Sunday, November 30, 2008

#47 Twisted Metal

Only three G-Shocks left before I get reach my goal. I thought I would never make it...

In November 1999 Casio released the first MT-G model, the GS-2000. The name of this series expresses the fusion of resin and metal used in these Gs.
There were 8 different models released between November 1999 and June 2000. I think this yellow GS-2000Y-1A9JF was the most striking of the bunch. It was released in May 2000.

I had seen photo's of GS-2000's before and always wanted to have one of these (the GS-2000-1A or this one). I'm glad I found one. Opening the small box I got it in was a special moment. I had waited long to see this model in real.
It was worth waiting for and I am so glad it is the yellow dial version. the basic black version looks good too, but the yellow dial gives a little more spice to the watch.
Eye catching are the resin parts of the links in the bracelet. The black rubberish parts look very nice on the strap.
These mix of resin and metal parts in the bracelet has brought back in the recent MTG-1000 models. For some time I think Casio lost it's way in the MT-G series. Specially when the first generation atomic models were released it looked like GW- and MTG- suffixes were used randomly.
The retail price of this model was 24000 yen, which makes it not a cheap watch, though not as expensive as the MR-G series.I think the new MTG-1000 and Giez models are now in the price range of this older MTG.

I can't say much about the functions of the watch. I do not think the 1799 module needs a manual. The only function this watch has is displaying analog time.
The seconds hand moves in 1 second increments. It gives funny results in long exposure photo's, like the one above. It is a 6 seconds exposure shot, so you see about 6 second hands if you look closely.
The crown is screwed in the case. You need to unscrew and pull out to set time. the crown is protected by two resin parts.
The dial shows a diagram. It probably shows the forces that apply on the watch at impact, which are absorbed by the shock absorbing structure.
The text "Water resist 20 Bar suspect this is a Japanese model. I am actually not sure if this model was released outside Japan. The only ones I have seen is the basic black (but also good looking) GS-2000-1A. For people who really can't live withoutd igital features, Casio released in June 2000 the MTG-5000. This was a similar looking model, but with a ana-digi module.
The lume on this watch may look great on my pictures, but I have to admit I used very long exposure times and a very bright light to load the luminescent paint. It would be really nice if Casio would use the same kind of paint as on my Seiko Orange monster. I don't need to read a book with it, but a little more lume would be perfect.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Intermezzo #2: Protrek PRG-80YT-1V

Not a G-Shock today, though I think this watch is related to the G-Shock line. Earlier I obtained the PRG-50 and the resin version of the PRG-80. My third ProTrek is this PRG-80YT.
The PRG-80 model was the successor of the PRG-50. I own the PRG-50, but rarely wear it. The 50 only has the sensor function, but misses the countdown timer and a stopwatch function. I great miss in a watch of the Casio Sports line. A colleague of me who is a sports teacher owns also a PRG-50 and had complained a lot about the absence of the stopwatch .
The PRG-80 made it all good. I do not know when this watch was actually released, it would probably have been around 2005. I think Casio picked up that the stopwatch function was missed badly. But not only a Stopwatch and Countdown timer function was added.

Also a World time function was added with 34 home cities. A good function for travelers and people with connections all over the world.
The PRG-80YT is the limited edition Black Titanium model. I do not know what Limited Edition means for this model, but it was actually reasonable easy to buy one for a good price for a long period.
The black coating looks cool. I think it's a kind of anodized coating. It seems pretty tough. I have worn this watch many times. If you look close at some macro photo's, you'll notice some very small scratches or deformations, but the coating is still there. Note these flaws are only visible, because my macro lens blows up details very big.
The PRG-80YT is a so called 3 sensors watch. On board there is a temperature, air pressure and magnetism sensor.
Actually the air pressure sensor is temperature dependent. Therefore a thermometer is needed for acurate readings for the barometer an altimeter.
When using the barometer function for the first time, you'll notice the new trend indicator. A blue spike tells you if the air pressure is stable, rising or falling.
The place where the spike appears shows how much has changed since the last measurement. A scale is on the right side of the dial. For the three countries still using imperial units, it also shows non-ISO units.
The altimeter has an accuracy of 5 meters. It seems not very accurate, but in practice this is more than enough. Since the air pressure differences within 5 meter are very low I think this is accurate enough. If someone is using an altimeter, he/she does not use it for a climb or descent of a few meters.
For people who are new to barometric altimeters, the altimeter only gives the right altitude if it is recently set to the correct altitude. Since the air pressure changes over time, the altimeter will give different altimeter readings when one stays on the same place. This sounds like the altimeter is useless, but if you set the altimeter in the morning at stable weather, you can use your altimeter the whole day. The accuracy becomes less when there are big weather changes. Don't trust on your barometric altimeter during a thunderstorm. I guess it is also not recommended to do a mountain trip then...
The compass function looks very cool and is very accurate. If needed you can do a biderectional correction, but if your watch is accurate, I won't recommend it, since the accuracy of your hands is much less than the accuracy of the compass. Four spikes (the thick one shows the North) appear on the Duplex display so you cannor only read direction, but also view the four compass directions.
The display is a Duplex type, which means there are actually two LCD displays placed over each other. The lower is the most used display, while the upper display is used for the spikes to display the barometric or altimetric trend and the compass directions.
The photo's above show two test displays of this watch. They show all digits possible.
The bracelet of the PRG-80YT is one of the most comfortable bracelets I know. Due to the use of titanium, the watch only weighs 117g. You would expect a much higher weight for such a big watch.The high wearing comfort is probably the result of two soft wrist rests on the back of the watch. They hold the watch in it's place. You almost do not feel the watch on your wrist.
Also important for the comfort is that you can adjust the bracelet length not only by taking out links, a fine adjust of 4 holes is present at the three fold clasp. This three fold clasp won't go loose easily. A security lock is placed over the closed clasp. Before releasing the clasp, you'll need to remove this extra lock.
Although the watch looks big, it looks great on my 7"wrist. I have even seen this watch on smaller wrists, without the watch looking cartoonesk.

Different from it's predecessors is the placement of the ADJUST button. It looks like Casio wants to prevent unintended adjustment in outdoors use. The ADJUST button is placed next to the light button, but is recessed in the case, so it's harder to activate the button.
My PRG-80YT has very accurate time keeping. In my experience it gains only a few seconds per month (2 or 3). The PRG-80 has been succeeded by the PRW-1100, which has a 5 band Atomic Time function on board. Of course this is a great feature, but I can live with 3 seconds of per month. Maybe I will buy a PRG-1200 in the future. This watch has the same functions as the PRW-1100, but has a bulkier and more sporty look.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

#46 One man and his Sledge Dog

The BBC to broadcast a series called "One Man and his Dog" between 1976 and 2000. Although it might sound dull, I always enjoyed the show, although I'm not a dog person actually.
It was a competition of dog trial where men and their sheepdogs tried to put a herd of sheep as fast as possible in a fence over a course. It showed how good a bond between the owner and his dog are.
The same bond exists between the dog musher and his sled dog. Driving sled dogs is a popular winter sport in Europe and North America. To express the bond between the dog musher and his dog they are shown in the EL-backlight.
The A.D.M.A in Fairbanks, Alaska is a non-profit organisation that supports the dog sledge sport since 1948.
At the 50th anniversary in January 1998, Casio released a series of 5 G-Shocks and 5 Baby-Gs (BG-380A) to support this organisation.
The base of these models was the Codename Cipher. While white was the main colour of these series, most accents were grey and blue. Only one of them has gold and cream accents. This was the model I was aiming at while hunting down an A.D.M.A. G-Shock. It has the model number DW-8800AJ-7BT.
The promotion of this dog mushers organization is not coincidental. Dog sled races are commonly held under very cold circumstances, while the Codename still operates at least until -20°C.
The Codename Cipher is a fun watch with somewhat geek functions. No problems of course, I am a kind of geek...
One of the most eye-catching details is the two-tone display. The top display and eye are a bluish shade of green, while the main display is more a more yellow shade of green.
This Codename has a shared memory of 100 data sets. It is used by the Telememo Function and Mission Code function. The Telememo mode is a kind of telephone book, the Mission Code is pretty interesting. It is a kind of alarm (date and time) you can set, combined with a comment. I used it on a G-Cool as an alternative for a Count Down timer. It is also a good function to remind you for appointments. If that is a few days away, you must be sure that you wear the watch. Since I tend to change watch a few times a week, this won't work for me.
Then there is the most fun (but pretty useless) function of the watch. It has a Morse decoder and encoder on board. I noticed this module is different from the overseas Codename Cipher's.

The overseas models only have a Morse Encoder on board. You input alphanumeric text and you get the morse code. This module is somewhat different. You also can input "dots" and "dashes" with a morse key. The input also accepts katakana. On the one hand that's pretty cool, but if you want to input text, you find you have to scroll a lot of characters, before reaching the alphanumerals. The morsecode that has been put in can be shown as "dots" and "dashes", heard as beeps and seen as light flashes.
The watch also has Vital Stats on-board. Here you can input your name, birth date (a previous owner was born on April 20th, 1968), blood type, credit card number, passport number and licence number. There are even two slots to make your own input. I cant recommend to give away your credit card number, but if you keep forgetting your name and birth date, this is your watch...
Further the watch also has one alarm function (time only, no date) and a stopwatch. The back of the watch has a beautiful engravement of the A.D.M.A. logo. A pity you won't see it easily. The double watch strap goes under the watch, through strap adapters. The strap is very nice. It isn't hard white. The upper strap is near white, while the under strap has a vanilla teint. The strap is extreme comfortable.
The EL backlight is very nice. As I already wrote, it is Casio's visualisation of the close bond between the musher and his dogs. Actually a dog musher has contacted me two years ago. His name is Gerald and rides a 6 dog sled. Of course he owns an ADMA G-Shock too. Check this link and look at his collection. You'll notice he has an other version of this watch.

Thanks to:
Derck (photo #3), Suzanne (photo # 14 and #15), Merel and Paul.