Hands-On: The New G-Shock Square MRG-B5000R-1
Casio introduces new G-Shock “Squares” all the time, but a new Square in the premier league, like an MR-G, is something else. Before you get too excited, I must clarify that the MRG-B5000R-1 isn’t an entirely new watch. However, it is an important successor to the two MR-G Squares presented two years ago. In any case, a new G-Shock in the premium league is always noteworthy.
G-Shock Square MRG-B5000R-1
Casio always worked on lifting at least a part of its G-Shock series to a premium level. In 1996, the MRG-110 came close to G-Shock’s iconic Square design in full metal. But it wasn’t until 2018 that the GMW-B5000D-1, the first completely stainless steel model in the original G-Shock Square shape, came out. Understandably, full-steel models are more expensive than their resin counterparts. Their prices, which are typically in the €500–600 range, can sometimes even be 10 times higher than those of plastic models. However, simultaneously with the all-steel models, Casio introduced new enhanced G-Shock modules that, for instance, sported solar power and Bluetooth connectivity. That might have helped the audience agree with the much higher prices.
Barely recovering from the shock, the public had to face the next step in pricing when Casio presented new premium models in titanium in 2019. This hike was even more significant as the prices for these models rose to the €1,500 mark. But again, technical updates were simultaneously introduced, including a sapphire crystal instead of a mineral one. For two years, variations followed. Some had a neat camouflage surface, laser finishing, and different colors. Then, in 2022, things got really serious when two MR-G G-Shock Square models debuted.
MR-G models manufactured at Yamagata Casio
Most of us know that regular resin G-Shock models are produced in mass in factories all over Asia. However, all MR-G models hail from Casio’s “mothership” in Yamagata, Japan. At this production facility, we find the manufacture of modules and the assembly of cases, dials, hands, indexes, straps, and bracelets. The Yamagata plant produces many components using Casio’s proprietary molding technology. Master craftspeople and engineers continue to challenge themselves, inheriting the technical expertise and passion cultivated and maintained for over 40 years since the launch of the very first G-Shock.
These production methods are an entirely different game than the mass production that occurs at Casio’s other factories, and Yamagata Casio is much closer to what we watch aficionados recognize as a watch manufacture. This might already give some insight into the prices of this factory’s MR-G models. Still, when the first two MR-G Squares came out in 2022, I hadn’t seen price tags of €3,500 and €4,000 coming.
What’s so special about the MRG-B5000R-1?
As mentioned, the MRG-B5000R-1 is a follow-up to the MRG-B5000B-1. Therefore, the key elements that made the first titanium MR-G Square so special also apply to the new model. Nevertheless, I’m sure that some people will have difficulties telling the MRG-B5000B-1 and MRG-B5000R-1 apart from a regular black resin G-Shock Square when just looking at pictures. So, if they are not visually different, what makes these MR-G models 60 times more expensive? There are many factors.
First of all, the new MRG-B5000R-1 and its older brother both offer cases made of a Ti64-based super-hard titanium alloy with a bezel in Cobarion, a metal alloy that is approximately four times harder than pure titanium. Understandably, producing parts in these extremely hard, exotic materials is much more difficult and expensive than molding plastic. But that’s not all. Whereas the cases of regular square G-Shocks consist of one piece, the titanium MR-G cases utilize 25 different components. Each is individually polished for a stunning and detailed finish. Lastly, Casio developed a multi-guard structure for the multi-component bezel, incorporating flat springs and silicone buffers. This ensures adequate shock absorption and protects the dedicated MR-G module with its gold-plated retainer plate. Finally, a screwed-in metal case back and a sapphire crystal complete the premium construction of these MR-G models.
The differences between the MRG-B5000R-1 and its predecessor
Comparing the MRG-B5000R-1 and its older brother, the MRG-B5000B-1, we find that, technically, they’re more or less equal. However, there are some notable aesthetic differences. Of course, there’s the strap, but I’ll come back to that later. Then there’s the screw-in case back, which is now black instead of gold-tone. But there are more subtle differences that I want to mention. The most eye-catching one is the previously red line around the dial, which has now taken on a classier gold color. All printed text was gold on the former model, but there’s now a distinction between gold and white. Some markings, like “Tough Solar,” “Bluetooth,” and “Multi Band 6” have remained gold. Other, more functional text, like mode-menu items, has become white and, consequently, more visible. While the “Shock Resist” crest is still gold, it’s interesting to see that the “MR-G” logo text is now silvery white.
Perhaps even less visible in pictures is the case’s surface finish and texture. The MRG-B5000B-1 had a high-gloss finish, but the new MRG-B5000R-1 is, for the most part, matte. I like this finish better for a G-Shock Square, and it combines better with the new rubber strap. Anyway, surface finishing aside, the solar-powered, radio-controlled, Bluetooth-connected Casio 3541 module in this watch is the same one that was in its predecessor. It offers the time (in 12-hour and 24-hour formats), the date (in MM/DD and DD/MM formats), world time in 39 cities, a 1/100-second stopwatch, a 24-hour countdown timer, five alarms, an LED backlight, an auto calendar to 2099, and more.
A Dura Soft fluoro rubber strap
Now we come to the new strap, the biggest difference compared to the previous MR-G model. The new strap is made of fluoro rubber, a soft, comfortable material offering strong resistance to discoloration, staining, and deterioration over time. Molded inside the strap are titanium components that provide a stronger connection to the case. A beautifully crafted titanium folding clasp adorns the rubber strap, offering three positions for fine adjustment. The outside of the rubber strap shows a brick-like pattern that resembles the well-known motif on the dial.
Conclusion and pricing
When the MRG-B5000D-1 and MRG-B5000B-1 came out two years ago, the first one in bare titanium was my favorite. Its finishing better utilized the 25-component case, one of the main points of which was to allow for multiple surface finishes. The all-black version didn’t because it was almost entirely polished. Now, though, the MGR-B5000R-1 might be my new favorite. I love its matte finish and polished details more than the finish of the previous black version. I also like the color scheme of the dial more. Even though I’m a big fan of the red encircling line, the MRG-B5000R-1’s color scheme suits the premium league even better. I’m not sure if I prefer the Dura Soft fluoro rubber strap over the hardened titanium bracelet. I must admit, though, that it is very comfortable. In combination with the MRG-B5000R-1’s lower price of €3,100, picking my favorite is a tough task indeed…
For a full list of specs and functions of the G-Shock MRG-B5000R-1, visit Casio’s official website. Let me know if you have a clear favorite of the three titanium MR-G Squares in the comments as well.
This is a preferred-position post. Learn more.