateboarding scene – a reliable breeding ground for fashion trends – and made its way into various subcultures. 

The trend

Trend-conscious rappers like Kanye West , Pharrell Williams and Kid Cudi were quick to pick up the fresh wind in the watch game, quickly opening the gates to hiphop and giving it instant credibility. And it seems that the G-Shock could keep up the hype, because it is mentioned in lyrics by the likes of Cam’ron, Skepta or Big Sean. 

The brand has also collaborated with many artists and streetwear labels, releasing their own collections or models, which has only added to the hype surrounding this watch. We’re talking about collaborations with streetwear powerhouses like BAPE, KITH, Takashi Murakami, Stussy, A$AP Ferg, Nigo and many more. 

In Germany, G-Shock has now collaborated with Dardan to create his own model and is even accompanying “Mr. Dardy” on his tour this year. 

It seems that not only the watches themselves are long-lasting, but also the place and influence of G-Shock in different subcultures. We’re excited to see what´s coming next.