Sunday, November 18, 2012

G-Shock #47: Red Zone sets the Soul Foot in Motion.

March 1995 is a memorable release date for Casio. In this month the “round standard model” was introduced. While since 1985 there have been round models, like the DW-5700C, DW-6000 and the AW-500, there had not been a model that sticked around long enough, to earn the title “Standard”. Even now at G-Shock presentations at “Shock The World” parties, Casio presents the 5600 models as the basic square model and the 6900 as the basic round model. While for years 5600 stood for DW-5600 and 6900 for DW-6900, we now know models with G and GW as suffix with the a similar look, but with respectively a Tough Solar and a Tough Solar Waveceptor function. Also there are now models with other lay-outs with suffixes like GB, GLS and GLX, but still, after 17 years, the DW-6900 is an important model in the G-Shock line-up.
One of the four special models released beside the basic model in March 1995 is this DW-6900H-4. It was released also in Europe and it was known as “Red Zone” in Germany. Since G-Shock was introduced in Germany, 13 October 1994, new G-Shock models got nick names. This tradition has stopped only a few years ago, unfortunately, as liked referring to the German (West-European?) nicknames. This model was, together with the yellow DW-6900H-9 very popular and were sold in large numbers, probably for several years. They were sold in that large numbers, that even 17 years after the introduction, the yellow and red DW-6900H are still easily to find in Germany, though of course in used state.
Originally there were three DW-6900H models. As far as I know the black version with red print on the strap, was only sold in Japan. I simply can’t remember ever seeing the black version on sale in Europe or the US. Not a real problem, as the yellow and red model look very nice and there was also of course the basic black DW-6900. The red version seems nowadays a little harder to find than the yellow version.
The look of the DW-6900H would probably make you think it’s a collaboration model. It’s pretty unusual that a basic model has drawings and text on the strap. For some time I have seen people asking many questions about the meaning of the text, written on the long strap. It says: “G-SHOCK is dedicated to the soul foot in motion”. According G-Shock Perfect Search (GPS), that has been redesigned very recently, the “Soul Foot” is a synonym to “Thrasher”. Yeah, right. Well, I’m not much into 90’s Skateboard terminology, but luckily the description can be found on the DW-6900H page on GPS. On top of the straps there are illustrations. On the buckle side a spider in a spider web, on the long strap a skull on a cross. Probably these illustrations are inspired by popular “thrasher” tattoos.
A Thrasher is a “young person” that prefers sports on horizontal boards, like skateboarding, snowboarding, etc. It would take until May 1996 before Casio came with a special series, dedicated to “the Soul Foot”, namely the X-Treme series. The X-Treme series were only released in Japan. First Casio released similar models outside Japan as G-Lide, later also in Japan the name was change into G-Lide. Sec you can say that this DW-6900H might be the precursor of the present G-Lide line-up. Who would have thought that. Well, I actually didn’t when I started writing this article.
The DW-6900(H) was marked as a new model with three graphic areas in the case of a DW-6600. Not that three graphic areas were unique for G-Shock. Earlier Casio released the DW-5900. I’m pretty curios if in 1995 Casio did already know this model would grow out to be probably the most used basic model for their series and collaborations. The three eyes look pretty dominant, specially when the bright EL light is turned on. Over 10 years ago I read on a Japanese G-Shock fan site that the basic DW-6900 design model was called the “Triple Eyed Devil”. A nickname I easily adopted, as I thought it was the best description of how the layout looks like. Mean and tough. I wish I could credit the author of this nickname, but unfortunately most G-Shock fan pages are already gone for ages (:^-^;)
In function the DW-6900H was a little upgrade of the DW-6600. The only big difference in functioning is that the 1289 module has a 24 hour Countdown Timer, while the DW-6600 with the 1199 module only has a 60 minute Countdown Timer. The 24 hour Countdown Timer on the DW-6900H can also be set to Auto Repeat, which cannot be done with the DW-6600. Further morE the Alarm Function on the DW-6900 can be set to a Monthly Alarm or a 1-Month Alarm, while this option is absent on the DW-6600. Both models have a 24 hour Stopwatch. The DW-6600 has also an extra Auto Start and a Target Time option on the Stopwatch mode, but I guess nobody uses them. The DW-6900H has the plain basic functions you expect on a basic watch, but then worked out perfect. Maybe that explains the success of this model.
Like the DW-6600, the DW-6900 has also a very bright EL Backlight, which is activated by the fifth “G” button, under the display (not all DW-6900’s have a G on the light button actually). Cool is that it has a “Flash” function. It’s default toggled on, but you can turn it on and off by press and holding the lower right button for a few seconds. A star like icon appears on the display above the seconds when turned on. When the “Flash” function is turned on, the EL lights flashes briefly when an alarm sounds (except for the button tones when you change modes).
The DW-6900H has a plastic buckle. Although it might sound strange, the buckle is quite strong. More important to me is that it is also quite comfortable. It looks also a bit bigger, so it adds also to it’s tough look. There is one disadvantage of the buckle. Once I had bought a G-Shock with such a buckle. When I opened the envelope as it arrived at my house, a lot of hard plastic pieces rolled out of in. The G-Shock was resistant to the postal stamp machine. The buckle not. Luckily I had a metal buckle to replace it.
The DW-6900H-4 can still be found used from time to time on eBay. A lot of them were sold in Germany and scoring one will not burn your wallet. I have several in my collection and I think I paid around €20 - €30 for this one. You might pay quite more for a mint one. Think around €60 - €80 or so. Unlike the DW-6900H-9, there has not been a reissue of this model (May 2005). It might suggest that this model was less popular than the yellow model. If you like red watches, like I do, it must not be too difficult to obtain one of these for your collection for a decent price.

No comments: