Sunday, September 8, 2013

G-Shock #37: Reggae Version of '97.

I love all kinds of music. What I play depends in what of I like at the moment. Often I play experimental ambient music at the lab (the best place to play such music). I had a band playing House and Techno including a turntablelist, but I also was playing bass synths, samples and tapes in a techno metal band. In the beginning of the ’80’s I was introduced into early Hip hop, which was then mostly only rapping over a drum machine. Also from the early 80’s I liked music from the On-U record label, by Adrian Sherwood. Specially the weird dub reggae on “Learning to cope with Cowardice” by Mark Stewart and the Maffia (note the unusual double “F”). At that time I also heard “Bass Culture” of Linton Kwesi Johnson (both 1983) for the first time. I recently picked up this CD out of my collection and now it’s actually back in playing rotation.
My music box... Not real reggae, but nice inspiring music for taking photos and shooting videos. 
Casio seems also charmed by Reggae culture. Since 1994 Casio brought us Reggae and Rastafarian models. There have been Rock, Hiphop and Club (House) G-Shock models, but I think Reggae models are still in the majority. Recently it seems Casio shows more interest in Hip hop, like the WU-Tang Clan model and the upcoming Eminem model. Frankly I hope Casio will orientate more in other music styles. I would encourage a Deadmau5 model, including the iconic mouse mask, a Skrillex model, or my favorite band Daft Punk.
Whatever music they choose, Reggae is always okay, less ego and always relaxed. So I hope there will be coming Reggae inspired models in the future too. This weeks model can’t be found the GPS (G-Shock Perfect Search) list. Therefore I suspected it to be an overseas model, but if you look for this model, you find them almost only in Japan. And there is something more strange with it. I have two versions of this DW-003R “Tough Label” model. I bought them coincidentally bought both in November 2004. One in Germany, and one in Chicago. They even arrived with within 24 hours at my house. The “German version” has a plain face plate, a face protector (a.k.a. Bull Bars) and a normal EL backlight. The “Chicago version” has a camouflage face plate in the reggae colors and shows the name “Xaymaca” in the backlight. The complete model number of this model is DW-003R-3VT.
The color scheme shows all colors from the Reggae culture, black, green, yellow and red. The thick double Velcro strap has a brown elastic under part and a green and black striped yellow upper strap, which also functions as a security closure of the Velcro. Like most double Velcro strap types, the strap is not direct attached to the case, but is inserted through two adapters. Due to this construction, the case can move a little up and down, which is in practice pretty handy. There is always a good fit on your wrist. The bezel is mainly green and black, but the back protection is yellow. The big bright G on the light buttons stands really out. Casio has done colored face plates, but this camouflage face plate rules!
This DW-003 comes with a 1662 module. For a watch from 1997, it has quite a lot of functions, specially if you realize this model is derived from a basic model. The display is divided in an upper part and a lower part. The upper part mostly gives you, except in Time Keeping Mode, information in which mode you are, the lower part shows the relevant information you want to know. In Time Keeping mode the watch can show you the day of the week, but you can change the upper display in a kind of Graphic Analyzer seconds animation. To achieve this, you have to push the upper right button for about three seconds. Repeat this procedure and you and it shows the day of the week again.
The first mode you find if you leave Time Keeping mode is the Telememo mode. Well, now it’s an obsolete function, but I remember that 12 years ago I had some important telephone numbers programmed in some of my G-Shocks, in case of emergency. Nowadays all telephone numbers are saved in your (smart) phone and backed up in a cloud or on your computer. Back in those days, it was good to have a good memory. I think I knew at least about 20 telephone numbers right out of my head. Now i hardly remember my own mobile number. Viva la révolution digitale. The Telememo Mode can store up to 30 names (8 characters) and telephone numbers (12 characters).
Next you’ll find the Alarm Mode. It’s a simple Daily Alarm, which is probably also the most common used type, and there is also the Hourly Time Signal. They can both can be separately toggled on and off. 
The Dual Time mode is quite unique for G-Shocks. It is only linked to the seconds. Where in the usual World Time functions the time zones differ whole or half hours from your home position, here you can program the time in by the minute and also the month and even year (I just saw I forgot to set it here right). 
Further more you find the usual 24 hour Countdown Timer and the 24 hour Stopwatch mode. These modes function as usual. There is also a hidden mode on board. If you push and hold the MODE button (bottom left), the watch goes into “Display Mode”. This mode is actually only for store owners. The watch will scroll automatically through the different functions.  
While most of the DW-003 models with this type of display (with 1661 module) have a Flash alarm, these Reggae Version models (with 1662 module) have an Auto Illuminator on board. When activated the backlight automatically turns on when the watch is tilt toward you, while you hold your arm parallel to the ground (the usual movement you make when you watch the time on your watch). This function turns off automatically after a few hours, to prevent too much drain from your battery.   
There is no record of this watch in GPS, but the two other color variations (yellow and red) were released in July 1997. I expect this one was released the same time. This particular style DW-003 was pretty popular at the end on the ‘90s and was sold even in the first years of the ‘00s. Remarkable that the DW-003 models with the 1662 module were all released in July 1997 in Japan. It might not be a big surprise that this model must have been a special model in the summer of 1997 or maybe spring 1998. I can’t remember seeing it in a European or US G-Shock catalog. It remains a little mystery here. Just a little. This model is so beautiful, I do not rally care to know where it was released. Most important, it looks great. 
I have never seen this model after I bought these two. Not that I actively searched for it. I also have a pretty more used DW-003R-9T, which is also a “Reggae Version”, but on you can find on the GPS. This model has a yellow case and a brown/black strap and a negative display.
The DW-003 models with a 1662 module (there is not really a name for this type DW-003’s) were released worldwide in large numbers. And with large, I mean really large. Therefore it is probably still pretty easy to track one down, and probably there might be some NOS left somewhere in the world too. These Reggae Version models are much harder to find though. The so called “Clubbers Versions” are pretty common. Due to the lack of reference, I can’t put a price tag on these models, but I think they are not really sought after. In 1997 they were not particularly cheap. The original retail price of these Tough Label models was a hefty ¥18000. While the Clubbers Versions could be found around 10 years ago easily brand new for around $40 - $60, I think these would rather go for at least $100 - $120 for a new condition. Actually all DW-003’s with this display layout are great. Therefore I have quite many of them in my collection. They are just really fun to wear.