The “CMF Design” That Brought About the Metal Camouflage Pattern G-SHOCK | G-SHOCK Watches Singapore

The “CMF Design” That Brought About the Metal Camouflage Pattern G-SHOCK

Writer: Junichi Aoki

Have you ever seen the word “CMF design”? It is a concept of product design, and CMF stands for “Colour”, “Material” and “Finish”.

Some of you probably remember the word as it was used in the theme of Casio’s new product launch event in autumn/winter 2019.
It is this perspective that brought about Casio’s latest metal camouflage pattern G-SHOCK watches, the GMW-B5000TCM-1DR and the MTG-B1000DCM-1ADR. With these examples, let’s hear from Casio about their CMF strategy.

CMF Design Has Actually Been Around For 10 Years.
“People probably started hearing the word ’CMF design’ more often in the last couple of years, but in fact, it has been applied in designing since about 10 years ago.”

Those were the words of Hayato Ikezu, Designer.

Indeed, the CMF perspective is an integral part of G-SHOCK’s history. It all started with the urethane case that was created for shock-resistance, followed by other eye-catching, unique designs resulting from Casio’s advancement in finishing technology, such as multi-coloured and metallic-coloured watches that were never seen before, the “skeleton” material, and the mirror dial. Since the launch of its analogue models, G-SHOCK has actively been using metal and carbon as new materials for its watches.

According to Kazuto Ushiyama, Chief Engineer Product Planner. “Colour, material and finish are the basic elements that determine the design of a watch, and there is no way you could run away from them. G-SHOCK features toughness and fashion-forwardness, and with continuous evolution, its technology and presentation have matured. CMF design was introduced as a new innovation in Casio’s timepieces at our latest new product launch event.”

Hayato IkezuHayato Ikezu, Designer
Kazuto UshiyamaKazuto Ushiyama, Chief Engineer Product Planner 

Why did Casio choose a word that has been used in designing since 10 years ago as the keyword for product development now?

Hayato Ikezu: “I think the word ‘CMF’ came into use in the design industry around 2007 when the iPhone was launched. People started putting their attention on presentations that are simple yet outstanding, like having stunning colours, a clean mirror finish, or shiny thin pinstripes. On the other hand, if the presentation is too simple, then it won’t allow users to show their personality and individuality.

CMF is the element that compensates for this. I’m sure everyone wants to show their personality by putting on something that may be popular but comes in their favourite colour or print and a material that feels comfortable to touch. So, for creators like us to meet such needs, what we have in mind is to bring people new stories from the perspective of CMF.”

――I’m not sure if I understood that.

Hayato Ikezu: “Let me explain with specific examples. In 2019, we launched the MTG-B1000RB (no longer in production) that has a bezel plated with rainbow ions, and that was designed by me. But in terms of technology, what I actually did was to apply an existing technology. By improving the method of using this technology, we created a product that is presented in a new way. Nevertheless, simply being novel and impactful is not enough. We need to imagine how the product looks like when it’s actually being worn on the wrist.

The MTG-B1000RB launched in May 2019
* No longer in production

――Now that you mention that, the rainbow IP model became a hot topic for its deep hues that are much more subtle in real than in pictures.

No two watches are the same.

Kazuto Ushiyama: “I think the idea was brilliant too. As manufacturers, we always strive to provide consumers with products of consistent quality, but because of its unique properties, no two watches of this rainbow IP model can be made the same. This is intentional as it was our perception of what makes the product unique, and this is exactly what the CMF perspective is about. That’s also why I call Ikezu ‘Mr CMF’.”

Kazuto Ikezu: “That’s quite stressful (laughs). We actually went through many rounds of trial and error. The aged treatment to give it an “antique” feel was also a result of trial and error. We constantly do our best to come up with things that no other companies have come up with.

The Camouflage G-SHOCK that Embodies the CMF Design

Casio has launched what we should call the latest models of the CMF design, the camouflage pattern metal G-SHOCK GMW-B5000TCM-1DR and MTG-B1000DCM-1ADR. In the report for the Autumn/Winter 2019 new product launch event where these latest models were unveiled, the writer described them as “an embodiment of CMF design”.

Metal Camouflage Series
MTG-B1000DCM-1ADR of the MT-G series (left) and the square-face titanium GMW-B5000TCM-1DR (right)

The major feature of these two products is the “laser camo” processing that was used to produce the design of the case and the band. The camouflage pattern is reproduced by first coating the surface of the metal case and the band with a black protective film and then peeling it off using laser. Just like dotting, the laser stipples the case and the band to peel off the protective film by creating small, medium and large spots, and this produces intermediate colours through gradations to form the pattern. The gist is the halftone used in newspaper and such, although it is the other way around for monochromes.

Based on the GMW-B5000TB that has a titanium case and band, the GMW-B5000TCM-1DR is given its camouflage pattern by peeling off the Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) film.

On the other hand, the camouflage pattern on the MTG-B1000DCM-1ADR is created by processing the stainless-steel parts of the MTG-B1000, which has a composite case and band made of stainless steel (SS) and resin, with black IP and then peeling the coat off. Consumers may be concerned about the peeling off of the protective film, but according to Mr Ikezu, “rest assured, as they meet the shock and wear resistance criteria for G-SHOCK”, so there seems to be no need for any concern. So, how did these products come about?

GMW-B5000TCMThe GMW-B5000TCM-1DR, beautifully finished at every corner
MTG-B1000DCM-1AThe gold dial on the MTG-B1000DCM-1ADR

Hayato Ikezu: “The square-face full metal GMW-B5000 was very well-received, and we wanted to build on that to enhance our product line-up. We started talking about the possibility of combining a product made from metal with camouflage pattern. Camouflage and G-SHOCK are very compatible with each other, and we received very good feedback from our customers when we launched the camouflage resin model previously. We had all kinds of ideas back then, such as extending the pattern to also cover the parts beautifully, and to cover even the dial in the pattern.

After that, when we designed BABY-G, we used laser to lightly engrave patterns on the dial. This gave us a hint at that point in time that we can do all sorts of things to metal, so we thought of applying that somewhere.”

Because of its higher price range, a metal G-SHOCK model must look and feel classy. The team finally decided to use the stippling technique to create the camouflage pattern to bring out the beauty of metal. However, the journey from then on was by no means a smooth one.

Hayato Ikezu: “If we were to engrave the camouflage pattern simply using laser, it would end up looking flatter than we thought, so we tried finishing the top of the bezel with a mirror surface, and then stippling it with laser. We realized as a result that the camouflage pattern looks three-dimensional because of the depth, and if we covered the entire watch in mirror coating, the watch would look glaring and tawdry, so we did some finetuning while also changing the finish of every part.

The Result of Our Pursuit of Design is
“Exclude Just That Part from Laser Processing”

Another challenge we had with GMW-B5000 was the round depression at the lug. The laser beam cannot be shone directly onto this part because it does not face upright. We tried everything, like changing the position and direction of the watch, but nothing worked. So, in the end, we concluded that we should ‘exclude just that part from laser processing’. The engineer programmed the laser processing machine so that the laser beam does not shine on this depression. The alignment was hard, but thanks to the engineer, the product was finished with great precision.

Sapphire crystal with non-reflective coating
The laser beam does not shine on the depressions of the lug in a straight line if the watch is faced upright

Gradations of dot patterns
Take a closer look at the picture below. The laser beam draws lines instead of dots on the rims of the depressions.
The top picture shows a depression that is not subjected to the programmed laser beam.

Close up of MTG-B1000DCM
The words on the bezel are adjusted so that they do not overlap with the button labels as much as possible. Every corner is taken into consideration

There is something else with the GMW-B5000TCM-1DR and the MTG-B1000DCM-1ADR that the creators could not compromise on, and that is the band. Shortening the band would disrupt the continuous pattern on models like this.

Hayato Ikezu: “Well, that’s for sure, but I believe no customers would like that. So, for these two models, half of the band is made up of links with unique patterns, while links of the same pattern continue on the other half.”

Kazuto Ushiyama: “We actually thought further about this. The pattern remains intact (continuous) even when links are removed to adjust the band.”

Camouflage Dot PatternCan you see that the camouflage pattern on the band is continuous?
Camouflage Dot PatternThe camouflage pattern here remains intact regardless of any combination

Hayato Ikezu: “Let’s assume that links with Pattern A and links with Pattern B are joined together and shipped as ABABABAB. Even if they are combined as AABBAABB, the camouflage pattern still remains beautifully joined. Of course, AAAABBBB also works. The pattern looks absolutely fine even if the entire upper band is made up of A links and the lower band is made up of B links. The designer probably wanted to jazz things up by allowing the mixture of A and B to create different patterns.

Explanation of camouflage pattern
An explanation of the segments with continuous camouflage pattern that remains intact even when the band is shortened or when the links are combined in any way.
This is it, the new CMF design!

“Mr CMF” proud of the product

CMF Designs That Meet the Diversity of Users

User preferences are diversifying. There are people who like outdoor activities and nature, people who like street culture and sports, and people who prefer simple and minimalist designs. I believe G-SHOCK will continue to expand its expertise in watches that are endorsed by people of diverse personalities. Let’s keep our eyes peeled for Casio’s future CMF designs.

Hayato Ikezu and Kazuto Ikezu
“The best of Casio’s CMF designs is yet to come!”

Article Provided by Casio Computer Co., Ltd.