Sunday, August 23, 2009

#37 Jam'in Muddy Waters

Probably the most remarkable come-back in the G-Shock line was the release of the G-5500 in 2006. The DW-5500 from 1985 was the first G-shock model that broke with the standard basic square design. The case was wider and with the text G-Shock II written on the bezel, Casio suggests G-Shock entered a new era. The DW-5500 was nicknamed "Mudman" and was part of a new group of models: "Master of G".
Well, the suggestion was a bit premature, in 1987 Casio prolonged the classic G-Shock design with the DW-5600C. Finally in 1989 Casio came with other designs.
I always was attracted to the DW-5500C. Since this model is very rare and almost always has damaged bezels (no button covers), I had to do it with photo's.
You can imagine I was pretty excited Casio came with a new 5500 in June 2006. The first G-5500 had the same color scheme as the DW-5500C, black case, red buttons. Also the first new Mudman (G-9000) tributes the DW-5500C with this color scheme.
In October 2006 this model, G-5500MC-5JF was released. It was part of the 2nd "Jam'in Color" series. Besides this G-5500, there was an other G-5500 and two G-9000 Mudman models.
The coolest thing of the "Jam'in Color" series is the fact there are no two watches the same. During the production process two color of resin meet in the mold. This results in a somewhat camouflage pattern. The colors create a new composition every time, like jamming musicians.
The colors used in this jam are pretty unusual. There are not many brown G-Shocks. I think it's a good combo. Since the G-5500 has a Mud Resist construction, this model looks like a mud camo model. About two years ago I made a photo with this watch in an undeep mud pool. It indeed blended great with the background. Since it rained a lot a two weeks ago (when I made these photo's), I tried to make similar photo's, but unfortunately there was not much mud left and the only place I could create my mud pool was used as toilet by local dogs.
The case of this watch looks pretty tough. The raised protective rim of the bezel is pretty high, higher than a basic square model.
The covered buttons are probably the most eye catching feature on this watch. These covers are the secret of the mud resist structure. These covers look like the buttons itself, but are softer compound resin that are molded into the bezel. This process, found on all mud resist models, is actually pretty special. It's not easy to process two different resins on different places into one mold.
The buttons on a mud resist model are usually harder to push, though the buttons on the G-5500 are relative not very stiff compared with the g-9000 Mudman. On the other hand, what's the problem with stiff buttons. G-Shock owners are no sissies. I hope that these stiffer buttons also mean a longer life than the old ones. Almost all photo's I have seen of the old DW-5500C missed the red buttons.
The solar panels are prominent present around the gold tone display. The lay-out of the display is like the classic squares. The small rectangle above right shows the date or day in time mode and the mode name in other modes. A pity for those who like to see time in every mode.
So what modes does this model have. First of all, and the most important function, time keeping. In nice bold digits it shows time. You can toggle between the day of the week and date by push the adjust button.
A nice surprise is the worldtime mode. With 48 city codes, there is always a timezone matching yours.
5 alarm (one is a snooze alarm) and a hourly chime. I rarely use the alarm functions. I only use the hourly chime.
Of course there are also a countdown timer and a stopwatch. The down side is that they are both have a maximum of 60 minutes. I rather would have seen 24 hour versions. The countdown timer is only programmable in whole minutes and does not have a repeat.
The display is very clear and good readable, even at dim light conditions. If it is too dark to read, you can also use the clear greenish backlight. The duration of the EL backlight can be set 1.5 and 3 seconds. I must confess that 1.5 seconds is very short to read time and 3 seconds is more than enough.
Well, the short timers is not a reason to leave this watch at home. The watch looks pretty special and the wide strap (with double buckle ) is very comfortable. I think I paid around $90, which is a reasonable price for a Tough Solar model.

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