Sunday, January 23, 2011

G-Shock #3: Coral Reef Preservation

The W.C.C.S. series was one of the series where Casio wanted to show their environmental awareness. Between 1997 and 2000 29 models were released.
Strangely there is nothing to find about this organization, except for the information you can find on on G-Shock Perfect Search (GPS). Since there are many organizations involved with coral reef conservation and protection, it is good possible that the W.C.C.S. has merged into a bigger organization.
Back in the 90’s the World Coral-Reef Conservation Society, as the W.C.C.S. is called in full, was founded in 1994 by people who love water sports, like diving, sailing and wind surfing. This society was concerned about the Japanese coral reefs.
The W.C.C.S. organized symposia and educational campaigns to inform about the importance of protecting and preserve the Japanese coral reefs and they exchanged information internationally to study how to maintain the diversity of marine organisms at coral reefs worldwide.
It might be that the W.C.C.S. has dissolved into the Japanese Coral Reef Society (J.C.R.S.). This society has over 500 members and organize annual meetings and publish articles concerning life around coral reefs and studies about coral reef preservation.
Coral reefs are considered the forests of the sea. They work as the lungs of the oceans, taking up carbon dioxide and providing oxygen, which makes a wide variety of marine life possible.
A "Book-Off" store in Kobuchi. The "Hard-Off" has a similar logo in yellow. Good places to spot G-Shocks for good prices.
Today’s G-Shock is a W.C.C.S. Frogman, model number DW-8201WC-2T. It was released in June 1998. Actually I have been wanting this model for a while, but never bought one. Not that it is a real rare model. If you keep your eyes good open, you can find them under €200.- from time to time. I have been tempted many times, but or there was another G-Shock I wanted, or I had already spend all my money on other G-Shocks.
Before the food arrived on the table on the lunch of the "Off-Line Meeting", we had a beer and watched a lot of watches. 
On December 26, 2010, Kenichi and I had organized an “Off-Line Meeting”, near Akihabara. After the lunch we did a walk through some shopping centers, before we went to Nakano. At Nakano there was a huge mall packed with small shops. At the second floor there were a lot of shops with “rental displays”. Sellers can rent a display (a glass display cabinet with a locked door on the front) in one of these shops and put things they want to sell in the display.
 Nakano Broadway, a big mall with on the 2nd floor "rental Displays" (photo by Tibiko)
It was amazing what there was for sale. Baseball cards, pens, Be@arbricks, everything that could be valuable for a collector. Of course you can find many watches too. Kenichi showed me his display. Obviously he had a lot of watches for sale. I was tempted to buy a nice Seiko 5-er. Tibiko bought a nice vintage AW-560. Anicar bought a Tom & Jerry watch.
At a certain moment we passed a display in the hall of them mall. I spotted some very nice G-Shock watches. I pretty much had to choose what to buy, because it was packed with older models of the ‘90’s. Finally I choose a Codename of the Lovers Collection 1996 and this Frogman. With pain in my heart I had left the yellow DW-8800AB-9T Codename by Aurele. Actually I bought one on Yahoo Auctions (with help of a friend) and sent it as a gift to my friend Yamazaru-san in Kyoto.
This is probably the rental display where I found this Frogman. I'm the big guy with the backpack, Tibiko is the man with the orange coat. Photo by Kenichi. 
I do not know exactly what I paid for the Codename. I think it was ¥4500, else it was ¥5000. The price for the Frogman was also very good. It was ¥12000 (less than €120). Actually I almost bought a second W.C.C.S. Frogman. In the Hard Off in Machida I found this . It was in a little less good shape, but the price was only ¥9000. Unfortunately the watch was already reserved, as was also a very good condition MINK Mudman for only ¥4500(!). I would have bought that Mudman, even for double that price.
Above: Shopping street in Machida, near the station. The "Hard-Off" store where I saw the 2nd W.C.C.S. Frogman must be in this neighborhood.
Below: G-Shocks on display at the "Hard-Off" store in machida.
Let’s return back to the Frogman. All 29 W.C.C.S. models are jelly models. In Japan these are also referred to as skeleton models, as you can see through the resin. 13 models were Frogman models, which seems logical to me, as the best way to observe the beauty of the coral is to dive.
There is one thing about jelly models that’s less pleasant and that is that over time they will turn yellow when worn or exposed to light for a long time. There are two ways to think about this yellowing. If you like the bright clearness of the resin, you’ll better not wear it and keep it in the dark. This would of course be ridiculous, so better not buy it. If you do not have a problem with yellowing, you might actually like it, as the yellowing gives the Frogman an unique look.
Frankly, I thought the yellowing was not really bad on this Frog, until I began to wear it. The combination of the bezel and straps are not matching well with my skin tone. In the photo’s I had to correct the yellowing a lot as the yellow/greenish color seemed much harder than in real. Also the yellow color might look different in other light conditions. In sunlight or tungsten light, the watch might look much less yellow. This light contains a lot of yellow, so our eyes might over correct the yellowing.
A few weeks ago I found an old page about yellowed resin on G-Shocks. It was in Japanese, but it used a kind of bleach to reduce the yellowing. Of course I didn’t safe the page (I actually don’t even know on what computer it was). It might be that I found it through Kwan’s “Frogman Party” website. Maybe I should drop him an e-mail, as searching for a page about yellowing resin in Japanese is a little too difficult for me.
The model number, used for this release is a bit odd. Normally the usual DW-8200 would be used. I have not noticed anyreal difference with the usual DW-8200 model, other than the logo’s and special engraving of for the W.C.C.S. on the back. Normally a model ending on 1, 2 or a 3 in such a model number have slight cosmetic differences from the basic model. The text AIR DIVER´S is also used on 8200 models.
So what makes a Frogman special. First of all, it´s the only G-Shock model that meets the ISO standards for 20 bar water resistance. This means that these models are tough tested for water resistance. Also is every Frogman made in the homeland of Casio, Japan. This means that the assembly of a Frogman means more labor than normal and labor in Japan is, like in Europe, very expensive.
Also is the Frogman one of the few asymmetric G-Shock models. The asymmetry is probably used to make the watch wear more comfortable when worn over a wet suit. The straps therefore unusually long. A nice detail is the end of the straps. It looks a bit like a fin of a dolphin. The W.C.C.S. models have the image of a small crab on the tip of the strap.
The double row of holes and the double buckle suggests the straps are really tough. The double buckle was by the way not used on the first Frogman, the DW-6300. In June 1995 the DW-8200-1 was probably the first G-Shock model with the double buckle closure.
This Frogman comes with the 1294 module. At first sight it is a pretty basic module with a 24 hour Stopwatch, a 24 hour Countdown Timer, 3 alarms with a hourly chime. If you hold the MODE button pressed for about 2 seconds, the module jumps into Dive Time mode. This is a kind of Stopwatch mode, but it displays the current time, the start time and the elapsed time, so you can calculate how much time you have left while diving.
This W.C.C.S. Frogman was released in a series of 4 models. This is the blue version. There were also a white, black and a gold version. All had this clear resin. The gold version featured a the metal parts in a gold tone, the other models are like this one in silver.
Very nice on this Frogman is the backlight. It shows three dark devil fish (Mobula mobular) “flying” over on a bright cyan background.
Looking for a W.C.C.S. Frogman should for a 1998 model not be too hard if you are a bit patient. I think quite a lot of them were made. Unlike the rare DW-8200 versions, this model can be found for reasonable prices. I was very lucky to find this one for ¥12000 (€107/$146). For a model in this condition a price of around $180 - $200 is in my eyes reasonable. The original listed price was ¥26000, which was probably a lot of money in back then. I’m pretty happy to have this watch. It’s not only a nice model, it is also a souvenir of one of the greatest days in my life.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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