Sunday, March 3, 2013

G-Shock #10: Burton

Photo: Oliver
Sometimes a collaboration with Casio G-Shock is not totally a surprise. Already in 2009 I stumbled upon Burton Snowboards when I wrote the article of a Terje Haakonsen Riseman. Terje Haakonsen, a true snowboard legend, is sponsored by Burton Snowboards. As I am not pretty much acquainted with the snowboarding scene, I asked some help from my friend, avid snowboarder and Burton fan Oliver from Germany for some extra info and photo’s, which he gladly provided, even though he was struck by the flu.
As you can see, the watch arrived just before Christmas.
In November 2012 Casio released this collaboration model, after it was showed at the 30th Anniversary Shock The World party on August 9 2012. Of course it comes with a cool packaging, a box and a tin. Remarkable is the faint baby blue color of the accents. It almost looks like these parts light up on the box, tin and the watch.
Jake Burton Carpenter (left) and Tom Sims
Burton Snowboards was founded by Jake Burton Carpenter a.k. a. Jake Burton (1954) in 1977. Jake is one of the pioneers of snowboarding. Snowboarding is a relative young sport which evolved from “snurfing”.
Snurfing was a kind of surfing on snow slopes, without bindings, but with a rope to keep you standing up straight. In 1979 Jake Burton Carpenter showed up, at the National Snurfing Championships, with a prepared board with bindings. It is one of the predecessors of the Snowboard. It goes a little too far to say Jake was the inventor of the Snowboard, as there were also other people made similar constructions, but Jake was certainly one of the pioneers. For instance Tom Sims (1950 - 2012) was also an important pioneer in the development of the early snowboards. He build his first snowboard (names “Skiboard”) in 1963 for his 8th grade technical class.
Jake Burton Carpenter moved from New York to Londonderry, Vermont in 1977 and started making the first Burton snowboards by hand in his garage. A year later he moved to Manchester, Vermont, where he had 4 to 5 people employed to sell, build, shape and repair snowboards. Now it’s the biggest Snowboard brand in the world. Jake realized that for increasing the popularity in snowboarding and increasing of sales of snowboards, it was necessary that ski resorts opened their lifts for snowboarders. The first resorts that welcomed snowboarders were Suicide Six and Stratton Mountain, both in Vermont in 1982. Many more resorts followed and Burton provided the snowboards for the fast increasing number of snowboard enthusiasts.
G-Shock is also one of the sponsors of the US Open Snowboarding, which was actually held in the past week. 
In 1982 the first National Championships were held on the Suicide Six. In 1985 it moved to the Stratton Mountain and became the US Open Snowboarding Championships, organized and owned by Burton. The US Open helped opening the way for legalization of this sport worldwide to the popularity as we know it today. In 2010 Burton announced the production will move from Vermont to Austria, simply, because the production cost for snowboards in Vermont became to expensive.
It's Olivers Photo series with a Burton Custom 62W board from 2010 and a Burton AK2L Down Jacket of 2012.
While most collaborating brands choose the DW-5600 or the DW-6900 as base for their collaboration model, Burton choose a different path. The GDF-100 was the ultimate model for snowboarders, with it’s premium Barometer, Altimeter and Thermometer function. Burton wanted it to be a stealth Snowboarders tool. That’s why is chosen for the matte black finish, with “glacier blue” accents. Well, now I know how to describe the faint light bleu color. To add more sustainability and comfort, the regular resin strap is replaced by a special Cordura strap. Cordura is known for its tear and wear resistance, its color retention and the light weight properties. Burton is very pleased with the outcome, as the result fits in the “minimalistic design” philosophies of the remote mountain country of the cradle of Burton.
G-Shock x Burton with a good glass of beer and a for Oliver pretty familiar Stussy glow in the dark bottle opener ;-)
The glacier blue accents are, in my opinion, very nice and outstanding. Not only the lettering, but also the inside of the strap, the strap keeper, the graphic area “eye” and the small Burton mountain logo are in this blue accent. It seems the small useless dot, just under the eye, now has gotten a function. On one of the strap attachments there is also name logo of Burton. On the back there is a beautiful snowboard scene etched in the metal.
I almost forgot I took some photo's of this Burton G-Shock in it's natural habitat in January. 
The GDF-100BTN is powered by a 3255 module, which has, as already mentioned above, a thermo- and a barometric sensor on board. The barometric sensor is also used to calculate the altitude. The operating of this watch is a little different from other G-Shocks. It is operated with 4 buttons, which would make you maybe wonder, why there is a “5th” light button on this watch. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice there is no upper right button, so the light button is actually the 4th button.
For a more thorough review of the functions, I like to refer you to my other GDF-100 article I wrote a year ago. I will now only briefly superficial go through the functions.
The Altimeter function can be reached directly from Timekeeping Mode by pressing the lower right “ALTI” button. Note that a physical barometric pressure not gives the accurate all the time. As there are constant barometric changes, you need to recalibrate the Altimeter before use. If you don’t know the exact altitude, you van of course use your starting point as an alternative altitude, so you can read relative altitude changes, instead of absolute. When calibrated you can use it for many hours, when the barometric pressure is calm. The Altimeter readings get less accurate when there are sudden weather changes, like with storm and rain, specially if there is thunder involved.
The Altimeter can display Altitudes between -700 m to 10000m, which is more than sufficient. A good thing for the people of Burton in Vermont, you can also switch to feet and inches Hg. Besides the Altitude, you can also readout the Temperature. You probably already think that a temperature reading of a wristwatch, worn on the wrist, probably also hidden under a snowboard jacket, will not really give accurate readings. That part is true, but for correct barometric reading, and the altitude is calculated with the barometric pressure, you need to know the temperature of the sensor. A typical barometric sensor shows namely temperature drift. So, if the temperature is unknown, it is not possible to get a good barometric reading. The Thermometer on the G-Shock is actually pretty accurate. If you want to use this function, you need to take off the watch and let it acclimate for about 20 minutes.
With the Mode button (lower left) you can reach the other functions of the watch. First mode you enter is the Barometer function. It’s pretty simple. It shows the barometric pressure, and like in the Altitude mode, it also shows the temperature. There is small trend indicator in the eye, that tells you how the barometric pressure has changed compared to the last reading. It is a pity there is no trend graphic on this watch.
Next you’ll find the more usual functions, a World Time function with 31 time zones and 48 pre-programmed cities, a 24 hour Stopwatch, a 24 hour Countdown Timer and an Alarm function with 5 alarms (no Snooze this time).
Oliver's wristshots, which made me ask him to take some pics of his snowboard and his Burton G-Shock. 
Photo's by Eva
There are some extra’s found on this watch. The illumination is provided by two LEDs which are located at the bottom of the display and light up the display very clear and bright at night. You can set the illumination time between 1.5 and 3 seconds. It is also possible to MUTE the watch. In this case the button tones are muted, but it does not affect the alarm tones of course. The watch is powered by the CR2025 battery, which gives the watch a pretty long battery life. Casio estimates a battery life of about 5 years, which is remarkably long for a digital wristwatch with barometric and thermo sensors.
While the basic GDF-100 had a retail price of ¥17000/€139 (in the US probably $139), the Limited Edition Burton model had a retail price of ¥20000/€169. For this extra money, you get the nice little Burton accents in glacier blue, a nice designed packaging and a very comfortable Cordura strap. While the watch was widely available around it’s release in November 2012, it is now, about 4 months later, getting hard to find. I got this watch for a very good price from a good friend, who wants to remain anonymous.


dorkinaut23 said...

I grew up in Vermont and once worked with a couple of people who previously worked at Burton. I can't believe Burton is leaving Vermont and moving production to Austria. I did a little skiing in Vermont when I was young but never any snowboarding. Snowboarding just seemed like a poor substitute for skiing. Why would you want to lose the freedom of being able to move each leg independently? Well, anyway I like the strap on this G-Shock. Is this the first G-Shock to ever have a Cordura strap? I don't think we'll be seeing much of that again. The winter G-Lide GLS-100s have a similar design strap I think, but only single tang buckle and not Cordura. Nice review again Sjors.

Sjors said...

Hi Dorkinaut,

Glad you like my article. I have no good experience with skiing, though I have not broken anything. Rather lying for 15 minutes in the boarding, before the instructor fond me on the spot for advanced skiers (I took the wrong lift in a ski dome).

I do not know if there is much difference between ballistic nylon and Cordura. I don't have the GLS-100, though I think the strap is similar to the Mil Spec series, which I also find very comfortable.