You may have seen a bright yellow watch adorning the wrist of Ed Sheeran this year as he crisscrossed the United States on his sold-out Subtract tour. While many have speculated that he was wearing a custom G-SHOCK made for the tour or an unidentifiable, not-yet-released limited edition, we are here to set the record straight. Sheeran has been a long-time fan of Hodinkee and a collector of watches for several years. He’s written for the site and has participated in a very special episode of The Collectors Edition with Ben Clymer. For the launch of this bold new collaboration musician, collector, and watch enthusiast John Mayer sat down with none other than Ed Sheeran for a monumental episode of Talking Watches. If you watched to the end, you would have seen that Ed concludes the tour of his collection with the aforementioned yellow G-SHOCK and formally introduced to the world the G-SHOCK Ref. 6900 – Subtract By Ed Sheeran. A limited edition G-SHOCK designed by Ed Sheeran for Hodinkee. The two are longtime friends, occasional duet partners, and they are both obsessed with watches. Sheeran and Mayer sat for over two hours, chatting about Ed’s extensive and impressive collection of watches, what each and every one symbolizes for Sheeran, and how his taste has continued to evolve alongside his record-setting career.
The tour of Sheeran’s collection includes this new collaboration, and he formally introduced to the world the G-SHOCK Ref. 6900 – Subtract By Ed Sheeran For Hodinkee. It’s a limited edition G-SHOCK designed by Ed Sheeran for Hodinkee. And today, it can be yours.
The G-SHOCK Ref. 6900 – Subtract by Ed Sheeran is inspired by the album artwork for Sheeran’s latest album, Subtract. The album cover features an abstract rendering of Sheeran’s portrait, loosely resembling the shape of a heart. Subtract is the fifth and final album in a series of mathematics-inspired releases, and it is seen as Sheeran’s most vulnerable and touching album to date, featuring music that Sheeran describes as “honest and true” to where he was in life during the recording. This honest self-expression carries itself through the design of the album’s namesake watch.
The G-SHOCK Ref. 6900 – Subtract by Ed Sheeran features a resin case and strap dominated by a bold and bright yellow – certainly a daring color, but one that works surprisingly well on the wrist. The strap is adorned with black watercolor splatters that pull inspiration from the album’s peripheral artwork and includes a black strap keeper. Solid black is further used across the case, indicating the Mode and Start/Stop indicators and the Adjust and Split/Reset indicators. The same yellow & black colorway was applied to the illuminator button at the base of the dial. And this is where things get really interesting. The entire dial features an abstract interpretation of Ed’s face, as well as a sketched subtraction sign at 12 o’clock, as seen on the Subtract album cover. It pulls in muted reds, oranges, greens, and blues, which help to balance the bright yellow of the case. The iconic G-SHOCK “Triple Graph” display features yellow surrounds – a subtle way to pull the colors from the case into the dial.
The watch is shipped in G-SHOCK’s signature watch tin, and the packaging artwork feels like you are holding a 3-D interpretation of the Subtract album. Inside the box, you’ll find a personal note from none other than John Mayer himself.
G-SHOCK’s cult status transcends all boundaries – material and immaterial. Collectors of all levels, ages, and creeds have respect for G-SHOCK and the watches they produce. It’s possible that no other G-SHOCK is more recognized, more worn, and more influential than the DW6900. Many people consider the release of the DW6900 in 1995 as the impetus for G-SHOCK’s acceptance in fashion and streetwear circles today. Its unconventional circular shape represented a new look for the G-SHOCK, which had previously been defined by its rectangular shape. The DW6900 famously features a four-screen display, with three separate indicators in the upper half of the watch that has come to be known as the “Triple Graph.” This unique look endeared the original DW6900 to the trendsetters of the 1990s and has carried it through to the 2020s.