Sunday, June 27, 2010

#26 G-Shock für die Mannschaft am Weltmeister Fuβball 2006 DW-5600WC-1JR

The World Championship Football 2006 was held in Germany. Casio was one of the major sponsors of the event. For this event Casio released several watches.
GW-1201WC-9AV (not in my collection)
GW-1400WCE-9AVER (not in my collection)
Some models were released worldwide. In Europe also two special G-Shock models were released, the GW-1201WC-9AV and the G-Shock GW-1400WCE-9AVER. Both models have a blue dial with gold accents and the World Cup shown on it.
One special series was dedicated to the national teams of Germany, Brazil and France and therefore called the "World Cup 2006 Soccer team uniform colors series". I think these teams were chosen, because Brazil ended up as World Champion 2002, Germany 2nd place and in 1998 France was World Champion.
This series was released World Wide in August 2005. It consisted of a Brazilian DW-6900WCJ-9, a German DW-5600WC-1 and a G-300WC-2 model. The complete model number in Europe ends with ER, in Japan with JR, so my in German bought Germany model is model number DW-5600WC-1ER.
I think the 5600 and 6900 model were made in big numbers. You don’t see the G-300WC model often for sale, while in the other models were for sale in large numbers after the World Cup. In the end of 2008 there were a lot of bulk batches of these watches for sale on eBay Germany. I do not know the exact prices anymore, but you could get one of these for about €30.- each if you bought a batch of 4 or more watches.
This was a good opportunity for a lot of G-Shock collectors on WUS. Some members bought big batches and divided the watches non-profit to other members who else could not buy these watches from eBay Germany.
I bought my 2 DW-5600WC straight from Germany. I also got the DW-6900WCJ in that batch. I already owned a DW-6900WCJ before these batches appeared on eBay, which I bought in 2006 in Japan (for a quite higher price).
The G-Shocks of this series were sold in a special package. The outer box is white with two green lines. The Logos of the Word Cup 2010 and the FIFA are printed on it and it says it’s an “Official Licensed Timepiece of the 2006 FIFA World Cup”. Also a hologram sticker on the side of the box refers that this is a real licensed product. The FIFA World Cup is not only a big sports event, there is also a pretty commercial circus around it to get such a big tournament financed.
The FIFA and its sponsors try their best to protect their commercial rights. You could have seen this last week, when Dutch women were arrested for wearing orange dresses. Well, all Dutch supporters wear orange, but these dresses were given away by a crate beer of a certain beer brand. Since Budweiser is one of the Mayor sponsors of this event and Dutch women in these Bavaria Dresses (the women were known in the Netherlands as “Bavaria Babes”) got a lot of media attention, FIFA decided to take action.
Inside the box there is a white tin, with the same green striping, logos and text printed on it. It is not a white version of the common G-Shock tin. In the same package were not only the G-Shock models for the World Cup sold. In 2006 I noticed that also a Referee Watch (RFT-100) was sold in this package in a timepiece store in Domburg.
Inside the tin you find the watch, a label and it’s manual. The DW-5600WC-1 is the only model that has a different tone bezel than the straps. It represents the German home colors, a white shirt and black shorts.
 The display plate (the part under the crystal around the LCD display) is gray. Normally it would have been black, but around the display there are the colors of the German flag.
 German flag  (black - red - gold) vs Belgium  flag (black - yellow - red)
There is made quite a mistake in the sequence of colors though. Black-yellow-red are the colors of the Belgian flag (in vertical lanes), the correct colors of the German flag are Black-red-yellow. Also the FIFA World Cup is shown on the plate.
Actually the World Cup 2006 was an important event for Germany and it’s flag. Since World War II German people were pretty modest in showing the national colors and emblems in a reaction of the use excessive use of nationalistic flags and symbols of the Nazis. During the World Championship German supporters showed the German flag and the flag colors on clothing and body paints to support their team. Since the World Cup 2006 the use of the German flag has increased a lot.
While there is no print on the straps, the strap keeper has a FIFA emblem printed on it. The logo of the World Championship is etched in the back of the watch.
A funny detail is the backlight. It shows a lion playing football. These were the mascots for this event. The Lion is called Goleo IV, the lovable lion. His sidekick is Pile the talking football. These mascots were designed by the Jim Henson Company, known for the Muppet Show.
 You can still find these DW-5600WC models in Germany, even 4 years after the event for friendly prices. I still am not sure what to think of the strange combination of black straps and a white bezel, but it doesn’t look that strange. The German team placed themselves with the best 16 countries by winning from Ghana with 0 – 1. Tonight “Die Mannschaft” will play for a place among the best 8 countries against England. Of course I support “Oranje” (“Orange”) , but I have a feeling that Die Mannschaft will get far in the tournament. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

#25 G-Shock MTG-930DHSV-8AVER HSV Naohiro Takahara model

In the football season 2003 – 2004 Casio was the sponsor of HSV, the football club of Hamburg. Three special watches were made for the fans of this football club. The MQ-24 and EF-107 are not very special analog Casio watches. The HSV models just have the HSV diamond logo on the dial.
A more interesting model for us is the MTG-930DHSV-8AVER. This HSV edition is dedicated to the striker Naohiro Takahara. For HSV fans of Takahara the box is more interesting than the watch. While his name and signature is all over the box, on the watch the signature is only visible on the back of the watch, along with his shirt number 32. A small HSV diamond logo can be found on the bracelet. When wearing this watch it pretty much looks like a basic MTG-930D.

Takahara played from 2003 to 2006 for HSV (pronounced Haa Es Vow). He started his career in the football team of his school, the Shimizu Higsachi High School. This school is known for its strong football team. Besides Takahara the school has brought forth more successful professional football players.
Takahara started his professional career at the Japanese Júbilo Iwata team in 1998, before he went to HSV. In that period he was loaned for a short time to the Argentinean Boca Juniors team. From 2006 – 2007 he played one year for Eintracht Frankfurt and currently he plays for the Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan in the J League Division 1. This, one of the best supported teams, is currently ranked 6th place in that league.
Naohiro Takahara was not selected for the Japanese national team for the World Cup 2010, but he played in the Japanese National team from 2000 to 2008. In that period he scored 23 goals for Japan, ranking him the 7th place of best top goal scorers.
The HSV version is on the left, a basic MTG-930 on the right.
From all first generation Tough Solar Waveceptor models I liked the MTG-930 most. I find the three eyes an attractive design, but the eyes are much smaller than on the DW-6900. The eyes of the MTG-930 do have a totally other function than those on the DW-6900. While the eyes of the DW-6900 simply count up and down the seconds. The big left eye shows roughly the time in minutes of the hour. The eye of the Frogman has a similar function.
The second eye gives information of the battery power reserve in three degrees, Low, Medium and High. If the battery indicates low, the watch should be placed in a very light place.
Actually the CTL1616 battery has a bad reputation on these first generation Tough Solar Waveceptor models. In my collection they have had a pretty high faulty range. I do not have many of these models, but I have changed about 8 of these batteries. If you know how to replace a battery in a G-Shock, the procedure is almost the same. The problem with all these first models is that it is a lot of work to get at the battery.
The CTL1616 batteries were in the past not easy to get, but nowadays you can find them easy on eBay for a price around $15.-. Be sure you take the Panasonic versions, which are the Casio recommended brand for this type of battery.
If there is a battery problem, the recovery icon will blink. This malfunction of the watch is sometimes also referred to as the “Recovery Blues”. Recently I had to replace 4 CTL1616 batteries, which is quite a depressing job. The Recovery Blues is the result of a defective batch of batteries. According a memo of Casio Panasonic has improved the battery capacity and has solved the problem with this type of battery. The best way to avoid the Recovery Blues on these early models is wearing the watch a lot and try to keep the battery level up to High. The Recovery Blues is therefore more a problem for the collector than a problem for a user of the watch. The Recovery Blues has not yet occurred with models that have their CTL1616 battery replaced.
The third (most right) eye shows if several functions are enabled or disabled. It shows the alarm, snooze alarm and hourly chime (signal), Daylight Saving Time, the Auto EL Function and the Split function of the Stopwatch.
If you look for an MTG-930D in Japan, you won’t find it. In Japan this model was released as MTG-920. The Japanese model could receive both the Japanese signals and the US signal. Somehow these models were released as MTG-930D in the US too. You had to be careful where you bought your watch, because you could not use a US model in Europe and vise versa. The use of the Waveceptor function was in 2003 pretty new. The European version can only receive the signal broadcasted from Mainflingen (near Frankfurt). I have also a GW-700DU, which is a dual band UK release. This one could receive the signals from both Mainflingen and Rugby (UK). The Rugby transmitter was later moved to Anthorn in the North of England. A big hurray for the Multiband Waveceptor models that are now available, but back then you had to start somewhere.
The MTG-930 has a strange new function, that could be found on al first generation Tough Solar Waveceptor model. It is called the “Time Stamp”. If you push the upper right button for a few seconds, the time is registered in the watch memory. You can store 30 of these “Time Stamps”. You have to remember actually what you stamped the time for. Personally I don’t have a good idea how to use this timer. Someone suggested it to “Time Stamp” every time he had rode 100000 kilometer with his car.
I always thought the Time Stamp was a pretty useless function. I am glad this function disappeared on later Tough Solar Waveceptor models. The most frustrating fact is that the Time Stamp replaced the pretty functional Countdown Timer function. I pretty much miss this function on the MTG-930.
The MTG-930 has a 24 hour Stopwatch Function and a World Time function. Also it has 5 alarms (one is a Snooze Alarm) and of course a Hourly Chime.
It is a bit strange that similar looking models are referred to as MT-G and GW-. MT-G stands for “Metal Twisted G”. It means that both resin and metal is used in the watch in a perfect harmony. In the first MT-G models the resin was integrated clearly in the bracelet. Also the new MT-G model have these kind of bracelet. On the MTG-930 it’s harder to see the mixed use of metal and resin. Metallic coated resin parts are used on the case as shock protectors and button guards. Also the attachment of the bracelet and the case is made out of resin, but a metal cover hides these resin joints. I think Casio thought the mix of metal and resin was not clear visible enough and later switched for newer models to the GW- prefix.
Nowadays I can’t really recommend a basic MTG-930D. It is simply an expensive dated watch. The basic version retailed for €180.- here in the shops. The new 6-band GW-6900 costs around €129.-! The Waveceptor function works only in Europe and the high defective rate of the CTL1616 battery isn’t making this watch also not attractive. As for this Takahara model, I can think a HSV fan would like to have it. Still I bought it for a very low price. While a basic MTG-930D cost around €100 on eBay, I won this auction with a pretty low bid. I think it cost me around €60.- around 2004. The seller had put several more of these on auction and the auctions ended around the same price. After that, I have never seen this model for sale anymore.
So we have a strange watch here. It seems it is a model that was, and probably still is not very popular. I bought it at that time for half the price of a basic version. Still I think this watch is very rare. I think most of them ended up at home with fans. With the high faulty CTL1616 batteries, I think not many will be still owned and maybe a lot have been simply thrown away as a disposable watch after a “Recovery Blues”. Luckily one ended up in my own little G-Shock museum so this model will not be forgotten.