Sunday, August 2, 2009

#34 Sunshine and Happiness

Today's subject is a pretty common G-Shock. It's the DW-6630B-9, released November 1994. It was one of the first G-Shock models released in Germany*. It seems it was an instand success. Even now you can find them easily on eBay Germany for an apple and an egg.
I think I have three of them and I probably haven't paid more than €20,- for each of them.
Besides this yellow version, also a purple version was available in Europe. That version is not really rare, but it's not often found for sale anymore. No wonder if you realize it's a 15 year old digital watch. I think the purple version is also pretty cool.
In fact yellow is a color used often by Casio G-Shock. I once learned from an interview with a G-Shock designer that the deep yellow color is called "Positive Yellow".
A visit to the wikipedia page for yellow learns there are a lot of very positive associations with this color. Amazingly, since yellow only covers a small band in the electromagnetic wave spectrum: 570 - 580 nm.
Commonly associations with yellow are: sunshine, warmth, summer, fun and happiness. This explains why this summer a yellow version of the basic GW-6900 and GW-M5600 were released.
In 1994 this must have been a very cool watch. Digital watches were around that time normally square and much smaller, while this model is pretty big. The bright yellow color and the face protector must have added a lot to the "Cool Factor".
As you can see my watch has some battle scars, though for a 14 year old watch I think it still looks great. If you have also a "bull bar" with pieces of paint chipped off, you can easily repaint them with enamel or spray paint. Also you can choose to remove the paint with sand paper for a metal look (works better on other, darker, colors I think).
Around the display there is a mirror ring. Besides some functions of the buttons (as far not present on the bezel) it shows the text FOXFIRE. For overseas models normally the term ILLUMINATOR is used. These terms are used to inform they have an EL-backlight.
Also the text WATER 20 BAR RESIST is printed above the display. Usually 20 BAR is only used for the Japanese domestic models, while overseas models show 200M. These two texts suggests that this model was originally targeted for the dominestic market only.
It's generally assumed that the term FOXFIRE comes from the movie Firefox (1982). A ultra modern jet fighter called Firefox (MIG-31) plays the center role. When the cockpit is opened, all instruments light up brightly (I actually haven't seen the movie yet).
The display of the 1199 module is not separated in sub-dials or eyes. Still you can divide the display into 3 parts.
The upper part shows day and date or the mode you are in. Also it shows time in Alarm and Countdown Mode.
The middle part shows animated time passing. A bit strange is they use the six blocks above for evey 5 seconds and it starts over every 30 seconds. The 5 triangles count away the seconds.
The lower part shows time or the important times in other modes. A pity that there is only one pitch alarm tone. Most G-Shocks give a different beep if the Timekeeping Mode is selected.
I discovered a funny surprise when setting the time correctly. Pretty unusual for basic G-Shocks, when setting times you can also use the upper right button to decrease the value. Pretty handy, since this module tends to be a bit fast and I haven't worn this watch for a long time.
The Countdown function can set maximal to only 60 minutes. If the time is set to 0'00" the countdown timer won't start, so effectively it's a 59'59" timer.
The Stopwatch function is quite luxurious equipped. You can use it as a normal stopwatch, but you can use a 5 seconds countdown. Pretty unique is that you can set a target time. 5 seconds before you pass the set target time, the alarm sounds for 5 seconds.
As I wrote before, the DW-6630B was one of the first G-Shocks with an EL-backlight. Already Casio used this model to show a cool figure when the ribbed black EL button is pushed. In the background a big yellow G appears. The use of a yellow backlight figure is pretty rare. Usually red or dark blue is used.
* According to Joakim Ågren G-Shocks were at least available from 1992 in Sweden. The introduction of G-Shock in Germany in 1994 seems not to comply for whole Western Europe.


Unknown said...

Hi Sjors,

I have one too, after 15 years of hunting it. But is a basic model DW-6600-1 with non "G" alphabet after you pressing the EL button. This model is one of my favorite because the EL is so bright.

*Note: This model is the only model that has no built in yearly calendar which can be use as long as you want it.....



rockysgarage said...

Hi Sjors,

Still enjoy my yellow DW-6630B with a powder coated red protective band. Pressing the big EL button just fades out the display. Looking for a new Yellow G Shock.