Sunday, May 5, 2013

G-Shock #19: I am Big. Extra Large.

“I am Sjors. I am a Hard Core Gamer”. Well, I suppose, you, reader, should say something like: “Hello Sjors”. All right, an unusual start of a G-Shock article, but it’s pretty much true. In the past 15 years I have been addicted to several games. I played Doom, Quake, Soldier of Fortune and at least 4 Tomb Raiders (I had the “Nude” patch on Tomb Raider one). I remember long telephone conversations with my brother in law, when I got Lara Croft stuck somewhere. The big change for me came when I discovered Command & Conquer’s “Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2. It seems I am not a guy for a first person shooter or puzzles. It’s fun for a while, but it gets boring. C & C games combine economy and strategy in a very nice way. About 10 years ago I was an avid player of “Generals Zero Hour” On-Line, sometimes playing 24/24. Pretty much always as a GLA (Global Liberation Army) General.
My son Bram made me some screen shots of the Overlord tank. He insisted to show the basic tank and the three possible upgrades. 
Two Emperor Overlords standard equipped with 'Speaker Tower" upgrade. It heals every unit near the tower. 
Above: Left the basic Overlord. In the middle with the gatling gun upgrade and on the right with a bunker installed. The bunker can hold 5 soldiers. It is very heavy armed if you put in 5 rocket launchers. 
Below: Several Overlords in the field. 
I do not know if you are familiar with C & C Generals, but I loved playing the China Missions. On-Line I was too slow as a Chinese General, but the Chinese had a very powerful weapon, the Overlord Tank. The Overlord could be upgraded with a bunker, a gatling gun or a speaker tower. The Overlord Tank is very relative expensive and the construction of it is pretty slow, but once you had a few upgraded with a speaker tower and gatling guns, they are almost invincible. The most fun part are the comments you get when you give the Overlord Tank Instructions. My favorite quotes: “I am in control”, “I am Big” and “Extra Large” (check out the movie above).
In November 2012 X-Large Clothing released two G-Shocks. One X-Large model, and an X-Girl model. X-Girl is the ladies brach of X-Large. There had already been 2 X-Girl releases before. In 2008 there was already an X-Large x The Hundreds G-Shock. In 2009 and 2011 (20X1) there were also X-Large x G-Shock Collaborations. A DW-5600VT and a 20th Anniversary GA-110 to be more precise. No doubt they like G-Shocks at X-Large. I have shown in July 2011 the X-Large poster where the Gorilla recommends the GD-100-1BJF. Also they designed a special T-Shirt to commemorate the 25th anniversary of G-Shock in 2008. Actually a pretty cool T-Shirt, but probably made in very low quantities in small sizes.
X-Large was founded in November 1991 by Eli Bonerz and Adam Silverman, when they opened a store in Los Angeles. Mike D of the Beastie Boys was and still is, one of their investors. Although first all kind of 90’s street wear was stocked in the beginning, soon they went over into T-Shirt designs. The Gorilla became their trademark. Although sometimes is thought the Gorilla is a cheap copy of the Bathing Ape (Bape) logo, actually X-Large was first. A Bathing Ape was founded in 1993. In 1992 X-Large opened their second shop in Tokyo. The rumor Mike D of the Beastie Boys was involved (the Beastie Boys are very popular in japan) made this brand very popular. A third store opened in New York City in 1993 from where off many stores popped up everywhere. Fact is that X-Large is very popular in East Asia, like in Hong Kong and Japan.
The designs of X-Large are inspired by the skateboard and music culture of LA. You can see it as the counterpart of the New York street fashion, which is inspired by Hip Hop and graffiti. When I was in Japan I have visited 2 X-Large stores. The hoodies and tees were indeed fantastic, but there was one problem. I’m from Europe, The Netherlands more precise. Although I am here pretty moderate in length, I am huge in Japan. I had seen great hoodies and shirts, but all stores I went to did not had shirts in size XL (which are actually more close to L in Europeans size, let’s not even compare with US sizes). It made me wonder, how could they possibly call themselves X-Large as in all stores there is not even found a shirt or hoodie in that size. The day before I went home again in my holiday in Japan, I visited, the store in Machida. I bought a nice purple X-Large be@rbrick. A kind of proof, I visited the stores. As a tall Dutchman, Japan is not really an interesting place to go hunt clothing. I ctually have bought all size XL T-Shirts in the Bape Store of Kyoto. I bought them all two…
Let’s go back to the X-Large x G-Shock Collaboration model. As far as I know, this is the third G-Shock collaboration with X-Large only. To obtain this watch, I did something unusual. I asked a friend of me if he could collect this watch in an X-Large store. I know he likes to walk around in the Shibuya and Shinjuku area. There is a little problem with paying friends in Japan. Paypal is not widely used. Luckily it was possible to pay in U-Turn construction via a pretty well known street fashion brand (web-) shop. My friend picked up the watch pretty easily in the X-Large shop, probably the one in Shinjuku. Actually even earlier than I expected. First an American friend in Shibuya would accept the payment, but I had seen a great item in their shop. The financial chief made a special arrangement, so I could pay for that item and the X-Large watch. Last thing I wanted is that my friend would be waiting for his money. Maybe this is rule #1 in keeping good international connections. Smooth payments. About a week later my package arrived.
The base model for this collaboration is a DW-6900FS. It is a model that Casio often uses for special models, analog to the DW-5600VT model. The box is very nice. I assume the box is the same box as is used on the X-Girl model. The gray box is covered diagonally with the X-Large and X-Girl text logos. On a side of the box you find the Eric Haze’s 30th Anniversary logo, on top you find the combined X-Large/X-Girl logo. The prints in gold look great on the gray and black background.
At first sight you see a stealth DW-6900 model. Maybe not a real surprise. In 2011 X-Large promoted the totally black GD-110-1BJF, which was also a stealth looking model. When you observe more closely, you’ll notice that besides the stealth looking case, the watch has cool decorated straps. First you will notice the gold Gorilla logo on on of the straps. Then you’ll notice the straps are covered with stars. I have quite some experience with all kinds of spectrophotometry, so I can probably tell a lot about the color black. Well, the color of the G-Shocks we call matt black are often dark gray. So it is on this watch and the strap is covered with loads of black stars. And according what I wrote above, yeah, black does not really exist, but it is close? The combined logo of X-Large and X-Girl appears again engraved on the back of the watch. The buttons and bezel screws are in a gold tone. A pity the back and buckle are not in the same gold tone.
Together with the 2 G-Shocks, X-Large and X-Girl also released a limited edition line tees. The X-Girl featuring the X-Girl Text logo and a Gorilla, the X-Large tee shows the X-Large text logo with the girl of X-Girl. Actually it is a great looking tee. Still I didn’t look for it. I am pretty sure it didn’t came in XL.
The watch itself comes with the 3230 module, the updated version of the classic 1289 module. I am pretty happy X-Large chose for a normal (positive) display. Not only is the watch good readable, it also gives the designers the chance to put a logo in the background. And yes, if you press the button, the gorilla logo appears in the background. I think that is pretty cool. The X-Girl version, by the way, seems to have an EL backlight that lights up red with only the text logo in the background. Also pretty nice. Unfortunately, I could not afford the whole set. And on the other side, I’m not an X-Girl…
The 3230 module is a pretty simple but efficient module. It might even explain why the DW-6900 is such a popular model. You just find an Alarm, a Countdown Timer and a Stopwatch on board. In Countdown Timer- and Alarm Mode you can still see the current time. Nice is that you can set the Alarm not only as a Daily Alarm, but you can program it also as a Date Alarm, a Monthly Alarm and a 1-Month Alarm. If you are in a noisy and dark environment, the Flash Alarm is pretty cool. When this function is turned on, the EL backlight flashes when an Alarm tone sounds.

I think, if you like this brand, this model is a great watch. If I had the chance to buy the 2008 collaboration with (also in LA located) The Hundreds and G-Shock, I would have bought that model too. Although at first glance this watch looks like a basic G-Shock, it really isn’t. It is full of nice details. It wasn’t really a cheap model, but remember this is a Japanese release. A basic DW-6900 will cost you around ¥13000 - ¥15000 there. The shop price is ¥16.800. I think that it really is ¥16000 plus ¥800 for tax. To get it delivered outside Japan you might have to add about ¥2400 to the price. According the website, this limited edition is still for sale (at least on-line), so if you really like this watch and X-Large and you have someone or a service that can help you out, you still can get this watch.

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