Sunday, May 25, 2008

#19 Apportez-moi à la fin du monde.

I will publish articles I have written on my vacation in Cadenet in south France in the last two weeks of May and the first two weeks in June.. Of course I (and occasionally Bram and Eva) have shot photo’s on location. Probably some photo's will not be as sharp or clear as I wished, but I think they captured the feeling of the moment. The second article puts a spot on the "Gritstone, the yellow basic model of the DW-9100 Riseman.

Since 2002, the first holiday with Bram, and also the first holiday after I started collecting Gs, I take a small assortment of G-Shocks with me on a holiday.

In 2002 we went to a camping near Champignelles, a small village in the north of Bourgogne. It was a small farm camping, the farmer bred horses.

During day time it was nice warm, around 30°C. At night there was no light at all and it became very, very cold. We slept in a tent and in the morning most people on the camping who were sleeping in tents talked about this cold at night.

This brought me on an idea. My DW-9100 Riseman had a small recorder function on board. Every 15 minutes it samples the current altitude and temperature until the 50 data sets are full (12.25 hours, as the start time holds 1st position).

When the topic about the cold nights were discussed again, I agreed. "The temperature even dropped to 6.2°C at 6:15!". You must have seen the faces when I showed my recorded data. Since then I always have a Riseman with me when camping.

The watch I used then was my first Riseman. It was one of the basic versions, in Germany called "Skytramp". It's the version with the red lettering. The model featured today is the version with yellow lettering and accents, the "Gridstone". I actually wanted to feature the Skytramp, but I simply couldn't find when I was packing my vacation stuff and I didn't have much time to find it.

I got this Riseman from a good friend in Australia. He found the yellow accents a bit too much outstanding. He later bought a Men In Black (MIB) version, which is mainly black with a little white lettering. My Gridstone itself is in great condition, but fortunately the back of the band show much wear. I sometimes think about to buy new straps for it, but it still feels very comfortable.

The case of the Riseman is pretty unique shaped. Someone once wrote that it looks a bit like the parachute packs of Japanese parachutists. On the left side you'll find the sensors. The Riseman has a thermo sensor and a barometric sensor. On the back you will find Icarus in flight engraved.

On a good watch with a barometric function, you will always find a thermometer function. Barometric sensors are very accurate, but they show temperature drift. This means that the sensor output does not only change with air pressure, but also react on temperature changes. If the temperature is known, temperature drift can be eliminated.

The Riseman has an Altimeter function. The altimeter function is actually a barometric function. If you ascent, the air pressure decreases and vice versa. The barometric changes are very small, but with a very accurate temperature compensated barometric sensor, the altitude changes can be calculated. The accuracy of the Riseman is +/- 5m. You can debate if a higher accuracy is needed, but someone who seriously uses an altimeter, does climb a lot more than a few meters. The higher you ascent, the higher the relative accuracy.

Note that you always have to set your altimeter to the correct altitude before use. As the air pressure changes with weather, the altimeter will give different readings after weather changes. If the current altitude is not known, you can set a relative altitude, so you always know how much you ascent or descent. It might be clear now that the altimeter is more accurate at nice sunny weather, than in rough weather. If you get into a thunderstorm, the altimeter could go wrong for over 100m or more. There you go with your temperature compensated 5m accuracy.

Sensor watches (and electronic altimeters) consume more energy than "just" a digital watch. I use also Cateye altimeters. I have them build in some of my bike computers, and also have a specialized altimeter, that I often use on vacation in the car (see also picture in #18, "Jammin' dans le Soleil"). It's an AT-110. It can be used for hiking, skiing and paragliding (Fly mode). I need to change batteries before we go on vacation, because else they are empty while using, though it carries the big CR2032 battery. In the most accurate mode (Fly mode) this altimeter constantly samples the air pressure, and even gives alarms when the rise or fall speed is over 2 meters per second. In this mode my altimeter will only work for several days.

The Riseman is made for hiking. In altimeter mode, the first minutes the display is updated every minute, but soon it goes over to one refreshment in 15 minutes. I actually use the recorder function too when traveling to a country with mountains. I happen to live in a country where most parts are as flat as a pancake.

The Riseman came in Europe in three versions. The red version only had red lettering, the yellow version (as featured here) has also yellow buttons and the blue version has blue lettering and a blue strap. The strap is actually also unique. The upper part is made of parachute fabric. This might indicate you can use the watch for parachuting, but with the 15 minute sample frequency, I won’t recommend that.

The basic Riseman uses the 1664 module. This module has the ability to switch between meters and feet and also between °C and °F. Special models, like those of the "Men In ..." series, were made for the Japanese home market. These have the 1663 module, that only can display meters and °C. Actually I have no idea why two different modules are used (this is actually also the case with the DW-6700 Skyforce, the predecessor of the Riseman).

Since this watch is packed with features, I think we must be glad there is also a stopwatch function on board. I have a PRG-50 Protrek, which does not even have this function. It lacks the usual countdown timer function.

I think the Riseman was a great watch, ahead of it's time when it was released (and what to think of the DW-6700!). Nowadays the features are probably passed by the latest atomic ProTrek models and the also very popular Suunto and Nike AB(C) watches. I think it's still an great looking watch. I frequenty wear three models on rotation. One of the nicest model I own is the red translucent Terje Haakonsen Riseman.

Lately (as also featured in the Japanese magazine "G-Shock, The Complete Reader", March 2008) Casio announcced that the Riseman will evolve into a next generation Master of G. In August Casio will release the first 6 band Atomic G-Shock, the GW-9200 Riseman.

Casio claimes this watch is the most accurate they have ever made. New is that it also can use the public transmitter in China to adjust for atomic time.

The design of the GW-9200 follows that of the new Master of G models, the G-9000 Mudman and G-9100 Gulfman, but it also features the assymetry of the sensor, like on the good old one.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

#18 Jammin' dans le soleil

In the following 4 weeks I will publish articles I have written on my vacation in Cadenet in south France. Of course I (and occasionally Bram and Eva) have shot photo’s on location. Probably some photo's will not be as sharp or clear as I wished, but I think they captured the feeling of the moment. The first article puts a spot on my Jammin’ DW-6900.

It's 19:30 in the evening. I am sitting with a Pelforth Brune before the caravan. This says it must be holiday in France. Bram is playing football (for American readers, that’s the game you supposed to play a ball with your feet into your opponent's goal).My brother Paul sms-ed me that Queen's Day yesterday was very wet. Here in Cadenet (South France, near Aix en Provence) it was a very hot day. When we went to the city castle, the car thermometer told us it was 29°C in the shade around 16:00 (04:00 p.m.).

Summer days need summer watches. Fortunately I have brought some nice G-Shock's with me.
The Jam'in Color DW-6900MC-3VER is such watch. The jolly green colors shout out joy. I remember that my girlfriend Eva said she liked this colors. She does not often comment me on my watches. In the mean time my arms (and legs) are showing red. Too much sun I think.

The Jam'in Color series were released in 2006. This green version was of the first DW-6900MC models. While the red, white and blue versions were "jams" with black, the green model is a jam with yellow.

In the manufacturing process, the two colors are blended in the mold. Each bezel and watchband is different, so no 2 watches are the same.

In 2007 a second series DW-6900's were released. In this release the green and orange versions were blend with white resin. In my opinion a less successful combination.

I think of the first series, the white/black versions was by far the most popular. Often the patterns are called camouflage. Although it looks similar, camouflage patterns are printed or painted spots, while on the Jam'in Color models the colors are blended. Probably this model is not for everyone. The colors are bright and don't stay unnoticed. Maybe not a good model for in a formal office situation, but a nice sporty watch for summertime.

I have always loved the DW-6900 with 1289 module. For me the three eyes, ticking down the seconds above the main display, is one of the most attractive designs. It also looks impressive when illuminated.

On a Japanese website I once read that it's creator called the DW-6900 (with 1289 module) the "Triple Eye Devil". I always thought that was a good name. Although this is the most known DW-6900, there are also models fitted with a different module. The 1289 module is also found in some DW-002 models and the classic DW-8400 Mudman.

The basic DW-6900 was featured in the movie Mission Impossible II. The DW-6900 is therefore sometimes called MI:2, but it's not as much used as MI for the DW-5300 or Speed for the DW-5600C. In a close-up you can see that the lettering was removed and a fictive module (probably a virtually computer image) was used.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

#17 Mother's Day special: Amy Amber

First of all I would like to thank Vintage and Topher for their guest articles during my holiday in France. Great job guys! During my holiday I have also written four 50 Gs articles, which of course will be published here soon. But first, it's Mother's Day today. Why don't we have a look on the G of the mother in the house. Mother's watch is a Baby-G. I think this will be the only time a Baby-G will be featured.

Baby-G is a spin-off series of G-Shock. It features the same tough criteria as the G-Shock models, but it is smaller in size. The first Baby-G was the DW-500C-9B, released in 1993. This was actually a smaller DW-5600C version, with three buttons and no light. The bezel says G-Shock, it was only called Baby-G. Later, in 1994, Casio released some small models in the DW-6X0 range (with X = 0 to 5). A half year later the same models were released, but now with Baby-G on the bezel. Since then the Baby-G line was a sub brand of Casio by it's own. At first the brand aimed not specific on a gender, later more and more models become feminine.

Images above from Green Arrow Graffitty #4, 1997

Back to the BG-156B-4VSGF, also known as Amy Amber. It was part of the Autumn/Winter 2001- 2002 collection in Europe. Although not listed as a limited edition, this model was only short available, mostly on the German market. It was part of a series of six models with a flower decorated cloth strap.

Image: "Watch Twice", the autumn/winter 2001-2002 G-Shock & Baby-G catalogue.

I had shown this model early 2002 (on the computer screen) to my girlfriend Eva and she liked it. It was a few months before her birthday. I had a good source in Germany, so I ordered one there. It is not nice to talk about prices of presents, but I got it for a good price. Less than the suggested retail price, insured shipped from Germany. Buying it in The Netherlands would have been expensive. The common retail prices are much higher than the German prices. A similar Baby-G would cost €110.- here in the shops.

The Amy Amber has, like many other Baby-Gs of that time, a sturdy looking face protector. It gives the watch a somewhat sporty look. The leather/cloth strap suggests this watch is more a street fashion watch, less suitable for water sports

Like most other Baby-G models (and also the earlier mentioned DW-6X0 range) there are several animations in the display.

Every whole minute the day/animation display shows a big G, while the minute digit winks to the next minute. Every 10 minutes both minute digits wink, every whole hour the whole time display freaks out.

Every time the seconds reach 30 seconds, a dancing figure appears in the upper left display. This dancing figure also appears when the EL button is used. All these animations not really have a meaning. I think it is a kind of replacement of the time progression animation, that is found on many G-Shock models

Lets look at the features of this watch. It has a data bank function with 25 memory places. Today this function is probably useless, since every young woman (obvious the aiming group for these models) has a cell phone.

A funny function is the Day Counter. You can input a date and you will see how many days it is to reach that date, or how long it was ago. I just checked out I am walking around on Earth for 15213 days... Useless, but fun to know

This model has dual time on board. A handy feature if you travel a lot. I actually prefer this to World Time, because due to all different DST settings, the World Time functions on my G-Shocks are often wrong.

Further this Baby-G features 5 alarms with a hourly chime and a stopwatch function. The display is amber. The EL backlight is amber too.

Unfortunately Eva does not wear her watch much, but carries it around in her bag, among keys and other hard objects. When she wants to know time, she takes it out off her bag and when read the time, she throws it back. Needless to say, the watch looks pretty used and there are even scratches on the crystal, something that is hard to achieve when worn on a wrist, due to the face protector.

Only when Eva has a tight schedule she wears it. Remarkable was that she was wearing it on our trip home last Wednesday. I could not resist to take a picture of this unique moment.

Motigo Webstats - Gratis web site      statistieken Eigen homepage website teller

Monday, May 5, 2008

My first 'Real' Gulfman

(the following is a 'guest post')

Well, sort of. My first Gulfman was a GW-9100-1, which I purchased late in 2007. However, I feel that it really is just using the "Gulfman" name, as it has no tide graph or moon phase (stock photo below):

GW-9100-1.jpg picture by topher1254

The GW-9100-1 ended up going to my older brother as a birthday gift. He was in sore need of a durable watch. I was glad to provide it for him.

So I kept a lookout for a Gulfman which had at least the solar charging capability, along with the tide graph and moon phase (as I personally believe that these features make it actually a "Gulfman". Then, I forgot my search. After posting a sale ad for some watches I was getting rid of, an online friend asked if I would do a trade. He had available a DW-9701K-9JR (released in 2000), and my interest was rekindled.

So, I did the trade. He said it was in great condition, so I didn't even bother asking for pictures. When it arrived, I was amazed! The yellow bands, and the yellow writing really 'pops'. And it was 'Like New In Box' basically unworn, with all the booklets, boxes, manuals, and tags. Plus, he shipped it to me fully charged and ready to wear.

DSC03373.jpg picture by topher1254

DSC03375.jpg picture by topher1254

I.C.E.R.C. stands for the International Cetacean Education and Research Centers.

DSC03374.jpg picture by topher1254

DSC03377.jpg picture by topher1254

Casio puts out a special limited edition when I.C.E.R.C. organizes during the International Dolphin and Whale Research Network , and then donates the profits/proceeds to benefit the groups.

DSC03376.jpg picture by topher1254
"All As One" is actually a song made by a group named "Love Notes". They created a music promotional video for the single "All As One" in 1996, and the video was to be released in March. In May, I.C.E.R.C. made "All As One" their official theme song. Here is an extract of the lyrics that show (most likely) why the song was chosen:

"Long long time ago we were One.
As a member of the natural kingdom
we were in perfect harmony with all beings.
We spoke with the plants,
danced with the dolphins
and sang with the whales.
We were all One Family."

DSC03378.jpg picture by topher1254
This shows the very unique titanium caseback of the I.C.E.R.C. Gulfman with the logo for the International Dolphin and Whale Research Network.

I also want to echo the thanks given to Sjors for the ability to post here, as well as Greg's hospitality.