Sunday, September 25, 2011

G-Shock #39: Space 1999 - 2005

 In October 2005 Casio launched the G-8000 models. It’s probably the most futuristic designed model in whe whole G-Shock line. Together with the G-8100 and G-011 models, these were called the C3 or C-cubed models. The similarity in design can’t be denied for the G-8100 models, but I think the metal G-011 models are more “down to Earth”.
In Europe the G-8000 models were marketed as “freerunner’s watches”. In Germany this series is therefore sometimes called the “Freerunning Kollektion”. Free running (can also be spelt freerunning) is a kind of acrobatic sport, that uses the city and urban obstacles as playground to move from one location to the other, while performing tricks ay each obstacle. All you need is a human body and a pair of good shoes. This G-Shock model was called “Wall Runner” in Germany, named after a wallrunner’s trick (which isn’t new as I remember this trick was also performed in a Rick Ashley video).
Personally I think the G-8000 model looks like it is coming straight from a 60’s or 70’s science fiction series. I do not know why, but I associate this model always with “Space 1999”. I was always fascinated by this series, which aired in The Netherlands in 1978. As a 12 year old boy I tried to reconstruct Moonbase Alpha and it’s Eagles with my Lego. I still love the tune, which I actually have installed as a ringtone in my phone.
You might question why I associate this model with a science fiction series, but I think if you look at the display, you will probably notice the resemblance with cockpit instruments. The artificial horizon to be more specific. I also think the orange colors might give me a feel to the mid 70’s, when this kind of orange colors and green colors became fashionable in household decoration, clothing and vehicles. I remember we has a bright orange car around that time. The eighties were much colder and our orange car was traded into a dark brown car.
This G-8000 model, the G-8000-4VER (European version of the G-8000-4JF) has a negative display. To be honest, the display is not always very clear readable, in contrary to the normal display models. The G-8000 with a normal version were known for their crystal clear reading from the display. I don’t think you buy this watch for the clarity of the display. The orange bezel and strap give a very cool contrast to the black display. A part on the side of the bezel is by the way also black. It might be cosmetic, because it looks good. While the cross and the circle, that look like the artificial horizon, do not disturb the display on a positive display, I think it makes reading this display a little harder. When you own this watch for a longer time you, of course, learn how to read the display. Remarkable is that the seconds are located next to the date, under the hours and minutes. This gives the watch the advantage to use bigger digits for the hour and minutes.
Remarkable are the 4 screw like ornaments on the bezel. The 3 gray ornaments are just cosmetic. The big black ornament has a special function. This thing is actually a LED. You can sync this LED to the Alarm tones. This means, that when an alarm sounds (except for when scrolling through the modes) the LED also lights up. You an compare it with the FLASH function, which can be found on other G-Shock models, but the FLASH function lights up the complete display, while on this model only the LED lights up.
The G-8000 runs on the G-8000 module. It has a World Time function, Stopwatch function, a Count Down Timer function and an Alarm function. The Worldtime function shows the time in 48 cities in 29 time zones. Like I have written before, you have to correct the DST manually. The Stopwatch function has the usual 24 hour capacity. The Countdown Timer function has also a 24 hour capacity. It has also an auto-repeat function and it has a Progression Beeper. At certain times during the countdown operation, the alarm sounds so you can follow the countdown operation. In the Alarm function 3 alarms can be programmed. The third alarm is a Snooze alarm. This Alarm repeats every 5 minutes for maximal 7 times.

When scrolling between the functions with the MODE button, you will notice that the watch plays a little animations before the next mode is opened. It takes about 1 second to change from one mode to the other. You don´t have to wait until the mode opens though. You can scroll as fast as you like between the modes.
Actually I think it is a pity that there were only were less than 20 G-8000 models. Casio did a good job in making a watch that broke with traditional shapes and still looked good. Probably the futuristic design isn’t for everybody, but I think this design was ahead of the square “flight instrument inspired” watches trend, which are still popular today. Also the normal display versions got a lot of positive response from owners, because the display was very clear to read.
Although this model already 5 years old, you still can find a few, with prices starting around $70.-/€50.-. If you like this retro look, it might be the watch for you. When I was in the waiting room at my physiotherapist, I saw a ladies magazine with big headlines: “The Seventies are Back!”. Well, I you look for a suitable watch, I have a matching watch for you!

1 comment:

dorkinaut23 said...

It's interesting how Casio experimented with flashing LEDs on the 7700, 7800 & 8000 models. None of these models seemed to have caught on. I think this has much to do with their small size.