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?


Chow said...

Hi Sjors,

Nice review on the last Frogman. I think Casio should standardized the Frogman model as same other Master of G series. I could not understand why the Frogman can't be put as standard item same as Gulfman, Mudman & Riseman. Just it is only have ISO rating of 200 meter water, dive timer etc.

As the 4th generation 200 series is reached to the end. What you say is true, the new 5th Generation atomic Frogman should be release in 2 versions, atomic & non atomic so it can acquired worldwide, so the cost will be cheaper.



E-Shock8 said...

Excellent review.
Any word on a US release for this, or do I have to order from Japan?

Sjors said...

Hi E-Shock,

I think you are a little bit late if you wont to have it, but you might try ordering it in Japan. I believe it was not released in a big number.