Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Intermezzo #21 So I made it to 50th G, now what...

I am still quite amazed I did it again. Writing 50 articles about G-Shock's. Frankly the models to write about have thinned out drastically, but there are a few I want to write for some long time. I still have to make an appointment with half a twin to make a nice photo shoot, although, I think it's better to do it when it's warmer (May, June?). I got some new DVD's in. My friend Anicar recommended the movie "Ramen Girl"., As I like ramen and soba (there goes my mouth drewling again) very much, so I am curious about the movie. It's sad that the actress Brittany Murphy recently died at a young age.
Have you by the way read the interview with me that Sneaker Freaker Magazine did? I felt very honored. I like to thank Anthony for the great time. I heard a little present is on the way for me. A quite rare present, it's actually amazing Anthony managed to get it for me. I hope it arrives soon. It's G-Shock related, so I might show it here first!
So beside watching movies (two new episodes of Doctor Who are coming on the BBC soon!), what do I do with so much free time. I thought writing an small article about what I am doing and dreaming about. I want to visit Japan next year, so I have to cut deep into my G-Shock budget. I already did a bit in 2009. I "only" bought 47 G-Shocks. I think I am going to limit myself to maximal 1 G-Shock per month. Japan is an expensive country and my job as Technical Educating Assistant is great to do, but not paying very well. I have one dream, a quite expensive holy grail that is. The new GWF-1000 Frogman. Well, if limiting to so little G-Shock's, it must be possible to get one. I read that a lot of people like the B version more. It is of course a matter of personal preference, but actually I like the basic model. The better for my wallet. Of course I already broke my own promise. I bought a very special rare and wanted model. It will probably arrive somewhere after New Year. All I will reveal is that it is again a DW-6900 model, one that I wanted for a long time in exact the right color I wanted it. I bought it from a very good friend of me in Singapore (thanks Sky!)
Meanwhile I am looking around for great T-Shirts. I am a huge fan of Hook Ups, the skateboard brand by Jeremy Klein. I missed a very nice print this year. I thought I found one T-Shirt size XL in California, but this shirt can't be found anywhere on the internet. Since it is hard to find Hook Ups in Europe, I gave up. Jeremy, if you are reading this and you have a spare XL of the "Bamboo Forest", give me a call! I think the print is quite different from other Hook Ups prints. I used to watch the "Samurai Jack" cartoons on tv. The evil god Aku (Evil in Japanese) was sometimes presented as a black bamboo forest. I first though it was a naked girl, but it seems more like the tight outfit Uma Thurman was wearing in Kill Bill.
Talking about tight outfits. It seems that Uffie is wearing very tight suits lately. Not quite sure I like it, but if she feels confident walking around like that, let it be. No, then her new records. Lately her hit "Pop the Glock" was released as an remix EP (on Ed Banger of course). I didn't manage to find some previews of the remixes, but I am quite interested in the remix of Felix the Housecat. And for €8.- you can't this beautiful picture disk go.
There is also more news on Uffie. Her new album " Sex Dreams & Denim Jeans" will finally released early 2010. Let's see how much of it is true. It was actually scheduled early 2009, but I believe it is now for real. For the fans of the Neptunes and N.E.R.D. Pharrel Williams, he will be on the new album of Uffie too (and also on the new album of Casius).
Before " Sex Dreams & Denim Jeans" will be released a 12" will be released, called " MC's can Kiss". Check out this leaked out video.

More great music from France. Actually I heard this album this summer already, but somehow it didn't do much to me. Probably "OK Cowboy" was too deep engraved in my mind, but recently I found this mini-mix of the album. Check this out and make up yourself what you think about it.
Don't ask me why a lot of good music is coming from France. I heard even a rumor that Daft Punk is coming with a new album in 2010. What to think about Legowelt. You might expect it's from Germany (the name means Lego World in German), but it's a one man's act from The Hague. The 12" "Disco Rout" has been an important record in my DJ case for the past years. The music is great, but also the cover art (reminding me of the travel posters of the 20's and 30's of the 20th century) is wonderful. Just recently I discovered that there is also a very beautiful video for this track. A very beautiful piece of art I think. By the way, the album above (only released on CDr) is quite nice too. It is made with sounds of an Amiga and brings back memories from long ago.

Let's go back to T-Shirts. Well, I am still looking for nice pieces. This Parra (below) is looking nice, but frankly at the moment most Rockwell shirts are not that where I am looking for.Then Cool cats. They put out this teaser a week ago for the release of a new series of "Girl 'n Cats" shirts.
I think this is a great photo in this series. I'm not sure, but I think these photo's are from Michael Dupouy of La MJC. I specially like the last shirt. Also "Cats 'n Girls #2" was great, but quite unsuitable to wear at school I think. The artwork is by So Me, house designer of Ed Banger. Well, since we got again stuck in France, let's take a big hop across the world.
Kiks Tyo has done it again. I think it's for the third time that they release "Lucky Packages" this year. I still love the first one, with Aki Hoshino dressed as a Santa KIKS Girl. I love these packages for the surprises, and for the price you always get something interesting. A year ago I got a great heavy weight winter hoodie and some great shirts. There is something about the sizes on the website (it shows only XXL, probably the hardest to get size on Japan, so I think they have to repair that), but I already sent them a message, so I think that problem will be over soon.
If that isn't enough, KIKS TYO also launches 3 limited edition Tees with Yuu Tejima. All three are looking very good and have great artwork. I like the Beetle tee and the artwork on the "White Wings" is awesome. Maybe it was even better if it was printed on a black tee. Most eye catching I think it the "Black Cat" tee, as shown above. Maybe because I'm a real night animal and love cats (see "Girls 'n Cats"above).Meanwhile my Christmas Box hoodie got stuck at the customs. I believe it is released, so maybe tomorrow it will arrive. Probably with a nice Christmas Present bill from the Customs service (let's hope not). I very much like to wear this in time.
From KIKS TYO to another KIKS. Nike took Nike Air a little too serious maybe, with this Bigfoot size model. Well, it's pretty transparent. Luckily this glass house (below) is less drafty.
And since Big Brother is watching you every where, who cares about privacy. I saw a great TV program on the BBC last week. James May, you might probably know from the "Top Gear" series, is presenting a series about fascinations with toys. For this program he and (merely) his team build a house of 3.500.000 lego bricks (mainly 2x4). Not only the house, but also the interior, bed, chairs, toothbrush, razor, knives, toilet and even the cat was made out of Lego bricks.
At the housewarming party a girlfriend arrives and gives James a bar of Lego chocolate . Candy might now be too good for your teeth, but this bar seems very bad for your teeth I think. (笑)
You don't have to tell me Lego is great fun for young and old. I must figure out the drawing for the life size Lego cat. This year I ordered several Seasonal Items of the on-line shop. One of them was the "Winter Toy Shop". Luckily I was in time. It's sold out now and I have seen it on auction on eBay and people bid already with 150% of the original retail price. Also I bought these sporty Santa's. Since quite some snow fell here (which is pretty rare), I took the opportunity to let them play in real snow. Well, That's about all I had in mind to share with you. While writing I stumbled upon this great track. The original track is a French Hip Hop track, but DJ Gero made a very special version and wisely put the rapper out of it(LOL). Just play the track with the volume up.

I wish all G-Shock lovers over the world and other followers of my little blog a great Christmas and a very G-Shocking New Year! A big special shout to Riley @ My G-Shock, everyone at WatchUSeek (WUS), Jurphaas, Albe, Joakim, Sneaker Freaker and Kiks TYO for supporting me. May Santa be good for you all.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

#50 Dolphin and Whale Gulfman 2000 and 2009 side by side

When I got my GW-9102K-1JR in the beginning of July, I got a request for a comparison article of the classic 2000 I.C.E.R.C. Gulfman with this 2009 I.C.E.R.C. Gulfman. This idea remained back in my head. Actually both Gulfmen have been waiting patiently in my studio for the photo shoot. After the summer vacation I thought this could be a nice finale of this year in 50 G-Shock articles. I had a little disaster in the photo studio. It's freezing outside and it's probably pretty warm under the lights.
Since 1990 the International Dolphin and Whale Conferences are held by the International Cetacean Education and Research Centers (I.C.E.R.C.). The name of the 9th conference in 2000 was "International Dolphine & Whale Research Network 2000 Support project".
The I.C.E.R.C. supports a lot of projects on many places of the world. Their slogan "ALL AS ONE" is both short and powerful for what this organizations stands for. In 2009 the I.C.E.R.C. was taken up in the more general environmental theme series of Casio "Love The Sea And The Earth".
The environment of the whale was inspiration for the design of the DW-9701K . The Tough Solar technology makes this a very durable watch. Also a Tidegraph is implemented in the module. The Tidegraph is a link to the Ocean, the natural habitat of the Whale.
To be complete, in 1999 Casio also released I.C.E.R.C.Gulfman models, while in 1998 Casio released DW-8600KJ Fisherman versions. The Fisherman an be considered the non-solar predecessor of the Gulfman .
When the backlight is used, a whale is seen in the background on the display. In the original press release is told that "The whale surfaces when the EL-backlight is activated".
The GW-9102K-1JR also has a Tough Solar module. Alas no Tidegraph. The Tidegraph only exist on the non-solar G-9100 Gulfman models. Instead of the Tidegraph function, the GW-9102K has a 5 band Atomic Time receiver. The watch picks up the signals in Japan and large parts of the US and Europe (Europe and Japan have two public Atomic Time transmitters). Like the DW-9701K, this Gulfman also shows a Whale when the backlight is lit.
Both models have a black case and yellow straps. This color scheme was not new. Already in 1994 the first I.C.E.R.C. model, the DW-6100DW-9JR, had this color scheme. Also the 2004 I.C.E.R.C. Frogman GW-204K-9JR was presented in this color scheme. A difference between the 2000 and 2009 model is that the 2000 model has a matte case finish, while the 2009 model has a glossy finish. The black of the 2009 version seems also darker.
A strange detail is found with the models numbers. The DW-6100DW, DW-9701K and GW-204K have all three -9JR after their model number. The cipher 9 refers to the color yellow. Somehow the GW-9102K got the suffix -1JR (1 is for black). While both numbers could be used for this color scheme, it would have liked it better if the -9JR suffix had been chosen for the GW-9102K as I like consequent use of codes and numbering.
Frankly I haven't figured out where this black-yellow color scheme comes from. Most models in this series are clear, white or blue, the colors that represent the Ocean. The black and yellow color scheme is surely catching though. I have to admit I have a crush on yellow Gs.
I spotted my first DW-9701K Gulfman on eBay, during the rehearsals of a school theater play in February 2003. The seller was located in Australia. The auction ended in the middle of the general repetition. I phoned a friend of me, who was at home that day. He placed a big bid of me in the final minutes. I was pretty excited when I got the message I won. If I recall right, the price ended around AU$150.-. I think a lot of bidders did think it were US$ or didn't want to buy overseas. I think the currency rate with the Euro was about the same as it is now, so I paid finally less than €100.-. A pretty nice price I think.
I didn't wear the watch, until I got a second model in January 2005. Nowadays I regularly wear this Gulfman. It's a nice flashy watch for the summer. I remember I was very proud of my new gain and took it for a ride on my old Haro Mountain bike.
I actually regret that I didn't have enough cash to but the GW-204K-9JR. Around that time I just had bought two GW-203K-4JR Frogmans, which must have drained my reserves quite a lot. The GW-204K Frogman was presented in a very nice box, which looks a bit like an aquarium. I think it quite fits an I.C.E.R.C. watch. Casio released also in 2005 and 2006 an I.C.E.R..C. Frogman. Although these Frogs are great, I had no funds when these models came out.
In 2007 Casio revived the Gulfman line. With the announcement of the new Gulfman models, also the news was launched that there would be an I.C.E.R.C. Gulfman released. The GW-9100K -7JR was in my opinion looking great. I managed to get two of them. Frequent readers of 50 Gs would have noticed I pretty much like this model. I already wrote two articles about it, and I think it sometimes have popped-up in some articles or intermezzo's. Also in 2008 Casio released an I.C.E.R.C. Gulfman. I pretty much like the clear resin, which is used on a lot of early I.C.E.R.C.
models, but I didn't like the blue lettering. While I like most bright colors, even ones that are by some people considered less appropriate, I have quite an aversion against most shades of blue.
This years Gulfman was announced somewhere in may. It was released officially end of June, but mine was sent off on July 3rd 2009. Limited edition models are often released at the very end of the month. I had no problem with a little waiting, since it traveled with another "Love The Sea And The Earth" model, my green Frogman. Unfortunately the Dutch costumes liked my package and held it for two weeks in custody.
So let's look at the side by side.

Although the DW-9701K looks somewhat smaller than it's successor, the dimensions are almost the same. The GW-9101K is only a fraction thicker, about 1 mm.
The reason why the 9701K looks smaller must have to do with it's more streamlined design. A nice detail are the oval top buttons with the rounded button guards. Casio has taken the opportunity to write the functions of these buttons in bright yellow letters on these guards. Don't expect you can "google" with the search button. It is more a scroll button, that let you scroll through data sets.
The 9102K's new Gulfman design is more bulkier. Big square buttons, square button guards. The bezel and button guards are laid partially over a titanium ring, that acts as a crystal protector.
(GW-9100K-7JR and GW-9102K-1JR)
Actually the case of both watches seem equally in hight, but the titanium ring looks with that extra 1mm quite bigger. The left out parts on top and bottom of the bezel, showing the titanium ring underneath, as well as the pattern on the rising part of the titanium ring certainly add up to the bulky look.
The Gulfman is a Rust Resist model. Therefore the back of both the old and the new version are made of Titanium.
A nice detail on the typical functionless "G-spot", below the display of the Gulfman, is that the "G" on the 9701K is etched deeper into the bezel than on the 9102K.
Let's dive deeper into the functions. The first two modes on the DW-9701K are absent on the GW-9102K.
The first mode is the Moon Data. In this mode the watch shows the time that the moon is on it's highest point and when it is on it's lowest point (opposite side of the Earth). Also it shows the moon age. With the buttons on the right you can change the date to view Moon Data ahead or back in time. You need to be a bit patient. It seems the calculation is quite complicated for a watch. It takes more than half a minute to calculate the data. Today's Moon Data for this location (Middelburg, The Netherlands) tells the Moon Age is 3.5 days, Moon Up: 3:20 and Moon Down 15:45.
The second mode is the Sun Rise and Sun Set mode. For today it predicts a Sunrise on 8:45 and a Sun Set at 16:45. The actually values are according my iPhone App "Tides" 8:48 and 16:38. Considdering the Gulfman can calculate the time in 5 minute increments and the coordinates can only put in in whole degrees I must say these calculated values are pretty accurate. Note my iPhone App uses an accurate GPS location and an internet connection to a huge data base. The Gulfman's calculation is done only from the location coordinates that you have programmed. Beside the data of your location, you can view Sunrises and Sun Sets in 9 other "Whale Spotting" locations in the world (pre-programmed in the "World Time" function).
The following modes are found on both Gulfman (to make the article more readable I will use 9102K for the GW-9102K-1JR and 9701K for the DW-9701K-9JR):
World Time

The 9701K has this function a bit hidden. When you press the "Search" button in normal time mode, you see your home city code appear above the time and the current time. With the "Search" button you can scroll through the 9 other Whale Spotting locations. Although 9 timezones is not much, I like the idea that is chosen for these locations. It is like the pre-programmed dive spots programmed in the GW-200 Frogman models. I do not remember how I programmed my home location, but I assume you have to choose one of the pre-programmed locations, to change it with the data of your location, including your location name.
The GW-9102K is pre-programmed with about 48 city codes in 29 timezones. Since there is no Tidegraph function, I choose Paris as my home city, but I could have chosen Madrid or Berlin as well, since they are in the same CET timezone.

The 9701K has a 60' stopwatch. Good point is that current time is displayed in the display too.
The 9102K has the stopwatch capacity improved significantly up to a 1000 hour capacity (over 41 days) y. You might frown a bit at the significance of the 1/100 seconds precision after a measurement of about one month.

This is the place where the 9102K is loosing points towards the 9701K, which in my opinion is a shame. The 9701K comes with a decent 24 hour countdowntimer. This countdowntimer also features a repeat function and a progression timer. It gives signals at certain times before the target time is reached, to notify you the target time is near.
The 9102K comes with a 60' countdowntimer. A bit skinny for a watch that has a 1000 hour stopwatch on board. Personally I think a 24h stopwatch and a 24h countdowntimer would be pretty sufficient for a watch. I use the countdowntimer often to time experiments and operation on and around the lab. Timed experiments take often longer than one hour, so a 24h timer is quite handy.

Both models have 5 alarms and an hourly chime. No differences here between the two models.
Atomic Time reception:

This function is only found on the 9102K. The basic DW-9700 Gulfman was released one year before the first model with Waveceptor function, the Antman, was released. The Waveceptor function was not as good as nowadays. The 9102K has a 5 band receiver, picking up the signal from the two Japanese, the US, the UK and the German Atomic Signal transmitters. Where the 2000 Antman had an enormous antenna, to receive only one of the two Japanese transmitters, the technology has improved so much, that now a 6 band receiver fits into a GW-5000 (the 6th band is the transmitter of China).
Tough Solar:

Also the Tough Solar technology has been improved the recent years. The 9701K has for a Tough Solar G-Shock a relative low energy storage. A fully loaded battery contains enough energy to run the watch continuously for about 5 months. The Raysman has a capacity for about 9 months on board with a fully loaded battery.
To conserve energy the display can be turned off manually. Just hold the mode button for about 3 seconds.
The 9102K has an automatic Power Save (PS) function. When the watch is let in a dark place and is not moved for a certain time, the display turns off automatically. When you move the watch in a light area, the display turn on. If it doesn't, just push a button. That's also the way to revive in the dark, when needed.

The updated Gulfman features quite good novelties, but in my opinion let one step go in the 60 minute countdown timer. The absence of the Tidegraph and Sun and Moon functions are for most people probably not important. With the much improved Worldtime and the reception of the Atomic time I think the 9102K score good points.
If you have patience, you might find an old DW-9701K-9JR. Expect a price of around $150.- or so. I think that was the price I paid for my second and also the prices I have seen for those in the past. The GW-9102K-1JR is now getting rarer. On eBay you can still find some, but expect a price from about $400 (€280.-) and up, and that for a watch that was released a half year ago with a retail price of 30000 yen ($335, €235). This article is dedicated to A - Tom - ic. He asked for a side to side article on July 17th. Sorry for letting you wait so long ;-)