Sunday, January 31, 2010

# 3: The Final Frogman

I installed a different set-up for this photo shoot. I was searching through my DVD collection. From far behind piles of DVDs I found one of my two copies of “Vanity 9”. Why do I have 2 copies? Our first DVD player didn’t play the DVD well. Later I bought a second, but the problem was still there. I discovered that you needed a newer DVD player, with stronger laser, to play it well. It plays fantastic on our HDD recorder. This DVD is very rare and wanted, I paid around $70 - $90 for each of them. It contains several tracks of French artists that, at the time of release, were only available on hard to find vinyls. The tracks are animated with Go-Go dancers. The Movie is directed by Seb Janiak and all videos were taken in one shot. Just in case you might think what’sthat on the background…
It all started in August 1993, when Casio released a huge G-Shock the DW-6300 Frogman. The huge case design was inspired from the hatch of a sub-marine. I just found out again, since I checked the article I wrote on this model earlier. In September 2009 Casio launched the 5th Generation Frogman, the GWF-1000. The official line up consist of 77 Frogman models, with several collaboration models (like Addict, LRG and Mastermind) the total amount of Frogman released will be somewhere in the 80’s, all shaped after this first DW-6300.
No doubt the GW-200 model was my favorite model. The looks are better than the basic DW-8200, the DW-9900 is smaller, and the GW-200 is also Tough Solar (except the “Snake Killer” and the “Carbon Frogman”). I still can’t speak for the GWF-1000. With a SRP of ¥68000, I have to wait a while, before acquiring it. It looks promising, though the price is more than doubled unfortunately and so quit out of my financial reach. Since I am saving for a trip to Japan, it might maybe can take until 2011 when I’ll decide to buy a GWF-1000. Maybe Casio will have released some nice new Frogman models. We had three Gulfman models released for the I.C.E.R.C., so maybe we get a new series of Frogmans (translucent?).In November Casio announced the “Final Frogman”. With final Casio means this is the last GW-200 model. Frankly I felt quite sad about this. Like the DW-9900 and DW-8200 I think there was a life for both the GW-200 and GWF-1000 beside each other, with the GW-200 more affordable alternative for the expensive model with Atomic Time keeping and Tide graph.
With the current new generations of “Master of G” models, Casio created also a cheaper alternative. Somehow I would like it if Casio created a more affordable Frogman in the ¥30000 - ¥35000 price range. The downside will probably mean that it will be a non-atomic version.
The Atomic Timekeeping is something that was missed a bit on the GW-200, there GW furthermore only used for Waveceptor models. It could be explained in the fact that in 2001 the GW-200 was not fully developed. This might explain the sudden appearance of the Carbon Frog and Snake Killer, which had both the conventional battery operated module of the DW-9900.
When I saw the first photo of the “Final Frogman” I was in pretty much doubt. The bright yellow lettering looks a bit strange. Normally black G-Shocks are accented with red and white or yellow and white lettering. Also a few years ago there were counterfeit G-2000 and DW-8200 models, which had this color scheme sometimes. Also the GW-200-2JF had this color scheme, but the watch is navy blue and the color yellow is not as bright as on the Final Frog.
My thoughts changed after I read the background of this Frogman. It is a tribute for first Frogman, the DW-6300-1A. I have this Frog and I love it really very much. It has good looks and is pretty heavy, which gives it the feel that it’s a tough watch.
At the first comparison you’ll notice on the “Final Frog” is that very black resin has been used. The DW-6300 looks more a bit dark brown. It looks like the same black resin that has been used on the GW-5000 and the Men In Mat Black series. Also t he yellow tone of the lettering has a deeper tone, almost like an egg yolk.
After I read Petew's article about the GWF-1000 on GMT+9 in September 2009, I can't look at the side of a Frogman without reading "ZOOM".

Where the DW-6300 has gold buttons, the GW-200Z-1JF has plain silver buttons. I think Casio missed the boat a little here. A good tribute model should have gold tone buttons, like the 25th anniversary series.
I had doubts ordering this Frogman. Did the DW-6300 cost back in 1993 just ¥18000, the GW-200 models raised in price to ¥30000 for the last models. Therefore for me the looks must be worth the price. I loved the poisonous green “Love The Sea And The Earth” Frog, and also the 25th Anniversary models were great, but this one somehow looked different.
The most important reason I bought this Frogman is that it was the last of the GW-200 series. Several times there had been a rumor that a certain model would be the last. I remembered the I.C.E.R.C. Frog of 2006 was called the last GW-200 Frog. Maybe Casio didn’t want rumors now and just called it “Final Frogman”.
So, would I wear it? Probably not. Somehow I don’t like the sharp contrast of the deep black resin and the intense yellow lettering. I wish Casio had used a little less distinctive yellow paint, which has been used on the GW-200-2 and the original DW-6300. I like bright colors, but somehow the combo just don’t seem right to me. Maybe it’s just personal.
A nice but small tribute detail is found on the back. The GW-200Z-1JF has a shiny titanium back, which seems to have the classic diving frog logo etched on it. If you look more closely, you’ll notice the bubbles of the Frog’s breathing apparatus form “200” as a tribute of this successful line. The GW200’s have been in production for over 8 years and have been the longest running Frogman model.
Secretly I hoped to see this frog back in the backlight, but unfortunately for me the frog is left out. Still the EL backlight is better than its tributed predecessor. The DW-6300 had to do with a tiny green light bulb, making the display hardly readable in the dark when used. The Final Frog has a nice bright and clear greenish EL backlight.
The future will show us if the GWF-1000 will be a successful successor. From real life photo’s I’ve seen that the looks are very nice. Where Casio has developed a more streamlined design for the new generations Mudman, Gulfman and Riseman, this Frogman looks rather more old school. I think it’s looking pretty cool. It makes me remind to the good old DW-6400 and DW-8300 Gundam models. The downside is the price. The Frogman series were not the cheapest models.
The full titanium body and the ISO rating for the 200m water resistance make the Frogman more expensive than other G-Shocks, but they were always affordable at the time of release. With the retail price more than double, I doubt if I can write here the GWF-1000 is an affordable G-Shock. Of course the term affordable is discussable, if I'm correct the PMWF (Poor Man's Watch Forum) defines a watch under $1000.- as affordable, but does the additional upgrade with a Waveceptor function, Tidegrapgh and DLC coating (see GW-5000) justify the extra ¥38000?

Monday, January 25, 2010

#2 Meet The Men In Ice White Riseman!

Hello everybody!

My name is Joakim Ågren from Sweden, and this is my first article here at the 50Gs Blog, I am going to be collaborating with Sjors in writing articles here at this blog from time to time, a little article here and a little article there hehe.

Many of you probably already know me from the Watchuseek G-Shock forum where I am a veteran member since late 2003. I have been a G-Shock fan since 1992, but did not buy one untill 1995, and started collecting in 1999. My first G-Shock ever was the classic DW-6900, the really cool yellow taxi Driver version, or as it is officially known as the Yellow Skull, part of the Skull series (red, black and yellow versions) DW-6900H-9 (unfortunately I no longer have it since it was stolen from me at a beach in Cyprus back in 2005). Since then I have probably bought and flipped over 150 G's. Currently I have about 40 of them, most of them brightly colored. Just like Sjors I like bright and bald, oops sorry I meant bold, colors hehe. For this first article I will be showing you guys my Men In Ice White Riseman MIIW or MICE Man lol

Here it is the GW-9200PJ-7DR Riseman:

This rare version was released only in the Japanese market back in November 2008 as part of the Men In Ice White Series also starring a Gulfman GW-9100P-7JR. But in early 2009 a export version came out. But it was not the normal kind of export version intended for sale everywhere. The one I have is this very rare export version the GW-9200PJ-7DR,(Japanese is GW-9200PJ-7JF). The difference is that it comes in a standard tin box and also English manual, while the Japanese domestic version comes in a cushion box with only Japanese manual. Normally the export versions also have a fire dragon on the backplate, while the Japanese versions have the flying squirrel on the Solar Atomic models, also the export versions typically all have both metric and imperial units for the altimeter and thermometer. But this one only have metric units, just like the Japanese domestic models. Thats because this was never officially released as a worldwide export model, this one could only be found in tax free shops in Asia.

The thick manual, Module nr is 3145

I am normally very hesitant to wear white G-Shock watches, because they are nearly impossible to wear, without them getting dirty. But this one has a nice shiny white coating on top. This makes it more resistant to dirt, and if it gets dirty it is easier to clean. Also worth noticing is the blue tint LCD and blue eye, that adds a little bit of flare to it. I like it! But just in case it gets dirty or damaged, I bought a replacement set from Tiktox. I bought their very last set. Getting a replacement bezel nowadays is nearly impossible.

The buttons and bottom half is gray, and the sensor cover is silver. I like the fact that the bottom is gray, this will protect against the yellowing a white one would have, due to simply wearing it for a while. Here you see the backplate with its nice Flying Squirrel, which is my fave character on any G. Flying Squirrels is the coolest animals mother nature ever came up with hehe.

Altimeter mode with the altitude at the bottom and something very unusual in the top display, A stopwatch that is separate from the regular stopwatch and tied to the altimeter. If you start the logging, the stopwatch will start. You can then later on in the log book check how long it took you to ascend/descend.The resolution of the altimeter is 5 Meters (no feet available) and it updates every few seconds for a few minutes, then after that it only updates every few minutes instead to conserve power.

I tried to get the Risemans thermometer to match the outside thermometer showing -9 degree Celsius, but I could only get it to around -1.7 degree Celsius before the display fogged up to much for me to see anything.

The barometer mode, here gladly we can see the current time unlike in altimeter mode, the barograph is in the eye, but you can change the view to a arrow trending instead by pushing the upper left button.In the upper display we see the current pressure in hPa (no inHg unit available on this one), also we see the temperature in Celsius (no Fahrenheit available). In the main bottom display we see the current time. For some strange reason tough, you can only stay in barometer mode for 5 minutes or so before it reverts back to regular time keeping mode. But that is not such a big issue since you can always see at least the barograph in regular time keeping mode.

Riseman on top of the world oh yeah baby hehe:) Here wee see the World Time Mode, current time still visible.

Stopwatch mode with current time still available even after you start it. Its a 24 hour stopwatch which is good. The yellow timer/stopwatch you see at the bottom here, that one is magical. It has been on the same battery for over 14 years and given of a 1 minute alarm every day since then and it is still going strong on the original battery. Thats amazing!

Timer mode, this is also a 24 hour timer, time still visible. The final count beep sequence is only 5 seconds long, I would have wished for at least 10 seconds.

Alarm, there is 5 alarms and a snooze available plus an hourly chime of course. Unfortunately like usual with G-Shocks the alarm signal is not very strong, but it is stronger then average for a G on this one, but still not good enough to wake a heavy sleeper like me up. Also the alarm signal only lasts for 10 seconds. So the alarm function on this watch is rather weak. But it can function as an alert or reminder alarm.

I can do logging oh yes! :)

Here we have the log book. You can store up to 20 sets of data, each set containing data about ascent and descent, minimum altitude and maximum altitude, also there is the stopwatch data that show you the time you took to ascend and descend for the trip.Then we come back to the time keeping mode. Unfortunately there is no quick return function so if you want to go back to time mode from the other modes you have to push the mode buttons multiple times. So thats a minor issue.

Some wrist shoots:

OMG Its a Stormtrooper on my wrist! The dimensions of this watch is 51mm tall 49mm wide and 15mm thick. So its a midsized G. I think it is the most comfortable G-shock I have ever worn, even slightly more so then my Rally Mudman that is famous for being comfortable.

The nice sensor side, the sensor cover is part of the bezel. So it is not part of the sensor as one might think!

Here you can see the center button which gives direct access to the altimeter.

Nice profile, here you can see that one side sticks out a little further then the other side.

The strap have a double pronged buckle with double rows of holes, this adds to its great look, it is
easier to buckle up and it is more steady. All modern Master Of G's have this arrangement except the Gulfman.

Other things to mention is that this model is Tough Solar and also have atomic sync time keeping function, its multiband 6 so it can sync with the 2 towers in Japan and the 2 towers in Europe and also the one in China and in the USA.

Unfortunately for me its a weak syncer and I can never get a sync indoors. My other 6 band atomics can sync indoors. But they are ER versions which means that they where intended for the European market, so perhaps this Riseman is not weak to sync because of the fact thats its a Riseman, but because its a model intended for the Japanese market? I am slowly starting to think that even tough they are all Multiband 6 models, perhaps Casio is tweaking the coils a little to get maximum reception performance for their respective home markets? but I have no proof of this, just a feeling and self observation.

This was my walk trough of this watch. My final verdict is that the Riseman is one of the very best G-Shocks. Function wise it is top of the line and there is much to like about it. It is definitely deserving the Master Of G title. But it still have some weaknesses and we are all still waiting for that ultimate G a full fledged ABC (Altimeter Barometer Compass) G-Shock, will it ever come? who knows...

This version of the Riseman the MIIW is one of my fave versions, perhaps my most favorite version? I love it a lot and its one of the faves in my collection.

El shoot, my camera is not the best at taking EL shoots but I hope when I get a new better one soon that it will be better.

And finally an extra treat for you all!

After all this is the Men In Ice Riseman so of course it should be in its element don't ya think?

I have put this Riseman trough hell the past 9 days in my attempts to create clear ice and have the Riseman inside the ice. In total I have frozen and re-frozen it over 30 times I think and it is still a champ and going strong.

Creating clear ice in a regular freezer is nearly impossible, I know I have tried every method I could find on-line and almost all of them failed. Thats because in a freezer it freezes from the outside and in. But in a ice machine, or what professional ice carving companies do, is freeze from the bottom up and always keep the water free flowing during freezing. That will create clear ice for sure.

When you freeze from the outside in, the ice will from at the surface first, thereby preventing the trapped air to escape and it will become foggy inside the ice. The other big factor that destroys the clarity is the enormous internal pressure at final freezing, the pressure can reach an astounding 14500 psi. Fortunately that only last for a fraction of a second, otherwise a G-Shock would break completely. But it will cause internal cracking of the ice, destroying the clarity.

Here some shoots from just one of my many failed attempts:

Here you can see that I hanged the Riseman in the center of the can, by suspending it in sewing thread and also by using some tape. Then I filled it with water and froze it inside.

Here was the result:

This was one of my more successful attempts, we can see part of the strap and the Risemans bezel inside.

Now to my successful attempt, but I had to cheat a little hehe

First as always I boiled the water for a few minutes, its essential in order to release a lot of the trapped air inside. I tried using fresh water from the tap, distilled water, carbonated water etc and all failed. Boiled water gives a clearer result in the end.

Then I poured the water into 2 loaf shaped trays and after letting them cool down for 30 minutes I put them into the freezer. Now I had to monitor the freezing process very closely. I checked up on them every 30 minutes or so...

Then after about 4-5 hours of freezing, some steps followed that I could not take a picture at since I was a little stressed and had to use both hands and be very focused. What I did was to warm up the trays until the ice came loose. Then I used a screwdriver and picked up the bottom on each piece of ice, and poured out all the remaining unfrozen water inside. Yes it is essential for this to succeed, that you do not let them freeze all the way trough, hence the close monitoring during freezing.

Final step was to take the Riseman, and then put it in-between the 2 hollow ice blocks, thereby creating a nice coffin for it. Then I let the ends freeze together again, but I did not use the freezer instead I let it happen outside the house.

And voila here was the final result:

Don't forget to click the pictures to get their full size, to see the full effect! What a nice and suitable place for a Men In Ice White Riseman, don't ya think?

Some more:

What a beauty! :)

Another One :)

hats the way to go for a beauty Queen! :)

But wait, look she came back to life again? hurray:) As a nice treat to her I gave her this nice G-Shock miniature 50cm Snowboard, as a thank you for long hard duty during the course of these experiments!

I hope you all enjoyed my article, please leave some comments if you liked it...

Over And Out Joakim Ågren!