Sunday, September 28, 2008

#38: Hip Hop G-Shock L.A. Style!

"It's the B side!"
In the early winter 2001, my Casio service center and jeweler stopped selling G-Shocks. A lot of late 90's models went into sale. Off course I visited the shop frequently, to see if there was something interesting for me.
One of the watches was a deep blue watch with a special watchband. There was some kind of rope dangling under it and it made me curious.
The jeweler showed me the watch. It had a cool BPM function (that I already knew from my DW-003TL).
He demonstrated the closure mechanism, that looked pretty complicated. He told me it was a special strap, so you could wear it over your snow board outfit.It sounded plausible, but in spite of the close out action, the tag showed a hefty price. If I recall right, it was f240.- (€110.-), about normal price of a basic G-Shock, without discount. The original retail price was about €140.-, which was a lot of money at it's release date, July 1998. Also the color blue was not my thing. That month I bought 2 G-Shock's and a Baby-G for my son Bram for the same price as this Snowboard watch...About a year later we hired a house for a weekend in the Ardennes. While we were looking for a terrace in the beautiful small town of Rochefort, there was a jeweler that had a wide range of G-Shock's. It was Sunday, so the shop was closed, but somewhere on the top of the display I noticed a green variation of this watch. This time with a price tag with the full retail price (ooof!).
Again this special strap was getting my attention. Also the deep green color looked very nice.
Finally, on December 5th 2003, I obtained this orange version. I have no idea what I paid for it, but I guess it would have been for something around €30.-. The watch had significant signs of wear, but somehow it also looked very sturdy.
Give me a beat!
I strapped it on and immediately noticed how comfortable this strap was. With the cord you can regulate the tightness. The free hanging cords are looking great, but they are frankly not always very handy. I work at a wet lab, so that means a lot of liquid chemicals and also I wash my hands often. Furthermore, I like to cook. With these kind of activities these cords can easily become wet or come into a frying pan. Therefore I sometimes take this watch off, to prevent it becoming dirty, fat or burnt. On the other hand, this watch is made for clubbing. I'm sure this is a real good looker!Luckily I found a new replacement strap at Tiktox. It might have been the first time I did business with these them, which would probably have been a great experience, since I have been coming back to them since many times for spare parts and G-Shocks.Since orange is our national color, I often wear this watch at Queensday or when there is a special sport event, like the Dutch football team playing an important match.
Is this watch a snowboard watch? Nope, it isn't. Actually, in spite of the pretty large straps, I do not think you can get this watch strapped over your snowboard outfit. Actually the text Tough Label is the giveaway. This name is used for the overseas models with a music theme. Hence the (for snowboarders pretty useless) BPM counter.
In Japan this model, DW-9550, is released under the name G'Mix and is part of the Groove Tune series. Note that if you look at G-ShockPerfect Search you don't find the green variant. Probably this model is only released overseas as a Tough Label model.
The DW-9550 came in two styles. The first style with a two tone double Velcro strap and silver accents in the cloth represents the N.Y. style, the versions with the cord closure strap is called the L.A. Style. This is not related to the rave act by Wessel van Diepen (Vengaboys) who recorded "James Brown is Dead" in 1991. No, Casio was more thinking of West Coast Hip Hop. Sorry Casio, I am writing this article with the inspiring music of one of Philly's finest musicians, DJ Josh Wink (Hear Hear).
"I love these shots..."
Probably the coolest functionon on bord of this DW-9550HB is the BPM counter. A BPM counter can be used to determine the tempo of music. It works pretty simple. In BPM mode you press the light button on the beat of the music. If you press the button 5 times, you get the (avarage) BPM displayed. I have used it many times to sync my MIDI set-up with a sampled loop. Within 4 bars (1.8 secs at 130 BPM), a 1 BPM variance is often tolerable.
Photo: Eva
Actually it is not a very good BPM counter. The increments are 5 BPM, which is to big for using it in a studio. I have several DW-9501HH's (released February 1999) with a BPM counter that has 1 BPM increments.
Photo: Bernard Vercouteren
A stopwatch, an alarm and hourly chime are the other functions found on this watch. Maybe you would expect more form a 18000 yen watch (€116.-), but on the other hand, if you own one, you have quite an unique G-Shock.
Photo: Eva
"This was a great yoghurt ice. Only once a year with fresh picked black berries!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Intermezzo #1: Dead Batteries on the Lab

I wanted to wear the orange BPM counter today, but alas. Weak display. My olive drap dragon model... Even more dead. My "military" DW-6900 with Eagle Industries covered watchband. Also dead....

I only had two CR2016's left. I jumped behind my computer and ordered 50 new CR2016 batteries this morning. I took the DW-9550 and DW-069 to school and I found time in the afternoon to change the batteries. This is not a detailed battery change tutorial. I just took some photo's during the change.
The DW-9550 has an extra spacer. Probably for better ventilation between the cloth band and the back of the watch.
Releasing the battery lock of the 1289 module. Notice the infamous alarm battery in the back. It's loose, so it falls out when the watch is turned around while open...The 1918 module looks roughly the same. The contacts for the - side of the battery are different. A new battery is placed in with plastic tweezers.
The battery is short circuit for about 2 seconds. This resets the module.
Not show, but I put a little silicon grease on the gasket. Be gentle with old gaskets, they can break. Of course I can't guaranty the water proofness of the watch, but there is a fair chance it survives next dive in the swimming pool.
Only thing you need to do is set the wath to the correct time and it's ready to wear.
Mission accomplished, back to my chemical lab. I just developed a method for determination of pollution in Asperine.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

#37: Crazy about colors.

This is the second G-Shockers Collaboration Article in cooperation with Riley’s My G-Shock. Riley has post an article about his Crazy Colors models DW-6900CS-1 and DW-5600CS-1.
I think over 90% of the G-Shocks sold are just the plain black or the stainless steel basic models.
In the end of the 90's there was a period that colored G-Shocks were popular, but nowadays you hardly see a colored G-Shock on the streets here. Most often the plain G-2900, sometimes a stainless steel cockpit model, a DW-5600, DW-6600 or a DW-6900. Of course most G-Shock’s are sold to people who want a tough watch, and not to collectors.
Some people even want to have their G-Shocks even more black. They remove the lettering and sometimes reverse the display polarisation into a negative display. This is called stealthing.
Like the Dragon-G series (not an official name), stealthing imitates an US ARMY look. The watch will hardly be noticed in the dark during military operations, but actually I think such a watch stands out quite cool when worn casually with a short sleeve shirt, like a Black Helios Frogman.
I like these blackened out watches, but I am also fond of colors. The brighter, the better.
Casio often makes, besides the basic black models, yellow, blue, orange and red models. Lately also a lot of white models are introduced too.
Some colors don`t seem to be popular for G-Shock. Although I started 50Gs with an article on a 21st CB model, green models are not made often. A very nice exception is the shiny green Hawaiian Lifeguard GW-410.
Purple is also not used much. I have the DW-6900H and DW-6630 in purple variant. Probably the most controversial color is pink.
The first pink model I can remember was the Post Pet model. Post Pet is a kind of Japanese e-mail tamagotchi. Pink (specially hot pink) is quite a color that provokes reactions. Before the 1940’s it was generally accepted as a masculine color, while light blue was considered feminine.
Like the yellow star that Jews were forced to wear by the nazi rules, homosexuals had to wear a pink triangle, who used it as a sign of pride after WWII. Therefore pink is often associated with homosexuality, but fashion changes. Actually it is very masculine at the moment to wear pink polo T-Shirts. I think it’s a cool trend.
In 2006 there was a DW-6900FS released in pink. In May or June I had set my mind to find one of these. I actually almost had bought one from Yahoo JP when I learned that a pink model was about to be released in August 2008 as part of the Crazy Colors series. Casio used the “simple” DW-5600 and DW-6900 models and gave them bright colored LCD’s, bezels and straps to give them maximum impact. As I was already looking for a pink G, I immediately ordered one.
It was delivered at my school. The impact of this watch was pretty much noticeable. Quite some pupils gathered around me observing this pink object. I also got quite some reactions. It looks like everyone loved this watch.
One girl asked, “You ain’t going to wear that watch, ain’t you?”. Frankly, I’m not sure. Maybe I buy a second to wear, but if it gets much wrist time… Maybe Casio finally made a G-Shock that might be too bright for me. The future might tell.
"part of the weekend never dies"