Sunday, February 21, 2010

#6 The bright Colors of Techno

What about a little “panic” at 50 Gs. My co-writer had some major problems during his vacation. One of these problems is affecting the 50 Gs continuity. It’s Sunday afternoon and I am still sitting in my bed, staring at my netbook which is showing a virtual A4 paper. With only 12 hours to go, let’s try to make a new 50 Gs worthy article.
A dive into my archive learned me that almost every watch I picked out of the box had already been reviewed here… Ooops, that doesn’t feel good when there suppose to be 45 articles to be written. Can you hear that “swallow” sound, just the sound someone makes when he (or she) just found out he is about to start something impossible
So finally I picked my green DW-8150 out of my collection. The DW-6400, DW-81XX and DW-8300 were not featured earlier on 50 GS and I was actually waiting for a more appropriate moment to get it featured here. For example in a time I really do not know what to write…
A logical sequence should of course start with the DW-6400 Gundam, but right, that wasn’t the first I picked out of the box. I am actually not sure, but I think this was my first of these Gundam watches. Officially the DW-6400 is called Gundam, but Japanese G-Shockers also refer to the DW-81XX and DW-8300 models as Gundam watches. Not strange as they all have this big square metal skeleton, covered with resin protection bumpers.The XX as in DW-81XX are places were different numbers can be filled in. All these models look the same on the outside. For the DW-81XX XX can be 00, 10, 20, 40, 50, 60 and 95. Maybe I have forgotten one or more combinations as not all models were released in Japan, like the DW-8140 and DW-8150.
I do not know where I got the information from in 2003, but the DW-8140 and DW-8150 were called the “Techno series”. Maybe the name of this series was only used in Europe, but it’s good possible this name was also used in the US and East Asia. Techno does somehow not make me think to modern Techno music (late 80’s Detroit), but more to the music of Kraftwerk. When Techno was more like technological development with computers and synthesizers that were only available for the happy few. In 1981 Kraftwerk wrote (excerpts):
Interpol und Deutsche Bank, FBI und Scotland Yard
Flensburg und das BKA, Haben unsere Daten da

Nummern, Zahlen, Handel, Leute


Automat und Telespiel
Leiten heute die Zukunft ein
Computer für den Kleinbetrieb
Computer für das eigene Heim

Reisen, Zeit, Medizin, Unterhaltung


Denn Zeit ist Geld

Would that not be fantastic? A world where even small companies can use computers and maybe even computers in your home, so you can buy travel tickets and medicine on-line, you can save time and communicate all over the world. This must all have been a far away dream in 1981.
In 1994 Casio began to produce some of the largest G-Shock models, DW-001, DW-002 were pretty big basic models , but also the DW-6700 Skyforce was released. While the DW-6700 is probably in size the largest G-Shock ever. Also the big DW-6400 was released in 1994. With the DW-8100 Casio managed to make the big square case look even bigger by adding protective resin bumpers on the sides and around the light button and display.
After these big DW-81XX and DW-8300 models, Casio returned to more moderate size models, like the DW-003 and DW-004. Of course there were some nice big Frogman models and the Antman was also very big, but far-out the most basic models returned to the size between the good old DW-5600 and DW-6900. With the GW-9700 (still haven’t seen one in person) and the forthcoming GW-3000 it seems that Casio follows a trend of making bigger models nowadays. Let’s hope there is more in their sleeve. I would be completely happy with a revamped DW-81XX or DW-8300 model.Outside Japan several series with colored metal were released. In 1985 a DW-8140 series, in 1996 a DW-8150 series. Unfortunately I don’t have a complete list of colors and model numbers. In my search I pretty much rely on G-Shock Perfect Search (GPS), but these show only the models released officially in Japan. Since the basic silver/black model bears the model number DW-8150-1V I assume this watch is the DW-8150-3V ( the number 3 in the suffix refers to the color green for Casio watches).
The DW-8150 has been assembled in Korea. I also have a red DW-8140, which has been assembled in Korea too. It’s not really easy to find a DW-81XX model nowadays. I don’t know what I have paid for this one, but the red (mint in original box) cost me $150,- about 6 years ago.The DW-8150 with 1433 module seems to have only basic functions. An alarm with hourly chime, a 24h countdown timer and a 24 hour stopwatch. Only when you activate the EL backlight, another fun function is revealed. The watch features a kind of simple slot game. It is just a simple slot game, but on a watch it looks pretty funny. There are only 4 symbols, so it’s not very hard to win a game. On the other side, it pretty much will drain the CR2016 battery. Check out the video below for a short demonstration.
I think the DW-8150 looks nice on my wrists, but if you remember that the average Japanese and East Asian wrist is much smaller, you might understand the “Gundams” looked often quite cartoonish in these countries. Still I think the DW-81XX models were pretty popular and still are among G-Shock collectors in Japan too. I very much like these big models. A real holy grail for me in this series is the DW-8195-4. This model features red resin and a red cloth strap. It has one of the nicest EL backgrounds that I know. It shows a red headed pin-up of the 1940's. Big red watch and red hair. This combination can't be better. Let's hope I'll find one in the future.Yeah, I made it before my deadline!


SkyForce6 said...

Great post as usual Sjors!

I am actually impressed that you managed to pull this article together with such short notice. I don't notice that it is a rush emergency job, it looks like a full fledged article to me!

I love these Gundams but unfortunatelly I do not own one yeat ;(

The one I want the most is the Gundam itself the DW-6400. But its very hard to find one in prestine condition at a good price.

All the Gundam models where marketed as Heavy Duty models, so they where bought by people that used and abused them heavily, so there is only a very few copys left that are still in good condition.

This green one has the following model number: DW-8150TC-3AVT

And all the DW-8100 models are often reffered to as Rick-Dom models, Rick Doom beeing the bad guy or enemy robot in the Gundam cartoon series. I think thats the reason they put a slot machine in there, after all gambling is supposedly bad and slot machines are evil as they can get you hooked and take all your money. Also it might explain the pin up EL girl in the red version, after all pin-up girls supposedly are "bad girls". casio wanted in a playfull way to add some evil and badness to this series.

Here in Europe tough Gundam was never referenced, instead they where called "Heavy Duty" and "Techno" models.

Unknown said...

Hi Joakim,

It was a last minute job, but in 10 - 12 hours you can write a nice article and if the weather is willing, you can make some good photo and this time even a small movie. I started around 10:00 in the morning and around 21:30 I was finished.

I'm pretty surprised you don't own a Gundam. In my personal opinion, I like the DW-8100 series and the DW-8300 above the DW-6400 model.

I have two DW-6400s. One in unworn condition I believe, the other one worn, but in very good condition. I bought them both a several years ago.

Interesting you found the correct model number. I somehow couldn't find anything useful and I couldn't also find reference to the Techno Series anymore too.

I think originally the name Gundam was used in Japan only. I got a great HTML T-Shirt of a robot (probably Rick Dom) with a DW-6400 as head.



carrot said...

Great article Sjors! I'm still dreaming they re-release this chassis with a modern module. Still got my 6 DW-81XX's have not been able to find any more cheers, carrot (Dave)

Unknown said...

Hi Sjors ik heb er ook een. Silver zwart. En geen G midden in beeld... wat is zo'n horloge waard? Groetjes, CC