Sunday, April 27, 2008

#16 Summer Ivory

I do not always write my articles on the same computer. Sometimes I don't even have internet access. Yesterday I have been from home about whole day. After a visit to IKEA Breda, 100 km from where I live, we enjoyed the warm sunny weather in the afternoon at our neighbours and on a nice terrace in the evening. Before we went to the city centre I asked my girlfriend and son which watch to review today. Bram held up his Darth Vader watch, which isn’t a G-Shock. Eva answered with her standard answer “I don’t even know which watches you have”.

I thought (like most of the times) I should write about the G-Shock I strapped on. In this case it’s the DW-9100K-7JR. We called this blog 50 Gs, because there were 50 weeks to go before the year was over when we started. I’m glad I never said they should be unique. I forgot I wrote about this model before on February 24th. . I couldn't check as I wrote this on my PDA. I don’t think it’s a disaster, I approached this G-Shock from a different angle I think, so I hope you enjoy my article.
Since the beginning Casio profiled as a environment friendly company. This is seen best by the packaging used on most G-Shocks. The simple cardboard boxes are made of recycled paper. On some boxes there is even a small note about the environment friendly materials. I think it sounds even better in German. The boxes are described as "umwelt freundlich", friendly for the world around us.

You might sometimes think, why does my beloved G-Shock not come in a great box. I think the answer is simple. Casio watches are in the first place designed to be worn, not to be collected. Therefore most G-Shocks are mass products. I think actually most watches in the "affordable" (<$1000.-) segment are.

Since several years Casio also supports projects that do research for preservation of endangered nature. Since 1994 Casio supports the conferences of the International Cetacean Education and Research Centers, in short I.C.E.R.C.

When Casio released the new Master of G in 2007, the Gulfman, also a special limited edition was announced. The white I.C.E.R.C. atomic Gulfman. It was released to support and give public awareness of the "2007 Dolphin & Whale Eco-Research Network" and the work of the I.C.E.R.C.

I had already ordered it months before release, it looked so nice on the stock photo's. It was still a surprise when I opened the package. I was amazed. In my opinion the most beautiful G-Shock released in 2007 (sorry Dawn Black!).

I used an reflected image of this watch in a Christmas ball for my last G-Peopland New Year card. Although it looks "Photoshopped", I only mirrored the image (because the original photo was already a mirror image) and slightly changed hue.
The watch isn't just plain white. I think it's best described as ivory. The metal ring around the display, the lettering and the screws are in gold tones, which match this watch perfectly.

When the electro-luminescent backlight is activated you can see a humpback whale jump for joy out of the water. This whale also returns on the tip of the watchband.

One of the down sides of the atomic Gulfman in general is the lack of the Tidegraph and Moonphase function. I live near sea and the tide can be important if you want to go to the beach for all kinds of activities.

Also the countdown timer function would have been better if the range was 24 hours, in stead of 60 minutes. I often use this function when doing experiments on the lab, or when I have my car parked at a parking meter. Often I need more than only one hour.
To compensate on the short countdown time, Casio implemented a 1000 hours stopwatch. Also the watch comes with 5 alarms and World times.

World time is a great function if you have contacts world wide, but there is a little side note. You have to set manually the DST. This sounds not very disturbing, if DST changes were applied at the same times world wide. The last years the US uses different dates than Europe. The biggest fun is in Australia, where the eastern time zone only use DST in the south and not in the north.

Personally I can live with Summertime, as DST is called here. Who doesn't want to enjoy an extra hour sunlight, while sitting on a terrace or in the garden with a nice glass of wine or beer.

And while you enjoy your drink, have a good talk with friends, this watch is my ideal companion. I can know that. It was me on that terrace yesterday evening.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

#15 DW-003 G-Lide Charlotte Coppola

Around Christmas 2000 I was just getting into on-line auctions. The supply of G-shocks were dramatic low on the Dutch auction site iBazar, but a very beautiful white model suddenly appeared . The seller also had an auction of a yellow G-Shock. Around that time I was not familiar with model numbers, but I liked this DW-6900H-9 (Taxi Driver) very much too. I had not discovered eBay Germany yet, where this watch was about the most common model.

In December I always get a "end of year bonus", so I set my bid prices high. I needed them too, because it appeared I was not the only bidder. The auctions on iBazar run for a month. That's different from the eBay auctions , that most of the time run shorter than a week. You got to have a lot of patience thus.Like on eBay, you have last minute snipers, but fortunately they did not outbid me. I think I won the auctions for around f80.-. That was quite an amount for me at that time (now about €37.-), but much less than half the price of a new one.

When the watches came in, I examined the watch. The former owner had split the double Velcro strap. Only the top strap was attached to the watch (I believe I already had made that up from the photo's). The former owner had tried to make the strap black with a marker. I went to my Casio Service Centre and ordered a new white watchband. A week later I had a new strap, which cost me another f80.-. Although it was a Tough Label watchband , it fitted great. The watch looked like new!
Bram was just 6 months old, and I had recently also bought my first digital camera. I strapped Bram the yellow Taxi Driver on and put him in a chair. Bram could actually not sit at that time, so he could fall from the chair with any movement. Quickly I took a snapshot. Nobody was hurt.I sent a "Thank you!" note to the seller, with the picture of Bram attached. A reply followed the next day. The seller appeared to be Charlotte Coppola. She is a theatrical actress and also a singer. At that time she had a leading role of a large musical production of the biggest entertainment bureau of the Netherlands. She had to fund her new CD, so she had to sell some of her watches. She also had another G-Shock. She told me that it was a model that had a slot game in it. I had never heard of such model. Apparently she talked about a DW-8040, DW-8150, DW-8140 or a DW-8150. She was thinking of selling this watch too, but I could not afford her asking price. I hope she had kept her watch. She sound very attached to it. Now Charlotte is a known singer in the jazz circuit. She is the lead singer in the band All the Kings Roses and also performs as solo singer.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

#14 50Gs x My G-Shock Collaboration: KIKS TYO Midnight Darkness.

50Gs and are collaborating today in a combined article about KIKS TYO.
Riley of will concentrate on the DW-5600 Burning Red model, while I will concentrate on the DW-5600 Midnight Darkness model and the KIKS TYO company.
KIKS TYO was founded in 2006 by Shinichi Izaki a.k.a. Hobby:tech and his muse, Aki Hoshino, who is a famous bikini model in Japan. Izaki is a very busy man. Besides his job as creative director of KIKS TYO, he is also a producer for Universal Music Japan, TV host and colomnist for Street Jack TV and magazine and also he is a professional DJ.

Shinichi Izaki has designed for New Balance Japan, Nike, Vans, Adidas, Levis, Eames, United Arrows, Fred Perry, Beams, Honda, Warner Brothers and DC Comics. There were collaboration models with Casio G-Shock with some of these brands. The DW-5000 Honda F1 was probably the first G-Shock collaboration model.
Shinichi had worked for the fashion and art collective Brownrats. Even with Brownrats there was already a collaboration with G-Shock in 2006, resulting in the G-056EB-9JR.
Ikazi and Aki Hoshino are both sneaker nuts. Ikazi has also a love for ols school Hip Hop. These fascinations are shown in most KIKS TYO products. A recent T-Shirt print showed the turntable of all turntables, the Technics 1200SL mkII modeled in a sneaker. Other prints are inspired by logo’s of legendary Hip Hop artists, like Public Enemy and Run DMC.
A returning theme are shirts with big photo prints with Aki Hoshino as a sneaker fetishist. On one print she holds a Nike PS3, a model where only 6 pairs were made of. A collaboration with photographer Yasumasa Yonehara (Yone) of Cexworks resulted in several new shirts, a book and a DVD. Yone has a very raw way of photographing, which can be seen on the new T-Shirt line up.
As a kind of compensation the “Hoshino Akitty” line will be released shortly. These funny prints, a humorous wink to famous Hello Kitty brand, shows a similar character in bikinis. They are only announced on the Japanese website, but I hope they will be eventually available for in the world wide shop.
Mainly KIKS TYO releases T-Shirts, but the in collaboration with New Balance and G-Shock they released two DW-5600 G-Shock’s in 2007. Earlier there was also a Nike Jordan G-5500 released in very limited edition and recently an Nike Air Max ‘95 G-5500 was released.

The G-Flash Pack as the 2007 KIKS TYO x New Balance x G-Shock collaboration was called contained of 3 limited edition model sneakers (New Balance 574 and 320), two DW-5600 models and a limited edition print T-Shirt showing Aki Hoshino with the black New Balance version and a gigantic KIKS TYO x G-Shock lace lock in the bikini.The two G-Shock models showed the color scheme of the NB 320 “Burning Red” and the NB 574 “Midnight Darkness” and both share the same name. The edges around the LCD are in the same speckled pattern as found on the sneakers. The KIKS TYO text logo is printed bold under the display. The speckled pattern is continued on the watchbands. The lettering shows <> and WATER 20BAR RESIST. These lettering are mostly found on Japanese only models, instead of the well known ILLUMINATOR and WATER 200M RESIST (This is not a general applying rule actually).
G-Shock Forum member Wah owns the KIKS TYO G-Shock 2 G-5500 model. It is a limited edition of 300 pieces. The color scheme is taken from the Nike AJ3-071. The cracked cement pattern used for this sneaker is also found back on the watchband. Actually you find it also back on it’s box. Before this model there was also another collaboration model released (KIKS TYO G-Shock 1). I do not know what model that was, only that it was from a very limited edition of 100 pieces.

The last 4 images were made by Wah for this article. Thank you Wah.

Sources for this article:

Sneaker Marmalade interview
 Further reading:
Collaboration Article by Riley on 50 Gs.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

# 13 Are you superstitious?

I bought my first G-Shock on June 5th 2000. Amazed by the variety of models, I started interested in other G-Shock’s. Within a few months my collection was growing. I discovered on-line auctions. In the Netherlands you had, which later was taken over by I bought new models in the shops, but also looked at used Gs on iBazar.

At the end of March 2001 I had 12 G-Shocks.

1: DW-004, Maroon, Solid Server

2: DW-003, Maroon, G-Lide

3: DW-003 Toughlabel with BPM Counter

4: AW-571, Gaussman, f200.- (€90.-, a lot of money that days for me) bought in a Sale on a dark rainy day. Bram was a 4 months old. I took him with me in his Maxi Cosy, after I picked him up at my parents.

5: DW-003, Green, 21st Century Boys, Tommy Guerero version

6: GT-004, Steel, G-Cool.

7: DW-003, White, light blue, G-Lide, bought from Charlotte Coppola

8: DW-6900H, yellow, Taxidriver, bought from Charlotte Coppola

9: DW-5600, red with black protector

10: DW-004, yellow, Crusher

11: GT-008, G-Cool, White

12: Dark blue, DW-9005, Heavenly High

There was a funny auction on iBazar at the end of March 2001. There was a poor picture of a DW-6600 posted (digital photography was not a very common thing at that time). The description was a bit like this:

Used watch looks for a new owner. It has been well used and has a lot of scars. Although the watch does not look well, it is still good working and a nice watch for doing the dishes.

Well, I work on a school laboratory and I could use such a watch. The auctions on iBazar were often for a month (thank God for eBay with a maximum length of 10 days, and most shorter than a week). I was the only bidder and I got the watch very cheap. I received the watch on April 3, 2001. It was exactly the way it was described.

When I woke up the next day, I made my lunch and took a shower. I dressed myself and took the DW-6600. I strapped it on. It was 8:20. I was in a hurry. I had an experiment on the 1st hour on 8:45. I drunk my tea and put on my Jacket. On 8:23 I stepped out the door and took my bike from the shed and rode to the city center. Of course I had all traffic lights against me. When I was at the last traffic light, about 8:32, I sprinted away. My bike computer showed me I was riding 25 km/h passing the supermarket. I was still accelerating, I must have been riding over 30 km/h. I passed the ticket box for the tourist boats. This ticket box actually blocked the view of the road and bridge behind it.

Then everything happened like in slow motion. 8:33. I ride up the crossing to the bridge. I see a car, a VW Golf. It was riding fast. No time to brake. The car tries to brake. Luckily I have done a lot of martial arts sports. In a reflex I jump up and throw my underarms before my face, to hold of the window shield. I hear my good old TREK (in cold ice plum) cracking and flying away. My hands stick on the broken window, my body moves on. Too fast, I can’t pull my arms up to protect me. I get launched from the roof. Head first. Bang!!!! My nose hit the street stones, TOCK! My front teeth smash trough my upper lip on the street. Then the rest of my body follows. My face is towards the street. I can’t see. It’s dark. I hear people. I’m still there. A voice is talking to me. I’m still conscious. My bag is removed from my back. I feel a lot of pain in my left shoulder. It had gotten a severe blow. I try to move my toes. I’m relieved. My spinal cord seems OK. An ambulance arrives. My bike is found back behind the ticket box. It was complete ruined. In hospital they found out I had not broken anything. My nose was glued together. Finally I reached Eva. I looked like this when I got home from the hospital.

The women who drove the car was a kindergarten teacher. She had forgot her reading glasses and was returning home in a hurry to get them. She was driving about 50km/h. My DW-6600 was still working like nothing happened. It means it survived a direct hit of about 75km/h on the window shield!

I actually realized later that this was my 13th watch and that the accident happened in the 13th minute I was wearing it. I am normally not a superstitious person, but it gets you thinking… I never wore this watch again. I gave the watch to Eva when the battery was dead. She took it to Vlissingen for battery change. Maybe G-Shock #13 was the watch that made me superstitious.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

April GW-300

For those of you following along at home, I have been wearing one G-Shock a month for a year. April's G-Shock is the revered and hated GW-300.

It's big, it's round, it has red highlights (I like red) and it has some fantastic features. Why the hate? Well, a bunch of these have either had a bad rechargeable battery, a bad module, or both. There are stories of perfectly fine watches malfunctioning for no apparent reason, and repaired watches crashing. Fortunately mine has been going strong for about three years and will hopefully keep going for many more.

The two main features on this watch are the solar cell that recharges the watch's battery and Casio's Waveceptor technology which receives the time signal broadcast from Colorado. With these two features the watch should never need a new battery nor need to be reset.

This was my first G-Shock and I'm looking forward to wearing it this month as it has been out of the rotation for awhile. Stay tuned for more.