Sunday, April 26, 2009

#19 Getting on stage with the Stage Tomato.

Last week we had performances of our school's theater play. Our school has a reputation at the theater (the theater manager even "demanded" we should do a new show in 2 years). With 171 volunteers, you could say it was a big production.
I was a bit afraid I could not do a 50 Gs article, but a few hours before Thursday's show, I tried to make some photo's backstage an on stage.
Of course some members of my decor group interfered several times, as they were curious and of course pulling some jokes (one resulted in a surprisingly "Ghost of the Theater" photo).
Of course I had a model in mind, the DW-003TL-4VT, in Germany better known as the "Stage Tomato". The watch is also released in Japan under model number DW-003H-4T as part of the "Clubber Version" series (クラブバージョン).
I always found the name very funny. Like the orange "Red and Bad" (GLX-100-4) you might think the person who makes up those names has color-blindness. I'm love tomatoes, but all tomato species I know are red.
I got my first "Stage Tomato" early in my collection. You could buy it pretty easy around 2001 - 2003. This model must have been sold in large numbers in Germany and probably also worldwide. You could find these models for nice prices everywhere for a long time.
On of the most famous owners of this model is the charismatic Scottish singer Shirley Manson from Garbage. Talking about Shirley Manson, why do they call people with orange hair red heads? Maybe I have some kind of color deviation.
Since the DW-003TL is an overseas model, I have to guess a release date. I think it was in Europe part of the fall/winter collection 1997. In Japan this model was released in July 1997.
The DW-003TL did come in five color schemes, blue, yellow/dark-blue, black/gray, white/gray and orange/black. From the last three variations there was both a normal and an inversed display model.
The DW-003TL is part of the "Tough Label" series. Japan would not be Japan if this series had a different name there, so you might find Tough Label models there under the name G'Mix series, but this model was in Japan released also in the Tough Label range.
Tough Label is the G-Shock sub-series dedicated to music. Often these models are dedicated to hip hop or reggae music. The DW-003TL was designed for the clubbing generation.
The watchband is a pretty thick double Velcro type. The under part is elastic for more comfort on the wrist. The nylon upper part of the strap closes with a click buckle which secures the Velcro under part. On the upper part there is a patch with the series name. The background defracts light into all kind of colors. Probably an engraved grid gives this effect, like with a grid monochromator or the bottom side of a Compact Disk.Inside this watch you'll find the 1661 (inversed display) or a 1662 (normal display) module. The reversed display models have digits that turn from beautiful deep green to amber yellow digits when exposed to light under different angles. The normal display models have a two-tone display.
While you won't see a reference to music at first glimpse, these modules have a hidden feature. If you press and hold the top right button (split-reset) for about 2 seconds, the top display, which normally shows the day turns into an animated graphic spectrum analyzer. It's of course not a real spectrum analyzer, but a graphic animation of the seconds. It's maybe a very useless function, but it's really great to watch!
When scrolling through the functions, you'll notice this is a very complete watch. It has an alarm function with one alarm and a hourly chime.There is a Telememo function for 30 sets of names and telephone numbers. Note that mobile phones were not everywhere used as now. I love it that my iPhone can store all kinds of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and much more attached to one name...
The Dual Time is a pretty odd type. Instead you can set Dual Time with increments of 30 minutes from the main time, the secondary time complete independent from the main time. They only share the seconds.
Normally you'll find on an older G-Sock model with Telememo and Dual Time no other features, but this watch also feature a Stopwatch and a 24 hour Countdown Timer. You might say for it's time, it was a very complete watch.

Monday, April 20, 2009

#18 Enchanted by Ocean gray

Normally I write once a week a 50 gs article. Today I got a great watch from Azraelz in Singapore. This watch was a long wanted grail, that was several times put aside, because other great G-Shock's came on my path. Finally I have an Ocean gray model. Maybe I will obtain a DW-5025D in the (far) future. These are great jelly models. I'm so happy, I just want to share it with you here on 50 Gs. Thank you Azraelz to make a dream come true!
This model had caught my eye since it was released in March 2008. tough decisions had to be made. After the acquisition of the Dawn Black series (including the non-atomic models) and the Rising White series (DW-5025B and DW-5725B double), I was glad the next 25th anniversary series was the master blue.
Most models with blue are not of my liking, so I could skip this series. My wallet was very happy with that decision, I had almost no funds left. Also a lot other nice models came out in the winter of 2007/2008. I got some nice offers. I got a box of 4 great G-Shock's and 7 Baby-G's, a Seiko Monster. Then Casio announced the Ocean Gray series. The fourth 25th Anniversary series of G-Shock. I had no money left and frankly I wasn't sure about this one.
The looks of this series looked like the Men In Smoke series. Casio adopted the color scheme of the ICERC Frogman of 1996. This Frogman was nick named "The Ocean", hence the name "Ocean Gray".
I let this series go and went on collecting other G's. In the summer of 2008 I visited Jurphaas, a G-Shock friend, who lives 2 hour from where I live. When we visited his home he showed me his Ocean Gray DW-5025D. Awesome! Since then the Ocean Gray (more specific the DW-5025D and the GW-9125D) were on my "wanted list".
Somehow I forgot a bit about this series, until recently 2 members on the G-Shock forum showed their Ocean Gray Gulfman. I had seen an "Ocean Gray"Gulfman on the Sales corner, that was just above my budget, but at a great price. When the seller dropped the price a bit it was ttime to snag. I have been on water and bread for a few weeks, but now I have it in the house. Finally, one year after it's release.
I think I have told on 50 Gs my love for the Gulfman (though I pity the absence of a Tidegraph on the Atomic version). It's light (Titanium is used), comfortable and the case design refers back to the classic Gulfman, something that can't be said about the new Mudman.
Apart from the gray jelly bezel and strap, the most striking detail is the mirror display. The only other mirror displays I know are on the "Silver Collection" series (with the DJ Spooky, Eric Haze and Dogtown model).The mirror has one little drawback. Well, it is for me. Though it is actually very sharp to e almost every time for my eyes, my camera thinks different. With the dimmer light in my back garden, my camera rather focus on the outside wall of my studio...
It seems that my eyes are probably more adapted to a mirror display than my camera. It was rather hard to get good photo's with clear digits, but my eyes had no problem. Maybe there was some glare picked up by my lenses (Canon 17 - 85mm 1:4-5.6 IS USM and Sigma 50mm 1:2.8 DG Macro) as I was using the last sunrays available.
I didn't got the box and manual with this watch, but it originally came in the flight case box (which is for the biggest part actually made of cardboard) where the other 25th Anniversary models came in too.
Luckily the seller had put it in a standard G-Shock box, so I could have my Oooh factor. It looked great (what else would you expect). The low sun was already playing with the jelly resin. I had a pretty dull day at work. After the exams I had to empty about 150 bottles, remove the labels, wash them and dry them. Pretty much boring and time consuming work. There was not much needed to make me look happy, this watch made my day!
The watch was set to Honk Kong time, but I changed it to the Paris timezone. You can set the watch to many timezones, but unfortunately AMS (Amsterdam) is not present. You can't win them all. It picked up the Atomic signal from Mainflingen pretty fast.
Well, I should have wait until Sunday, but I couldn't resist. I made a fast dinner for Bram and me and after we were finished, I took the watch outside for a 50 Gs photoshoot.
Outside the watch came out even better than indoors. translucent G-Shocks are playful with light and the sun gives plenty.
Outdoors the golden accents stick out. It does not disturb the look, but it's rather strange too, because the bezel and mirror are silver. The gold tone on some photo's are from the setting sun. Maybe the watch has looked better if silver screws were used, but Casio prefers gold to commemorate the birth of G-Shock 25 years before this release. Also the DW-8200K-8 had gold screws and a titanium bezel.
The metal part under the bezel is titanium and has a good looking pattern. Titanium is used to minimize the forming of rust.
Like all 25th Anniversary models the special logo designed by Eric Haze is etched on the back plate. Doesn't it look good! Often it's hard to get a good angle for a photo of the back plate, but this back plate is very clear. It might have helped I took the photo outside.
The GW-9125D fits very comfortable around the arm. For more fun I have activated the Full Auto Illuminator. This watch has a special type of illumination.
While the display is a normal type, the EL illumination is negative. I do not know much about the details, but it seems that the back reflector (the layer under the LCD that with most LCD's is greenish gray) is black. When the EL light panel lights up, it shines through the black reflector, but the light can't pass the mirror.
I am pretty curious how the metallic liquid crystals are made. Maybe it's partly on oil based. If you spill oil products in water you also see metallic mirroring. However it works, it's a great feature on a watch. Besides the Silver Collection models, also with a mirror display, the GL-110 has a negative EL backlight, but it has a normal display. If I'm correct, the Real Black Frogman has this kind of EL backlight too.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

#17-b Guest Post...Tactical Black G-Lide

Casio G Shock GL-7000RF-1DR

First, thank you Sjors for letting me be a contributor here!

So, what you see above is a GL-7000RF-1DR G-Lide G Shock. Not many of these around, it seems. It was released outside Japan in late 2004, and was discontinued less than a year later. I have seen some attribute it to a line of Gs known as "Inner Force" but my research has not turned up much about that lineup.

The GL-7000RF does have a 5th light button, but it has no "G" emblem on it, and is polished to blend in with the other polished parts of the case. If you didn't know it was'd probably miss seeing it.

I have no idea what the Japanese symbol is on the back, but it looks cool. Anybody have thoughts on this?

Here you can see the other polished parts on the case (just above the buttons). There is very little on this watch that reflects I consider it quite a "tactical" watch. Also, notice the gray ring an dhow it sits about 1mm above the rest of the face of the watch.

On the 12 o'clock side of the case, the first link in the bracelet has a stylized G logo with a lightning bold passing thru it. Another strange logo...I wish I knew what it meant.

The GL-7000RF has the exact same features as the G-2300 series. What it does not have is the exact same module. The 2300 line uses the 2184 module. The GL-7000RF uses a 2594 module. One thing that is very different is the legibilty and the crispness of the digits. I would bet that the GL-7000RF uses a higher contrast polarizing film. This one looks crisp from nearly every anlge I try, where members of the G-2300 series always seem to look a little out of focus or fuzzy to me.

Below are some borrowed pictures from Brian D. on WatchUSeek (see this original thread). He compared the size of the GL-7000 to the G-2310. When alone, the GL looks like it would be the bigger of the two watches. And with the extra weight due to the steel outer case and bracelet, the thought of it being bigger is reinforced. But if you directly compare a 2310 and a GL-7000, the 2310 comes out ahead in size.

Here, you can see the GL-7000 on top of a 2300 which is on top of a 2310.

This time, the GL is on the far left, with a 2310 and 2300 in the center/right respectively.

This shot shows two things clearly: the size of the 2300 is much wider than the GL. Also, you can see the crispness of the GL display.

Again, this shot shows two things clearly: the size of the 2310 is much wider than the GL. Also, you can really see the crispness difference of the two displays.