Sunday, July 15, 2012

G-Shock #32: Maharishi DPM: Bamdazzle

Recently I posted my article about the chocolate chip cooky dough brown Men In Military Colors Mudman, where I did a little research about camouflage colors and patterns. In the UK camouflage patterns are known as Disruptive Pattern Materials. Today’s G-Shock is inspired by a very unique kind of camouflage.
Camouflage is about as old as there are animals on this world. While we probably associate camouflage mostly with adapting environmental patterns and colors, while there are actually more ways of camouflage. Most camouflage methods work best static, but “dazzle patterns” are most effective in motion. Best known dazzle camouflage is that of zebras. Motion dazzle makes it very hard to predators to estimate the prey’s direction and speed, for zebra’s specially when they run together close in a group. I think this principle becomes clear after watching the animation that Maharishi made to promote their G-Shock collaboration release.
The Maharishi G-Shock collaboration design is inspired by the dazzle camouflage, which was used on military ships from the first World War to the beginning of the second World War. The UK artist Norman Wilkinson, who was primarily a marine painter, advised to use the dazzle patterns on ships. Ships were painted with lining patterns, where vertical lining were as much as possible avoided. Ships with these camouflage patterns were called “Dazzle Ships”. The whole idea of this kind of camouflage was that the German U-Boats (submarines) could not estimate the distance, direction and speed when they had such a ship in their periscope and wanted to torpedo it.
"Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool" by Edward Wadsworth, oil on canvas, 1919
I’ve been intrigued by Dazzle Ships since the release of the so titled album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) in 1983. The release of the Maharishi “DPM Bamdazzle” was enough reason to dig up this record from my collection in the attic. While this record was at the time of release not always understood by critics, it was for me, as a 16 year old boy, then a great record. I had always been fond of using sounds of radio, television and movies. Like Kraftwerk’s theme album “Radioactivity”, this album has a lot of tracks with radio themes. At that time, the world seemed so big. The signal tune of Radio Prague still spins through my head from time to time. When finishing the album, OMD skipped the track “Swiss Radio International”. Like “Radio Prague”, this is also the signal tune. It’s great. Like the female voice in “The Wonderful World of Terry Wibbly” by the Wibbley Brothers (pretty rare, I paid a small fortune for my copy a year ago) says: “We can all fly away in front of the Wireless”. In my school days I had a newspaper round. I always woke up with the BBC World Service, because they had 24/7 broadcasts. Well, it sometimes happened that the paper was a little late, but often this was not because I couldn’t wake up… Well, nowadays “Dazzle Ships” is considered a masterpiece.
Maharishi is founded by designer Hardy Blechman, who also signed for the Bamdazzle pattern. Maharishi means “Great Seer”. Before founding Maharishi in 1994, Hardy Blechman worked in the international military and industrial clothing surplus trade. The collection of Maharishi contains long lasting high quality clothes made from natural fairtrade materials like hemp and organic cotton, and recycled military clothes. Hardy Blechman has a lot of knowledge about camouflage patterns. He has written a thick book caled “DPM (Disruptive Pattern Material)” with over 5000 images of different camouflage patterns. For the on-line magazine Complex Hardy Blechman made a short guide into the world of camouflage patterns. Nick Wooster concludes his introduction with a line I very much like to quote: “Fashion comes and goes, prints come and go, proper camo never really goes away”. I guess I only can confirm this. At the moment my laptop wallpaper is the red Bathing Ape camouflage, which is even visible while I’m writing my text in my text editor.
Although Maharishi use a lot of camouflage patterns, it aims a strong anti-war sentiment by leading it away from war to it’s roots in nature and development by artists. While camouflage patterns are used in modern fashion since the 1990s, in 1919 the Chelsea Art Club held a “Dazzle Ball”. The dress code was black and white disrupting patterns. The ball influenced fashion via postcards and articles in magazines. To refer to the Illustrated London News: “The total effect was brilliant and fantastic”.
Maybe the launch party of the Maharishi x G-Shock collaboration was as good as the “Dazzle Ball”. From the photo’s I have seen, it must have been a great launch party. I really liked the “Bamdazzle Zebra” print T-Shirts. A shame they are already sold out. I would have loved that black version, although it saved me money for a G-Shock. 
The GA-110MH-7AER, the official model number of the maharishi G-Shock, comes in a beautiful Bamdazzle printed box. How would it be if you entered a shop and a wall of these boxes would be there. You would be dazzled, Bam! Maybe that’s what Hardy Blechman thought when he had designed this camouflage pattern. “Maharishi DPM: Bamdazzle” is printed in a very small font on the back of the box. This keeps a buyer in confusion what’s in the box, if he or she doesn’t know about this model. pretty cool in my opinion. And the Bamdazzle does not finish on the outside of the box. Very cool is that the Bamdazzle pattern is also present in the upper compartment of the box, where you find the module 5146 manual. 
Inside the box, you find the new hexagonal tin, but also here the whole tin is in Bamdazzle print. The watch itself you find finally packed in a small plastic bag and foam inside the tin. I guess Maharishi would have loved to have the dial of this watch in dazzle print as well, but that would have probable affected the readability of this watch too much. I also think that Casio simply can’t print on the dial and is bound to the lines that the G-Shock designers made for the GA-110 model. I had never noticed the accent on the sloped structures on the left side of the dial, that surround the little sub-dial. This is probably because the accents normally don’t have this big contrasts, as black on white is about the biggest contrast possible. Luckily Maharishi could do the wild Bamdazzle print on the straps, though, it is not as impressive as it is on the box and tin. 
Pretty remarkable on this model is that the dial is pretty well readable. As you could have read on my GA-110BG article, earlier this year, the readability of the dial is not on all models very clear. The lower display is also very clear, but the negative upper display is hard to read if you are in a not well lit surroundings. Probably a good thought over choice, as the dial shows several opposite contrasts. The lower display is the most important, because it shows time in most functions, while the upper display show the function or a lesser important parameter. Only the Stopwatch function the upper display shows the hours. 
So, what’s on board of this GA-110MH. The first function you’ll find is the Stopwatch mode. It’s a 24h Stopwatch with a Tachymeter function. If you input a distance, you can read the speed with both the “speed dial” as “speed segments” in the upper display, showing the units of 100 and a 1000 marker. You can change the Stopwatch from “Split Time” measurement to “Lap Time” measurement. In Split Time mode, the function acts as a usual Stopwatch function. In Lap Time mode, the Stopwatch shows the interval time of the laps every time you press the ADJUST (Split-Reset) button. 
Next function you’ll find is the 24 hour Countdown Timer. The Countdown Timer has also an Auto-Repeat function, which can be toggled on and off. 
The World Time function can show 49 cities in 29 time zones. You can scroll trough the cities only westward. The upper right button is only used as light button. You have to set DST for every city manually, but that is because it is hard to program DST in all cities until 2099. A cool feature is that you can swap your World Time city with the current Timekeeping time zone. Ideal when traveling. All you have to do is go to the World Time mode and select the city of your target time zone. Then press the upper buttons together. A beep sounds and the hands will go to the desired time, while the city code of the first time zone is shown now in World Time.   
Last, but not least, you’ll find the Alarm Mode. There are 5 programmable Alarms, on of them is the Snooze Alarm. Of course the Hourly Chime is present. The LED backlight is nice amber and can be set to a short (1.5 seconds) duration and a long (3 seconds) duration. Frankly, I find 1.5 seconds always a bit short. I always need 2 -2.5 seconds to read a dial or display well in the dark , so I have my GA-110’s always on long duration. While I am quite positive about this model, there is a small down side. There is no button tone. While on more and more new G-Shock models you can choose between button sounds or mute, this model is simply muted. If you are used to button tones, like me, it’s pretty annoying. I work often in darker surroundings and it is fine to press buttons and hear when you are back in Time Keeping mode (almost all G-Shocks give a different tone when you reach Time Keeping mode).
The Maharishi DPM: Bamdazzle was limited available in The Netherlands since July 3rd. I do not exactly know many there were available or what the retail price is, but I guess it’s around €140.-. I bought mine at Unkown ( At Maharishi it has been sold out for some time (probably already during the Launch Party). I don’t know the amount of these made, but looking at the artwork of the box and tin, I guess it is at least 5000 pieces. As white and the GA-110 is popular model at the moment, I’ll guess this model will sell out in shops pretty fast worldwide.

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