Sunday, March 25, 2012

G-Shock #14: Gundam

In my series of Techno and Gundam models the DW-6400 can’t be absent. Casio has a reputation of futuristic designs for G-Shocks. While the AW-550 in 1992 already looked a bit odd, the January 1994 DW-6400 looked like it was from another planet. Not strange that this model got the nickname “Gundam” in Japan.
The animated series Gundam is not known in my country and I think this goes for whole Europe. This show is popular in the he US and Japan. This animated series of about war between giant “mecha” robots, called “Mobile Suits”. Although I do not see the direct resemblance, it is said that the case of the DW-6400 looks like the head of an Mobile suit.
In 1995 a DW-6400 featured in the movie Hackers, on the wrist of a boy friend of Kate Libby/"Acid Burn" (Angelina Jolie) at an Arcade hall in the beginning of the movie.
In 2008 fashion brand HTML (Hobby Tasteful Merchandise Laboratory) has released a series of special 25th anniversary T-Shirts. One of them was this T-Shirt with on the front “G-SHOCK” and “HTML” in the style of the Gundam logo and on the back a giant Mobile Suit, with the head replaced by the case of a DW-6400.
In January 1994 Casio released two DW-6400 models, the DW-6400B-1 and the DW-6400C-1. These were the only two models that Casio produced. As I have only seen the DW-6400C version, I think this model was made in much bigger numbers and was probably the only export model. A little strange detail is that the resin used on the 6400C is a bit khaki greenish. It would have maybe been better if the suffix was -3, instead of -1.
Although the official description on G-Shock GPS is quiet summarily, the DW-6400 models featured three novelties. The B version was the first G-Shock model that not had a resin strap, but a woven/leather strap (like the Crazy Gangsters strap, featured last week). Both the B and C version have the wrist rest shock absorbers used for the first time. These wrist rests are known for their comfortable wear. These wrist rest were recently used again on the G-001 and the G(W)-7900 models.
Most eye catching is of course the use of metal in the bezel (cover of the case). Unlike the later MT-G and MR-G models, the DW-6400 still has resin bumpers, protecting the case and display. In the 4 corners of the metal part of the bezel there are 4 screws with an hex key socket. I think these screws are pure cosmetics. I recommend never to try to unscrew bezel screws. Often they are glued in the bezel. These screws add quite to the tough look of the watch. I would not be surprised if, at the release in 1994, this was the biggest G-Shock ever made.
The module number of the DW-6400 is 901. This was not an unknown module at that time. This module can be found on the later DW-5600C, DW-5700C and DW-5800 models. A month later Casio used this module also on the DW-5300.
The 901 module has an Alarm function that can be set as a daily alarm, but also can be set on a date. If you only fill in a day number, the alarm will sound on the programmed time when the day number of the month has reached, if only the month number is programmed, the alarm will only sound during that month.
The Dual Time function is pretty primitive. Where on modern G-Shocks the World Time function is linked to Greenwich Mean Time from where you can choose many time zones, linked to big world cities, on the DW-6400 you can program Dual Time independent from the main time. Only the seconds synchronize with the main time.
The Countdown Timer and the Stopwatch function are just simple and both of the 24 hour type. The Countdown Timer can be programmed to the second. In this mode you can also see the time in the small rectangle in the top of the display. Since the Stopwatch measures in 100th of a second, the hours are displayed that rectangle.
A bit funny extra function is the Reminder Function. Above the seconds, under the rectangle, you find the text REM. If you have to remember something very important, you can set a reminder by push and hold the bottom right button. This function can be seen as the digital version of “Tie a Knot in your Handkerchief”. The basic idea of the know in your handkerchief is that when you have to perform an important task (when I did a search I found a tasks like: cleaning the hamster cage, watching your favorite TV program), you will reminded to this task every time you blow your nose in your handkerchief. Now you are reminded to your task by a blinking digit next to the REM mark on the display. Only thing you have to remind now is what that task was.
This watch is released 5 months before the first DW-6600. As the DW-6600 marks the introduction of the EL backlight, the DW-6400 therefore does not have an EL backlight. Instead there is a small lamp bulb (microlight). This lightbulb only lit up when the light button is pressed. This means the light stays on as long as you need to read time. There is no afterglow, like found on all models with an electro luminescence backlight.
The Gundam is a great watch to have in your collection. If you collect vintage G-Shocks, this would be a “Must Have” for your colllection. It has an unique look, even compared with the DW-81XX and DW-8300 models. I just changed the strap on one of my Gundams (I have 2 of them). It’s original strap was torn and after I changed the strap, it appeared you could easily tear the strap. Luckily a spare strap is still available. I got mine from Tiktox.com, one of the best places to get spare parts for G-Shocks. Still, when a model is not produced longer than 10 years, spare parts are harder to get and are not restocked from Casio. The new strap feels a bit rubberish, like it’s old strap. This means the strap will follow the natural form of the wrist, so that this strap is pretty comfortable. Also the wrist rest add to the comfortable wear.
The Gundam was produced in pretty large numbers and was available worldwide. Still this does not mean it is easy to find. It’s simply a watch that has been released 18 years ago and at this time it’s not easy to find one. It’s hard to put a price on this model. I have paid pretty low prices for the two I have (one is in very good condition, probably hardly worn), probably under €50.-. If you look good at auction sites, you might still find one for a good price, but when I did a search over eBay and Yahoo Auctions Japan, I could only three Gundams and the lowest bidding price was ¥12500 (€115.-, $150). Like I have written in my other articles in this Gundam/Techno series, I would love to see that Casio would make a new updated model, which looks like these classic models.
All right, that's too good to be true. In real it's a little darker than on the photo below...

4 comments:

Unknown said...

hi. Thank you for this interesting article and blog. I have the fortune of have one amazing DW-6400. I get a new strap from Tiktox, but i don't have wrist rests (or cuffs). Do you have any spare? Do you know were can i find it? from Tiktox I had no answer...
Thanks for answering. Regards,
Luis Castro

Sjors said...

Hello Luis,

I don't have these wrist rests, but you might try getting an older/cheap G(W)-7900 or G-001. These have these wrist rests too!

Kind regards,

Sjors

ตะวัน เจียรจตุพร said...

Thanks for the excellent article.

It was like an inspiration to me in the collection G-shock gundam.

Benny Wicaksono, ST said...

Hello, Sjors..

Do you have, DW 6400 for sell?

Can you info to me?

Thank you,
beni_wtc@yahoo.com