Earlier I wrote about Alon’s trip to Japan, of which the first part can be read here. Shortly after my post he sent me another batch of pictures with a stellar and vibrant report. Today I found some time to put it up, so sit back and enjoy Alon’s trip to Casio HQ!
Visiting Casio HQ
After visiting the Premium Production Line of Casio in Yamagata on Tuesday, we spent Wednesday exploring Tokyo and learning about the Japanese culture. The main focus was to learn why Japanese are so innovation-driven, like was the case for the Kashio Brothers, the founders of Casio Computers Corporation, Ltd.
In 1946, Tadao Kashio founded a company called Kashio Seisakujo, in Mitaka, Tokyo. One of his earliest innovations was some kind of ring that held a cigarette, allowing its wearer to smoke the cigarette until its very end – with Japan impoverished from WWII, this innovation was quite a success. Tadao Kashio, now joined by his brothers Toshio, Kazuo and Yukio, would go on and invest the proceeds in the development of electronic calculators, of which the first prototype was shown by in 1954. In 1957 the first commercially available electronic calculator was introduced by the company, at which time Casio Computer Co., Ltd. is established.
Today the majority of the shares of the publicly listed company Casio are held by the Kashio family and one of the founding brothers presides over the Board, with his son acting as CEO. In 2014 the turn-over of Casio was approximately EUR 2.6 billion, of which the watch division accounts for a bit over 50%. The last five years the watch division has shown double digit growth rate globally and there is no signal they are going to slow down. The growth started in 2007 when the urban scene and street lifestyle revived the retro 1980s design G-Shocks and they vintage models of the pre-G-Shock era of Casio. In 2010 Casio started focusing on analog G-Shocks and that has been received very well. Since last year Casio started focusing on “Made in Japan” Premium quality production and moved up market with the following product lines:
1. G-Shock Brand – Premium Production Lines:
– G-Shock / Master of G, split in:
* Sky – Gravitymaster
* Sea – Gulfmaster & Frogman
* Land – Mudmaster, Mudman & Rangeman
– G-shock MT-G (Metal Twisted G-Shock)
– G-Shock MR-G (First full metal G-Shock & also titanium versions)
2. Edifice (Focus on Speed & more elegant designs).
3. Oceanus (Top range of most advanced steel technology watches).
So, the first question that comes to mind is why Casio makes watches of EUR 19, G-Shocks starting at EUR 99 and then moves up to EUR 999?, with the Premium MR-G watches and Oceanus watches even reaching well over EUR 2.000?
We will answer this question by quoting watch expert, Gerard Nijenbrinks, on a wrist shot of the MR-G black DLC titanium watch: “It’s really a pity that many people omit to do research on this type of G-Shock product. The build quality, technical features and innovations in this product absolutely don’t do it justice as referring to it as any G. Of course there are G’s at 1/10th of the price, however there are Mercedes-Benz’s for 30k and for 300k as well…” We could not have given a better answer.
So, rests us to analyze what does quality mean for Casio, what technical features do they offer and what innovations do they present? We can’t exist without history. The history of G-Shock starts with living watch guru: Mr. Kikuo Ibe. In 1983 his brain child, the Casio G-Shock, was introduced. Its importance can hardly be exaggerated: until this point in time, most watches were still rather fragile objects, whereas the G-Shock was designed to withstand a fall from 10 meters, have a 10atm (100m) water resistance and have a 10-year battery life – the so-called Triple 10 Criteria.
The development of the G-Shock was in-line with Casio’s credo: “creativity and contribution.” It expresses the company’s commitment to contributing to society by offering the kind of original, useful products that only Casio can.
Products with innovative functions assist people in their daily lives and keep society moving forward. They also bring joy to people and help to create new culture. When even a single new product is widely adopted, whole new markets develop, and this in turn fosters growth in related industries. This is the story of Casio’s contribution to society-innovative products enhancing people’s lives.
Sources history Casio;