Sunday, May 23, 2010

#19 Let's go Square with the C3

 May 13th and 14th there was the annual Steam Train festival in Goes, a city 20 kilometers from here. I thought it was a nice idea to make some photo's of an appropriate watch. Of course I could choose for a vintage classic, but a year ago I made an article about the DW-5200C and in 2008 I made an article about the DW-5600C in a steam train. Then I thought this G-011D has a kind of timeless look. So most of the photo's in this article were made during a train trip between Hoedekenskerke and Goes (Zeid Beveland, The Netherands). I managed to get a place in the most beautiful first class coupe in a recently restored wagon. It might be that the photo's are not as sharp as you are used from me, but it is hard to get sharp photo's out of the hand in a rocking train. I hope you enjoy this article. 
 In November 2006 Casio released a the G-011D model. As the D at the end of the model number suggests, these are all metal G-Shocks.
We know Casio had released a lot of metal G-Shocks before, but all of them had more or less the "G" look. Actually, the first G-Shock models were metal watches with a resin cover. You had the MR-G series, which were elegant but tough looking watches, some G-Cool models were metal versions, the G-7000 models, which were more or less a metal G-2300 and the Cockpit models. Specially those with the "bull bars" have definitively a G-Shock look.
The G-011D looked different. The first thing they remind me of were fashion watches of Diesel and Fossil. In the first stock photo's that I saw, this model looked pretty small. I ignored this series for some time.
In January 2007 new models were introduced in East Asia. The maroon dial version and the gold version got a little attention, but still I had the idea these watches were small. I think that this model was also not very popular at that time.
Some months later I got in contact with GatorJ (Florida), who had bought the gold G-011D version. I normally do not like gold very much, but somehow it looks fine on this one. Unfortunately this version was quite expensive, compared to the silver versions.
Still I wasn't very convinced, until someone posted a photo of the watch taken more from the side. This watch wasn't exactly thin. It was actually looking huge.
I have a good friend in Chicago, who is a Chemistry Teacher. I am a Technical Educational Assistant, which is a sort of practical teacher assistant for Chemistry. That creates a bond. Sometimes he mails me what he has for sale and in 2008 he offered me this G-011D with the maroon face for a friend's price (we both know that teachers and teacher assistants are not paid very well). It was exactly the version I had in mind (beside the gold version).
When I got the watch I was amazed. It looked not as small as on the stock photo's. Alright, it isn't exactly a U-Boat or like those watches that are seen in the Dutch street life at the moment, but it has a prominent look on the wrist and it screams out "I'm Tough!".
At first glance the watch looks all metal. When observed better, the lower part of the bezel and the attachments of the bracelet are made of resin. I think the resin parts used to attach with the bracelet are purely for comfort reason, while the lower part of the bezel is probably made of resin to act as a first bumper since it sticks out a little bit.
The four buttons are almost recessed into the bezel. Last night, when my girlfriend asked what time it was in bed, I noticed that it was not easily to find the buttons in the dark. Well, I have a lot of different G-Shocks that I wear, so I am not used to this watch very much. You might consider this a con, but I think if you have this watch as daily wearer, you probably get used to this watch.
The bezel rises high above the crystal. It protects the crystal from impact. Of course a raised bezel does not protect in all cases, but in the 10 years I collect G-Shocks, it only happened once to me I scratched a watch. Well, it was a sharp metal point that hit the crystal when I pulled my arm out of a hole. It might have ended different if I had not worn a G-Shock at all I think.
The whole bezel somewhat looks like it is build like a tank. I do not know if the 4 screws above and below the bezel are functional, but it certainly adds to the tough look. On the side there are 4 screws sticking out of the bezel. I suspect that these need to be removed when the battery needs to be replaced. I have seen similar screws on a older Waveceptor G-Shock model (GW-700DU).
A nice thing about my friend in Chicago is that he has about the same wrist size as me (7"). Therefore I do not have to adjust bracelets when I get one of his watches. The G-011D wears remarkably comfortable. According to Casio the watch weighs 155g. Since three links are removed, it weighs less, but it still feels like a pretty heavy watch. I actually do not mind that. It adds again to the tough feel and look of this watch.
If you buy a G-011D, you probably choose it because of the analog look. Still there are two small digital round displays. I think there is something to say about ana-digi watches about digital displays. From time to time these are covered by the minute hand and sometimes partially by the hour hand.
The dial has a very nice pattern of lines starting from the center around the dial. When you move the watch, it looks like light moves around the dial. Because of these lines the dial color often appears in different shades around the dial. It's beautiful and amusing. Somehow I think it makes reading time a pleasure.
Besides timekeeping, this watch has Worldtime (29 timezones and 27 cities), 5 Alarms (one is a Snooze Alarm), a 60 minute Stopwatch and a 60 Minute Countdown Timer on board. I would have been more happy if the Stopwatch and Countdown Timer function had a longer capacity (at least 24 hour).
One thing I miss on this watch is automatic hands setting. I mean that if you have set the digital time, that the hands automatically synchronize with the digital time. If the DST starts it's not a big problem. The time progresses just one hour. When the DST goes over to normal time again you can't turn the hands an hour back, so you have to progress them eleven hours ahead.

Today I discovered by accident that there is also an Auto-Illuminator function. If this function is turned on, the amber LED turns on when your arm is tilted by 45 degrees parallel to the ground. I should have discovered that function before my girlfriend asked the time at night.
I think the amber LED backlight is very beautiful. I like the yellow/orange color. The LED lights up the complete dial, but the digital display are not good visible. The LED shines over the dial, while the displays are located under the dial, so no light falls on them.

It has been over 3 years that the G-011D was released. The retail price in Japan was 25000 yen. At the current rates that would be around $275.- and €225.-. I can't find many of them around, but if you find one, you'll find a new one, expect to pay around €90.- - €120.- for a silver version and around €160.- for the gold version. I think this model was not very popular actually, which is in my opinion due to the Casio's stock photo's. It is quite a hard watch to get on photo. In real the watch looks much better than on photos. This morning (I write my articles often a few days before I publish) a student came to me asking what watch I was wearing. After a good observation he said he very much liked the design. I nothing can do more than agree with him.

No comments: