Sunday, February 21, 2010

#6 The bright Colors of Techno

What about a little “panic” at 50 Gs. My co-writer had some major problems during his vacation. One of these problems is affecting the 50 Gs continuity. It’s Sunday afternoon and I am still sitting in my bed, staring at my netbook which is showing a virtual A4 paper. With only 12 hours to go, let’s try to make a new 50 Gs worthy article.
A dive into my archive learned me that almost every watch I picked out of the box had already been reviewed here… Ooops, that doesn’t feel good when there suppose to be 45 articles to be written. Can you hear that “swallow” sound, just the sound someone makes when he (or she) just found out he is about to start something impossible
So finally I picked my green DW-8150 out of my collection. The DW-6400, DW-81XX and DW-8300 were not featured earlier on 50 GS and I was actually waiting for a more appropriate moment to get it featured here. For example in a time I really do not know what to write…
A logical sequence should of course start with the DW-6400 Gundam, but right, that wasn’t the first I picked out of the box. I am actually not sure, but I think this was my first of these Gundam watches. Officially the DW-6400 is called Gundam, but Japanese G-Shockers also refer to the DW-81XX and DW-8300 models as Gundam watches. Not strange as they all have this big square metal skeleton, covered with resin protection bumpers.The XX as in DW-81XX are places were different numbers can be filled in. All these models look the same on the outside. For the DW-81XX XX can be 00, 10, 20, 40, 50, 60 and 95. Maybe I have forgotten one or more combinations as not all models were released in Japan, like the DW-8140 and DW-8150.
I do not know where I got the information from in 2003, but the DW-8140 and DW-8150 were called the “Techno series”. Maybe the name of this series was only used in Europe, but it’s good possible this name was also used in the US and East Asia. Techno does somehow not make me think to modern Techno music (late 80’s Detroit), but more to the music of Kraftwerk. When Techno was more like technological development with computers and synthesizers that were only available for the happy few. In 1981 Kraftwerk wrote (excerpts):
Interpol und Deutsche Bank, FBI und Scotland Yard
Flensburg und das BKA, Haben unsere Daten da

Nummern, Zahlen, Handel, Leute


Automat und Telespiel
Leiten heute die Zukunft ein
Computer für den Kleinbetrieb
Computer für das eigene Heim

Reisen, Zeit, Medizin, Unterhaltung


Denn Zeit ist Geld

Would that not be fantastic? A world where even small companies can use computers and maybe even computers in your home, so you can buy travel tickets and medicine on-line, you can save time and communicate all over the world. This must all have been a far away dream in 1981.
In 1994 Casio began to produce some of the largest G-Shock models, DW-001, DW-002 were pretty big basic models , but also the DW-6700 Skyforce was released. While the DW-6700 is probably in size the largest G-Shock ever. Also the big DW-6400 was released in 1994. With the DW-8100 Casio managed to make the big square case look even bigger by adding protective resin bumpers on the sides and around the light button and display.
After these big DW-81XX and DW-8300 models, Casio returned to more moderate size models, like the DW-003 and DW-004. Of course there were some nice big Frogman models and the Antman was also very big, but far-out the most basic models returned to the size between the good old DW-5600 and DW-6900. With the GW-9700 (still haven’t seen one in person) and the forthcoming GW-3000 it seems that Casio follows a trend of making bigger models nowadays. Let’s hope there is more in their sleeve. I would be completely happy with a revamped DW-81XX or DW-8300 model.Outside Japan several series with colored metal were released. In 1985 a DW-8140 series, in 1996 a DW-8150 series. Unfortunately I don’t have a complete list of colors and model numbers. In my search I pretty much rely on G-Shock Perfect Search (GPS), but these show only the models released officially in Japan. Since the basic silver/black model bears the model number DW-8150-1V I assume this watch is the DW-8150-3V ( the number 3 in the suffix refers to the color green for Casio watches).
The DW-8150 has been assembled in Korea. I also have a red DW-8140, which has been assembled in Korea too. It’s not really easy to find a DW-81XX model nowadays. I don’t know what I have paid for this one, but the red (mint in original box) cost me $150,- about 6 years ago.The DW-8150 with 1433 module seems to have only basic functions. An alarm with hourly chime, a 24h countdown timer and a 24 hour stopwatch. Only when you activate the EL backlight, another fun function is revealed. The watch features a kind of simple slot game. It is just a simple slot game, but on a watch it looks pretty funny. There are only 4 symbols, so it’s not very hard to win a game. On the other side, it pretty much will drain the CR2016 battery. Check out the video below for a short demonstration.
I think the DW-8150 looks nice on my wrists, but if you remember that the average Japanese and East Asian wrist is much smaller, you might understand the “Gundams” looked often quite cartoonish in these countries. Still I think the DW-81XX models were pretty popular and still are among G-Shock collectors in Japan too. I very much like these big models. A real holy grail for me in this series is the DW-8195-4. This model features red resin and a red cloth strap. It has one of the nicest EL backgrounds that I know. It shows a red headed pin-up of the 1940's. Big red watch and red hair. This combination can't be better. Let's hope I'll find one in the future.Yeah, I made it before my deadline!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

#5: UPSO x Mountain Dew x G-Shock

Mountain Dew is not quite a known beverage in The Netherlands. Since a short time this American Beverage of the PepsiCo is also available in a supermarket chain here. I actually didn’t know this, but one of my students did a research about Chemo-Luminescence in September and October 2009. There circulates a hoax that Mountain Dew emits light when hydrogen peroxide is added. Though this is completely not true, she tried to make it glow in the dark. After several attempts, she proved this was a hoax. She drunk a remaining can Mountain Dew Green and gave a can of Mountain Dew Code Red to me, because I am fond of cherry flavor.
Around the same time, August 2009, Mountain Dew released a third “Green Label Art” series bottles designed by several contemporary artists. One of these artists was Dustin Amery Hostetler, a.k.a. UPSO. He designed a silver bottle with eyes from top to bottom. The eyes at the bottom are closed, the at the top wide open and various stages of eyes in-between.
UPSO is very active. He publishes the critically acclaimed magazine Feasthectic, support sales of colleague artists and posts a lot in on-line magazines and blog sites. Other commercial designs were made for MTV, Etnies, Kid Robot, Motorola, Air America, Nokia, Etnies, Burton, XLarge, Converse and many more.
According an interview with CLDFX, UPSO was quite surprised that he was asked to design for Mountain Dew, but looking to his curriculum I would say, I’m not. Although he mainly designed for the GLS bottle, he knew all the way his design was used for other projects. This appeared to be a G-Shock model.
Although this model is actually a Crazy Colors model with a print on the straps, I think the print fits the watch perfectly. “The illustration on this bottle represents not only what it feels like to first drink some Mountain Dew, but also the reaction one might have upon first seeing this unique bottle.” I feel the “Chicken and Egg” paradox coming up. Cool concept. The eyes return on the print of the straps.
The basic black/green “crazy Colors” model is called the “Zombie Slayer” by some G-Shock collectors, which might be an appropriate name for this model with its poison green display. With these green opening eyes on the strap, this must be the ultimate “Zombie Slayer”.
The UPSO x Mountain Dew G-Shock was made for prices of contests. Somehow also several showed up on eBay. I got mine from a friend, who had bought a lot of 5.
Not only the straps have the eyes printed, also the cardboard box has the eyes everywhere. The box is sealed on one side with a Mountain Dew sticker. Personally I wouldn’t have done that, but added a cardboard sleeve to keep the box together. This would have been a more perfect match to the design.
Like all the basic Crazy Color models, the watch has a glossy finish. I think this glossy finish suit the series well. Tough a glossy finish is maybe not liked by every G-Shock lover, I think G-Shockers who like the bright color combinations will also love the shiny coating. Personally I like it very much. It makes the watch more noticeable. Of course a white or a pink G will get noticed, but a glossy black is also a good eye catcher.
Well, this isn’t the first DW-6900 reviewed here, and it would probably not the last, so I think I can be short on the functions. The DW-6900 (module 1289) has an alarm function with hourly chime, a stopwatch and a 24 hour countdown timer on board. All the basic functions you need from a watch for daily use in my opinion.
At the moment this model is still available on eBay, but I think sources will dry up soon. I don’t think it will get collection worth. I have other collaboration models with brands like Coca Cola and Pall Mall. Probably all these models were given away as prizes. I got them all for a scratch. I once missed an Evian model. It went for something like $30.-, but the auction was for the US only. I contacted the seller and he told me after the auction it was no problem to bid on the watch…
A reaction I got about my UPSO is that everyone has it in the US. Actually I buy a G-Shock if I like it and not only if, or because it’s rare. I think I have many models that were sold to a lot of people. Since the GW-203K and the TC Frogs went with dozens for low prices on eBay in the past, you might think the same, but I have the feeling that in about a few months it will be hard to find this model again. So if you like this very cool watch, act now.
A big THANK YOU! goes to Wayne for making this possible and Eva for providing the cans of Mountain dew!