G-Shocks, Resin Rot, and Avoiding an Obsession

Browsing a garage sale, I examined a plastic bag full of watches. It was mostly junky stuff, including a lightweight piece that said “Rolex” on it, but there was also one Casio G-Shock.

Before it all fell apart. Casio G-Shock DW6800. Source: TCM

Not that I needed another watch, but I had been casually looking at new Casio G-Shocks, which have a reputation for toughness at affordable prices. This one, however, had been sitting in the sun all morning and when I picked it up, the plasticky looking watch felt like it was melting. I ended up paying a dollar for it, the price helped by the fact that the bezel surrounding the watch face cracked in my hand while talking with the seller.

At home, any thought of glueing the broken piece together fell apart as quickly as the bezel itself, which continued to disintegrate in my hand. The watch face and the band, however, were fine, and after I put in a new battery the watch ran perfectly. Cleaned up, the now bezel-less G-Shock actually looked pretty good.

Slimy bezel fragments. Source: TCM

The model number on the back of the watch case was DW-6800.After a relatively quick internet search, I learned that this model was only produced in 1995. So it’s a rare watch from a collectible brand that runs perfectly. Maybe I should clean it up some more, find a replacement bezel, wear it proudly, and maybe even sell it later for a little profit.

Casio G-Shock DW6800, debezeled. Source: TCM

Except rare doesn’t always mean valuable. More searching through watch and G-Shock forums showed that while the DW-6800 model is uncommon, it’s not exactly popular. The few posts I found usually had collectors admitting they didn’t know much about that model.

Keanu wearing the more popular DW-5600 in Speed, which came out in 1994, the year before my watch was released. Source: Speed/www.g-central.com

I also learned the disintegrating bezel was not unique to my watch. The condition is common enough on older Casios that it has a name: resin rot. Since this watch was made almost 25 years ago, Casio does not make any replacement bezels for it. There aren’t very many used ones out there that could be cannibalized for parts, and even if there were, those bezels would be just as old, and at risk of rotting soon anyway.

There were hints of a solution – knockoff parts on eBay or Amazon, replacement bezels that could be purchased from shops in Southeast Asia (many with crystals or other bling on them), even a slightly mysterious source in Brazil who could only be contacted through Facebook. But all those were for different G-Shock models. The DW-6800 seemed to be unloved by the collectors and fashionistas.

Iced-out custom G-Shock 6900. Source: thedrop.com.

Here I was at a crossroads. I could continue the search, obsessively looking for a NOS (new old stock) bezel on Ebay, contacting sellers on Etsy, or buying a bezel for a different model and seeing if I could make it fit. Maybe I could even find someone to 3D-print a one-off bezel. But wait a minute. I had bought the watch on a whim. I had spent a few hours cleaning it and doing internet research. With the new battery, I was still only in for less than $10. Did I really want to spend a lot more time, and potentially a lot more money, trying to restore this thing?

I did not.

I enjoyed researching the Casio watches. I learned a bit about G-Shocks and the people who collect them. It was satisfying to clean up the watch and get it running (simply by replacing the battery). But I did not need to pursue this any further. I have other interests I would prefer to obsess about.

I may buy another (new) G-Shock watch some day. I may put this one on eBay, so someone who has a broken DW-6800 with a perfect bezel can buy it. Or I might just wear it as is. It’s functional and has a bit of a deconstructed look to it. Naked G-Shocks – is that a thing?

One Reply to “G-Shocks, Resin Rot, and Avoiding an Obsession”

  1. And, it’s gone. I decided to part ways with it and sold it pretty quickly for more than I had invested in it. I still look at new G-Shocks occasionally.

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