Sunday, May 15, 2011

G-Shock #21: Mission Impossible:DW-5300

Today’s G-Shock is a strange model in the chronologic evolution of the G-Shock line. It’s a kind of “The Missing Link” as it is a bridge between the vintage “squares” and the more beefy late ‘90’s models.
When looking to the model number, you would expect it would fall between the DW-5200C and the DW-5400C, as only the DW-5000 and DW-5600 have evoluted further in their bloodlines. Still, the DW-5300 has been released long after the DW-5600C in 1987, but two years before its successor, the DW-5600E.
According to my own website the DW-5300 was released February 1994. This was an interesting time for Casio, as they had been releasing many variants of the DW-6000’s, DW-6100’s and DW-6200’s and a bunch of analog G-Shocks. In January the DW-6400 “Gundam” was released and also in February the first SkyForce was released, the DW-6500. It was just four months before the DW-6600 was released, the first G-Shock with an Electroluminescent Backlight, being the footprint of the modern G-Shocks.
 The model number that was chosen is strange, as it always seem to be in ascending order. Also the number 5300 had also been used by the WW-5300C (1994). In the early eighties it was still a novum if a LCD display would function below freezing point. Casio used new LCD technology on the WW-5100C and the WW-5300C models, which had LCDs that would work at least until -20°C. The prefix WW stands for Wide Temperature range and Water Resistant.
 A second strange phenomena: this watch was only sold outside Japan. G-Shock collectors in Japan have to search outside Japan to find it. This is pretty remarkable, since most G-Shock models are released in Japan and outside Japan we have to hope that it will be released outside Japan (like the GXW-56 recently).
This model is known as the Mission Impossible 1 model. For a long time it was internationally thought that the character Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) was wearing a DW-5300 in this movie that was released in 1996. Even in Japan graphics of Mission Impossible were shown with this model. In January 2010 “Liquidus2172” came up with proof, that the watch worn in that movie was not a DW-5300, but a DW-290, a model that sometimes is referred to as a pre-G-Shock model, like the DW-1000 model. In 2003 or 2004 I had made screen shots of this movie. You could see that Tom Cruise was wearing a bulky G-Shock like watch. Unfortunately the screen resolution of my screen capture program was to restricted in resolution to capture a clear shot.
Auch!
After quite a search, I found a DVD-player that can make bigger screen captures. (VLC Media Player) . It is now pretty clear this is not a DW-5300, but a DW-290.
The screenshots of “liquidus2172” were much clearer and the DW-290 were easily revealed. Since the movie is already 15 years old and the name “Mission Impossible” for this watch is probably as old too, I do not think the nickname of this model will ever change.
Left the DW-5300, right it's succesor, the DW-6800.
The DW-5300 is a kind of DW-5600C on steroids. It has the 901 module with the light bulb. I think the DW-5300 has been produced for about a year. It’s not a real rare watch. In March 1995 this model was successes by the DW-6800, which featured the EL Backlight feature. Although the space around the display and the structure of the bezel are different, it still has the same similar look as a DW-5600, but then bulky.
If you own a DW-5300, this means the watch is at least 16 years old. Spare parts are almost impossible to find and the bezel can become brittle. I got quite a lot e-mails over the years of broken bezels of a DW-5300, but I was never able to help anyone. As a collector I recommend strongly to keep your DW-5300 in a safe place, but even that would not guarantee that the bezel stays in one piece. During my search of additional information about this watch, I stumbled upon a proud Japanese collector showing his DW-5300, which he had imported. Unfortunately the bezel fell apart after he had written his review.
As on most G-Shock models, the Adjust button is somewhat recessed in the case.
Casio’s guideline of spare parts is that spare parts are available up to 10 years after the model was sold. I think you can’t blame Casio on that. They produce so many products in every division, that it is hardly impossible to store spare parts for long times. 10 years ago, I bought my first digital camera. My canon 7D is already my 5th digital camera and I am already thinking about upgrading to a 5D mkII or a mkIII if that’s been released. For most electronic equipment we use in daily life, 10 years is a relative long time.
 
The DW-5300 operates with a 901 Module. Although there might be very minor differences, the look and button functions are the same as the 691. Both these modules are used also on the DW-5600C. On board of this 901 module we find, besides the Timekeeping Function, a Alarm function, a Dual Time function, a 24 Hour Stopwatch function and a 24 hour Countdown Timer function. For a basic digital watch I guess this model was quite packed with functions for a 1994 watch. The Alarm function has an alarm that can be set to a date, which is not unusual for a G-Shock model. If only the day number or the month number is chosen, the alarm will only sound respectively once a month or during only the specified month.
The DW-5300 has also a special feature in the Timekeeping function. In the display the text REM is visible. This stands for reminder. If the lower right button is pressed for about 2 seconds a digit next to REM starts to blink. The Reminder function acts like a "String around your finger" or as we say in The Netherlands (and also in Germany) a knot in your handkerchief.
The DW-5300 seems still a quite popular watch, specially by regular owners of the watch. Probably because it looks tougher than a basic DW-5600. From time to time you can find a DW-5300 in reasonable to NOS state on eBay. The watch has been mass produced and has been sold at least in Europe and the US, so there must have many float around. If you find one, they are mostly not really expensive. I got mine for scratch from eBay Germany (probably in the €30.- - €50.- range) in 2004.
The original price tag says the first owner had bought this watch for a discount price of  €51,10 and under the marker I can read the original retail price of  €99.95. Frankly I wouldn’t really invest too much money in a DW-5300, just because the chance of cracking of the bezel in the near future from old age is not unthinkable. A pity for a nice looking bulky G. Luckily we now have the GX-56 and GXW-56, which are maybe worthy successors of this model.
 

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