Sunday, May 27, 2012

G-Shock #24: My Yellow replacement GW-6900

I think I have written many times I sometimes have multiple copies of a certain G-Shock. Just because I like it, and probably because it was possible to get more than one. This article is about my recently acquired GW-6900A-9.
In June 2011 I had, for the second time a meeting with Ibe Kikuo-san, the man who developed G-Shock. The first time I met him was in October 2009, during Shock The World Barcelona. My good friend and guide through Barcelona ToniToni was clever enough to bring a fine marker to that event. During the event Tonitoni had his yellow DW-6900H autographed by Ibe Kikuo-san. I thought this was a very cool idea, but since `i was wearing my jelly red GW-203K Frogman, it thought it was not a good idea to let my Frogman autographed.
When I learned there was time reserved for an interview I did not hesitate. I searched through my collection to find nice light colored G-Shock’s that could be signed. Also I bought a good marker and of course tested it, before driving off to Shock The World Amsterdam. In my camera bag I had my yellow GW-6900 and a white G-6900EW.
The GW-6900 was actually a custom job, since the straps and bezel were taken from a G-6900A-9 and put on a basic GW-6900-1. The black strap and bezel were put on the G-6900A case. This change could only be spotted when observing the big “Eye”. On the G-6900A the eye is (pinkish) red, on the G(W)-6900-1 the eye is regular greenish gray as the rest of the display.
I was very happy to have my own signed G-Shocks now. Ibe Kikuo-san has signed with his full name in Japanese characters. It was obvious that I could not wear these watches (or straps) again, as the ink might wash away or dissolve during my work at the lab.
It didn’t take me too long to find a replacement for my G-6900EW. The GW-6900A took me quite longer, as this model is not really cheap in Europe. I could by it in the US, but the very unfriendly Dutch custom service of the TNT (standard charge is €17 + 20% value added tax) withhold me of trying to find one there, although the prices in the US were under $100.- at that time. Quick calculation, watch plus shipping would be around $120 - €100, custom fee €17, VAT €20. So a $100 (€80.-) will cost you eventually €137.- here… and I won’t even start complaining about the 4 -5 days delay in shipping.
Several times I have been looking at the yellow GW-6900A in Germany and The Netherlands. The usual price here is €149.-. Recently I was longing very much in wearing my yellow G-Shock, so I tried to find one. It seems this model is getting rare, since it was sold out in some stores I regularly visit. Also at Ace Trends (part of Ace Jewelers) in Amsterdam, it was not sure if the watch was present. Luckily they have a live-chat and I even got Dimer (Sponsor and moderator of WatchUSeek) on the other side. He had to check his stock, but returned quite fast luckily reporting he still had 2 left. I couldn’t be happier. Also the regular price of €139 on their website was €10.- cheaper than the sugested retail price. Also members on WatchUSeek you also get another discount, so I ended up with this great Atomic GW-6900A for around €125.
What makes the GW-6900A so attractive you may ask. Well, first of all I am fond of yellow G-Shocks. Casio once referred this color as “Positive Yellow”, like it should make you hapy, ans frankly, to me it does. Just think about the yellow Frogman, the DW-6900H “Taxi Driver” or the DW-8800AB Aurele G-Shock. All great watches to own and to wear. The GW-6900 in general is also a very complete Atomic Tough Solar model. Here in The Netherlands I have, like in most parts of Europe, always the correct time. I think the only three colors you can get a GW-6900 type model is in basic black, yellow and white. The black verion is by the way also pretty nice looking, but personally I think the white version (GW-6900A-7) is relative dull (although the purple accents are then nice). For me the yellow version s simply the best looking model available in Europe (I know, I also have a white/fuchsia red and a purple GW-6900, which I bought both in the US).
The GW-6900A-9 has the 3179 module on board. As this is a newer type G-Shock, the automatic calendar goes up to December 31, 2099, instead of 2039, which is found on older G-Shocks. The watch can sync with 6 public transmitters of Atomic Time signals (2 in Europe, 1 in China, 1 in the US and 2 in Japan), hence the text MULTIBAND 6 on the display. The battery is charged by the solar panels around the display. A fully charged GW-6900 can maintain timekeeping for about 9 months without recharging. The Tough Solar feature means that the watch battery is already charged in relative dim light, such as at the office or in the living room.
On board of the 3179 module you’ll find the following modes: a World Time Mode with 48 cities in 31 time zones, an Alarm Mode with 5 daily alarms (1 is a Snooze Alarm) with a hourly Chime, a 24 hour Stopwatch Mode and a 24 hour Countdown Timer Mode. Nowadays you find these functions often on every new G-Shock model, but these are also the most used functions that you use on a regular digital watch.
A good Double I.P.A. from a local brewery tastes good after a long photo session...
Extra features on this watch is the possibilities to mute the buttons and adjust the EL duration between 1.5 and 3 seconds. Also this watch has a “Full Auto Illuminator”, which in simple words means when the function is turned on, that the EL light lights up automatically when you look at the watch in the dark, but does not light up when you are in a well lit environment. You can choose to view the day and date in the display in normal Time Keeping Mode, or view the World Time. As I quite do a lot of communications in Japan, I often have my World Time set to Tokyo. Sometimes I prefer to see Tokyo time above the local time in the display.
The GW-6900A is officially discontinued in japan and I guess this means for the rest in the world too. The official suggested retail price was ¥20000 in Japan (around €200,-). Luckily it was much cheaper in the US and Europe. I think the retail price in the US was $149.- and in Europe the retail price was €149.-. The regular prices around the release were $120.- in the US and €110.- in Europe. Unfortunately this model becomes harder to find now, which means it will probably cost you around the regular suggested retail price if you find one.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great review.

This made me buy my first G-shock watch just now !

Also this is one of the G-Shock Chris Martin out of Coldplay wears at concerts.

Very nice blog !