The season of collaborations continues, with a new watch from Hodinkee, G-Shock, and John Mayer. Yes indeed, that John Mayer. A longtime friend of Hodinkee (he was the first ever Talking Watches guest), Mayer is not only a musician and mogul, but a serious watch collector. He’s a natural collaboration partner for Hodinkee, and his affection for G-Shocks is well known. Let’s take a closer look at the G-Shock Ref 6900 by John Mayer.
The 6900 was launched in 1995 and is perhaps the G-Shock most associated with the 90s. The unique “triple-graph” dial is instantly recognizable, and this design is often credited with establishing G-Shock as a fixture in the fashion and streetwear scenes, two areas that remain important to the brand to this day. This is actually the second major collaborative release seen for a 6900 this year – we saw a Kith branded limited edition back in February, which speaks to the hold this watch has on the streetwear and sneaker communities, and popular culture in general. This is a roundabout way of saying that the 6900, in particular, feels like the right starting point for a collaboration with Mayer, who has an obvious and genuine interest in fashion.
The aesthetics of this particular Ref 6900 are inspired by another important Casio product, Casiotone SK-5. According to Mayer, this relatively humble sampling keyboard played a key role in his own musical development as an adolescent, and elements of the keyboard’s design have been ported to the watch, linking two Casio products that are meaningful to Mayer and a whole lot of other people as well. Notable here are the slate gray base tones shared by both the keyboard and the new watch, the teal “G-Shock” signature at 12:00, and the yellow text near the bezel which matches the color of prominent buttons on the SK-5. You’d never know from looking at the watch what the inspiration for it was (unless, I guess, you’re a truly obsessive 80s keyboard enthusiast), but seeing them together it’s quite apparent. Simply put, the watch is an homage to the SK-5 in a way that doesn’t scream “KEYBOARD WATCH,” which is certainly a route some would have taken, and that Mayer, Hodinkee, and Casio have thankfully avoided.
In terms of the feature set, it’s a G-Shock, folks. We’ve got the stopwatch, countdown timer, alarms, and backlight you expect on a modern G-Shock. It’s about 52mm in diameter, so this should have wrist presence to spare. It doesn’t include the Bluetooth and app integration we’ve seen with other recent G-Shock releases, but it does have a full 200 meters of water resistance and the same shock resistance that G-Shocks are known for. Let’s face it, though: this isn’t the tool-iest G-Shock in their catalog. It’s a fun 80s throwback piece that is going to be incredibly appealing to fans of John Mayer, those seeking a dose of nostalgia, and perhaps those individuals who mix their fashion and watch enthusiasm. It’s probably not the G-Shock you’re looking for if you’re heading for the mountains, or have a particularly physical job to do, but in our mind that’s perfectly ok.