Sunday, September 4, 2011

G-Shock #36: Buchstabe "S".

The month September is an extreme busy month for me. There's my brother's 25th weddings anniversary (and he asked me to be the photographer), I've got my own birthday to organize, there is the children's party for Bram's birthday, I'm invited for a special beer day with book presentation, tasting and lectures, the Coastal Marathon is on the 1st of October, so I have to prepare me and my bicycle for riding over  the  dunes and beaches and last, but not least, the new school year started with a lot practical work. I was thinking about taking a short brake from writing for 50 Gs, as I simply have very limited time and I seem to be in front of my schedule. I will see how things go, but if there is no article or only a short article on a Sunday on 50 Gs, please don't worry. I already made it to my 36th article this year, so the last 14 articles will not be a large problem.
This is my Buchstabe “S” G-Shock. The Buchstabe series were released in 1994 and contained 26 models, each with another letter in the EL background. Buchstabe is German for letter. The same series is also released in Japan, where it was called the A/Z Gangsters.
I am not sure who was first. The Buchstabe models were released through “Freetime Sportuhrenversand”, who had also brought us the “MTV Music European Video Awards” model and the “Deutsche Polizei Gewerkschaft” (DPolG) model. Normally you would think model are released earlier in Japan, but this watch shop was that creative, that I suspect that Japan adopted the idea and released the whole series in Japan too. It’s of course also more logical that an overseas country comes with the idea of using letters of initials, as in Japan the Japanese characters are used.
It seems that Freetime Sportuhrenversand does not exist anymore. The 1st manager Ralph Thimian would know, but I could not track him down anymore, but this model is already almost 17 years old. The watch shows it has been worn for a long time too.
I found this watch on auction on eBay Germany. It was described as “a G-Shock”, but I saw the letter S in the backlight on the photo’s. As it was a different letter, I would probably not have been too wild to bid for it, but the letter “S” is of course cool to have when you nickname is “Sjors” (Sjors is actually not my real name). I do not know what price I paid, but it was peanuts. It would probably never had gone for a high price, since the watch was really abused.
There are scratches on the strap and on the crystal. The band loop seems to be have been broken and two smaller band loops have been installed instead. There is also a strange logo on the strap, which I can’t place. Frankly I think the state this watch is in is kind of cool. Scratches and bruises give a watch character. Moreover, this watch misses it’s alarm spring. I also think the alarm won’t work with the alarm spring, as I tried to revive it with 2 alternative springs (some coiled 0.1 mm copper wire and a piece of 0.4 mm constantan wire), but in both cases not any sound.
 The alarm spring supposed to be in the small white holder next to the battery.
The base model of the DW-6695-S is of course the (recently discontinued?) DW-6600. The DW-6600 was the first watch that had an EL backlight, released in June 1994. It’s got the 1199 module, which gives one of the brightest EL backlights of them all. In Japan these models got the name “Fox Fire” if they had EL backlight. Overseas usually the name “Illuminator” was used, although “Fox Fire” can also (like in this case) be found on overseas models. It seems Casio used the numbers 6630 and 6695 for special versions of the DW-6600. Although the DW-6600 has always been popular for police officers, military, firemen and ambulance personnel, it has always been a bit in the shadow of his big brother, the triple eyed DW-6900.
The DW-6695 has very basic functions. Besides timekeeping, it has a daily Alarm function with Hourly Chime, a 24 hour Stopwatch and a 60 minute Countdown Timer on board. he Countdown Timer would have been more sufficient if it was 24 hour. For the rest, it’s enough for daily work I guess. I think 17 years ago you would have been happy with these functions on any digital watch.
Looking for this model would be extreme difficult. It has only be distributed in Germany and Japan and this was also 17 years ago. You need a lot of patience and luck to find one. I actually have two of these. This Buchgstabe “S” and I also have the Buchstabe “K”. I can remember I saw an “S” or a “K” on auction on eBay about one or two years ago. It also went for a very low price. I think it is not very economically to release 26 almost the same models in one series. Some letters would be more popular than others. It’s of course very cool to have your initial in the backlight, instead of the standard “G”.

1 comment:

dorkinaut23 said...

I enjoyed this review. I noticed this line of watches in the Casio Japan perfect search tool and I thought that Casio had just gone crazy bonkers with the Fox-Fire in 1994. I didn't realize that these DW-6695 Alphabet watches had started in Germany first. Any review where I can learn some history is a great one in my opinion. Thanks Sjors