Thursday, July 31, 2008

4 Generations of Frogs

It's the last day of July. I think an excellent time to have an summary of the 4 generations Casio Frogman's.

From left to right: DW-6300 (since 1993), DW-8200 (since 1995), DW-9900 (since 1999) and GW-200 (since 2001). I recently got an e-mail telling the GW-200 is still not at the end of the line. It is still a rumor, but it is told that there will be some re-releases of the Frogman in 2009, like there were in 1999).

Let's see what Greg has for us in August. I am sure I will return to the a Frogman subject at least once. There is still a very nice model that deserves to be shown by me;-)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

#29 The first Frogman

About most of the watches I show here on 50 Gs, there is a story. Some stories are better than other. To be frank. I only know is that this Frogman fell thought the letterbox on February 6th, 2004. I didn't pay an enormous amount of money for it. I think it was around DM 60.- (€30.-).
There was one on eBay earlier today for a very low price. I don't know how it ended, but it's still possible to get this heavy weight for a nice price from time to time.
If you take a look at this model, it probably occurs that the name FROGMAN is totally absent. The Japanese version has the text FROGMAN on the back, the overseas model just reads G-SHOCK.
The DW-6300-1A was released on Augustus 1993. You can read on the serial number mine is number 783 produced in July 1993.
According to Casio the bezel, a combination of asymmetry and a round shape, is inspired from the hatch of a submarine.It never occurred to me when I visited this submarine about a year ago, but I can see the resemblance now.
Probably the most famous DW-6300 owner is the diver Nuno Gomez. On June 10th, 2005 he set the new scuba dive record to 318.25 meter (1056ft), wearing a DW-6300-1A.
Although the case is made of metal (Stainless steel, hence it's heavy weight), it is totally covered with a resin bezel. I actually like that. It gives the watch a rough and sturdy look. Maybe the lot of metal on the DW-8200 and DW-9900 makes them less attractive to me, and explains why I very much love the GW-200 models.
The strap just have one row of holes, but the little bumps on the strap gives the suggestion it is very strong.
G-Shock's are mostly rated 200 meter water resist. This actually just means the watch is guaranteed water resist during scuba diving with normal air. This was the first G-Shock that was ISO rated 200m Water Resist. This means this Frogman passes the ISO 6425 test.
The DW-6300 ws released in 1993. This means it does not have the characteristic EL Backlight yet. That was introduced several months later in 1994 on the DW-6600. Actually I don't miss it on this model. The heavy weight and the screw back reminds this watch to the classic DW-5200C and DW-5600C that I have. This watch doesn''t match an EL backlight. This beautifull green light bulb finishes it's good old vintage look.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

#28 "Thirst for Adventure!" DW-9900MD-2T, the Mad Dog Frogman

I realized I could not cover all Frogman models that I wanted if I wrote 4 articles. Therefore I wrote this extra article.
A little stranger in the Frogman line is the 3rd generation Frogman, the DW-9900, introduced in April 1999. First of all the watch case is significant smaller than it's predecessors. The reason for this could be the fact that G-Shock's look a very big on the wrist of Japanese and other East Asian people as they are average smaller and much finer build than West European and US people. Therefore a big Frogman or other G-Shock could look pretty cartoonesque on a Japanese wrist.
There is another difference with it's predecessors. Have the DW-6300 and the DW-8200 the FROGMAN text on the left side of the bezel, on the DW-9900 it is on the right side. Also there was a special overseas model. In stead of the text FROGMAN, there is the text SEAMAN. The model number for the Seaman is DW-9950, but the dimensions and features are exact the same as for the DW-9900. My first DW-9900 model was the DW-9900MD-2T, the Mad Dog Frogman. I won it on an auction 4 years ago, mid July, 2004.

The Mad Dog Collaboration Frogman was released by Casio in July 1999. It's navy blue in color and has yellow lettering on the bezel. The name of the company and their credo: "Quest for knowledge, Thirst for adventure" is written on the watchband.
Mad Dog Expeditions is a very interesting company. They are specialized in extreme dive expeditions on places where you normally not easy would come. Diving at the Bikini Atoll, diving in the arctic. Diving deeper than 50m with special gas mixtures. You name it, they do it. They also accompany expeditions for underwater nature films. Mad Dog Expeditions is founded in 1994. They were named after their late company mascot, the dog Alice. Alice was thrown out of a car in Greenwich Village in 1995 before Christmas. Apparently her former owner did not want to take her on holidays. She was always taken on expeditions. I'm not sure what was the company name before Christmas 1995...
When the Master Blue Frogman was released in November 2007, everybody was enthusiastic about the black buttons.
Actually I thought I had not seen this before. Actually, even when I was taking these photo's, I did not see it. This model has black buttons too.
Something that caught my eyes when I saw this Frog for the first time was the watchband. All other Frogman models have flat watchbands with two rows of holes, the DW-9900 type Frogmans (including the DW-9950 Seaman) have a structured watchband. This gives the watch a more rugged look and makes you forget it's a little smaller than it's brothers.
The Mad Dog logo is also shown in the back engravement. The serial number learns us this watch was produced in May 1999. When I took the watch out of it's box for this photo session, the battery was dead. An excellent occasion to get a rare look inside of this frog. Note the 2 springs and two metal lips. The springs are for the alarm speaker, the lips are probably needed for the EL-backlight or for checking if the back is closed.Although Alice passed away a few years ago, she is still proud present in the EL-Backlight. Mad Dog Expeditions write about her: "She had the spirit of a true explorer and adventurer that kept on going. Alice was the "Brains" behind our operation and well known around town for her stunning good looks and charm.She is missed by all."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

#27 Men in Yellow Frogman

About a year ago (June 2007) I got a message from a good friend in Australia. He had bought a DW-8200Y-9T M.I.Y. Frogman. It was his first Frogman and was at first excited about it, but later he realized the yellow color was too much outstanding for him. He found this Frogman in Australia and had paid an unbelievable low price for it. As a friend and fan of my website he offered me his MIY Frogman for the same price as he got his. I mailed him he was sure he wanted to part from it, and he was sure about the price too. It was at around half the price what was regular for this model in good but used condition.
After a good week waiting for my package, it arrived. Without Tax problems, which was very pleasant. My girlfriend and son were going for 18 days to my sister in law in Uganda. For the tax and duties sometimes asked for a package from outside Europe I can eat for a whole week.
So I started unpacking. Instead of one box, I found three boxes. And it was not Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) yet for months. In the first box I found my Frogman. The bright beautiful yellow. To my big surprise I found two other G-Shock's in the other bags too. I was completely amazed. A small letter told me they were gifts. Awesome.
Now have you probably read last week in my post #26 that I wasn't too enthusiast about my DW-8200-1A. Somehow colored versions of the DW-8200 look bigger too me. I happen to own a DW-8200GF-4JF Metallic Red Frogman too. I cannot explain, but that model also looks bigger than the basic version too.Since I got my MIY Frogman it has gotten a lot of wrist time. I pretty much like yellow and red G-Shock's. This Frog looks very big and looks quite nice on my wrist. It's also a bit heavy. Probably because the case is not made of the regular titanium, but of stainless steel. It gives you also the feel that you wear a big watch.
The Men In Yellow series were released in March 1998. It followed the Men In Black series, that were released October 1997. Where MIB were a big wink to the movie, the MIY series were the start of a new kind of series on their own. Every Men In... serie were Master of G models in a certain color pattern. From all Men In... series, the MIY series always attracted me the most. I managed to get almost all MIY models. Only the Fisherman unfortunately is missing in my collection.
My MIY Frogman is pretty much used. Not that it's in bad shape, but it has signs of wear. Of course also because I wear it also from time to time. I have been looking out for new straps and maybe a new bezel for it, but unfortunately I haven't run into them. I have other plans in the near future, but when I have bought those G's I will dig into Yahoo JP to find a pair of straps and a bezel for my Frog. It would be great to have my Frog in like new state.
In 2000 the last Men in ... series were released. The Men In White Gray. In that time the term Master of G slowly disappeared, until suddenly in 2006 Casio revives the term for the new G-9000 Mudman model. In 2007 the G-9100 Gulfman was revived and lately totally unexpected the Riseman celebrated it's comeback!
Barely the Riseman was released or the rumor of an orange Riseman appears. Not soon later (in fact less than 10 minutes) I found out that a new Men In Rescue Orange will be released in September. Awesome! Go Casio, Go!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Black Knight - DW-8200BK-1JF Real Black Frogman

Back to some years ago, I came from the world of mechanical watches and knew nothing about G-Shock (G's). I remember the first time when I saw a G's frogman from a magazine, I was impressed by its functions, toughness and appearance. But still, I thought it was an electronic watch, far not up to the class of any of my mechanicals. Until I tried to buy one frogman from a famous chained shop in Hong Kong selling different kinds of G's, I even couldn't find one among their 100's G's displayed. It then increased my interest and started my life of frog hunting.
In a special occasion, I met a girl who sold a Japanese imported frogman to me through Yahoo Hong Kong where I won the bid. When she knew I was searching frogman anywhere, she offered me an account in Yahoo Japan in where I could directly bid any G's I like. She and her Japanese friends would then take care of the logistic arrangement throughout the process until delivering to my hand. Of course she charged me management fee. With this powerful tool, I scanned Yahoo Japan several times a day and always slept late during the peak period. As a result, it accelerated my hunting and now I have got more than 55 frogmen in two years time.
I love all my frogs but this DW-8200BK-1JF Real Black is always in the top three. Its unique pink display, black bezel and rarity make it a truly collectible item. When I got my first Real Black frog for collection, I originally planned to buy one more for wear but it ended up with four but none for wear!
I know it was quite ridiculous for buying four holy grails but didn't wear even one. So some months ago, I decided to take out one for wear. Don't laugh! It is already a big step forward to me.
I really love it and it occupies 70% of my wrist time if I wear a G's.
In my heart now, G's is no longer an ordinary electronic watch, it is my collection. Frogman? It is the starting point of all my other G's collections.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

# 26 My first G-shock Frogman.

I think I didn't realize I was going to collect G-Shocks in the beginning. I did not have internet access back in 2000, but when I became more interested I began searching about more info. First at school, in quiet hours. Around Christmas 2000 I finally got cable internet at home.While searching for info I mainly found shops, selling the late 90's collection. There was only one English collectors website. There was a guy in England, I believe his name was Daniel, who had 6 G-Shocks. So most websites I found were from Japanese collectors. They showed the most exciting models. I did not know about translation software yet (Google was not known here yet, but I was soon introduced to Altavista Fabble Fish by friends), so I mainly watched pictures.One of the most eye catching things was that most collectors focused on the DW-8200 Frogman models.
Frankly, I didn't really understand. It did, in my eyes, not look as a G-Shock. All models I knew were the many DW-003, DW-004, DW-6600 and DW-6900 models. This Frogman looked so different. The watch was asymmetric, not only in form, but also in connection to the straps. And to be straight... I thought it was looking a bit ugly. A good motivation to focus collecting other beautiful G-Shock's.

So I collected about 110 G-Shock models in the next two years. But I am a curious person.

It is like with music. If people and critics write a band high in the sky, but I don't like it, Massive Attack comes into my mind, I try hard to find what other people hear in it. I even bought a box with the first 3 CD's of Massive Attack and played them several times.
So in spring 2003 I see one of those Frogman auctions on eBay Germany. There were still no fake Frogs at that time. There were also not many collectors, about 2 or 3, active. So I won the auction. The prices were still reasonable those times. I thought the €60.- I paid for it actually a bit expensive, quite unthinkable these days.
On April 9th 2003, just before I started G-Peopleland, I got my first Frogman. It was practically unworn. Just as I thought, I was not really impressed. As I went swimming a lot those days, I strapped it on several times. It looked strange on my wrist, but, due to the asymmetrical shape, it was actually pretty comfortable. Still I preferred to swim with one of my Raysmans.

My feelings for the basic DW-8200-1A (released June 1995) did not really change much. I like it now, just like some songs of Massive Attack are nice, but that’s just it.

No, the love for the Frogman came later. In May 2003 Casio announced the red jelly GW-203K-4JR. This was the Frogman I was waiting for. This was the Frog with all the looks, shapes and features I love in a watch.
The GW-200 models are awesome. Expensive, but awesome.
Here I have a DW-8200 model with the same dimensions (though in stainless steel in stead of Titanium), but I totally love it. Strange how things can go.

I always wondered what happened to Daniel...