Sunday, August 12, 2012

G-Shock #36: GWX-8900K-3JR. The I.C.E.R.C. model for 2012.

Since 1994 Casio has been releasing I.C.E.R.C. models every year. Only in 1995 there was no model released, but Casio made it up nicely with the following years by releasing quite an amount I.C.E.R.C. models.
So what does I.C.E.R.C. stand for? Casio is known for trying to be a environment friendly company. In 1994 Casio supported “The 4th Dolphin & Whale Conference” in Japan, organized by the “International Cetacean Education and Research Center”, I.C.E.R.C. in short and pronounced as “I Search”.
The I.C.E.R.C. Japan is a volunteers organization and tries to educate and inform about nature awareness through contact with dolphin and whales. Therefore this organization promotes dolphin and whale research and initiates a lot of educational activities providing information about environmental awareness, protection and preservation. Beside their educational programs the I.C.E.R.C. also have a shop where you can buy several promotional products as T-Shirts and “Blue Dolphin Soap” and they publish a magazine called “Flipper”. A part of the sale of every I.C.E.R.C. G-Shock or Baby-G is donated to this organization. As in total 4000 G-Shocks and 4000 Baby-G’s are produced, I think the donation might be quite a substantial support.
While the I.C.E.R.C. G-Shock releases were until 2008 the listed as the “Dolphin and Whale Eco-Reseach Network” models, these models were since 2009 part of the “Love The Sea And The Earth” (LTSATE) models. These models supports the international Earthwatch Institute. The fact that the I.C.E.R.C. models are now released under the LTSATE flag, I assume that it is now part of the this institute. It’s a pity the watches do not have the logo of the annual Dolphin and Whale Conference on the engraved on the back and printed on the box. It seems that the conference is in October this year in Brighton, UK, during the Whale Fest organized by Planet Whale.
This year I quite in doubt which model I should buy. The orange/green Love The Sea And The Eart Mudman or this blue I.C.E.R.C. GWX-8900K-3JR. For those who know me longer, they probably know blue is most of the time not my favorite color (and most of the time by me referred as bloo). I have kept telling me this watch was turquoise, and, although the suffix of the model number might tell you the watch is green or greenish, it is simply blue. I can’t help it, but on the other hand, it does not look bad either. The colors of the Mudman were also a little too much swearing to me, as the bright orange and green tone are complete opposite colors. Also, I have a weakness for I.C.E.R.C. models, about since I started collecting them. When I told back in 2000 a friend I bought a G-Shock, his girlfriend (now his wife) directly asked me if it was one with a Dolphin in it. It was one of the first things that interested me in G-Shocks. So, eventually the choice might look strange, with my love for bright colored G-Shocks, but it wasn’t that hard for me, the I.C.E.R.C. it was.
The GWX-8900 (May 2012) is the new G-Lide version of the, also pretty new (September 2011), GW-8900 model. It’s a pretty large model, comparable with the GA-110 and GD-100 models. The GWX-8900 models are designed as surf watches, which shows at first sight, as they have a Tidegraph. Of course the GWX-8900K-3JR is a bit different. Instead of the usual G on the plastic light button, this model has a jumping whale on a metal button. Actually a nice eye catcher. Of course the whale returns in the EL backlight too and the back plate has the LTSATE logo engraved.
This watch is Tough Solar and has the Multiband 6 Waveceptor function. This means it can pick up the signals of all six public transmitters of Atomic Time. These transmitters are located in Fukushima (JJY40) and Fyushu (JJY60) in Japan, Xi’an (BPM) in China, Fort Collins (WWVB) in the USA, Anthorn (MSF) in the UK and Mainflingen (DCF77) in Germany.
While in the past Tidegraphs were not really easy to program, nowadays G-Shocks with this function can often simply be programmed by inputting the High Tide on the present date. If you live near open sea with a big tide difference, it is not hard to find this information. As this watch has a Moon Phase function, it also can calculate if it is Spring Tide, Neap Tide or Intermediate Tide.
The big eye, on the left of the Tidegraph, is the Power Indicator. It shows the power level and if the Power Save (PS) is turned on or off. Power Save means that the display automatically turns off after approximately an hour. If the watch is left in the dark for about a week, also the Auto Receive function and the beep tones are disabled.
Lets take a look in the different functions on this GWX-8900K. The module in this watch is the 3278 module.
The first mode you enter when leaving the Time Keeping Mode is the Tide/Moon Data Mode. When you enter this mode it shows the tide at present date at 6:00 (am in 12 hour notation). You can change the time with 1 hour increments by pushing the Forward and Backward button. There is one drawback here, you can’t see the tides on another date than the present date. When you push short on the Adjust button the Moon Age is shown. The Moon Age is calculated with an accuracy of about 24 hours.
The World Time Mode can show the time in 48 cities in 31 time zones. Like on other G-Shocks you have to input the DST manually. It’s a pity it is not possible to toggle between the World Time and the Time Keeping Mode. Some new models have this feature and I think this is pretty handy. Also it s on this model not possible to show the time selected in World Time Mode in Time Keeping Mode instead of the date. Maybe I’m a bit spoilt with functions on other newer G-Shocks.
You’ll find 5 Alarms on this watch, one of them is a Snooze alarm. The Snooze Alarm sounds 10 seconds every 5 minutes, up to 7 times or until the Alarm is turned off. Of course the Hourly Chime is present too.
The Stopwatch mode can measure elapsed times until 60 minutes. It is probably sufficient for most timing events, though personally I think 60 minutes is a bit short, specially if you compare it to the (little over-exaggerated) 1000 hour capacity of the G-9300 Mudman model.
The Countdown Timer function is quite different of what you normally find on G-Shocks. First of all it has two linked Countdown Timers (Timer 1 and Timer 2). You can use this as interval timer. For instance you program your exercise time 5 minutes and an rest time (interval time) of 2 minutes, you simply program these times in Timer 1 and Timer 2. You can repeat this interval timer up to a maximum of 10 times. Both Timers can be set up to 99 minutes and 55 seconds (with 5 seconds increments). By setting Timer 2 on 0:00 and the number of repeats to 1, you can program it to regular Countdown Timer with an almost 100 minute capacity.
After the Countdown Timer mode you return back to TIme Keeping mode. Worth to mention is that the current time is viewed in Alarm mode, Stopwatch mode and Countdown Timer mode.
For me the GWX-8900 is a total new model, not strange as this model only a few months old. This specific model was officially released on June 30, but mine started it’s voyage to The Netherlands a little earlier. The retail price of this model was a hefty ¥25000, but it was possible to get it at with a little discount, although the discounts on G-Shocks where a part of the sale is donated to an organization are not big. Still I was able to find one offered for less than ¥20000 for the Japanese market.
In function I rather would have had a 24 hour Stopwatch and a Countdown Timer that can be set to 24 hours, but the programmable Interval Timer function with a repeat function is a great plus. The glossy look and metal parts give this watch, which is already large in dimensions, a huge look. The watch has a metal strap keeper, something I would wish it was found on more models. The white buttons with the fishbone patter give good grip and also look very nice as a contrast to the blue case. The watch was only available in Japan, so if you like to have one you have to look at the known shops (Seiya Japan, Higuchi-inc, Chino) or via a bid agent on Yahoo Auctions Japan. Although I am not a fan of blue G-Shocks, I like this watch. It just looks pretty good. As Casio has brought out blue I.C.E.R.C. models in the past three years, I hope next year we get a translucent or a white model.


Unknown said...

Hi Sjors, Nice ICERC!

This model is actually sharing with the 5600 series, the GRX-5600 and GWX-5600.



Unknown said...

Hi Yschow,

There are some major differences between the GWX-8900 and the GWX-5600. First i the size, the 8900 is X-Large, while the 5600 is small.

Also the 5600 has an EL backlight, while the 8900 has a LED backlight.

The X in the model number stands for Xtreme, like in Xtreme Sports.



Unknown said...

Hi Sjors,

Thanks for the correction.

Will ever Casio will release the non atomic of GRX-8900 soon? I really like the shape, but sadly not available Malaysia due to atomic version.