Sunday, April 25, 2010

#15 Clubbing Style G

In November 2005 Casio released the "Club Style" series. Three models were released. The DW-5600RC and DW-6900RC were looking pretty much the same. Negative display, a multi colored denim strap and a copper/yellow ring around the display. The strap pretty fast became known as "puke straps". The DW-6900RC and DW-5600RC was sold for a long time for ultra low prices. I do not know for Japan, but it seemed a pretty unpopular series outside Japan.
The third model does not look much like the 5600 and 6900. The only thing they have in common is the negative display. If I'm correct the G-7501 is actually the only model in the G(L)-7500 series with a negative display. Also does this model not have the letters RC in the model name. It's just G-7501-9JF or G-7501-9DR.
When you look at the photo's and know a bit of interpreting model numbers, you might think "-9JF? That watch isn't yellow". The color is not easy to describe. It is not white, it's more a kind of creme. It's more yellow than the "Stormtrooper" Mudman. You might even think about Café au Lait.
The -9JF suffix might refer to the display. The display plate, that is placed over the display has a gold tone. I think it looks actually very good. A nice accent is that there is a thin red line around the crystal on this display plate.
I always wanted to have this model, but unlike the 5600 and 6900, this model wasn't sold for low prices in east Asia. It was also only available for a very short time, which suggests this watch was very popular in East Asia. The only seller outside Japan, who sold this watch for a longer period, was MSG-Distributors. The price was around the original suggested retail price. ¥13500, about $130.-. Since I have to add intercontinental shipping and the package would also have a 90% chance of ending up at the customs, the price was pretty high for my, considering a basic G-7500 would cost me not more than  €50.-.
Many times I had put my finger on the "Buy It Now" button,  but I didn't dare to risk the relative huge customs fees over this watch (around €40.-). Then in March 2007 I discovered that my friend Klaus in Germany was also looking for this watch. In contrary to the Netherlands, packages normally just arrive in Germany. I informed him where he could get one. A few weeks later he already received the watch.
I know that this model is Klaus his favorite watch. I actually had asked him two years ago if he could write an article about this model. He agreed, but it didn't happen yet.  I could have asked him to write for now, but he just became a proud father of a son. I think he has his hands full for now.
The G-7501 is a special version of the G-7500. I recently wrote an article about a G-Lide GL-7500. The main difference between the models is that the G-7500 has a Telememo Function, where the GL-7500 version has the Tidegraph with Moonphase function. A bit disappointing is that on the basic model there is also only a 60 minute countdown timer. The timer has an auto-repeat and a rest function. This means you can use the timer for interval exercises (like 4 minutes run, 1 minute walk).
The back of the watch shows an ant, carrying a turntable. I'm pretty sure that must be a Technics SL1200MKII.No club can do without them. Vinyl is still my favorite sound carrier.

For a G-Shock with a negative display, the EL backlight is kind of dim. Of course it is not needed to be very bright. In dark conditions this EL is pretty discrete.
Bram comes home from hour guest parents:
"Hi dad, stop taking photographs and start preparing dinner".
This model is hard to find now. I don't know actually what kind of price tag would be placed on this one. I got mine brand new, but without box and manual. No problem for me, as I got boxes enough. I paid about $76.- for this beauty. I got it from the same seller that helped me to get my Men In Yellow collection complete with my M.I.Y. Fisherman. I am very happy that I finally (after more than 4 years) have this model in my collection.

Monday, April 19, 2010

#14 Hikari Rail Star

What comes to your mind when you think Japan. Well, the kids at my school probably will answer anime or J-Pop. Other people maybe the big screaming neon lights. My first thoughts are about bullet trains.
A funny thing is that the name "Bullet Train" is a western name, not the Japanese name. The name refers to the bullet-shaped nose of the first generation high "Super Express" trains. In Japan these trains are called Hikari (ひかり). Hikari has in Japanese several meanings in regards to light. The closest translation of Hikari for bullet trains are probably Beam, Shine, Brilliance. These names combine both the clean look and the high speed. (a big Thank you to FUMI and Clubhouse MK II)
Hikari can be compared with the European TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse). The newest generation Hikari travel with speeds up to 300 km/h, the same speed as the TGV. A new experimental generation (JR-Maglev) with magnetic levitation has a current speed record of 581 km/h, while the speed record on conventional shinkansen track is 446 km/h. The speed record for conventional railed trains is 574.8 km/h for the V150, a special configured TGV train. V150 stands for the goal of this train set, Velocity 150 meters per second (540 km/h, 335.5 mph). In the US the Acela train travels between Boston and Washington D.C.. It may be considered a small nephew of the TGV, but with a maximum service speed of 240 km/h, it's much slower.
 The Hikari run over a network of railways, called the Shinkansen. The Shinkansen are operated by 4 railway groups of the JR, the private Japanese railway company . The G-Shock model featured in this article represents the colors of the N700 series trains of the Hikari Rail Star of the West Japanese Railways (JR West) that ride on the Sanyo Shinkansen, which connects Shin-Osaka with Fukuoka (Hakata station). The Sanyo Shinkansen is one of the fastest passenger train service in the world, with a maximum cruising speed of 300 km/h.
I do not have an exact date of release, but around August 2008 Casio released 2 watches, dedicated to Express Trains. The first one, a DW-5600 model, is dedicated is the Nozomi N700 train, that connects Tokyo to Fukuoka (Hakata station). The Nozomi is currently Japanese fastest train connection. This model is based on the DW-5600NS-7JR.
The second model is this Rail Star model. The Rail Star model is based on the DW-6900FS-8JF.
The Rail Star model comes in a beautiful display box. It stylistically shows the Rail Star Hikari. On top it shows the side of the train, while on front it is like he train is coming toward you. At the sides it is like the train is passing you. At the bottom a map of the Sanyo Shinkansen is displayed with all stations.
Unfortunately the piece of cardboard inside, that is displaying the watch, often do not survive the intercontinental shipping. With such a nice detailed box, it's a pity this happens.
The watch itself is, s mentioned above, based on the DW-6900FS-8JF. In the US this model was also known as the DW-6900FS-8US, dedicated to the US Open of Surfing. The last model has a small logo on the strap. The Hikari Rails Star model is modified a lot more and in my opinion in a very nice way.
 On top of the display the logo of Rail star instead of the CASIO. The functions lettering is in red around the display and the ring around the big eye is yellow. The background of the big eye is red. At the bottom of the display the end stations of the Sanyo Shinkansen, Shin-Osaka and Hakata, are shown.
Probably the coolest difference with the DW-6900FS-8 are the straps. The strap with the buckle shows the striping of the Rail Star, on the other straps it looks like the holes in the strap are the windows of this train. Also the Rail Star logo appears here, like on the train. I think that is a very nice idea.
Also a nice detail is the light button. Instead of a black G, the G is colored bright orange. Since all the lettering on the bezel is black, the big G immediately draws attention.
When the backlight is used, the text ひかり(Hikari) is shown. Probably it is a logical text for Japanese people, but I rather would have seen the profile of the train, like on top of the box.
At the back of the watch an picture of the train is etched.
As for the basic model (DW-6900, 1289 module), the functions are basic, but sufficient. The 24 hour Stopwatch function, the 24 hour Countdown Timer function and the multi functional alarm with hourly chime, these are functions I like to see on a watch.
This watch was originally only available in Japan, but a well known Hong Kong based seller has been selling several copies of this model in the past months. It might be that some overstock models have been ended up there. The original price of this watch was ¥14800. I paid slightly less for the watch (around ¥12700, exclusive shipping). I can't predict if this model will become easy to get in the future. I guess it will be hard to find in the near future, which is a pity for such a beautiful model.