AI-designed, 18-karat gold Casio G-Shock watch sells for $400k at auction

Gold G-SHOCK, part-designed by AI
The most expensive G-SHOCK ever (Image credit: Casio)

Back in April 1983, Casio launched the very first G-Shock watch, the DW-5000C. It was matte black. It became an instant icon, and the G-Shock range has grown and thrived ever since, beloved of people who like their watch to say, “I get put through hell and love it” rather than, “I exude exquisite, genteel elegance”.

But 40 years later, Casio celebrates the anniversary of that launch with a G-SHOCK that brings some serious bling to the range, and a hefty price tag. But it still looks more like something Jay-Z would wear rather than James Bond. 

Welcome to the one-off G-Shock G-D001, with its 18-karat gold case, bezel and wrist band, and a design crafted with the help of AI. It went up for auction in New York last weekend, with an estimate of between $70,000 and $140,000, but eventually sold for an eye-watering $400,050. All proceeds were donated to The Nature Conservancy (they also recently teamed up with The Charles Darwin Foundation for another watch, as they seem to be on conservation drive at the moment).

This, of course, makes it the most expensive G-Shock ever – but can you dive with it on? That’s what we want to know.

Gold G-SHOCK, part-designed by AI

(Image credit: Casio)

So what’s the AI element in all this? According to Casio’s blurb, “This dream project features innovative, exploratory use of generative design – a computer-aided design technique that uses AI to optimize the design process – for the watch’s exterior design. A full-metal shock-resistant structure with a creatively original organic form was achieved using a process of co-creation between human developers and AI.”

Which doesn’t really tell us much. The New York Times claims that 16 designers dedicated two years to creating the watch, and Casio engineer Kikuo Ibe tells the newspaper that the (unspecified) AI platform was fed 40 years of data that G-SHOCK had gathered on shock-resistance technology. The designers the collaborated with SHOCK-absorbed AI to, “make an original piece with no parallel in the world”.

So presumably you can dive wearing it.

Interestingly, Kikuo Ibe (also known as 'the father of G-Shock') adds that, “The creative, original style of the exterior may offer a glimpse into the future of G-Shock.”

Somehow we doubt that means 18-karat gold for all future releases, though.