Sunday, October 25, 2009

#44 Glowing Analog G-Shock.

I bought a box of cherry bon bons. I thought it was a nice idea to use the wrap paper as a filter in the bouncer of my flash. I had no idea I could get such a strange surreal results. Well, I changed the hue of the dial, now it even looks more strange...
But let's not get too far of topic at the start. This is my AW-560.D-7CV. You can't find this model on G-Shock Perfect Search (GPS),This model was sold only outside Japan.
There seems to be a demand of this model in Japan. I found this image of a model for sale in Japan. When observed close, you recognize the German hexagonal box. Similar boxes were also used in Japan, but had a glossy finish and only a big G instead of the G-Shock logo. This G-Shockl (photo below) is at the moment at auction for ¥19800 at Rakuten Auctions. This AW-560 model could be released in June 1994, but according to my website it is a November 1996 model. I have no idea where I got that information from. It could be that the European release was in 1996.
Although this AW-560 model isn't in the GPS, the module appeared earlier in November 1993 in the AW-500B-7C.
Instead of the AW-500 case, it looks like this model has three buttons. Actually the upper left button is fake. I think the symmetric look with the fake button is better. Also the case of the AW-560 looks tougher than the AW-500, because there is some kind of protection around the buttons.
The dial is pretty special. It seems to change from color in different light conditions. On the dial there is a phosphorescent layer, that seems pretty active. When you walk from sunlight into a dark house, it looks like the whole watch is radioactive!

I saw this impressive Kraftwerk show live in Tilburg, July 2005.

Actually I think it's pretty cool. Phosphors are very interesting materials that can store energy in the form of light and emit emit light in the dark. I think photons excite ("shooting" an electron in a higher energy orbital) the metal component of the phosphor, but instead of emitting it directly, like with fluorescence, the light is emitted over some time. Therefore the light dims over some time. Funny thing actually, the element phosphorus is not phosphorescent, but can react chemiluminescent. Actually there is one student doing research about chemiluminescence at school (photo above, copper catalyzes a chemiluminescent reaction between hydrogen-peroxide and sodium-hypochlorite). Instead of radioactive sources, the phosphor falls back to it's grounds state and does not fall apart in smaller fragments.
When you watch th dial in a bright lighted environment, the dial looks creme white. A bit like "Glow in the Dark"toys. When you wear the watch is a dim lighted area, you'll pretty much notice the greenish glow.
The watch is "Old School" big. The dial seems to lie very deep into the case, providing the tough look. "If the shock resistant structure is so thick, it must be a pretty tough".Well, it was cold and raining outside. Let's continue inside. Bram welcomes us into our house.
The digital display is placed under the dial. Although the case is round, the analog movement is not centered, but moved a bit to the top. This prevents the irritating blocking of the digital display by the minute hand. The minute hand on the AW-560 ends at the top of the digital display. Nice design! One thing I miss a bit. There is no light in the digital display.
According the description of the AW-500 model with the same module, the green lettering is adopted from the green glow of the dial.
The functions of the buttons can be read on the inside. If you have a G-Shock collection, you need to keep your mind with this watch. There is no button on the usual "Adjust button" location. Browsing the functions (Mode button) is not located bottom left, but bottom right. If you touch the upper right button, the hands are set immediately.
To set the time of the watch (or the Alarm and the Dual Time) you need to go to hold the select button for about two seconds, until the digits flash. By bushing the Select button you can choose the digits that must be altered, with the Mode button you can increase the value of the digits. Besides the Alarm and Dual Time function, the AW-560 also has a Stopwatch.
In the beginning you have to look for the buttons. You might think the big bumps on the side of the bezel are the buttons, but that are actually button protectors. The actual buttons are more close to the middle.
I actually like this watch pretty much, but the mixed-up button positions hold me back a bit from wearing this watch. The AW-560 looks pretty tough and sturdy. The glowing dial makes it a great watch to for clubbing. Actually I don't know if the watch is still easy to find, although I believe that heaps of this model were sold in Germany and probably a lot are left forgotten in a drawer there. I bought mine in September 2004, so it's already some time ago I got this one. The watch was in good, but used condition, but I probably didn't pay much more than €30.- for it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Intermezzo #16: Saturday Shocking

I was crawling through my G-Shock collection to look for a nice model for 50 Gs tomorrow. I stumbled upon this poor fellow. All digits were shown. I pressed all buttons, but nothing works. It seems like I have to reset this watch.
In case you ain't G-Shocked by my Bob Marley watch, I hope you like my article for tomorrow. Until now I still haven't wrote a letter. In the worst case, I publish the photo's only, ha ha.

I found a nice movie on Future Shorts. I very much like short movies. I'm a kind of impatient person. Short movies seem often to be able to tell long stories in a few minutes. It's a cool animation movie. I think it is well made. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

#43 Here come the Men In Mat Black.

Adan mailed me on my holiday in France that I was invited for the Shock The World event. That was very cool, so I said immediately "YES!". Problem is that I already had spend my vacation money on my holiday and I was actually spending more than I though I would. One option. Cut all G-Shock purchases. I already had taken options on the City Code TYO and the yellow G-6900A. Also I had ordered the G-MAN package.
A few weeks ago I got a mail of Katsu-san that my Purple G-Man package had arrived. Around the same time Riley was showing the world his marvelous complete series of Men In Mat Black. AWESOME!. As always I was immediately attracted to the Gulfman first. Also it occurred to me the GW-9010MS looked very good, while I normally am not too fond of the GW-9010 Mudman models.My bank account didn't look too good. I already had put an amount aside for the trip to Spain. Blood was running where it shouldn't run. I asked Katsu-san the price for the MIMB Gulfman. He gaave me two options, sent the G-Man and sent the Gulfman later or wait (only two or three days) for the Gulfman and pay quite a lower price, because of combined shipment (and I already paid for the shipment). Well, the last price was very good for me, so I decided to go through.Two days later the package was ready to be sent out. Unfortunately EMS doesn't ship wristwatches to the Netherlands. I think it has something to do with my rants on the Dutch customs, about holding EMS packages with wristwatches for a long time, ignoring the E of Express...
About two weeks later I found a note in my letter box. The parcel service had tried to deliver a package with a price tag of €45.37. Good news and bad news... Good news: the package had arrived in the Netherlands, bad news: (O.O;) How much tax!?!
I went out to the ATM to get money to pay the parcel service when they deliver the package and noticed I ended up in red ciphers. Ooops. At home I put back some money that I had put aside for Spain. Luckily I already have paid for the flight and the apartment.
Of course I could stay grumpy all day about the huge tax fees rate and fees, but I was too curious to these two new watches. The next working day I had to go to physiotherapy. As it ws pretty hectic at school, I decided to eat and drink something at home, since I live near the physiotherapy (and also not far from school).
When I arrived at home, my girlfriend appeared to be downtown for her glasses. Apparently the parcel service had not delivered the package yet. I was preparing a nice sandwich when the truck of the parcel service parked in front of my house. Wow, I'm lucky to be at home!
I grabbed the envelope of money and opened up the door, while the parcel-man was walking into my garden. "I hope you have exact change" he said. I had a wide grin, because I had it exactly. Of course I was already forgotten what I was actually paying for. After I signed the package, I walked into the living. I managed to put the whole sandwich in my mouth and searched for a knife. Luckily I always carry an orange rescue knife (Spyderco) in my backpack.
The package was opened and closed again by the Dutch customs. With some careful cuts I managed to open the package without damaging. When I opened I stared at my new two packages. I save the purple for later, but then I opened the other package. Well, I know how a GW-9100 looks like, but I was paralyzed for a moment. This watch looked very good. Funny thing is, the last time I got a similar "WOW!" moment, was for the white 2007 I.C.E.R.C. GW-9100K Gulfman. In looks quite the opposite model.
So what amazed me. The watch was not just black. The name of the series already indicate it is matte black. The black color (or more precise, the absence of color and light) is very deep. It almost looks like it absorbs light like a black hole.
The metallic ring under the bezel is black, but that's used before. When turned around, even the back was black. As a nice detail also the buckle of the watchband is black anodized, like on the "Men In Rusty Black" and "Military Inspired" series.
So what's with the name. Actually I think casio meant the "Men In Matte Black" series. I actually over-read this, because "matte" is spelled "mat" in the Netherlands. Also does the name somehow remind me to Matt Black, the half of Coldcut, you might know for their legendary "Timber"cut-up video and their "Beats and Pieces" cuts and scratch 12".

The dark tone of the watch inspired me to make this series photo's in a very dark environment, using large to very large shutter times. "I must say I'm amazed" (Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961).
This watch doesn't want to be on the foreground. It perfectly blends in the dark. The crystal is the only reflecting part of the watch.
The red lettering around the "revolver eye" is the only highlight on the watch. Actually I think it makes the watch also look very attractive.
Most curious I was for this eye. In the stock photo's I saw the receiving signal was pointed as a red dot. Does this mean red liquid crystal is used? I think the red color is not red liquid crystal, but a red reflector behind the digit, instead of the greenish white, that is used for the numeral digits.
I could write a rant of the absence of a Tidegraph on the Atomic Gulfman, but I think this watch actually looks better without it. The digits are very clear and viewable under a large angle. This technology reminds me of the recent GW-5000.
The very clear display is not the only reference to the GW-5000 model in my opinion. This Gulfman has straps that also feel very soft and comfortable as the straps used on the GW-5000. No need to say that wearing this Gulfman is a real pleasure.
A quick overview of the functions, as I have already reviewed some other Atomic Gulfmen here before: 60 minute Countdown Timer (Oh, casio, why not 24 hour at least), 1000 hour Stopwatch (to compensate the short CDT?), 5 alarms and a hourly chime and a Worldtime function.
he EL backlight afterglow is a bit short. The light turns of in about 1.5 seconds. I rather have a little longer afterglow, of about 2.5 seconds. I think this has to do with energy saving, there an EL light operation is of course energy-consumptive.
Too bad I am short of cash. I would have loved to have bought the whole series. On one side I miss a Frogman in this series. On the other side, Frogman models don't have a negative display, so would a Frogman probably have looked like the Black Helios model. If I had known this series would be released before the Men In Rusty Black series was released, I probably would have gone for this set. This Gulfman is AWESOME and I bet this goes also for the MIMB Riseman and Mudman.
The suggested retail price of this model is ¥29400 (€218 or $325). Expect a price of around $270 (¥24700, €180) shipped worldwide. I think that's a very good price. I have paid "slightly" less, because I already had paid for the shipping.

Intermezzo #16: All right, alright!

Well, actually I didn't want to make these photo's at all. I actually am very happy with the MIMB Gulfman and the series of photo's I made for the article above. Somehow I can feel readers reading my article and think they want to see photo's with a better view of my new watch.

First I thought I would include these photo's at the end of my original article, but frankly, it totally ruined the whole concept. I couldn't look at it, even for a second.
So, I decided to make a small intermezzo only for these extra two photo's at the bottom of this intermezzo. Well let's first blend in a fantastic video of the Lucky People Centre remix of "Timber", which I also wanted to conclude in the original article. Note this is from a remix CD-Single of 1998, with all the video's included of the remixes on a CD-Video. Like the label "Ahead of our time" of Coldcut said, it just is.

The photo's above are only used to separate these photo's as far as possible of the original article. I think you can see how dark black these Men In Matte Black is. With two spots directly shining on it, it still only reflects a small part of the light. The photo's are only cropped and resized. Like I wrote in my article, this watch is really that black!