Sunday, October 3, 2010

#39 Guardian Angels Raysman DW-9300GA-4T “WE DARE TO CARE”

 My love for the Raysman does go back to the time I started collecting G-Shocks. While it is now pretty easy to get a view on which models are released, it wasn’t that easy when I started my interest in these watches. While you can now get a lot of G-Shock magazines and can use the G-SHOCK PERFECT SEARCH or Riley’s G-Shock archive, in 2000 I had to do with search machines. Mostly Altavista and a Dutch Search Engine which combined the search of a lot of other search engines. Google, some people would think life without is unthinkable now, was just in their child shoes here. All you could find were the current G-Shock Collection. My favorite website was the US G-Shock website, which showed the then current collection basic, G-Lide and Master of G models.
What this website didn’t show were the limited edition models. One can have a love and hate relation with Ebay, but this website opened my eyes about other than the basic collection. While the G-Shock.com website showed the basic Raysman, I discovered the yellow Yacht Timer pretty fast.
Still it was pretty hard to find more info on certain models and Japanese Only releases were almost unable to find. While in the beginning I probably bought any G-Shock that came in my way, I started to think what I liked and what not. I noticed I had almost no blue G-Shock’s (and the bluest one went to my son). On the other side, I was fond of the red and yellow models. I could not have enough of the DW-6900H model and the yellow DW-6630 model. The Rayman was my favorite model, a red Raysman would be the ultimate G-Shock for me.
I think it took until the G-Shock forum on WatchUSeek was founded in August 2003 (a big thank you to Ernie Romers for this) until I found out my grail G-Shock existed. A big bold red Raysman, dedicated to the Guardian Angels.
I thought it was strange to see a Japanese model dedicated to an American volunteer organization, but actually I found out that the Guardian Angels are working worldwide and the Japanese branch of this organization is actually the biggest after the US branch. This makes a Japan only release sound more logical.
The Guardian Angels are an organization that train patrols in making citizen arrests to reduce crime in urban areas. Also they help to clean areas, remove graffiti and provide educational programs for schools about cyber crimes.
Guardian Angels can be recognized on the streets by the uniforms they wear. They wear a red beret, mostly a white T-Shirt or sweater with the red “shielded eye with angel wings” logo or a red GA Jacket.
The suggested retail price of the GA Raysman was ¥29000, which was the basic price for a Raysman model at that time, so I don’t think that a part of the sale of this model was donated to the Guardian Anglels. The model was just a dedication to them. The watch was released in July 1998.
This is the original text of the press sheet about the Guardian Angles model (translated):

“An official model of volunteer group of New York where peace in the town and safety are defended by "Guardian Angels (Guardian Angels)" through patrol. G-Shock that has new features, including tough solar, full auto EL backlight function that operates only by the dark, stores a strong load of power (a large amount of power consumption). It has the EL backlight, the timer, and the alarm, etc. , and enduring the impact. "RAYSMAN ([reizuman])" supports men who keep acting for 24 hours. Red is adopted as the entire image color based on their a red beret style hat, a red jumper, and white T-shirt uniforms. The text "Safety Patrol" and "We Dare to Care" is printed on the bezel ring. "Confront an issue ..daring never turn a blinded eye to also even by what.." that is the motto of [ka-dei;an] angels. The stamp in the back lid is the logo composed of an eye that watch with wings above the regional society and the clouds that symbolize evil. The angel who symbolizes the name of Guardian Angels. It is shown to watch evil by putting angel's wing and eyes above the cloud.”
It is remarkable the text does refer to the US chapters of New York. It was the origin of the Guardian Angels (founded in 1979), but the Guardian Angels were since 1996 already active in Japan.
The Guardian Angles Raysman is based upon the first DW-9300 Raysman model. Besides this original model there was also the DW-9350 Yacht Timer model. These models have basically the same functions. The only difference is a “Hot Key” function of the upper right button. The normal DW-9300 leads to the Telememo function, while the DW-9350 leads to the Count Down Timer function.
The Raysman was the first solar watch Casio made with the “Tough Solar” technology. Before this model, solar watches had a capacitor with limited storage capacity. These older solar watches were pretty popular in the ‘80s. They worked great if you wore it a lot at daylight, but when kept in the dark for a few days, you had to set it again. The rechargeable Manganese –Lithium ML2020 storage battery can hold up energy for up to 9 months time keeping in total darkness. The new improved solar panels already provide sufficient energy at low light levels. No need to place your watch in the sunlight if it won’t charge, the Raysman will charge even when you are working at the office not directly near a window.
We can consider the Raysman, the solar versions of the GW-200 and the G-2300 as the first generation Tough Solar G-Shock models. Actually I think these models were very good and ahead of their time. The second generation used the 2.3V Lithium –Cobalt Oxide CTL1616 batteries. The capacity of this battery is not as big as the 3V ML2020 and in the beginning there were a lot of problems with this battery type. Specially the GW-300 and G-5600 models were often a victim of a defective battery (the problem was often called “The Recovery Blues”).
 Since I haven’t heard yet of problems with later models, like the GW-5600 and GW-M5600, I assume that this problem was solved by the newer, 3rd generation, Tough Solar models. Still I have quite some of these 2nd generation models in my collection and I have had quite some problems with failing CTL1616 batteries in the past. It might be the fact that I’m a collector that I am a victim of the Recovery Blues quite often. the Recovery Blues might be helped by the fact the battery is not regularly charged to full. Still there were cases known where a full charged CTL1616 battery spontaneously wet into “Recovery” mode.
I secretly wish Casio had kept developing from the first generation with a big storage capacity. I have quite some Raysman models in my collection and they all hold charge very well. It is said that rechargeable batteries loose charge capacity over the years. My 12 year old Raysmans however still all hold a lot of power. There is only one that I have equipped with a new battery. It is in fact the one I gave to my brother. I bought it for a low price from someone in Hong Kong. It was adverted as a watch with a dead battery. It didn’t make sense to me. I think I paid around $40.- for it. After charging for a few hours I saw digit’s, but they disappeared when the watch was hold in the dark. In the dark the watch also lost his time keeping. When I opened the watch, to figure out what was happening inside, I noticed the battery was replaced by a conventional CR2032 battery, which was actually also too big for the battery holder. No wonder the watch didn’t work. I went to the Casio Service Centre and they ordered and placed a new ML2020 battery. The watch still works perfect.
Is it me, or are we wandering off the main subject? Back to the Gardian Angels Raysman. The combination of red and black works beautiful on this model, specially on the “buttons” and straps.
Very nice is the black metallic ring around the display. In this ring the texts “WE DARE TO CARE” “GUARDIAN ANGLES” and “SAFETY PATROL” are etched. It is a very nice detail. Only the very rare “Galapagos Islands” model, dedicated to the Darwin Foundation, has also a text in the metal ring around the display.
The Guardian Angels logo return on the back of the watch and in the el Backlight. Personally I like this logo in the backlight, although some people might find a watch with a back light logo harder to read. For me it differs per model, but frankly far the most are not difficult to read.
The Raysman has a Mud Resistant bezel, which means that the bezel is covering the whole case upper and side part. The bezel is a duo-mold of a soft and hard polyurethane resin. The soft parts cover the buttons, while the hard parts are the protecting and shock absorbing shell of the case.
The buttons covers are actually the weakest parts of the bezel. When the buttons are used very frequently over a very long period (many years), the resin might become thinner and eventually break. This does not affect the functionality of the watch and also the water resistance will keep intact, but aesthetically a hole or a tear in the bezel does not look nice. Unfortunately new bezels for Raysman models are practically unfindable. Casio does not provide spare parts of models that are not produced in the past 10 years. All Raysman that I wear and were bought as new don’t have these holes or tears. However I have two Raysman in my collection bought used and abused, who have this problem.
The Guardian Angels Raysman is pretty rare. It is a release of 12 years ago, which makes finding one is getting harder. Still if you keep an eye open, you might find one. Sale corners and Yahoo Japan Auctions are probably the best places to look at. Often they belonged to collectors, so they are in at least good condition. I have 2 of them. One is in like new condition with box and papers. The other one is hardly worn and has no box and papers. I paid around $200.- for the first one. I paid considerably less for the second one, because I bought it together with the Middle Sea Race model from a good friend for a friend’s price. A good price indication would be around $150.- in that condition. Together with the yellow Yacht Timer Raysman I think this is the best Raysman model that Casio has released. Actually, I think the Raysman is still one of the best Tough Solar watches Casio had made up to today.

5 comments:

zed4130 said...

that is a cool G sjors, you have some amazing G,s

paul

Sjors said...

Hello Paul,

Thank you for your kind comment!

Cheers,

Sjors

BA1970 said...

Sjors,

You know, I'm from New York City (Greenwich Village). I used to see the Guardian Angels in action all the time. I had no idea that there was a G-Shock dedicated to them. Love your blog, by the way!
Cheers,
Brandon

Sjors said...

Thank you for your comment Brandon,

I have visited Greenwich Village in 1997. I think it is a good place to live. I have never seen Guardian Angels as far as I know, but I knew of their existence. I live in as very thin populated area far from big cities in a very friendly neighborhood, so you won't find a chapter here.

Kind regards,

Sjors

Patrick Bird said...

Very helpful Sjors :))) Awsome...