Sunday, November 20, 2011

G-Shock #46: Men In Yellow Frogman

For this article I had taken over 150 photo's on different occasions. Most are taken from my good old Men In Yellow Frogman, that I got in July 2007.I also added some old photo's I had taken not long after I got this fantastic Frogman for my Japanese weblog, like the one above. Also you will see photo's of my GF-8250-9JF,  which is derived from this M.I.Y. model, for comparison. I hope you enjoy reading and watching this article.
I already wrote an article about this model in 2008. At that time the Men In Colors series was about to be revived again, but now not only several new Men In Colors series and spin-off models were released, also a year ago Casio released the GF-8250-9JF as a tribute model. The GF-8250 was actually not the only tribute model. In 1999 Casio released a bunch tribute Frogman models, one of them was the DW-8250YU-9T. These tribute models can be recognized by the cipher 99 under the frog in the backlight. I think these tribute models were pretty rare as I can’t really remember I have seen one of these.
When I started collecting G-Shocks the Men In Yellow (MIY) series draw me like strong magnet. I managed to get a M.I.Y. Riseman and a M.I.Y. Gausman pretty easily somewhere in 2004. If I’m correct I found those in Australia for a good price. The MIY Frogman was for me a big dream. Frankly never thought I would own one. The prices for this model, though not very rare, were already pretty expensive at that time. An asking price of over $300.- was not unusual, while in the US the GW-200TC (Triple Crown of Surfing models) were available in high numbers for prices around $180 to $200 in 2005.
I got my first Men In Yellow Frogman by complete surprise. A friend of me from in Australia, Kim Patterson, who had a website called “Casio Vintage Digital LCD Watches” and was a great source of vintage Casio’s, mailed me he had this Frogman model. He was more into the vintage square models, but he was curious how these big Master Of G model was in real. He had bought this Frogman for a nice price, but he found that this model was too big for his arms and, although he liked the yellow color, he thought the color did not match his skin tone. He wrote me he wanted to sell the watch for me. If I’m correct he asked $125.- for this watch, so I immediately mailed back if he was sure and did not make a typo. He told me he had bought this watch from an Australian seller, who bought this watch in Japan a long time ago. He had paid a similar price for this Frogman and he didn’t want to make a huge profit when selling it to me. Well, no need to say that about a week later I got this watch. A huge favorite in my collection.
The Frogman had been worn obviously, although it was in very good shape when got it in 2007. I was not too fond of the DW-8200 Frogman at first. The DW-8250Y-9T model convinced me that the DW-8200 series can look very good. In the first years I got this watch I have worn it quite some time, especially in summer. I think it’s a great beach watch, nice to be seen with and of course the Frogman is the G-Shock model that is made for swimming and diving in sea, with the 200 meter water resistant ISO certification. Interesting detail on the face of every Frogman is that the water resistance is shown in meters, while on most other JP Domestic G-Shock models this is often shown in Bar (usually 20 Bar). Still I wanted a mint or almost mint MIY Frogman, complete with the box that is unique for the first Men In Colors series models.
I had been looking for a good looking MIY Frogman in 2008 and 2009, but this model was quite wanted. Even for a spare strap or bezel prices over $100.- were more usual than an exception, so I stopped searching. You can imagine how I felt when Casio announced to release a tribute model, the now pretty well known GF-8250-9. I so very much liked this model, that I bought a second while I was shopping in the Big Camera shop of Kyoto. I pretty much forgot my search for a genuine Men In Yellow Frogman.

 As it often goes in my collection, I always find what I am not looking for. I pretty much like these kind of surprises. My friend Neil from Chicago (I must have mentioned his name a number of times in articles here before and this will probably not be the last time) contacted me about one or two years ago for some info. He was planning to sell some of his collection pieces and thinking of some other to sell. He wanted to have some pricing advice. As good as I could I tried to help him, although I think he knows the market better than I do. I just buy G-Shocks, while he sells from time to time too (and then sometimes regret and buy the same model again). He was telling me he was thinking about selling his Men In Yellow Frogman, although, he thought it was one of his top pieces. We happen to have both a weakness for yellow G-Shocks (yellow Frogman, yellow Raysman, etc). I told him as he was planning to sell his Men In Yellow Frogman, he should contact me first.
Well, at the end of the summer Neil mailed me that he was planning to sell his MIY Frogman. He also had a spare strap and bezel. I was especially interested in the extra spare parts as they are very had to get and prices for these parts are sky high. As always Neil made a friend’s price for this combo, though It took me some time to gather enough funds together to pay this watch. Although it was still quite an amount of money, I totally do not regret I did it. The watch is in pristine state and the spare parts are great. He even gave me a used spare bezel without screws. Not sure what to do with it, but in a worst case scenario, I think I can glue these screws from a broken bezel back with Poly Urethane glue (I use it to glue things here at the lab, quite a good glue).
So what does Men In Yellow stand for. In 1997 Casio released the Men In Black series. The models in this series were all Master of G models. They were obviously inspired by the Men In Black motion picture, which was released in the same year. Also almost all Master of G models (only exceptions are the Codename and Codename Cipher) have a name ending on the name Man. The Men In Yellow series was the second in the range of Men In Color series, released in March 1998 and from then on several Men In Color series were released until 2000. It looked like Casio discontinued the Man In Color series and eventually the Master of G name. There was a moment (I think around 2005/2006) I was not even sure the Master of G name realy had existed or was something I made up. You could nowhere find this name on internet anymore. The revival of the Master of G range, starting with the new G-9000 and GW-9000 Mudman in 2006 was the beginning of the revival of the Master in Color series. In 2008 Casio came back with the fantastic Master In Rescue Orange (MIRO) with a Mudman, Gulfman and a Riseman. Several new Man In Color series has been released since. Secretly I am hoping Casio will release a Men In Yellow II series, including a Frogman, Riseman, Mudman and Gulfman. From all these series, I still thing the Men In Yellow series were the strongest. Although yellow is a bright color, it seems that you can wear it anytime.
The DW-8250 models are stainless steel variations of the titanium DW-8200 models. Only two 1997 W.C.C.S. models , this model and the 1999 tribute model have this model number. Frankly I have no idea why the DW-8250 model was introduced. It might sound that the use of stainless steel would be worse than the use of titanium, but my Frogman still looks clean and shiny, while it had been submerged in the sea several times. It’s pretty clear that Casio used a very high grade Stainless Steel for the production of this model. The watch feels, like the vintage classic screwback square models (DW-5000C – DW-5600C), pretty heavy, although almost 114 grams is not really too heavy. A funny detail is that the GF-8250 and the new GWF-1000 have about the same weight. The regular titanium DW-8200 Frogman weights 87.5 gram and a regular basic G-Shock weighs around 55 - 70 grams as you can see in some examples below.
The DW-8250Y-9T has the 1294 module. The module is the motor of a G-Shock and contains the LCD display and the, the quartz crystal and microprocessor that regulates the different functions of a G-Shock. The 1294 module has relative simple functions. Besides timekeeping (pretty important for every watch), you’ll find a 24 hour Stopwatch function, a 24 hour Countdown Timer and an Alarm function with three independent alarms and a hourly chime when you scroll through the functions with the MODE button.
 A bit hidden, but for a Frogman as a dive watch an important function, is the Dive Timer function. It is a kind of special Stopwatch function for timing dives. You get to the Dive Timer by push and holding the MODE button for about 2 seconds. When you start a dive you can still se the time in the upper display. In the lower display you can see the duration of the dive and above it the time you started diving. There is no depth sensor on this watch, so you have to start the Dive Timer manually. You can’t accidentally stop the Dive Timer. To prevent accidentally stopping the timer, you have to press and hold the START-STOP button (lower right) for about 2 seconds. A long beep sounds as the Dive Timer is stopped. In normal Timekeeping Mode you can see the data of the last dive while you press and hold the lower right button (LOG DATA). It also shows the latest dive data when the Dive Timer is reset. It does not display the Dive Timer when it is running. You must probably use the Frogman in Dive Timer mode while diving.
A Man In Yellow Frogman is, like most Men In Yellow models, hard to find these days. The series were not very rare for a long time. When I bought this watch, I could have bought another MIY Frogman for around $300 . I do not know if there is still a high interest in this older model, since Casio released the GF-8250-9 model in 2010, which has a similar look, but is Tough Solar, has extra functions and most important of all, is relative cheap. A GF-8250-9 can nowadays easily found for a price around €225.- or maybe cheaper, while I paid a full 34000 yen (around €320.-) for this model. If you are a collector of older G-Shock models, this is one of the must have models. If you do not care for this older models, I would say go for a GF-8250-9. They are still pretty easy to find nowadays. Another thing to think about is that the DW-8250Y-9T is already 13 years old. Although the bezel of my Frogman still looks OK, it is not sure for how long the resin will hold, especially when worn often. Casio used the Triple 10 Criteria for their watches. One of the criteria is that the watch can survive easily 10 years. Well, this is not a real problem, but after around 20 – 25 years the plastic parts might crumble or break (so called “resin rot”). Casio uses Poly Urethane, which is about the toughest kind of polymer for plastic watches, but even this polymer has a maximum lifetime. Probably an extra reason to choose a GF-8250 above a genuine Men In Yellow Frogman. I haven’t looked around fr a Men In Yellow Frogman recently, but expect to pay around $250 - $300 for a used version, like the one I sometimes wear or $400.- or more for a mint version in box with papers.
I like to thank Bernard for the beach location tip for the beach shots and Richel for the tire profile tracks on the beach tip.

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