Sunday, April 5, 2009

#15 Five eyes

Mid march 2006 rumors of a new Mudman were heard. Soon even some photo's were found. The most surprising news was that there was going to be an Atomic Mudman and not just atomic, but 5 band atomic. 5 eyes? Maybe an Alien got lost? This watch was not of planet Earth.
Until the release of the Atomic Mudman, July 2006, Waveceptor models were only 2 or three band, restricting the model only to certain regions.
The original DW-8400 Mudman was a very big model. This was also due to the Mud Resistant bezel, that was put over the case. Casio took this concept over to the new Mudman and even further. The Mud resistant case now also covers a part of the back plate. With the announcement of the Mudman, also a BIG other name was revived. The term "Master of G" had disappeared for years. At a certain time I was updating my website and I could not even find the name of these legendary models. I was actually even thinking I was making up names.
"Master of G" G-Shocks were models with special purposes. Several times new innovations were introduced on these models. The first real "Master of G" was actually the DW-5500C, released in August 1985. It already got nicknamed "Mudman", because it had a mud resistant design. The same design now is seen on the G(W)-5500 models.
Other examples of new innovations of Casio introduced with a "Master of G" model are the Raysman (first Tough Solar model), the Antman (first Waveceptor model) and the Lungman (first model with heart rate monitor, measured the heart rate with an IR sensor in the finger).
Though the DW-5500C was nicknamed "Mudman", most people consider the DW-8400 as first real Mudman model.
Nobody expected new range of "Master of G" models in 2006. The reaction to the revival of the Mudman was very enthusiastic. Months before the release everybody wanted one.
Although I was very enthusiast about the non-atomic models, I had my doubt on the strange looking 5-eyed Mudman. I love the eyes on the DW-6900, but those are animated. The eyes on the Mudman only have one function, to show where the strongest transmitter at moment of reception. A part of me thought the 5 eyes were pretty much a waste of space. With later releases I think Casio thought the same. On the GW-9100 Gulfman the information of the 5 eyes were cropped together in one nice looking eye, on the GW-9200 Riseman the transmitter information is even totally left out.
After waiting a long time, on Jue 24th I got my first G-9000 Mudman (creme version), the GW-9000 arrived, according to my inventory, about a week later. As far as I know, I showed then photo's of new Mudman as first person on an website in English language outside Japan (with many thanks to my friend Katsu Higuchi San in Oita).
Well... It was quite a different G-Shock model. The mud resist construction may gave it the right to be called Mudman, but it was significantly smaller than the DW-8400. Though, at second sight, the new Mudman model was a nice watch to look at. Specially the non atomic models with the Dual Illuminator as big eye catcher.
The two photos above were of the first Mudman comparison photo's I made in 2006.
After seeing in person, I actually found the 5 eyes on the GW-9000 in real not annoying at all. Although the eyes take some space from the display, the time digits are relative big and have a very strong contrast. If I take a G-2300 and a DW-003 from my desk I see the time digits are at least the same size or even bigger on the GW-9000.
Under the time you can choose to show the day or the date. As I normally know what day it is, I don't care if the day is not shown in the date. The new Mudman has a bit funny asymmetric design. There are two round buttons on the bezel on the right side and two square buttons on the left side. It gives the watch a bit playful look. The buttons on the bezel are not really buttons, but softer spots in the bezel. The actual buttons are covered by the bezel and lie under those spots.
The only downside of the covered buttons is that they are pretty stiff when they are new. They loosen up when they are used a lot though. Actually you get used to it. It's also possible to make the bezel more flexible by boiling it for a short time in water.
The atomic reception works perfect where I live. In the beginning the transmitter in the UK was located in Rugby. At that time I lived practically halfway both transmitters, so it was always a surprise which signal was picked up. Since the UK transmitter moved North to Anthorn, I pick up mostly the Mainflingen (Frankfurt) signal, but as shown in one of the above photo's, sometimes the reception of the UK signal is better.
Although the G-9000 is not a very big G-Shock model, it looks pretty tough. Maybe because it has a compact look. Oneother reason reasons could be it's double closure on the buckle and the double row of holes in the watchband. The back of the watch looks pretty sturdy, because there are 4 big notches and 2 smaller ones. The function of those notches is not sure to me, but I think they are for ventilation under the case and for keeping the case in place on the arm. Although I have no problems with these notches, I found out some people find them annoying. I have seen people filing off these notches.
The watch has all the basic functions on board. The stopwatch is a 1000 hour type, alas the Countdown timer is only 60 minutes. I think 1000 hour countdown timer would be a bit over the top, but I would rather have seen a 24 Hour Countdown timer. Normally one alarm is enough for me, but the GW-9000 comes equipped with 5. The Worldtime mode makes this Mudman a very complete watch. The EL backlight is a bit short. Only 2 seconds and not changeable in length (the G-9000 does light up to 5 seconds). Probably not a problem for the average user, but for me as an amateur photographer, it's pretty annoying the light goes out before I can take a decent picture...
Post Scriptum: I learned about Chris Chameleon about a year ago. He was the support act of Spinvis. First he did a singer songwriter song in English, but the following song was in South African (if you speak Dutch you can understand for 80% what is said). This guy has a vocal reach that is amazing. Although you thought in the beginning "do we have to listen to this for a long time", in 2 or three songs everyone was amazed by his enchanting songs, leaving behind a completely stunned audience after a small gig of about 30 minutes...


Unknown said...

Originally I thought the eyes on the 6900 were hideous, but over time I have grown to love them - it's now one of my all-time favorite watches. However, I just can't stand these atomic reception eyes and I'm not sure I'll ever grow to really like them. I wish Casio would make them dual purpose - part of the time they could be counting seconds or something like the 6900 and then maybe there could be a special mode to see the reception! I think that would be pretty amazing.

Thanks for the great write up SJORS!

Philip Christian said...

The Chris Chameleon video was incredible. I have no idea what he is saying but his vocals are crazy! And of course a great watch review as well.