It is already the 47th article of 2010. Only three articles to go. It feels if like I almost made it, but as always the final rounds are the hardest. This week I had not much time to write and next week it is Saint Nicolas Eve, a pretty important feast in the Netherlands, comparable with Christmas Eve in a lot of other countries. Keep your fingers crossed. I will try to come up with something in the next three weeks.While I already took photo's at school, yesterday a load of snow fell out of the sky. I thought it makes a cool environment for this watch. We had a lot of bad weather and dark gray skies the past week, so the photo's (most taken hand held) might not look the best I have taken. Still I hope you enjoy reading and watching this article about the GX-56 I got last week.
At the end of the 20th Century G-Shocks were getting bigger and bigger. The DW-002, DW-003, DW-004 were pretty big, the Master of G models like the Raysman and Frogman were even bigger. The DW-6700, the predecessor of the Riseman was a very big 2 sensor model. Maybe the Antman was the biggest in looks ever made in the 20th century.
The release of bulky G-Shocks suddenly ends at the start of this millennium. New smaller models were introduced, but only the classic DW-6900 and the new Frogman model (GW-200) seem to be the only big models.
I think that about 5 years ago I regularly saw people ask to Casio to make bigger models, like they used to in the late 90’s. Meanwhile other watch companies were increasing the case sizes. While some people were afraid watches would become an old fashioned tool from a former millennium, we saw (at least in the Netherlands) watches grew in popularity. Not only the popularity of wearing a watch increased, also the case size. See people wearing a watch with a case of around 55mm is very common. While in the past ladies watches were much smaller than gents watches, now you see women wear sturdy pilot and submarine watches everywhere.
In 2009 Casio began to bring out bigger models again. It all started with an updated Frogman, the GFW-1000, the biggest Frogman they ever made with the biggest design change The GA-100 and GA-110 model followed. Even a re-issue of the infamous DW-001 was announced at Baselworld 2010. The best kept secret was probably “The King” of G-Shock.
The King of G-Shock was presented as the biggest G-Shock model ever made. It’s first appearance was a nice promotion stunt. Two months before the King was actually released, Taig Khris jumped from the first level of the Eiffel tower, landing with his in-line skates on a ramp.
The “King” came out in July 2010 in two versions. An Atomic GXW-56 version for the Japan domestic market and a GX-56 non-Atomic version for the rest of the world. In December Casio will release a GX-56DGK (Dirty Ghetto Kids) model. Maybe in time Casio will also release an overseas Atomic model if there is a demand for such a model. A little downside is that the Atomic model is somewhat pricy. The non-Atomic model retails here for €149.-, while a GXW-56 will cost a little more that €200.-.
I already featured the GXW-56 in orange a August. Now I feature the basic black GX-56 model. I got mine from Tiktox in the UK, that has them now in stock for £99.- (€116.-, $154.-), which seems a very good price at the moment.
The black “King” had been on my “Wish List” for a long time. Although I had seen a lot photo’s of this model, I wanted to see this one in person. Most curious I was how the αGEL® shock absorber would look like. On a lot of photo’s this absorber, which is partly visible in the display, looks a kind of fuchsia red. For those who don’t like pinkish tones, I can assure you the shock absorber is red like a fire truck.
The fuchsia color shade on some studio photo’s is maybe caused by white balance corrections of a little flare in the crystal.
This black GX-56-1AER is very black. If there weren’t red accents, it would have been a very big stealth watch. The resin used on this model has a matte finish. I haven’t compared with other G-Shock models, but it the appearance of the black resin is very dark black. From all basic models with the classic red accents (like the G-9000-1, G-5500-1), I think this one looks the best. The red accents make this watch get noticed, but are not over present. It is of course nice to get your watch noticed, if you wear the biggest model G-Shock Casio ever made. If you like a stealth G-Shock, a smaller model would be better, like one of the Military Inspired DW-6900MS or DW-5600MS models. I think Casio aims with this model more to urban street fashion and extreme sports culture.
I am a bit curious how the GXW-56 and GX-56 models sells in Japan and South East Asia. I think that my 7” wrist is a bit of an average wrist size for Europe and the US. The GX-56 looks big on my wrist, but on smaller wrists this model looks a bit cartoon like. The “King” might be a lot more popular in Europe and the US than in Japan and South East Asia as people there have a much smaller average wrist size.
I once read a post about the DW-81XX and DW-8300 style models. Although pretty popular in Japan, people looked like cartoon characters when wearing such a model.
The GX-56 wears very comfortably. Although it’s size, it weighs less than 87 gram, according to one of our digital laboratory scales. Like the Mudman, the bezel covers the complete case. The four red buttons are actually softer parts in the bezel that cover the real buttons that are under the bezel. The button covers are also well protected by button guards so no accidentally button pushing. The button covers can easily be found (if you are not able to see the watch), but it’s harder to operate the buttons than on a normal G-Shock. This is of course the small price to pay for the mud resistant structure, but because the button covers are pretty big, I find operating the watch not too difficult.
Almost all “King” models have a negative display. Only a “gold” Atomic model has a regular display. The negative display is good readable under normal light conditions. The display is located pretty deep under the crystal. Therefore light that falls from the side can shine over the display, so the digits won’t reflect light, but then the light has to come from really low angles and you can’t talk about normal light conditions. And if you can’t read the digits, you can also use the cool backlight function. I always like the backlight of a negative display. The backlight is, by the way, beautiful green and clear.
The GX-56 and GXW-56 are both Tough Solar, so no need to worry about empty batteries. The solar cells are pretty well hidden. If you didn’t know the watch was solar, you wouldn’t have noticed them. It shows how the Tough Solar concept has improved over the past 12 years (the first Tough Solar Raysman was released in 1998). As Casio didn’t release a new revived Master of G this year, maybe they should have named this model the new Raysman, although the Raysman was for its time very big, but more elegant. On the other hand, make an analog version in a similar case and you have a new Gaussman.
The functions of the GX-56 are the same as those of the GXW-56, but then without the Atomic timekeeping. First there is the World Time function with 48 cities and 31 time zones, then you’ve got the Alarm Function with 5 alarms (one is a Snooze Alarm) and a hourly chime. A 24 hour Stopwatch and a 24 hour Countdown Timer make this watch pretty complete.
I do not think the GX-56 and the GXW-56 is a G-Shock for everyone. The watch has a big sturdy look. It fits well on my 7” wrist, but a week ago fellow (G-Shock) watch collector Lester Burnham visited me. He has much smaller wrists than I have and the watch looked completely different. Well, the same probably goes with the Frogman models. It’s not an easy model for people who wear long sleeves. I wear short sleeve T-Shirts almost every day at home and at work. I have this watch for over a week now and it’s difficult to take it off my wrist. This is a very good looking black G-Shock. At release the price of this GX-56 was a bit high, but now with a price of £99.- you can say that the price of this monster comes pretty close to the price of a special edition G-6900 and you get a quite complete solar G-Shock for it with the newest technology in shock absorbing. If you really like a BIG G-Shock, this is the model you must get.