Sunday, May 17, 2015

G-Shock #21: DW-9950 Seaman

In April 1999 Casio released a new Frogman model, the DW-9900. It was not really the successor of the DW-8200 Frogman, as during the time this model was produced in several versions, also several DW-8200 type Frogman were released. The last DW-9900 was released on July 2001, the same month the first GW-200 was introduced. The last DW-8200 model was released a few month earlier in March 2001. Yet, this weeks article is not about the DW-9900 Frogman. It’s about the DW-9950 Seaman. When you go to the G-Shock Perfect Search, you can look for this model as long as you like, you won’t find it. Some people openly asked themselves if this was a counterfeit product, but no, this model is definitely a genuine Casio G-Shock product.
The reason why this model got a different model number and wasn’t called a Frogman, is not official clear, but I was pointed out, by people who can know, a few times that my hypothesis about this model was quite in the good direction. The reason is probably also the same reason why the Frogman after the DW-8200 disappeared from the European market for a long, long time. Highly probably the name “Frogman” was patented by another brand. Not a strange idea, as the term Frogman is also used for a scuba diver. To avoid copyright issues Casio must have made up an alternative name for a G-Shock made for diving. I am not 100% sure where the DW-9950 Seaman was released, but in the early ’00 you found most, as not all DW-9950 models in the US. This basic model came, as far as I know, in three versions. First there are the “silver” version, the version featured in this article, and a “gold” version, a model with yellow and white lettering. There is not much to hold on, but in those days the US and European distribution rate of “silver” models, compared to “gold” models was usually 80% versus 20%. This had probably mostly to do with the preferences of the buyers. Remarkable is that the ratio of “gold” version of basic G-Shock models in East Asia and Japan was much higher or maybe even 100%. A third version can be referred to the blue version, though the basic color is also black.
So, beside the model number and the name, are there any other differences? The answer on that question is a simple “No”. They both share the 2016 module, so the functions are the same. The color scheme of the “Silver” version is exact that of the DW-9900-1A. The “gold” version has the exactly the same color scheme of the DW-9900-1B. Both the DW-9900 Frogman and the DW-9950 Seaman have a titanium case and back. Also there were at least three I.C.E.R.C.Seaman versions. There is no information when these Seaman models were released, but the release would probably have been between April and July 1999.
One thing you probably noticed on the Seaman is that it is seamy smaller than there DW-8200, which has practically the same dimensions as the current GF-8250 Frogman models. According the description this downsize was possible, because to the “increased evolution of technology”. I’m not sure this downsize of the case was very good for the sales. In Japan still DW-8200 style Frogman were released and the real successor of both the DW-9900 and DW-8200, the GW-200, was slightly bigger than the DW-8200. In my feeling the DW-9900 and the DW-9950 were never very popular. Much must have something to do with the smaller size. It seems that people who want a G-Shock for diving purpose, want a big watch. Hence that the GWF-1000 is even a little bit bigger than the GW-200.
The Seaman has the typical asymmetric Frogman design, with the fake screws on the right side of the bezel (only the DW-6300 had fake pins instead of screws). These screws are pretty typical shaped on this Seaman. It somehow reminds me to a four leaf clover. Most remarkable for me on this Frogman are the straps. Instead of smooth resin, there is a structure in the middle part of the straps, which make them in my opinion actually look pretty sharp. The long strap has the usual shark fin shape as you find on all Frogman models, except the DW-6300. Compared to other Frogman models, the DW-9950 (and of course the DW-9900) fits rather small on your wrist. It is even smaller than the basic DW-6900 model.
Sorry, couldn't resist to do a little photoshop...
Let’s go to this Seaman’s functionality. The 2016 module, the electronic heart of this watch, was introduced with the DW-9900 Frogman and DW-9950 Seaman, but it was not exclusive for these two models. Also the non-solar GW-201 Frogman models, the “Carbon Fibre Frogman” and the “Snake Killer Frogman”, share this module. Probably because the GW-200 design was somewhat delayed in technical development. So, what different Modes does this Frogman have on board. First of all is Time Keeping Mode. The time is linked to one of the Site Mode’s Dive Sites. If there is no Dive Site in your time zone, you need to re-program one of the sites in Site Mode. The display is decided into three parts, a big eye, an upper dial and a bigger lower dial. The upper dial is again decided in two lines, so the total display is capable of showing a lot of information at once. In Time Keeping Mode it shows the day in the top part, with the date below it and the time big in the lower display. You can change DST settings easily in the Time Setting Mode (to enter this mode, press and hold the ADJUST button).

As a divers watch this Frogman has a special Dive Time Measurement Mode. You can enter this mode by press and holding the lower left MODE button. When you start a dive the current time is shown on top, while the start time is shown below it. In the big lower display the total dive time is shown. When you stop timing between two dives, the interval time is also recorded. When the diving activity is stopped and you have returned to Time Keeping Mode, you can view the Dive Log by press and holding the lower right LOG DATA button. When a new dive is started the Dive Log will be overwritten, but you can also erase the Log data, when you press and hold the LOG DATA button and then also press the ADJUST button.
Serial number reads, 1999, September, production number 778
The other modes can be viewed the usual way, pressing the the MODE button. From Time Keeping Mode, you can go through Site Mode, Identification Mode, Alarm Mode, Countdown Alarm Mode and Stopwatch Mode, until you return back to Time Keeping Mode. The Site Mode can show times of 10 snorkeling and scuba diving sites. As not all time zones are covered, it is possible to change the Dive Sites, except the dive site that is chosen as Home Site. As I live at GMT+1, I chose to change Red Sea to Middelburg. Maybe I could have better named it Zealand, as there are also a few popular scuba diving spots in my province (Eastern Scheldt). I am not sure it is wise to input all the data in Identification Mode. You can here input your Name, Diving License number (though it says C. CARD), emergency telephone number, your passport number and your blood type. I wonder if in an emergency someone will check your wristwatch, but the idea is great. The next modes are pretty normal for a modern G-Shock. An Alarm Mode with three Alarms and a Hourly Time Signal , which all can be toggled on and off, a 24 hour Countdown Alarm Mode with an Auto Repeat function and a 24 hour Stopwatch mode. Of course this Frogman has an Electro Luminescent Backlight and even has an Auto-Light Switch, so you can turn the EL Backlight on, with only a twist of your wrist.
The Seaman wears smaller than a Basic 6900. I shot some pics during a break in the brewery and this GW-6900 is my brewing watch. I think they give a good comparison how it wears on my 7" wrist.
Although the DW-9900 is a full functional Frogman and the DW-9950 is an overseas kind of Frogman model, it seemed not a very popular model at it’s time, which also explains why it was only 2 years in production. Actually I think the DW-9900 Frogman and Seaman are still not very popular, specially if you compare it to the DW-8200, GW-200, GF-8250 and GWF-1000 models, which are all immense popular amongst most collectors. Frankly, I do not exactly know anymore how I got this Seaman, but if I’m correct I bought it in the US a long time ago. Around 10 years ago these Seaman surfaced from time to time on eBay and other sales sites. At that time the prices varied somewhat between $150 and $175. It’s hard to give this model or another Seaman a value. It has been about 15 years discontinued now and are quite harder to find now, specially in good shape. Still I think A Seaman in this condition should be worth somewhere between $200 and $250, although big G-Shock sellers may think different about about it’s popularity and price. As a G-Shock Collector I thought I should have at least a DW-9900 Frogman and a DW-9950 Seaman in my collection. I think the looks are pretty nice of this model, but it wears a bit small on my 7” wrist, and therefore I love these models frankly not as much as the DW-8200, GW-200, GF-8250 and GWF-1000 models. However, it looks quite good on a smaller wrist.

1 comment:

Scott Duffy said...

Thankyou for all the information provided on the dw9950, I bought mine in 2000 in Andorra. I always thought that it was quite rare as ive never seen another like it. Regards Scott.