One of last year’s biggest releases in terms of its short-term cultural impact on the watch landscape was the G-Shock released in collaboration with Hodinkee and John Mayer (ever heard of him?). It was unexpected, came complete with a video of him messing around on a vintage Casio keyboard, and the run sold out incredibly quickly just before the Christmas holiday. To the extent that a new watch release can break the internet, that’s exactly what this one did. It had genuine crossover appeal (I guess this Mayer guy is pretty famous outside the watch world) and was delivered at a price that was ripe for an impulse purchase. Now, Hodinkee, G-Shock, and Mayer are at it again, with a new watch that expands the design language of the last release at the same $180 price point, just in time for last minute holiday shopping (even if it’s just a gift for yourself).
I’ll be honest, when I first heard that there was a new Mayer G-Shock imminent, I asked silently (or maybe it was aloud) “Oh, is it based on another keyboard?” Well, yes, in fact it is. Last year’s watch took design cues from Casio’s Casiotone SK-5, whereas this year’s edition is based on the Casio PT-80, released in the mid 1980s. It begs the question: is this really going to be an annual thing? How many keyboards did Casio make that can conceivably serve as watch design inspiration? As someone who knows less about keyboards than nearly any topic I can think of off the top of my head, I hope the answer is “More than you can possibly imagine,” because frankly I like the idea of a new keyboard inspired watch winding up on wrists every year. I mean, why not? Watch brands iterate endlessly on a small handful of iconic watches from the past, so the idea of plumbing a completely different type of design object for continued inspiration holds a certain appeal to those of us interested in something new, and a little different.
The DW6900 is once again the G-Shock that this new watch is built on, and the official name of the new release is the Casio G-Shock Ref. 6900-PT80 by John Mayer. There’s a strong 80s vibe at work here, which is to be expected given the source material. The case has an off-white tone that makes you think of old-fashioned desktop computers and the giant photocopiers you might have found in your school library as a kid, and the three registers of the “Triple Graph” display have colors that are ported directly from the original PT-80 keyboard. That’s also true of the periwinkle G-Shock text at the top of the case, and the red lettering around the perimeter.
Like all G-Shocks, this one has 200 meters of water resistance and is also resistant to shocks and drops. Among the suite of features found here are a stopwatch, countdown timer, multifunction alarm, and 12/24 hour time format options. If you’re familiar with the DW6900, you already know that it’s something of a bruiser, coming in at 53.2mm from lug to lug, 50mm wide, and 16.3mm thick.
As mentioned above, the retail price on the second John Mayer G-Shock is the same as the first, just $180. While the press materials refer to this one as a limited edition, no production numbers are specified, so our guess is that an initial run has been produced, and will likely not be restocked once sold out. The Casio G-Shock Ref. 6900-PT80 by John Mayer is available today, beginning at 11:00 AM, via the Hodinkee Shop, the G-Shock website, and select G-Shock retailers, including their SoHo store.