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John Mayer Helped Make a G-Shock That's a Love Letter to Watch Fanboys

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Last October, the watch site Hodinkee kicked off a trilogy of limited-edition G-Shock collaborations with partners selected by musician—and mega-collector—John Mayer. The first was like an Avengers movie, linking three of the most powerful forces in the horological world: Mayer, Ed Sheeran, and Hodinkee. The second was with Online Ceramics, a name that probably excites fashion fans more than watch enthusiasts. Now, Mayer has unveiled his third and final collaborator, one that’s aimed directly at the most fervent of watch nerds: Hodinkee founder Ben Clymer.

While Clymer has had a hand in every one of Hodinkee’s limited edition releases, this is the very first to bear his name. “I don't get scared of any watch,” he said with a laugh on the phone Tuesday. “I've been doing this for 16 fucking years. Not much can phase me at this point and stuff.” The new watch channels the website Clymer founded in every way imaginable. (Available now for $185 here)

The cool gray tone is a nod to Hodinkee’s logo, while the “NYC TYO ATL” printed across the top of the dial references the locations of the site and G-Shock’s respective HQs. The caseback is engraved with Clymer’s name, and when you press the button to activate the backlight, Hodinkee’s ‘H’ logo is illuminated at the center of the dial. All of this is integrated into what Clymer describes as the simplest and most archetypal G-Shock model: the 5600 (the same watch Online Ceramics made over). The G-Shocks that Clymer owns himself are all 5600s, he said.

While the new watch is Clymer’s ode to the site he started in 2008, he’s also infused it with plenty of IYKYK details. “This is like playing ‘Freebird,’” Clymer joked. “It's for the base and it's for people that have been fans of ours for a long time.” The muted shades of green that make up the dial are inspired by vintage dive watches that have already been used on other Hodinkee editions. “The green absolutely comes from an IWC that we did with them in 2018,” he said. “There are one-to-one connections to almost everything on this watch.”

Clymer wearing his new G-Shock (and it gets better: he's got some coffee, too)
Clymer wearing his new G-Shock (and it gets better: he's got some coffee, too)

Another of those connections is the text at the bottom of the dial. No, you’re not seeing double: The G-Shock is printed with two “Casio” logos, one atop the other. This is a reference to the first-ever Rolex Daytona, known as the “Double Swiss” because it features a repetition of the word “Swiss.” (In true watch nerdery form, the bottom instance is barely visible without completely removing the piece’s bezel.)

Also engraved on the caseback is a Latin phrase: Esse Quam Videri (“To be, rather than to seem”). “Nobody's really gonna know what that means,” Clymer said, “unless you're like a really nerdy Patek nerd.” (I had to break it to Clymer that he just described this watch’s exact customer base.) The phrase will be recognizable to those who’ve closely followed Patek’s history, especially the brand’s watches that belonged to collector Henry Graves Jr. Graves was a hugely influential collector whose former pocket watch once held the record for most expensive timepiece ever sold. “Graves’s most important watches are engraved with his family crest and that particular saying, which to me has always been about what I wanted to be in life. I’d rather be the person than pretend to be the person,” Clymer said.

Then there’s the John Mayer of it all, representing a whole other side of watch-nerd mythology. According to Clymer, this was all sketched out by him and Mayer from the start. The plan was to start with Sheeran—”the pipe dream,” as Clymer described him—before moving onto Elijah Funk of Online Ceramics, who is a close collaborator of the singer. “It was John's idea to bring it all back home with me,” Clymer said. “And, obviously, I'm happy to oblige.”

All together, this G-Shock creates a powerful cocktail for watch collectors. While a collaboration with Online Ceramics put Hodinkee on the map for a totally new audience (“We got more press from more weird places than ever before,” Clymer said), this watch is right down the center for the community Clymer has built.

“We've been conscious of opening the aperture so much,” Clymer said. “We wanted to ensure that people knew we didn't forget about the base.”

Originally Appeared on GQ