Sunday, February 3, 2013

G-Shock #5: My Pretty Cool, G-Cool.

G-Cool dvertisement in a Dutch lifestyle magazine May 1998.
A lot of G-Shock lines, models made for a specific interest group, live for a long lime. If you are a frequent reader of my weblog, you probably know these lines like MT-G, MR-G and G-Lide. Other lines die a silent death. I really liked the G’Mix/Tough Label line for “Clubbers”, but these aren’t around made anymore for many years. Another line that has starved a silent death is the G-Cool line.
The first models of the G-Cool (Gクール) line appeared in November 1996. Although these models came in different shapes, all first models (1996 - 1998) had a resin bezel with a stainless steel ring around the display. This steel ring has a matte finish. Pretty unusual is the name G-COOL in big letters, where you might expect G-SHOCK. You’ll find G-SHOCK in a relative small font below the display. Many G-Cool models came with a leather strap, but there are also models with a steel bracelet, a cloth strap and some cheaper versions had a resin strap. While simple models started in Europe with similar prices as other basic models (around €110), the metal versions were pretty expensive those days (around €250).
The G-Cool line aimed for people who love classic fashion. If I understand right, these G-Cool models could be found on catwalks in Paris and Milan in 1997. The models have an elegant design, but the watches are still packed in a rugged Shock Resist structure. The crystal is domed, which gives the watch both a tough as a more expensive look. I am not sure what kind of glass is used, but I think it is the usual mineral glass, which is used on other G-Shocks. Due to the high rim around the crystal, it seems pretty well protected.
Today’s G-Cool is the GT-008LJ-7. It’s pretty special for me as it is the first G-Shock I bought outside The Netherlands or Germany. I found it for a very low price from a seller in Florida on eBay in July 2001. The biggest problem for me was how to get my money to the seller in the US.

Luckily the seller patiently helped me signing up Paypal, which was at that time not well known outside the US. I had to wait several days to get my account activated, but in the end all worked out fluently. Actually I bought several other G-Shocks from this seller after this one around that time. The seller is still active. In the past he changed over to gem stones, but recently he seem to sell Casio watches again. Alas, I only spotted only one DW-5600E after browsing several pages of Casio watches (still good prices though).
I do not exactly remember how I received my GT-008, but if I recall right, it was in a long box, with the leather strap stretched out. from one end to the the other. The buckle was fixed on only one end of the watch. A little separate manual showed how you had to trim and attach the strap in the clamp on the other end of the buckle. This clamp has teeth, that have a firm grip in the leather strap. You had to be careful not to trim the strap too much, but eventually I had my watch at the right length. To add more comfort, there there is an extra metal link between the case and the strap on both sides. I think this is done, because the case is pretty wide, but not very long. After almost 12 years it still fits pretty comfortable around my wrist.
The case is mostly white resin. There is one disadvantage with white resin. It is prone to “bleeding”. “Bleeding” (I took the term from the sneaker world) is the fact that dark and colored clothing can transfer color to white or light colored plastics. Although bought in (nearly) summer, I got red stains from new sheets on our bed. Luckily it was red color, as red colors do not like sunlight. These red stains disappeared rapidly when I was wearing it in summer, but if the colors were darker, I think they will not remove that easily. On the other hand, these kinds of stains can also be seen as part of the wabi of the watch. Would be perfect on many of my daily beater G-Shock’s, but probably not on this “fashion” model.
The look of this G-Shock is pretty unusual. Most G-Shocks are more or less square or round and when they are oval, the longest part is from top to bottom. This model is extreme oval and the longest part is from side to side. With the brushed stainless steel ring around the display and the domed crystal, it almost looks like you have an science fiction watch on your arm. The module is hidden pretty deep, which you notice even more when you turn your wrist a bit. With the domed glass you can fantasize that you are a Steam Punk in your airship.
It’s not only a remarkable watch by design, it has also a bit different functions on board. This is the overseas model, which comes with the 1632 module. In Japan a domestic model was sold, with a 1633 module. The difference between both modules is that the 1633 also has Katakana characters on board, which are absent on the 1632 module. Unless you write in Katakana, the 1632 module is more practical, as you don’t have to scroll through 57 characters, before you can use the alphanumeric symbols.

The functions are pretty similar to the MRG-210, which I recently featured here on 50 Gs, but the memory size has expanded to a more useful size. There is a shared memory for 100 events in the Telememo Mode and the Schedule-memo Mode, which are also the first two functions you enter when you leave the Time Keeping Mode with the Mode button (bottom left). In Telememo Mode you can store up to 100 sets of telephone numbers with maximal 8 characters for the name and 12 characters for the number.
The Schedule-memo Mode is a kind of agenda. When an appointment or reminder is reached, an Alarm sounds and the text for this memo is scrolling through the of can store up to 100 appointments. The message in the text area can be up to 11 characters. Well, the Telememo Mode and Schedule-memo Mode were of course pretty cool features back in June1998, when this model was introduced, but with the current state of smartphones, it is has become totally obsolete. Well, try to input an appointment with “only” 11 characters on this watch and on your smartphone, and you’ll fin out why. While you are probably struggling to get the first character right, you have already typed the whole thing into your smartphone.
Next you have the Vital Statistics mode. Here you have 8 data sets, where you can store up your personal data. The first three sets are fixed, these are Name, Blood (blood type) and Birth (birth date). Three other sets suggest you to fill in your passport number, (driver’s) licence number and your credit card number. The last one I would not recommend. In these personal data sets you can input 8 characters in the alphanumerical area and 12 ciphers, hyphens or spaces in the numeral area.
Further more the watch has a single Alarm function with a Hourly Time Signal and a 24 hour Stopwatch on board. I think it is a little pity a Countdown Timer is absent on this watch, but in the past I used the Schedule-memo Mode to compensate for this. Also the watch has an Auto-EL backlight. You can activate it by pressing the START button for about 3 seconds. Luckily it turns itself off too in about two hours, as the Auto-EL function can be a bit of an energy drainer, shortening the battery life of the CR2016 drastically. If you press the MODE button for about 3 seconds the watch goes into Demo mode. In Demo mode the different functions of the watch scroll over the text area. This mode is
It's pretty hard to capture the EL Backlight of LCD displays with this kind of perforated reflectors. Ir real they are bright and easier to read. A DSLR photo is easily overexposed, resulting in a almost same brightness of the digits as the background. 
Back in the days, this was a pretty expensive model. The Japanese retail price was ¥19000 (without tax), which would now been around €160/$210. I paid a seemly lower price for it. The fact this was my first Paypal purchase, I could track all details down. I bought the watch for $34.- and had to pay $9.- for shipping, a $43 in total. Well, those were the days for great deals without hustle. In 4 working days I got my package without the now usual customs delay. The look of this watch is pretty nice. It might be a bit small for me, but the wide oval look compensates quite for it’s vertical size. Actually many first G-Cool models (1996- 1998) were sold for pretty low prices worldwide in the early ‘00s and sometimes you can find them still pretty cheap. It seems these models did not sell well , but was produced in enormous quantities (there were 84 different models!).

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