Sunday, January 25, 2009

#3 Terje Haakonsen Riseman

Photo credit: Oakley.

Terje Haakonsen is a world famous snowboarder. He rides for Burton Snowboards and was the initiator of the Oackley Arctic Challence.
The official Burton Snowboards website starts his bio:

"What can be said about Terje that hasn’t been said already? Right when you think the guy has set to simmer, he reappears, guns blazing. Need proof? Then check out “It’s Always Snowing Somewhere,” Burton’s latest team video. Co-founder of The Arctic Challenge and all around versatile bloke, Terje secret just may be the healthy, organic lifestyle that he promotes. Fueled by a constant flow of Omega-3’s, Terje’s off snow time (which is ample when you consider that he only rode a handful of days last season) is spent chilling with his family, growing veggies, surfing, playing soccer, and kneading dough in his organic bakery/café. Not too shabby for dude who was born in a taxi."
Photo credit: Burton Snowboards

In 1993, 1995 and 1997 Terje won the I.S.F. World Championship half-pipe and won a lot of other prices. In 2007 he set the highest air (9.80 m) during a qualification doing a backside 360.

In January 1998 Casio honored Terje by releasing a signature series series of 5 DW-004BD X-Treme models (X-Treme is the Japanese variant of the G-Lide series). In January 1999 a new Terje Haakonsen signature series was released. This time Casio used the Master of G for Altitude, the Riseman. Not less than 4 different versions were released.
To be complete, in 2000 a Terje Haakonsen Wademan was released. It might be a confusing model, since it says Haaken on the watchband and his signature (saying Haakon) in the EL backlight. Haakonsen means "Son of Haakon, which might explain this.
The Terje Haakonsen version is different from the basic version. Where the basic version has straps made of leather and parachute cloth, this model has a high comfortable rubber strap. The longest end seems longer than normal, probably made to fit over your jacket in the snow. The green parts of the strap are translucent, so that light can play with it. The crystal is a little sphered, which makes it, like the Raysman, harder to make good photo's with no reflections. In my opinion these reflections do not affect reading the display under normal outdoor and indoor circumstances.
I have two of the Terje Haakonsen Riseman. My first one is an unworn red version, this one is a worn grey/green version. The exact model number is DW-9100BD-8AT.
The module number of this Riseman is 1664. This is the Japanese Riseman module, that cannot switch to imperial units.
A nice touch from Casio are the metal buttons. I actually suspect these are metallic plastic buttons, but they look very real. Although this watch has been worn quite a lot, there seems no trace of wear on the butttons.
A returning theme on this Riseman are cats. Snow leopards to be more precise. There are paws on the end of the strap and the strap keeper is a cat's face.
Even funnier, if you look at the back, there is even a funny cat's tail (nice detail).
The snow leopard also comes back in EL backlight of 3 of the 4 models (the red version shows Terje in one of his jumps).
The Riseman has two sensors. The most important (if you want to call yourself a Riseman) is the barometer sensor. The other sensor is the Thermometer sensor. The barometer sensor is very accurate and because of this accuracy, it can be used to measure altitude differences.
This sounds pretty awesome, but there are two "buts". First a barometric sensor is not only air pressure dependent, but also temperature dependent. Well, Casio solved that problem easy. It has also a thermometer on board. I hope it can operate in Terje's habitat, the minimum working temperature of the watch is -20ºC. Second, if you want a accurate reading of your Altitude, you need to set your altitude. If the weather is stable, you can use the Altimeter function for many hours. Since air pressure always changes, your altitude readings change too if you do not set it for a long time. Still barometric altimeters are the most reliable, though GPS based altimeters can be an alternative.
The Riseman also has a recorder function on board, which can store 50 time-altitude-temperature datasets. When the recorder is activated, a sample is taken every 15 minutes, so you can maximal record 12.5 hour trips.
The basic functions on the Riseman are in fact sober. Just one alarm and a 24h Stopwatch.I bought this watch from a good friend and a colleague teacher. I think I paid around $100.- - $125.- (shipped) for this watch, which is in my opinion a good price.
As you can see on the back, you can understand why this series is called the Terje Haakonsen signature series. His signature is engraved on the titanium backplate. The 4 small bulbs on the back protector are probably there for ventilation.
There it is again, the snow leopard. The returning cat theme is a wink to Terje's amazing high jumps. Like a cat falling from hight, he always returns on his "feet" (board).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

#2 Native Rocker: See you later alligator!

Sometimes I see older G-Shock series that make me think: "I wish I was into G-Shocks back then". Sometimes you get the opportunity to get one of these models. It might be too far to call them my Holy Grail, but I am always happy if I find one in good condition for a nice price.
Some of the models on that were on this wishlist for a long time are the A.D.M.A. Codename, 900° Terje Haakonsen X-Treme, yellow ISF, Man in Black models, and this Rock Native model. The A.D.M.A. and Rock native can be removed from my list.
The Rock Native series were released in November 1997. The series contained 5 models.

The watches came in a clear plastic show container, with the name of the series printed on it. This type of containers were the usual packaging for G-Shock watches in the late 90's. Since around 2000 G-Shock watches were presented in cardboard boxes.
While the plastic containers are great for displaying your collection, cardboard boxes are much more environment friendly. Not everyone is as strange as me, keepin hundreds of G-Shock in a collection. The most buyers of a G-Shock of course buys the watch as a daily beater and the package is thrown away.
This series have leather straps, with metal rings as strap keeper. The leather straps is inspired by American psychadelic rock, the embroided feather is an native symbols for Peace and Love.
The models have a native symbolS in the EL-backlight. Mine has an alligator, which stands for "the power to Survive". The other models have a hedgehog, a bear's claw, a horse and a beaver in the EL-backlight.
The Rock Native models are all DW-003 models with a 1662 module. The DW-003 models can hold a lot of modules, but the 1662 module has the most functions. Beside the standard Alarm, Stopwatch and 24h Countdown Timer, this model features Dual Time and a Telememo function.
A funny side note, the Dual Time function does Not work like the now common used World Time function. Instead of 30 minute offset interfals of the normal time, you can set the time and date completely independent. The only parameter shared are the seconds.
The series were actually called Nexax Rock Native series. Nexax is a term used for the round cases of the DW-001, DW-002 and DW-003 cases.
The English term used for these models was called "Capsule Tough". The English term was not used as much as Nexax, though I think the English term tells more about the case structure. "Capsule Tough" means the module "floats" in shock absorbing constructions on all sides.
You can sometimes notice this floating when pushing a button. If you push hard you sometimes can see the module moving a little bit.
Although the term Nexax was used a lot in Japan, the name was never found on the G-Shocks or their straps. Only sometimes on the packaging.
I found this watch on the WUS sales corner in November 2008. Actually it looked like nobody noticed it, since it was for sale for some time before I noticed it.
The seller was Stockae92, a good friend and my co-moderator on the G-Shock forum (I hope you get my Christmas card this year before Easter :-)).
Actually I bought a DW-003 with a similar module from Stockae92 before, somewhere in 2007. That one is also an interesting model, with only a little background information. It might be a nice subject for a future 50 Gs article too.
The Rock Native theme inspired me to take photo's in a Rock studio. Since I have a studio for electronic music, I went to a nearby friend's studio.
Though I expected a bunch of guitars, basses and amplifiers, he proudly showed me his vintage synthesizer collection (ARP's, KORG's, Sequencial Circuits, a Roland SH-2000, a Chroma Polaris). Luckily Rock Native was inspired by psychadelic rock...
A big shout to my friend WUT (Wouter Apner) for the use of his house and studio. Check out the link to his My Space page.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

#1 G-Comando

"Welcome back, Commander!". With this text Command and Conquer Tiberian Sun games welcome their player. Well, I try to start a second series of 50 Gs. I know normally I post on Sunday, but I couldn't make it this weekend. With some improvisation I managed to take some pictures. It is still painful, but I seem to be able to type with two hands.

5 years ago it was hard to find information about G-Shock on the Internet in English. With G-Peopleland I seemed unexpected to fill a need for many. More interesting was the start of a G-Shock forum on the WatchUSeek (WUS) watch portal. A forum dedicated to "plastic watches" on a well respected watch portal. Unbelievable!
The forum became popular fast, and since "two people know more than one", the G-Shock forum fast became a wealth of information. It was remarkable how much people had information about G-Shock.A few years ago the need for G-Shock information in Spanish became clear. Luckily I knew Adan from Madrid, who had helped quite some G-Shock owners. I know Adan from the beginning of the WUS G-Shock forum. As a big fan of the Raysman he often showed his on the sunny beach or his swimming pool.
Later the Rising Sun Watch Forum (RSWF) was created on Hablemos de Relojes (HdR, Talk about Watches). This became the platform for G-Shock collectors in Spanish language. The RSWF was actually a forum for all Japanese brands. Specially for G-Shock a new forum was created, G-Comando.
G-Comando is a pretty popular forum on HdR with pretty active members. In spring 2008 one of the members created a T-Shirt, which not only became popular on G-Comando, but also on the WUS G-Shock forum. They organized meetings for G-Shock fans. Check out the photo of Bram wearing my T-Shirt.In December I found out Adan was working on a new project for G-Comando. It was not even sure which model would been used, but soon I was glad to hear the popular DW-6900 was chosen.The first goal was to produce 30 watches, but later the total amount was reuced to 13 pieces. So you can consider this a very rare piece.When I told Adan I was interested, he told me you could reserve a number. My favorite number is 303, but that is a bit difficult if maximal 30 were made. The most logic number for was #3.Soon after I gave Adan my preferred number, I got conformation. This number was not yet claimed.I actually didn't know how fast this series would be ready, but I got before Christmas a mail the watch was on it's way. On the afternoon before New Years Eve, the doorbell rang. I got a package, that I immediately recognize as a Spanish Postal bag. Since I had a broken left elbow, it took me a while to strip the package, but finaly I got inside. Another box I managed to get open. Finally I could open the tin.The watch is based upon the DW-6900E-1ER model, a model that is released only in Europe, also know as "Rough Rowdy". Hasty as I was I looked everywhere for my unique serial number. I thought it was etched on the back. In daylight the EL backlight with the G-Comando logo was already very cool. When I looked closer, I found the serial number at the bottom of the EL. This must be the rarest G-Shock in my collection. Also interested in making Custom EL's? My friend Murphy (Japan) once made this page with great photo's.

This article is dedicated to Adan's enthusiasm and his G-Comando team!