Casio wants to profile themselves as a company that cares about the environment. Of course most companies would like to profile themselves that way. Our school is linked to one of the biggest factories of one of the biggest chemical companies in the world. When you take a tour around the plants, you can spot a lot of rabbits and other wildlife all over the place. They say there is no safer habitat for these animals around the factory in the whole region.
About a year ago I visited another big chemical factory that produces natural resins for glues and chewing gums. During the tour around the plant we were pointed at a group of wild goose. The group landed on the company's ground many years ago and never left. The company is proud to have this population walking around the terrain as proof how nature friendly they are.
I was coincidently telling this to an old school friend of me yesterday. He says that between the waste plants where he works rabbits are hopping around and roe deer are almost hand tame.
Casio is of course not a chemical company, though a green image looks good on any company.
In the nineties Casio often used plastic containers around their watches. I think you remember those hexagonal boxes for G-Shocks. In Japan special models were sold in them, while a little different version was used in Germany for all G-Shocks. Also Baby-G models were packed in plastic. This time in blue semi-transparent containers.
Although these plastic containers look pretty cool, most of them were thrown away by the new owner of the watch. Not quite environment friendly. I think these containers were made of poly-urethane, like the plastic parts of G-Shocks. It's about the most durable polymer around. Good for G-Shocks, not good as package material.
At the end of the nineties Casio begins to realize this too and nowadays the package materials are made of recycled paper.
Nowadays Casio publishes an annual environment report. By reducing energy consumption and waste the company is proud to be climate neutral.
On more fronts Casio is working on a green image. One of their goals is that in the future all watches are Tough Solar. Rechargeable batteries last as least 3 times longer than conventional Lithium or Silver Oxide batteries.
In the Timepieces department Casio has released several models and series to promote organizations with an environment preservation character.
In 50 Gs the W.C.C.S. and I.C.E.R.C. Have been highlighted before. Since 1994 Casio releases almost annually one or more ICERC models in the G-Shock and Baby-G range. The 2009 models were just released about three weeks ago. Recently I bought a "Masai Mara" Codename from a series that supports a wildlife reserve in Kenya. Not only G-Shock and Baby-G models are supporting nature projects. Casio also released Birdlife models in the Protrek range.
In 2009 Casio comes up with a new range to support environment organizations. It's "Love The Earth And The Sea" series (yes, every word begins with a capital, not only the pronouns).
L.T.E.A.T.S. supports Earthwatch Institute. Earthwatch is not supporting a specific environmental project, but acts as a global platform for dozens of projects worldwide. It seems the I.C.E.R.C. Is part of Earthwatch too, since the 2009 models have both the I.C.E.R.C. and L.T.E.A.T.S. logo, but that’s another story.
I discovered at the end of February on my friend 山猿 his photo weblog a photo of a green frogman from a new retailers catalog.
A green Frogman has always been absent on the list of all released models. Well, almost, one of the Triple Crown models (2005) had dark green straps, but a black case.
Finally, since the first Frogman release in 1993, a green Frogman, the most logical color for a "Frog" (as these models are often named to by G-Shockers). Although frogs appear in nature in wide color ranges, as shown in Petew's great article about the relation of poisonous frogs and Frogman models, in most people's perception a frog is green. I wonder how much Sesame Street and The Muppet Show has contributed to that perception, though in the short time after it's release June 2009 the nickname "Kermit" popped up (inevitably). It would be funny if Petew came up with a poisonous green frog now. Specially,because the green shade of this Frogman in my country is described as Poison Green. Actually it was pretty hard to get the color right on the screen.
Although I have thoroughly corrected (whited) the white balance, the watch appeared a shade more yellow on my screen. I have manually tried to set the color closest to the watch I could get.
The suggested retail price of this Frogman, ¥32000, is ¥2000 yen more expensive than the recently released Men In Rusty Black Frogman. A logical explanation is that a portion of the price of the watch is donated to Earthwatch (probably ¥2000, about $20).
I am often asked what I paid for an JP model, so I am happy to say I honestly have no idea. I ordered this Frogman months ago together with the I.C.E.R.C. Gulfman, not knowing that they would be released at the same time (well, I think the Frog had to wait about 4 or 5 days for the Gulfman). Therefore I paid for both the models plus shipping. I got my Frogman from my friend Katsu Higuchi-San of Higuchi Inc, Oita, Japan.
After spending 10 long days at the Dutch customs office (in the past this was maximal 3 days!) this Frogman finally arrived at my front door.
The Frogman comes in a simple (environment friendly) cardboard box. Besides the standard Casio logo, the logo of L.T.E.A.T.S. and FROGMAN is printed on it. The L.T.E.A.T.S. logo looks pretty much like the I.C.E.R.C. logo. Inside the box you do not only find a manual (in Japanese of course, you find the English 2422 manual here), but a small newspaper too.
The FROGMAN logo on the box is in yellow and green. Personal I think it gives the logo more a Rasta appearance, but this color combination becomes clear after opening the box.
Instead of using the standard silver color for the metal parts they used gold color, like on the 25th anniversary models. I could have known this when I studied better on the official photo's of Casio. It's a nice surprise. I would have thought silver accents would have been better, but the gold accents turn out to be pretty nice.
A cool feature on this model is the come-back of the diving Frog in the EL backlight. Funny designs in the EL backlight are discussable. Personally I think they are funny, but frankly sometime the don't make it easier to read time when lit. I often wear my Rescue-G Gulfman. At night I have to watch twice or three times to figure out time. On my "M.I.B. Mudman in sheep clothes" it's practically impossible to read time with the EL lit. The swimming frog in this model distracts a little, but time is still good readable.
Setting time is always a bit difficult on the Frogman. A GW-200 type Frogman is standard set to Japanese time (GMT+9). The time is linked to a "home location". Instead of Worldtime, a GW-200 (like the DW-9900 type Frogs by the way) has "Site Mode" with 10 diving locations pre-programmed. You can link the watch time to one of these locations. Cool if you live at one of these locations, like the Great Barrier Reef or Hawaii, but a pity if you live in Zeeland, The Netherlands. You can reprogram these locations, so I have set one of the less interesting sites (I believe GUAM, so I don't have to make letters blanc) to Middelburg (currently DST on, GMT+2). If you have set this your home location as one of the sites (actually my province is popular for diving, but don't expect tropical "Finding Nemo" scenes underwater since the water is much colder here), you must return to the main time keeping mode. In Time Adjust mode you can now choose your home site. Also in this mode you can toggle DST, so you don't have to do that in "Site Mode".
This bit cumbersome way of setting time will probably over on the next Frogman. A totally new Frogman model will appear on the marked next autumn or winter. This model will be Atomic. Photo's of a study model revealed on Baselworld earlier this year also showed a Tidegraph, a handy tool for sea divers. Well that was the good part of the news on a new Frogman model. The bad news, according rumors, is that it is going to be very expensive.
Frankly I find the current GW-200 line pretty expensive already with the newest models in the $300 - $350 range. As a simple educational assistant these prices are hardly to call affordable. A much more expensive Frogman will probably be less collectible, because they will be almost affordable for most G-Shock collectors. Maybe the GW-200 line will exist besides the new Atomic Frogman. The Future will learn.