Sunday, September 1, 2013

G-Shock #36: First Analog MR-G

Subject of today is a lucky find I had on the second day of Christmas 2010. Well, in the Netherlands, we have a 2nd Christmas on December 26. In Japan however, they stick to Christmas Eve. On the 25th it’s just another working day at the end of the year. On the 26th of December 2010 I had, together with my blog friend Kenichi, organized a wristwatch collectors get together. We stayed in Kobuchi at DragonJade's (DJ's)  place. When walking to Kobuchi Station DJ told us we were a little early. He knew another 2nd hand shop. Quite interesting what you can find. All kinds of weird electronics, loads of VHS tapes (who ever use them nowadays) and of course watches. Quite some G-Shocks.
So I saw this nice yellow/navy G-Lide, which looked interesting. Next to it this MRG-120T with leather strap. Wow. We were running out of time, so I asked the shop attendant (with a lot of hand gestures) I wanted these two G-Shocks and would like to pay. So I gave my credit card and I thought we could move to the station real soon. Wrong. The shop attendant comes back and tells me the card was blocked. Impossible. I had paid all my bills and I has used it a few times before. Luckily we had DJ to explain it to the people of the store. A short phone call to my credit card company luckily unlocked my card immediately. What a relief! Certainly not something you want to happen to you. Fortunately we made it to the right train and we got at our meeting point just in time. It didn’t actually stay with these two G-Shocks that day. When we went to Nakano Broadway after dinner, I couldn’t resist to buy a W.C.C.S. Frogman and a DW-6900 style Lovers Collection Codename, like the one Mirai Yamamoto is wearing in Jacky Chan’s “Who am I” .
I was pretty lucky to get the original box and leather cylinder with it. It did even come with a (Japanese) manual. I’ve never kept a secret that I very much like my MRG-121, just because it simply displays time. No fancy digital displays for other functions. Of course, this applies for this MR-G too.The full metal watch is very much accented with the black (synthetic) leather bracelet. The size of the bracelet can be change by a clamp system in the clasp. It seems the previous owner had a small wrist, since I had to adjust it quite a bit for my 7” wrists. The attachment of the strap looks upside down. The end of the long strap appears on the front, where with normal straps the long end is usually on the backside (as seen from the wearers point of view). It has not been detached. The stock photo’s of Casio also show the strap keeper (band loop) on the bottom of the case.
A selection of '90s MR-G models
Left: MRG-121, Right MRG-120T
The use of a leather strap in the MR-G line is somewhat unusual, but leather straps were pretty common in the end of the 90s. The leather strap bracelet was probably cheaper to produce, as the a full titanium bracelet version of this model’s had a retail price ¥5000 higher than this model. I think the leather bracelet is a little more comfortable than the titanium, because you can adjust the size very precise on this model. The old MR-G models with the metal bracelet’s however, have with their generally more heavier weight, a very nice and comfortable fit.
The titanium metal case has a darker gray tone than Stainless steel and has a brushed metal finish. Remarkable are the black screws at the front of the case. The dial is very shiny metallic. very nice is the red minute hand, which stands out nice. The 1937 module looks very similar to the 1987 module, found on the later MRG-121 models. They perfectly show analog time. Where most analog minute hands on G-Shocks progress every 20 seconds ⅓ of a minute, you don’t see the second hand move here. It’s just only the seconds hand moving every seconds. The only difference between the 1937 and 1987 module is the EL backlight. Where the later MRG-121 has EL Backlight with afterglow, the EL Backlight on this MRG-120 only lights up when the light button is physically pressed. As soon as you release the button, the light goes out. I see a challenge for taking an EL Backlight shot here. With Afterglow Casio means that if you press the light button, the light stays on for a certain time (usually between 1.5 and 3 seconds).
Although at first glance the MRG-120 looks very much like the MRG-121, the cases are different. The MRG-120 has some edges in he case, while the MRG-121 has rounded looks and a small bulge on the right, giving the case more symmetry. Also the upper part of the case is a little higher. Both models have a thick domed crystal. It looks very nice, but it’s pretty hard to photograph without reflections.
To adjust time, you first have to unscrew the crown, which is ergonomically placed on the left side of the case. It sounds unusual, but also MR-G models were made for use and abuse. The crown on the left side prevents hitting or piercing painfully in your hand during wild movements. The downside is that it’s not easy, you can better say impossible, to adjust time while you wear your watch on your wrist, but frankly, the module of this model is very accurate, so for the rare occasions you have to adjust your watch, it’s not a burden to take it off. It’s possible to adjust time very accurately. As soon as you pull the crown out of the case, the movement stops.
As far as I know the MRG-120 models were released only in Japan in 1997. Although these models were produced in lower numbers than basic G-Shocks, it should not be too hard to find these models. Personally I prefer the lighter toned stainless steel models, but that doesn’t say I dislike this model. In contrary. In June 1997 the retail price for this MRG-120TL-1A was ¥45000, which is as I mentioned already above, a little cheaper than the ¥50000 MRG-120T. If you rather like metal bracelet, I think the 10% higher price is not a big problem, though I pretty much like the leather strap on this model. It gives this watch a kind of instant vintage look. The price I paid for this watch at the Hard•Off store was ¥8400. With the high Yen at that time, which was around €76.- or $102 (rates of December 2010, €1.0 = ¥110 = $1.34). Probably at that time a good price for this model in this state. In the past years the interest in G-Shocks has been increased a lot. I’m afraid seller dare to ask now ¥12000 - ¥15000 for this watch and more if it is in unworn condition. Well, I might have paid that price for this watch, as the MRG-120 and MRG-121 are, in my opinion, such a good looking G-Shock models.

6 comments:

Shaun said...

Great read! I'm lucky enough to have got my hands on a stainless MRG-120, and whilst a 121 EC and the model here have popped up, I left them alone in the end, as mine is enough for me. Gains less than a second a week, sure the bracelet needs all new split pins, but I love the weight of it. Wish Casio still made them, the simple nature of them stands out today.

HorologyMan said...

Hey Sjors!

Sorry, i know this is off topic, but i was hoping you could help me.

I am wanting to customize GShocks by drawing on them (the straps and the cases). I will only be choosing resin/plastic models, and i think i have found pens that can draw on the strap and the case.

However, my issue is how do i protect the drawings from fading and from wear and tear? Do you know of any kind of spray or coating i could apply to the straps and the cases after i have drawn on them, to protect the drawings but not damage the watch itself?

Many thanks in advance, and thank you for your blog, it is an awesome read and i am pouring through all the entries as we speak! :)

Jay

Sjors said...

Hi Jay,

I think you will encounter a problem with G-Shock bands. The bezel and straps are made of polyurethane, the same substance where they make spray paint tips and glue tube caps from. THey use this material, because "nothing" attaches to this material and it's also very disolvant resistant, even chloroform and acetone.

I notied water proof markers can write on it, but I do not know how good it will hold. My idea, but one or several old used Gs for scratch and experiment.

Cheers,

Sjors

KonaStar said...

Hi,

I just got a used one on Ebay for $110. The condition is very good, except for the leather bracelet which needs to be changed. I was wondering where I can get the bracelet from? Or, maybe if you could tell me the lug width size, I can get an aftermarket one?

Thank you,
Jung

KonaStar said...

Hi,

I just got a used one on Ebay for $110. The condition is very good, except for the leather bracelet which needs to be changed. I was wondering where I can get the bracelet from? Or, maybe if you could tell me the lug width size, I can get an aftermarket one?

Thank you,
Jung

G-Shock Sjors said...

Hello Jung,

Frankly I do not know the lug width and I can't reach my collection now easily (pretty much stashed up in a storage vault now).

Recently someone asked me if I could help him for (metal) bracelet links for a MR-G-121. I told him it would be very hard to find. He contacted Casio Europe (I think it was via Casio Germany) and he received links. I can't give you much chance, but you can always try to contact Casio in your region. As we say in the Netherlands, you have NO, you can get a Yes ;-)

Cheers,

Sjors