Sunday, December 21, 2008

#50 Bob, the Lost Dog.

The final article of 50 Gs must be a very special G-Shock. When starting in January I already had several G-Shocks in my mind.
Quite some yellow models by the way. Men In Yellow Frogman, yellow Raysman Yachttimer and "of course", my Codename by Aurèle. I have 5 of them! I would not be surprised if this will be one of the largest articles with the most photo's.
I still remember the auction of the first one. "Agnes b G-Shock". I had no idea who Agnes b was, but the striking yellow color immediately draw my attention. Sightly used, in good condition.
Although not in original box, the watch looked almost like new. A perfect watch for short sleeve shirts.
Nowhere the name Agnes b was to be found on the watch itself. The tag on the double Velcro watchband says "Collector by Aurèle".
A search lead to Marc Aurèle, but strangely there was nothing to find about a designer with this name. Only a painter of the 19th century and some kind of king around the 2nd century. Both not very much probable the designers of this watch.
Actually for years I was convinced the name of the designer was Marc Aurèle. When I later got one complete in a box the name was even written on the sticker, along with the announcement that only 1200 were sold in Germany (1200 stück Bundesweit).
For writing this article I wanted to know more about the designer. When a search for Marc Aurèle didn't give the satisfying answer again, I tried different key words.Marc Aurèle and Agnes b didn't give results... Why was that name linked to Agnes b? Strange. Other things first.
The battery was weak, so first I replaced the battery. This watch has a very beautiful back with all kinds of texts and a dog etched on it. When the battery was replaced I decided to google on Aurèle and parts of the texts (antecedent comportement).
Bingo! It lead straight to Aurèle's website. Great Flash design and very informative. The deep yellow color, the same as that is used for the Codename, is found back on a lot of his design, paintings and sculptures. I must be right on track.
Unfortunately the website is completely in French, a beautiful language, but unfortunately French was also my weakest subject at school. While I got straight A's for chemistry, physics, biology, math, and economics, I was already happy if I managed to get an E- for French. I even had to stay at school on my free afternoon, writing over the French vocabulaire. It didn't help much. I'm just probably weak in my languages.My French slightly improved along the years during my (almost) yearly vacations to France, but still it was not sufficient enough to understand all the texts.
Luckily it wasn't only texts on the website. For hours I have enjoyed the eye candy. Specially the T-Shirts that he made in Agnes b's "Artist series".
Well, that connection is confirmed. Also I like a lot of his dog sculptures and his design for the "Lost Dog" museum for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, was even food for a friend of me, who is a teacher in architecture. This museum is a gigantic yellow dog (80 meters, 240 ft) that rises in the Shanghai skyline. Inside the museum, visitors can visit various expositions of contemporary art. Of course the G-Shock and Baby-G he designed in 1997.This still made me wonder why I couldn't find this website with the keywords "Marc and Aurèle". The architect of a remarkable building of the skyline of Shanghai must be a known man?I read a lot of press releases, but the name Marc was never mentioned. Only his last name is his trademark (Aurèle by Aurèle) .Finally I found a piece on the French Wikipedia. His name is not Marc, but Ricard (October 24th, 1963). Finally I found it, assuming this Wikipedia entry tells the truth. As it is part of a series Contemporary Art , I think it's very reliable.
In 1986 Aurèle sees a poster on a lamppost. It was a poster for a "Bob the Lost Dog". He thought it was a good metaphor for our own lives, as we are confronted with wars, pollution, epidemics, etc.
This dog, a sort of pitbull, now returns in a lot of Aurèle's work. From paintings, statues, T-shirt designs for Agnes b to a collaboration G-Shock and a Baby-G model for Casio.
Aurèle also uses a lot of phrases. As he claims to be inspired by contemporary artists like Warhol, he likes to add political statements. I don't think you can call these statements, like "You are wonderful and I love you" and "Le despoir est une insult a l'avenir" very political, they are more statements of life.
Some of these statements are written on the box. The most eye catching is "Positive Yellow". In Germany this model was even called "Positive Yellow".
I think "Positive Yellow" is a very strong phrase. When wearing this G-Shock, or a yellow Raysman, Riseman, Gaussman or Frogman, it seems to give so much positive energy. I believe Casio had adopted the term for their yellow models in the late 90's.
Enough background for now. I can very much recommend to watch Aurèles website. Lets take a closer look at the watch of subject.
Like the recent A.D.M.A. Model here, this is also a DW-8800 Codename Cypher model.
Originally the watch is sold in a box with a thick multi language manual and a hexagonal box. Some people call these boxes Haru cans.I have no idea what Haru means and if this is an official name or Japanese nickname.
Between 1997 and 2000 these boxes were used to pack every G-Shock sold. The basic boxes have the "G" logo printed in the middle. The box coming with this Aurèle model is of cource designed by him.
The big "G" logo is still there, but he creativily made it "O! Genial".
A big surprise if you open de box. Normally you only find the watch in the hexagonal box, the box of the Aurèle G-Shock is packed full. While the watch comes originally with a double Velcro watchband, an extra set leather/cloth straps are included. If you want to change the straps, you need a springbar tool, so a small springbar tool is included. I'm not sure if you want to use it. It looks rather fragile. I rather use one of my own for that, but it's a nice gesture from Casio. Wait, it's not over yet, Casio also packed a dust cloth and all stuff barely fits in the box.
One of the most striking, though probably pretty useless function, is the Morse function. The Aurèle model has the 1443 (overseas) module, while the A.D.M.A. has the 1444 (domestic) module. Therefore playing with the Aurèle Codename Morse function is for us a lot easier. While you have to scroll through all Katakana characters before reaching alphanumeric characters on the 1444 module, the 1443 module only has alphanumeric characters.
The functions are the same as the A.D.M.A.models. Contact mode (Telememo), Mission mode (appointment alarm), Morse mode, Vital Statistics, one alarm and a stopwatch.The Codename Cipher is packed with features.
To explain the Morse mode features I made a small video. Probably this video tells more than the, so called, 1000 words.

The video also shows the beautiful bright EL-backlight with the dog and a heart in it.
I hope you enjoyed the 50 Gs series. Though it took me some articles to get into writing, I must say I really enjoyed the research and writing. Good Casio showed up with "G-Shock Perfect Search" (GPS). It helped me very much. Please leave comments and support if you would like a second series. First of all, my arm must heal.
BTW, it seems someone found Bob on Queens Blvd. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New G-Year. Best wishes,

Sjors, The Netherlands.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Intermezzo #4

I made it. I really made it. The last article is almost ready to be published. I'm still working on it, but I think it's the biggest (in size) article I have ever written. When I am finished, I have written 50 articles about G-Shock's. Unbelievable!

That's 49 models being introduced. I accidentally wrote two times about the GW-9100K. Not a real problem I think. It is an awesome watch.

In my first posts I only made a few pics and a little story. Frankly I was not good in writing reviews. One of Greg’s first post inspired me to try to write more about a certain model. I am still not sure if I am a real good reviewer. There is always the language barrier that makes it harder to express yourself than in your native language. I also do not think I write real reviews. I mostly try to write a background story. How did I get the watch? How do I feel about the watch? Why is it special for me? Or why is it not?

Also I try not only to show the most popular models. If you search around for Mudman, Gulfman and Frogman, you'll find a lot of stories of happy and satisfied owners.

I think I was on the good way. I even got e-mail from people that bought a watch after reading one of my articles.

I hope 50 Gs was both entertaining and informative this year. I am still not sure, but maybe I will pick up the challenge next year to write again 50 articles about my favourite watches. If you like that, please encourage me with your comments! If you like a certain model to be in the spotlights, let me know. I can't promise anything, but believe me, I'll try.

I also take the opportunity to thank all my guest writers. If I might pick up 50 Gs next year I hope to see guest articles too from time to time.

Cheers from G-Peopleland,


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Intermezzo #3: Battetry change on a DW-9100 Riseman

I got this beautiful Riseman in last week. Neil from G-Shock Nation had it for sale. A bummer I broke my left arm, so I could not replace the battery when it came in. Well, most of the pain has gone now and I got a little strength in the fingers of my left hand. Time to try the battery changed. I want to see the EL backlight of this one BAD!Well, most of the G-Shocks is standard stuff, but the case of the good old Riseman is a little different , so I make a little topic.It isn't harder than a normal G-Shock battery change, not harder at all. Just a little different.First of all, remove the 5 screws on the sides. Once the screws are removed, you can lift off the protection ring on the back.Well, That looks more familiar, is't it? Just open the case like on a regular G-Shock.
I have marked in the following three photo's where the battery lock release is located with a red circle. Just put your sharp point tweezers in the small hole between the metal clip and the plastic of the module. Pull the clip forward (in the direction of "do not turn) and the lock easily pops loose. Never force a battery lock!
Now replace the battery and reset the module, like it is shown above. One leg of the tweezer on the AC contact, the other leg on the positive side of the battery.
Well, it's time to assemble the Riseman again. If needed, re-grease the gasket with silicon grease, so the watch remains water resistant after closing the back. The rubber module protector must be placed so, that the metal lips are sticking through. This way they make contact with the back.
Yeah! Finally I can see the pather backlight! Note that the band loop is inside out. I will put it right if I have two working hands again.