Sunday, November 8, 2009

#46 Muscle Time

Today I will feature a little different timepiece. Although it doesn't bear the G-Shock name and it isn't either a watch, it has more in common with the G-Shock brand than you would expect from an alarm clock.
October 29th I visited the "Shock the World tour 2009" party in Barcelona. One of the highlights of the party was a lecture by the creator of G-Shock, Kikuo Ibe-san. I was quite surprised he did the presentation in Spanish. Unfortunately I do not speak much Spanish. My G-Shock friends of Comando-G know that my Spanish does not come much farther than "Jamon". Kikuo Ibe-san told about how it all started. He got a nice watch from his dad. At one day the bracelet snapped and the watch fell on the street. It was broken. From that moment he knew he wanted to make a watch that is very tough. When he worked for Casio he assembled a team called "Team Tough". Their goal was to ake a watch that could withstand the triple 10 criteria. These criteria are:
  1. The watch must survive a fall of 10 meters high on a concrete floor
  2. The watch must be at least 10 bar water resistant (equivalent of 100m water pressure)
  3. The watch must have at least a 10 year battery life (since the EL was introduced, this criterium is changed into "The watch will last at least 10 years).
He told that they made many prototypes that were thrown out of the building. First from the 2nd floor, then 3rd floor and so on to 10 meters. They had quite some failures in the beginning, but some prototypes withstand the tests. Most of them were prototypes covered with all kind of rubber. To my big surprise Ibe Kikou-san holds up a prototype. I saw it had a high resemblance with the QC-200 Muscle Time.
We all know where these test lead to. The release of the DW-5000C, April 1983. I was very lucky I had the chance to see and hold the DW-5000C in person. The photo above is the first DW-5000C ever made (no serial number). According to Ibe Kikou-san "it's number 1".
The above DW-5000C is owned by El Xispas from Barcelona. Actually is was quite a surprise for me. The watch looked so good, I thought it was the Spike Lee model.
I knew the story of the Muscle Time alarm clocks. It is said that they were shaped after the prototypes of G-Shock. Although I always believed that story, I never had seen proof of it. I think we all took the story for granted. Well, I think I finally have seen the proof now. The prototype was all black, but you could see the contours. There were three versions of the "Muscle Time" alarm clocks. I have probably the most common model, the QC-200. If I talk about this clock, I always refer to "My Bomb".
The photo above and below are from Yahoo Auctions Japan. It shows the packaging of the QC-200J-1, which I, unfortunately, don't have.
These alarm clocks are not easy to find. It is said that these clocks were on the market for only a very short time. If you find one now, expect to pay at least $100.-, up to $200.
The first time I saw this Muscle Time clock was when I was just starting to buy G-Shocks worldwide. There was one on auction in Hong Kong. Starting price was around $250.-! I had no idea about the background, but I was very curious. Unfortunately the price was far beyond my reach. I just switched jobs, so I only had a "beginners salary". Luckily I was able to buy this clock years later. I think I paid around $200 for it. Wow, what was I surprised. As a G-Shock prototype, I expected a small alarm clock. This clock was huge.
The Muscle Time consumes two AA penlight batteries. They seem to hold quite long, since the clock is still running after quite some years.
The Muscle Time is not only big. It is loud. I found on a Russian website that the Muscle Time produces a beep of 84 dB. Most battery driven electronic alarm clocks produce a sound of around 70 dB. You need more than 10 of those alarm clocks to compete with the sound of this Muscle Time! Believe me, this clock will wake you.
I used to take this clock with me on vacation. It was loud enough to wake up a complete camping...
Although the QC-200 looks very robust and has the text PROTECTION written under the display (or is it called a bezel...), I am not sure if this clock falls under the triple 10 criteria. To be frank, I also don't want to try. I really wanted this clock bad, when I didn't had one and I had to wait quite long for one to pass my path. Somehow a quite known eBay seller from Hong Kong had sold several in the past.
Setting the alarm is very simple. With the + and - buttons on the back you can scroll up and down the alarm time. Setting time is a little harder. The center button must be pushed by a small object, because it is situated under the red plate. By pushing the button for a second, the digits of the time will flash and you can scroll back- and forward with the + and - button.

There is a slide button on the right side that activates and deactivates the alarm. Be warned, the clock beeps.
When the alarm function is set ON, the alarm icon appears on the display. Unfortunately the clock can not set to the 24 hour system. The PM sign is showed when noon has passed.
There is another thing which can be annoying. The display is clear when read from the same hight or when the observer is located higher than the display. If the clock is placed higher than the observer, the display looks dim. I would have rather seen that the viewing angle of the LCD would have been wider or that the clock shows a clear display when I place it on my night stand.

The EL light is very bright. Also here, unfortunately the display can only been read under certain angles.
I think this alarm clock is more or less for the hardcore G-Shock collector. It is quiet pricey if you find one. The original sales price was ¥7200, but you may have to pay double to get one. I have no clue when this clock was released. If you might be a little hard hearing, this alarm clock can be something for you. I'm glad there is no hourly chime on it. I think my girlfriend then would have thrown it out of the window when turned on.

5 comments:

bboyliquidflo said...

I just bought one used! I hope its as good as it looks. Can't wait to get it! :)

Sjors said...

Hello bboyliquidflo,

Did you already have it? Do you like it? I think it's a cool clock!

Check out this movie taken on STW 2009 in Sydney:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-PejZLX7ec

You see Kikuo Ibe showing the prototype at 5'40"!

Kind regards,

Sjors

Dumbo said...

Hi have u heard of the GQ-500-8 alarm clock? Is it part of this range as well? :)

Sjors said...

Hello Dumbo,

I know this alarm clock. It is a very nice looking clock, which is has quite some affection to G-Shock. It is though a recent clock, so it does not belong to the Muscle Time range. I believe also the GQ-500-8 is smaller.

Kind regards,

Sjors

Dumbo said...

Hi Sjors,

Thanks for the feedback.

I think it's retty cool looking.

Will be getting one, it cost around $55 :)