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Why the fieriest Dragons’ Den mogul chooses G-Shock CasiOak

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We have our own watch collecting business mogul and television star in the form of Kevin O’Leary.

In Britain, they have Steven Bartlett, a self-made entrepreneur and media mogul, not quite in the same league as Mr O’Leary in terms of net worth, but owner of a company valued at around £300 million, and inspiration to an Instagram following of 2 million.

He is also the youngest and fieriest Dragon on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den, the show where budding entrepreneurs are grilled by potential investors, and the forefather of Shark Tank, which is available in the United States on Netflix.

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In late July, G-Shock named Mr Bartlett as a brand ambassador alongside the launch of new version of its CasiOak GMB 2100 watches.

At just 29, Mr Bartlett is Dragon’s Den’s youngest ever Dragon and a founding partner of Social Chain – the ground-breaking social media marketing agency, with a collective reach of over 200 million.

In 2017, he launched the hugely successful podcast series Diary of a CEO, and last year his first book, Happy Sexy Millionaire, was published, quickly becoming a Sunday Times bestseller.

Steven Bartlett with G-Shock’s content & campaign manager Warren Halliwell.

Today living his best life, the road to success hasn’t always been a smooth one for Mr Bartlett. In a newly released YouTube conversation with Warren Halliwell, G-Shock content & campaign manager, he says,

“I stopped going to school. They kicked me out. Then I managed to get myself into university. I went for one lecture and it felt like school again – everyone sleeping on their desk with a hangover, no one wanted to learn about business. I never went back after that initial lecture.”

This steadfast determination not to waste his time is something that has fuelled Mr Bartlett’s career. “I feel like I don’t have enough time every day, but that’s also what makes time so special. It’s what makes life so special – the fact that everything is finite and every decision we make comes at the expense of something else,” he says.

“I use the analogy of time and gaming chips. I get these 24 chips in a day, by the time I’ve woken up, I’ve spent eight of them on sleep so, I’ve got 16 left to play with and how I place these chips on the roulette table of life, determines the outcome. I might put one on walking my dog and two on hanging out with my family. The wheel spins and shows me the return that I get on the placement of those chips.

“I think about my journey – a university dropout in Manchester, my parents weren’t speaking to me, I had the worst credit rating you’ve ever seen. I allocated my time – sending emails to this person, begging this person to give me a meeting – and it is ultimately the reason I’m sat here today.

“I realised that the only currency in life is time and that it is finite, In the average human life. I think you get about 500,000 chips and you become conscious about placing them in-line with your values, not squandering them on pettiness or having an argument on Twitter with someone with an egg emoji for a profile picture. These are all ineffective and wasteful uses of your currency.”

Instead of university, Mr Bartlett started his own business that he ran for two and a half years before he began to lose belief in the concept and he walked away. He quickly co-founded another business – Social Chain – that, after seven years, become a company valued at £600 million. At this point Bartlett was no longer enjoying the company and, again, he walked.

“I’m sure I’ll continue to do that. I think that’s also why I’m here at a young age – I’m still in my 20s, just – and I think it’s because I don’t hang around in situations that no longer serve me. It seems to work,” he suggests.

Steven Bartlett and G-Shock

One of the things that brings Mr Bartlett closest to G-Shock, is the brand’s “Never Give Up” tagline. While most people, he says, will choose security over uncertainty, Mr Bartlett never has a Plan B, saying, “Comfort is really addictive in the short term but it can really cause tremendous discomfort in the long term.”

G-Shock’s own ‘never give up’ story is well documented. Back in the early 1980s Kikuo Ibe, an engineer at Casio, was gifted a timepiece by his father for his 21st birthday. While running for a train the watch fell on the floor and shattered.

He approached his bosses with an idea for a shock-resistant timepiece which, at that time, was unheard of. Over the following two years he created more than 200 different prototypes but every one of them failed and it got to the point where Casio decided to pull the plug on the project.

Full metal Casioaks

Rose-gold-coloured G-Shock GM-B2100.

Despondent, the engineer sat down in a park and watched a child bouncing a ball. In his Eureka moment, he realised that the centre of the ball was unaffected by gravity. He immediately went back to the laboratory and made one last prototype, and it worked – he developed a watch that could be dropped from a three-story building and would survive. The G-Shock was born.

“I think this is the case with all ambitious people when there’s a powerful underlying motivator,” says Mr Bartlett. “Anytime you set out to solve a problem in the world, or create something that doesn’t exist, you have a painful, uncertain path to walk because the blueprint hasn’t been written and there’s no guarantee that I’ll even work. But the thing that keeps you going is having no Plan B.

“When you have a really strong underlying motivator, when you would die for the outcome, when you have that much dedication, that much obsession, that much momentum, the world will eventually, move out your way.”

Full metal Casioaks in silver and black.

Now wearing the rose-gold-colored G-Shock GM-B2100, Bartlett has developed a very disciplined relationship with time. “My life has to run to the minute because of the nature of my work. I’m a co-founder of maybe five or six active businesses that are making more than eight figures in revenue, and all have been started within the past 24 months. I have lots of responsibilities and the allocation of my 24 gaming chips is critical.”

Watches for Mr Bartlett are first and foremost to help him make more efficient use of the time he has. Secondly, he says, they have to be beautiful and represent his personality. For him the “authenticity” of the GM-B2100 is also a major attraction.

“I can see the construction of it. I can see inside. And there’s something about that rawness of the material and the design that makes it resonate with me. It would have been easy to hide the screws for example, but that rawness is what speaks to me.”

Beyond an appreciation of the mechanics, Bartlett finds the timepiece stylish. “I listen to a certain type of music. I like hip-hop, I like R&B, I like street music and I don’t know why, but I get a lot of those flavors from this. Whether that’s because of people that have worn it before or whether it’s the design, I don’t know.”

Another parallel between Bartlett and the GM-B2100, is that the watch is very much the result of perseverance and evolution. The watch that began as a standard resin timepiece two years ago has metamorphosed into the full metal timepiece of today. The watches in the range feature stainless-steel cases and bracelets, plus the shock resistant structure created for the full-metal GMW-B5000. As Mr Bartlett says, “a watch built for life”.

Full metal Casioaks in silver and black.

“This is a watch that you can really rely on, especially if you’re living a bit more of an active life and, like me, you are susceptible to breaking things,” he says. “I also connect with the source of origin story. Whenever you get into bed with a brand as a customer, what you’re actually saying is, ‘I can see where I want to align myself with the brand values’. Persistence, reliability, accuracy, perseverance, all come through with the G-Shock brand. When I put this on, it feels solid and I have an assurance that it won’t break.

“The stage I’m at in my life, I’m looking for is pieces that will last me a long time, that I can wear every day and not have to worry about too much in terms of ‘is it going to fit with this outfit?’ or ‘Is it going to break someday?’ I don’t want to have to be conscious and scared all the time that it might get a scratch. I will wear it pretty much all day, every day. I don’t want to spend time having things repaired. I don’t want to spend time doing any shopping at all if I don’t have to.”

The GM-B2100 collection is on sale online and in G-Shock boutiques. Prices range from $550-600.

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