The original AW-500 was a historic model for G-SHOCK when it first launched in 1989 as the brand’s debut analog offering, marking the start of G-SHOCK’s long history of watches with analog-digital displays. Although the combination of the distinctive round case design and unique analog-digital configuration has resurfaced in a number of special edition variants over the years, we couldn’t have been more excited to see G-SHOCK recently revive the AW-500 as a permanent fixture of its catalog. Today in the HODINKEE Shop, we have the all-new AWM-500, a pair of stainless steel “Full Metal” versions in new gold and silver colorways.
Origins Of The AW-500
When G-SHOCK launched its first watch in 1983, it instantly shook the traditional watch industry with the model’s unconventional sporty design and accessible price point. This initial offering, the DW-5000C, featured an offbeat octagonal shape and chunky build, all composed in a unique resin-based material. Throughout the ’80s, G-SHOCK continued to build on the philosophy behind the DW-5000C with either square or octagonal constructions and unabashedly bold and imposing designs. Alternatively, the trend in the watch industry at the time was round, slim, and compact, with traditional Swiss and Japanese brands relentlessly trying to outdo each other and lay claim to the title of “world’s thinnest watch.” Taking into consideration both the brand’s ethos and the industry at large, G-SHOCK set out to broaden the scope of what its watches could be, and the result was the original AW-500.
While the AW-500 is best known for being G-SHOCK’s first analog watch, its design in its entirety was significant for the brand. The inspiration for the AW-500 was the “perfect circle,” the shape that naturally results from the sweep of analog hands around a central axis point. This is most obviously embodied in the distinctive case shape of the AW-500, which didn’t simply pull from the trend of round, slim, and compact watches but instead reflected the expansion of the G-SHOCK identity while remaining true to the promise of durability. In addition, the “perfect circle” motif extends to other elements of the watch, like the hands themselves. The minute hand notably features three round holes that incrementally differ in size with the taper of the hand. Today, each of these guiding principles continues to ring true in the contemporary revival of the AW-500.
The AWM-500 ‘Full Metal’ Revival
The AWM-500 “Full Metal” builds upon the new AW-500, resulting in an even more robust and stylish design – this is far more than just a metalized version. At the core, it looks strikingly similar to the original AW-500, featuring the same bezel and bracelet design and, of course, the analog hands and LCD display. However, there are also a few subtle updates.
The first is the placement of the handset, which is now in a more traditional centered configuration compared to the original in which the hands were located slightly above the midpoint. In addition, the new variation showcases a number of advanced features. These include Neo-Brite luminous hands, an expanded 24-hour stopwatch, and an EL backlight for the LCD display, with afterglow.
As the name suggests, the AWM-500 “Full Metal” also showcases an all-new stainless steel build in place of the resin construction of the original and standard AW-500 revival. While not true for all the iterations of the new AW-500, the full metal variants share the screw-back case of the original AW-500, now complete with IP-coating in either gold or silver.
The AWM-500 also features a unique bezel treatment with both hairline and mirror finishes and a slightly smaller build of 51.8 x 44.5 x 14.2mm compared to 55.2 x 47.7 x 14.7mm for the standard AW-500 revival. In addition, the AWM-500 comes equipped with a hand shift feature, which moves the hands in a position away from the LCD display for an unobstructed view. Last but not least, the Full Metal version of this beloved revival houses an upgraded module (5640 as opposed to 5416) with Tough Solar and Multi-Band 6 radio time-sync.
Explore The AWM-500 Collection In The HODINKEE Shop
Since the first watches were released in 1983, G-SHOCK has revolutionized the industry when it comes to timepieces that are not only unequivocally robust in nature but also continually push the boundaries of design. One definitive example is the original AW-500, launched in G-SHOCK’s sixth year of production, that showcased a unique analog-digital display while maintaining the shock resistance and durability the public had come to expect from the G-SHOCK name.
Though this recognizable design deserves merit in its own right, G-SHOCK didn’t just revive the original as a strict replica. They built upon its design with the brand’s contemporary Full Metal treatment in addition to a number of other bells and whistles, including an upgraded movement module. The result is the AWM-500 “Full Metal,” a pair of silver and gold watches we’re thrilled to bring to you in the HODINKEE Shop today, for $ 500 and $ 550, respectively.