Let’s say you are a specialist when it comes to working with materials like carbon fiber and forged carbon, and you want to combine your talents with your appreciation of watches. What do you do? One option, of course, is to make your own timepiece using the materials you are proficient with. But then again, maybe you aren’t a watchmaker. So, a solid option B might be to combine your skills with an existing item and try to make a compelling aftermarket modification that combines a quality product you know people like with something special that makes your version of it stand out from the crowd. This is exactly what Hong Kong-based Alvarae did with some Casio G-Shock watches, offering them with their “Forged Carbon Armour.”
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen an outfit sell an aftermarket G-Shock watch. The construction of Casio’s famous “life-proof” timepieces makes them relatively easy to work with since some basic tools are all that is necessary to remove the straps as well as the protective resin “armor” that shields the movement compartment. In the past, many of these aftermarket products were about adding more “bling” to the humble G-Shock. For a while, the cool and affordable Japanese activity watches were popular in the urban and hip-hop music community. This prompted some to dress up their G-Shock watches with all manner of authentic or faux precious materials and even diamonds. You can get a gold case for a G-Shock with diamonds on it… if you really want.
At the same time, traditional fans of Casio G-Shock watches likely had little to no interest in blingy versions of the watches, as such extensions on the G-Shock concept were a bit too far removed from the value that G-Shock has in the lives of most of its owners. I say this to explain why I think versions like this Alvarae forged carbon model are much better suited to traditional G-Shock fans that want the core wearing experience with a bit added visual and technical interest.
Alvarae sent me their Forged Carbon Armour-equipped version of the Casio G-Shock DW6900MS-1 watch. This is Casio’s matte black “minimalized” version of the famed DW6900 (DW-6900) collection that is a slick look, no doubt. It has a retail price of just $99. The box is highly unlike what you’d expect to find a G-Shock watch in, which is an amusingly quirky touch. Alvarae ditches Casio’s round metal container that G-Shock fans are familiar with in favor of an unfinished wooden box with an ornate latch. You’d never guess that inside of it was a G-Shock.
Alvarae is careful to respect the base watch and Casio in their product presentation. In fact, even though Alvarae replaces the stock resin case protector, they still include it in the packaging, along with a changing tool to put it back if you like (along with instructions). This also makes it possible to swap out the forged carbon case with most other DW6900 collection G-Shock models. I will say that this is the first time I’ve ever seen a Casio G-Shock watch come with adjustment tools. This is amusing because part of the point of the G-Shock is to be a watch that you never need to fiddle with. Then again, the budget nature of the DW6900 also means that it does not make use of a “Solar” movement which means it is not light-powered and will need a new battery each few years. In case you are wondering, the movement inside of the watch is Casio’s 1289 / 3230 module.
It will cost you about $400 more than the retail price of a standard DW6900 to get the Alvarae model with the forged carbon case. In fact, if you want just the case, Alvarae will sell it to you via their website for $430. You get a bit of a deal if you buy it with the watch for a total price of $499. So how cool is a forged carbon case for a Casio G-Shock watch?
Look over at Alvarae’s website and you’ll notice that watches aren’t exactly their main forte. The company likes to play with carbon in lovely ways that include products costing just a few hundred dollars to furniture like a dining table that costs $6,150, up to a $37,900 carbon fiber bathtub. Don’t miss the $12,800 carbon fiber Toto Neorest electronic toilet that Alvarae also makes. The watch is in fact their second lowest-priced offering next to their $320 carbon fiber shoe horn.
What is also interesting is that the Forged Carbon Armour case for the Casio G-Shock timepiece appears to be the first forged carbon offering from Alvarae, as opposed to carbon fiber which they use for their other products. I’m not a materials expert, but my instinct tells me that is because forged carbon lends itself better to precision machining with tight tolerances which is necessary for a good-looking watch case.