Sunday, April 15, 2012

G-shock #18: The Khaki Green King

Before the first “Army Green” series models were released in November 2011, photo’s of the Army Green GXW-56 were already seen. When this series were officially announced in Japan, it was a bit disappointing this model was not present in the release list. I think I already wrote it with my article of the GW-6900KG-3JF, that if such a GXW-56KG would be released, I would buy one. Well, you got to do what you promise yourself, so when this model showed up in the March releases, I immediately ordered one at Katsu-san (Higuchi Inc, Oita, Japan). He told me that the release would be at the end of the month, so after a wait of about two weeks, I got a message it was ready to depart from his shop.
Shipping from Japan is always exiting, as packages were often caught by the customs and delivered, with a small week delay at home with quite a big bill (compared with the watch value). It seems that March was my lucky month. Both my GXW-56 as my GB-6900 came from Japan through the customs with no bill and only a slight (2 days) delay. This means I can spend around €70.- more on new G-Shocks…
The GXW-56 models are currently the biggest G-Shocks that are available. Still the design is very classic. Maybe you could see this model in the classic G-Shock DNA line, that once started in 1983 with the DW-5000C. The GXW-56 looks like a beefy pumped up DW-5600, like it’s on steroids. The main reason the GXW-56 is that big, is that it has a Mud Resistant structure. This means that the buttons are hidden under the bezel. The button parts of the bezel are a bit softer than the other parts of the bezel, so you still can push the buttons. As the buttons parts are pretty big, it is not too hard to operate the buttons, although through a Mud Resistant bezel will always be harder to push.
In April 2012 also international models of this series were announced. These are the GX-56KG-3, the GR-7900KG-3 and the G-6900KG-3. The GR-7900 is the Tough Solar version of the G-7900. I think it would be great if Casio would upgrade all G-7900 models to at least GR-7900. A further investigation learned a G-5600KG is also released. All international models look almost the same as the Japanese models, are Atomic, but do not have the (Multiband) Waveceptor function. One one end, I think that’s a pity. You would like to use the functionality of a G-Shock to the max. On the other hand, the prices of the international releases will be much more affordable. I have seen the MSRP (Manufacturer's suggested retail price) of $120.- for the GR-7900KG, G-6900KG and the G-5600KG. Although the “Military Green” series (or just the “Olive Drap Colors” series), as the international series are referred to, are marketed as limited editions, the Japanese models are not dated. This normally means they will be available for a longer time (often about a year).
The G in the model number stands for Gravity. It refers to the Shock Resistance, which is expressed in G (gravity acceleration). The X stands for Extra, which here means extra shock resistant. It refers to the new α-gel pad, that has been used to even better withstand impacts. This α-gel can clearly be seen in the display. It’s the rubber profile you see around the display, which seems to continue under the solar cells (the outer black part around the display, where the lettering is put over). The solar cells nowadays seem pretty well evolved to a higher efficiency type. While the first Tough Solar panels were more blueish to purple, depending to the angle of light, the new solar cels are deep black. A fully charged battery can run the internal time of this watch for about 10 months in complete darkness. I can’t find the battery type in the (Japanese) manual. Funny detail is that I could find that the quartz crystal used in this watch has a frequency of 32768 Hz. Just in case you needed to know this.
The color green is, as the name of the series already says, adopted from the army. To be more exact, it was inspired by the green bomber jackets with their orang lining (If I'm correct a crashed pilot could use the lining of his jacket to attract attention for rescue from the sky). This explains also the orange lettering. I think the combination of orange lettering, a black (negative) display and the khaki green resin is a very nice combination. Casio has used this khaki green (a.k.a. olive drap) before on G-Shock models, but not with this orange lettering. In the lower right corner of the display, you will find a star. All models of these series have one or more stars. This is a playful reference to the Army Green theme, as stars are used in the military ranking system. Frankly, I would have liked to see more stars on this GWX-56KG. While the GW-7900KG has 2 stars, the GW-6900KG has 3 stars and the “tiny” GW-M5610KG has even 4 stars, I would have like to see the King with 4 stars at least! It’s the biggest and toughest looking guy from the whole series. Why should Casio else call this model (worldwide) the King…
The GXW-56KG-3JF is equipped with a 3220 module. It’s brother, the GX-56 will be equipped with the 3221 module, by the way. The 3220 module has the usual functions on -board which you find on most other basic Tough Solar Waveceptor models. While scrolling through the different functions by pushing the mode button, you’ll find a 48 cities and 31 time zones World Time function, an Alarm function with 4 normal alarms, one snooze alarm and a hourly chime, a 24 hour (okay, okay, 23 hour, 59 minutes, 59 seconds and 99 hundreds of a second) Stopwatch Function and a 24 hour Count Down Timer. Well, what more do you actually need on such a watch, for me it’s already over-complete, as I use besides Time Keeping, mostly the Count Down alarm and scarcely the Stopwatch function. The World Time function is nice, if you know which timezones have Daylight Saving Time /Summer Time. You have to toggle the DST manually on and off. Luckily the timezones I use a lot, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo, do not have DST. The US has DST, but the begin and start date differ from Europe. Frankly I find that confusing. It would be better if Europe and the US would sync their DST.
The best function on board, in my opinion, is the Multiband 6 Waveceptor function. This watch can receive the Atomic Time signals from 6 transmitters in the World. These transmitters are are Fukushima, and Fukuoka/Saga (JJY40 and JJY60), with a 500 km radius, Fort Collins (WWVB60), with a 1000 km radius, Mainflingen (DCF77) and Anthorn (MSF60) with a radius of both 500 km and the newest transmitter is located in Sangqui (China, PBC 68.5kHz). If Auto Receive is toggled on (default), the watch will attempt to receive the atomic time signal up to 6 times if necessary every night. As the watch has a maximum precision of +/- 15 seconds a month, the watch can be maximal 0.5 seconds off around midnight, before it begins to receive the signal again automatically. Actually the marge of +/-15 seconds is pretty big. Usually a newer an un-synced module has a marge of +/- 7 seconds a month. If you want to be very sure, or when the watch has failed to receive the signal overnight (you might have been inside a building that blocks radio waves), you can also perform a manual sync, by press and holding the lower right button.
The MSRP in Japan is ¥28000.-, which is pretty expensive. Usually shops and sellers in Japan have a better price than the MSRP. I was pretty happy I got this beautiful model over 20% cheaper shipped to The Netherlands. Well, I guess that is a good deal (specially when you keep in mind that only the EMS shipping will be somewhere around ¥3000, so the netto price I paid for this watch was less than ¥20000). As there is no date for this model on GPS, I think it will be still available in Japan in the forthcoming months. If you don’t want the Multiband 6 Waveceptor function, or find this price too high, it is probably worth to wait for the release of the GX-56KG-3, later this month. I do not know exactly where it will be released, but the US will be one of these locations. My guess is that the GX-56KG will be priced a lot under the ¥20000 ($250, €190) which I paid for this model. I am still not sure what I will do with this watch. One side of me wants to keep it in perfect shape for the collection, the other side wants to wear it. If the prices of the GX-56KG is very affordable, I might buy one of these to wear. Prices for that model will be probably friendliest in the US. Maybe I’ll ask a US friend to help me out ship one to The Netherlands. Direct shipping will cost me at least €35.- extra (those horrible Dutch custom fees).

5 comments:

J. M. said...

The Kings became my favourite, so this will be my favourite olive green. Nice article! Well writen, as always. Lots of good information. Thanks brother.

Jonny said...

Hi Sjors, I found this http://www.gshock.com/watches/?id=46D67C5A-C3C6-4AC1-A2C9-49D96994EFBF on the official web site... very minimalist and cool. Since it's *technically* not more than $100, you might want to review it in 50 Gs. Just a suggestion. Keep up the blogging!

Sjors said...

Hi Jonny,

I am pretty broke now, as I bought two The Hundreds and this model recently. I wish I had a little more funds, because the DW-6900WW and DW-5600BB look great and are certainly worth a review. I am afraid they are a bit expensive here in the Netherlands and importing from the US can be a pretty expensive operation (specially the import duties).

Cheers,

Sjors

Kucik Kenpachi said...

how much the price in japan ?

Sjors said...

I think I paid around ¥23000 - ¥24000 for it, if I read the last paragraph well... It is still in production.

http://product-search.casio.jp/wat/g-shock/watch_detail.php?m=GXW-56KG-3JF&n=5138

Cheers,

Sjors