Sunday, April 10, 2011

G-Shock #14: The Dawn of the 25th Anniversary, GW-5525A-1DR

In 2003 I noticed that Casio released special Anniversary models for their 20th anniversary. I was relative new in collecting G-Shocks, but I managed to get hold of the DW-5000MJL-1JF. Unlike the DW-1983-1 and the DW-5000SP, the 20th anniversary DW-5000 model looked different from the originalDW-5000C. But with the red face, it looked pretty cool.
As the first G-Shock was  launched in 1983, I suspected that 2008 would become a special year, as it would be G-Shock’s 25th anniversary. I didn’t expect that the celebration would start one year earlier.
I think it was March 2007 when I had some e-mail exchange with Katsu Higuchi-san. I probably had received one or more G-Shocks that I had ordered from him. He told me he had been to a watch congress in Tokyo and he had great news for me. Casio was going to release a special series of watches for the 25th anniversary.
He soon sent me some press photo’s about what later would be known as the “Dawn Black” series. Black watches with a greenish gold display and gold accents. As the series were scheduled for May 2007, I had time to save extra money (by simply not buying G-Shocks). I asked Katsu-san to order a set for me and started saving.
Finally the series was released at the end of May. The series were packed in a special box. It looked like a flight case, the type you see musicians with. Actually the panels are made of cardboard.
The initial Dawn Black series were all Tough solar models. The series consist of the AWG-525-1AJF, GW-225A-1JF Frogman, GW-5625A-1JF, GW-9025A-1JF Mudman and the GW-5525A-1JF. Besides the gold display and gold accents, also the buckle and back are made of gold colored metal.
In September 2007 the initial release was followed by a second “Dawn Black” release. These models were only sold outside Japan. These were the G-9025A-1DR Mudman and the G-9025-1DR Gulfman. Also the GW-5525A-1DR and the GW-225A-1DR were released in South East Asia and the US. In Europe the GW-9025A-1DR was available in limited numbers. The last three models were exactly the same as the Japanese market models, but were packed in a special 25th Anniversary package. Like the logo on the back of all the 25th anniversary models, was this tin designed by Eric Haze.
The watch I feature here today is the GW-5525A-1DR. This watch did not only come in a different package as the Japanese models, it also contained a special gift. When the tin was opened you found a nice looking G-Shock necklace with a dog tag.
This dog tag shows on one side the G-Shock logo, on the other side you’ll find the special 25th anniversary logo by Eric Haze in red, white, black and gold. I wish I could have bought a second GW-5525A, because I like this necklace and wanted to keep one mint for my collection. This model was sold in large quantities in the US. You could get them in department stores for relative low prices, mostly around $80.-, much lower than the original GW-5500 would cost you.
You could also find them on eBay. The problem for me with ordering from the US is that packages end up at the customs. I don’t mind paying tax (it would be around €12.- for this watch), but the parcel service adds €17.50 for handing it over to the customs and receive it back. This makes importing cheap G-Shocks from the US pretty expensive. Luckily I found one, slightly used, on the sales forum on WatchUSeek. As I was planning in wearing this watch, it was not a problem to me. I don’t know what I paid for it, but it was a good deal, probably around $80.- shipped.
When the package arrived, the watch looked unworn. Often you can see the imprint of the buckle on the strap when the watch is worn, but I couldn’t find this imprint on this one. As I decided to wear this watch, it is now in a good, but worn state. The necklace was too cool not to wear. I have worn it often, though I had to look for it today.
The GW-5525A is a very nice model. It is shaped after the DW-5500C, released in 1986. The DW-5500C was the second G-Shock model that broke with the traditional square design. The DW-5400, released three months earlier than the DW-5500C, had a round bezel (like the DW-5700). The DW-5500C had a Mud Resist housing and Casio nicknamed this model “Mudman” and considered this the “Master of G”. Although not really as big as later ‘90s models, the DW-5500C was quite larger than his older DW-5X00C brothers. Most eye catching is the wider strap, which makes this model look streamlined. It’s pretty hard to see where the strap ends and where the case starts. A nice extra on the wider strap is that the watch wears very comfortable.
 Of the current Mud Resistant models, the 5500 models have the easiest button control. The parts that cover the buttons feel softer than the covers of the current Mudman models and the GX(W)-56 models. Nice detail is the ADJUST button cover. Some G-Shock models have a recessed Adjust button, to avoid accidentally entering setting mode. The normal buttons on the GW-5525A have a ribbed grip, while the Adjust button has a smooth(er) surface with a single dot at the point where the button is.
The GW-5525A -1DR does have the same looks as the DW-5500C, but has been equipped with the latest technology, including a 5 band Waveceptor function and a Tough Solar energy source. The Waveceptor function is Casio’s name for an Atomic Time Receiver.
Before 2006 you could only buy G-Shocks that could receive the two Japannese signals and the US signal, or G-Shocks that could receive one or two European signals (Mainflingen, Germany and Anthorn, UK). With the GW-9000 Mudman, Casio released in 2006 the first 5 band Waveceptor model, followed by the GW-5500 models in 2007. Still a sytrange idea that 5 and 6 band Waveceptor models are now common, but that the first was released less than 5 years ago. A is a little pity that the GW-5625A-1JF is a modle that only receives the signal from the two Japanese transmitters (Fukuoka/Saga and Fukushima) and the US transmitter (in Fort Collins).
The GW-5525A has the following functions on-board: 48 cities World Time, 1000 hour stopwatch, a 60 minutes Countdown Timer and 5 Alarms and a Hourly Signal. It’s a pity there is only a 60 minute Countdown Timer on board, but all other functions are more than perfect. Interesting is that Alarm 1 can be set to a Snooze Alarm or a normal Alarm. Normally is the Alarm with the highest number automatically the Snooze Alarm.
The GW-5525A was sold in large quantities in the US, but it is already almost 4 years ago that it was sold. Finding one now will be hard. Back in 2007 this model sold out in the US in a few months. As they were sold at a relative low price in department stores like Macy’s and Wallmart, most of these would have been bought by regular customers who probably still wear this watch, as it is pretty complete and also very comfortable. If you want one, you probably will have to look in Japan. At the moment there are three available at Yahoo Auctions varying in price from 7000 to 20000 yen. Casio has not produced a new GW-5500 model for a long time, but Casio still releases non-Atomic 5500 models, which can have different modules, solar and not solar, but same comfortable wear. These can be good alternatives to this GW-5525A-1DR.

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