Sunday, July 25, 2010

#31 Long sought G-Viper

While the sun somehow disappeared (after weeks of pretty to extreme hot weather in the Netherlands) I started writing about my newest arrival. Not just any arrival. The watch itself might maybe not be like the newest Hyper Colors models or the New Frogman, this watch is a model I have been hunting down for more than 6 years. 

By the way: unbelievable, this is already article #31!, only 19 to go for we reached our 50 articles goal. I asked a good friend and great artist to make a special article, which I hope will be posted in a few weeks. Let's see if Joakim can come up with something special after his holidays. First, enjoy this article of my new Viper!
March 2004. This year we had a great group 6th grade students. In their last two years they were always somewhere to find on my lab. If it wasn’t for experiments, it was for studying or waiting for the next lessons to begin.
Some of these students had shown interests in my collection of G-Shocks. One of these students was Joost. He is the son of our location director and head of the Pre-University Education and Grammar School. She is kind of my boss (and since we now currently do not have a rector, she really is).
Back in 2005 I set my watches twice a year to Daylight Saving Time and back. Joost helped me several times, wearing his G-Viper..
At one afternoon Joost came and told he was interested in getting a G-Shock. He had been wearing a Casio Illuminator and he liked something different. I was wearing my G-2300 from time to time then and he liked that model. Since it was not very busy at the laboratory (a rare occasion now) we went to my office and did some research. For some strange reason there was no G-2300 to find and Joost did not really like the basic G-2310 models. The G-2310 is similar shaped as the G-2300, but have a metal rim around the display.
After visiting some e-shops we finally found this G-2310GH-8JF at e-Blazeon. It’s pretty sad that this store disappeared a few years ago. They had quite a nice variety of G-Shocks for good prices. Their stock could be compared to that of MSG-Distributors.
Joost liked this model very much and asked his mother if he could have this watch for his birthday and with an approval I ordered the watch. I don’t know the exact price anymore, but I think the total price including shipping was somewhere between €80.- and €90.- (in that time probably around $90.- and $100.-).
A few weeks later the box arrived at my house. Before I handed the box over to my boss, I first took it out of the box to check if I got the right watch and to take lot of photo’s of this watch. The watch looked stunning. It somehow proves that a G-Shock doesn’t have to be bright colored to stand out.
Since I bought this watch for Joost I rarely saw this watch for sale. I pretty much liked it, so if I could find one for a reasonable price for myself, I would have gone for it. A few times I almost got one, but it took until a few weeks ago before I got one.
The G-2310GH-8JF is part of the G-Viper series that was released in July 2003. This series consist of four Tough Solar models. The name Viper is probably chosen because in nature vipers like collect energy (warmth) of sunlight. The G-2800GH and G-5600GH are dark grey, the G-2310GH and the G-5700GH are dark grayish green. I rather describe it as khaki.
Another cool think about the G-Viper series are the displays, that come in cool colors. I have the G-5600GH with the green display, the G-2800GH has a blue display and the G-7500GH and this G-2300GH have an orange display. I rather describe the color tone of the display amber.
When the home computers became more and more common in the early 80’s of the last century, most PC were sold with a monochrome display. Often these displays were black with green digits or black with amber digits. Green was used because it is the color the human eye can see best (it’s in the middle of the visible light spectrum). Amber was used, because it is softer for the eyes, so that prolonged staring to a CRT screen would because less tiredness.
The amber color also has a good contrast to the digits on an LCD screen. Somehow the digits look a bit dark purple on some photo’s. It is actually hardly noticeable when viewed in real. Actually liquid crystal is often dark purple, but it is so dark, it looks black for the human eye.
 As mentioned before, the G-2310 has a metal ring around the display. While the basic models have a shiny silver ring, this model has a black ring. Although its glossy, it blends nice with the rest of the watch.
Although the watch looks like a military design, it was actually designed after the 2003 street culture. It seems dark grey and greenish gray were the fashion colors of that time.
When the G-2300 was released, it was about the most complete Tough Solar watch Casio had available. You only had the Raysman back then. Personally I think the Raysman had the nice big looks. Compared with the Raysman this G-2300 looked like Tom Thumb compared with the DW-9300 Raysman. Actually it is the more or less round design that makes the G-2300 look somewhat smaller. It actually has about the same size as the DW-6900, which is not particularly small.
The G-2310 has a 2184 module. On board it has a World Timer function with 27 cities and 29 Time Zones, a Data Bank function that can store 30 sets of 8 alphanumeric characters with 14 ciphers (names and telephone numbers), 5 independent Alarms and a hourly signal, a 24 hour Stopwatch function with a facilitative Auto Start function and a 24 hour Count Down Timer that can be set on Auto-Repeat.
The EL backlight can be set to Full Auto-Illuminator function. This means that if the wrist is twisted over 40 degrees parallel to the ground (in other words the position you normally use to watch the time) the EL light turns on when there is dim or no light. If there is enough light to clearly read the display, the EL backlight stays out. The solar panels around the display detect the light levels.
The ML-2016 storage battery has quite a large capacity. A full charged battery can keep the watch running for many, up to nine, months. The Raysman, G-2300 and the G-2310 were the first generation Tough Solar watches.
The solar cells already charge the battery with a little light. There is no Power Save function, as you find on newer solar models. Actually the first generation Tough Solar watches have a more funny Power Save function. If you press the Mode button (lower left) for about three seconds, the watch goes into Sleep Mode. If you don’t know that, you might think the watch is dead. Often I ask sellers where I buy one of these watches from, to put the watch into Sleep Mode. It might help a bit if the package is opened by the customs.
The G-2310GH-8JF was quite pricey when it came out. The suggested retail price was ¥16500, which would have been around $165.-. The models for sale I missed were all sold for around $80.-. I bought this watch for around the same price. This watch is slightly used (though it looks worse on the macro photo’s I noticed, but the scratches on the bezel are actually hardly noticeable in real. Note that the full size photo’s show the watch up to 5 – 10 times bigger. If you are looking for a brand new in box version, be prepared to draw your wallet. They might cost you between $120.- and $160.-, if you are able to find one.
I am actually happy I found this used one. I normally hesitate in using brand new models. It must have something to do with my collecting nature. Also I don’t have too much funds at the moment. I’m back on my G-Shock diet of one G per month. This is my G for July 2010. I have set my eyes already for the G for August . The watch wears comfortable. The strap feels a bit rubberish, which makes it follow the curves of your wrist. You hardly notice it wearing it. I think it is a good watch for everybody that needs a tough watch around their wrist. It is specially a good model for G-Shocker who do not like the bright colored G-Shocks, but like a little color besides the standard black colors. I have been searching for this watch for 6 years and I am very happy I finally got this watch.
I like to thank Topher very much. I also have bought another G-Shock from him a few years ago. It is a good thing when you are able to buy G-Shocks from friends. The best thing on this transaction is that Topher already set the watch to my Time Zone. The funny thing is when I thanked him for the watch and already setting it to the correct time, he also added “I also put it into 24h timekeeping, as I noticed on your photo’s that you put all your watches in 24h Time Keeping mode”. I take the 24 hour Time Keeping system for granted. It is so commonly used in Europe that I sometimes forget that in other parts of the world the 12 hour system is used.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

#30 The basic “Triple Eyed Devil’

Is it Sunday again already? @%#$$*&^(#! 
Now, put that crossword puzzle aside, let's get writing. 
In the past weeks I have written seven articles about special Football G-Shocks for the FIFA Word Cup 2010, which was quite an operation for me. Frankly I do not watch football often. My favorite sport event is happening at the moment, the Tour de France. Of course the tactics of different teams and riders are interesting, but I also like to watch the views of France landscapes.
It is a pity I am pretty bad with languages, though I think French is one of the most beautiful languages in the world, though Italian girls talking English is also a golden combination (I still hear her say in the garden of Casa Loma, Toronto: “Oh George-eh, it’seh so nice-eh”). I think there are not many G-Shocks that have a special French theme. The FIFA World Cup 1998 is, but I have written enough about football probably for the coming next 4 years, and that Collette x aLife collab that was released some time ago. I must put Collette on my “to visit” list, in case I might end up in Paris some day.
So no French and no cycling (these seem to be rare too) G-Shock for today. Let’s look at one of the most basic G-Shocks around. The DW-6900-1V. The fun of this classic from around 1995 is that it was released worldwide, except in Japan. In Japan a “gold version” was released as DW-6900B-9, probably in March 1995, together with the “Totenkopf” models and a desert camo model.
Frankly I have not seen that desert camo model much around, but the red and yellow DW-6900H “Totenkopf” models were released in enormous numbers. You can still find the, 15 years later, on the 2nd hand market in all kind of conditions.
This DW-6900H-4 (the 6900's with the skull) was found on a flea market 2 weeks ago in Florida. It has been abused for many years, resulting in a broken bezel. This G is used as it was meant to be. Photo by Steve B, published with permission.
In Japan you still often see the “gold version” DW-6900 and DW-6600 (with orange light button). I think it is a matter of local preference. European and US people probably like the “silver version” over the “gold version”. Personally I have not a preference of one of the versions, but I am also half European, half Asian.
The "gold version" DW-6900B-9
Don´t expect extreme differences between a “gold version” and a “silver version”. For this DW-6900 it means the silver version has a normal greenish LCD display and white lettering. Above the eyes the text WATER 200M RESIST is blue. The gold version has a yellow (gold) display and yellow lettering on the bezel. The text WATER 20BAR RESIST is also yellow. On both versions the text G-SHOCK is red and the buttons are silver. On some “gold versions” the buttons and buckle are in gold tone.
Both the silver and gold versions can come with the plastic buckle. The strap that comes with the plastic buckle is quite rubberish, which makes the strap feel as a second skin around your arm. Although the plastic buckle might look cheap, the buckle is in fact pretty tough. There is only one thing that these buckles can’t have. Postage stamp machines. I once bought a 6900 with a plastic buckle. It was sent from Germany in a simple envelope. The watch was received intact, but the buckle was smashed to small pieces. I believe this model also is sold with a standard metal buckle.
I still remember seeing my first DW-6900 in real life. It must have been in the fall of 2000. II went with the family to Antwerp for shopping. We stopped at “Het Elfde Gebod” (The Eleventh Commandment” = “Thou shall enjoy”) for a meal and a good beer. “Het Elfde Gebod” is quite a well known café-restaurant. Besides a good choice of beers, they have a very nice choice of Flemish food. When I wanted to order a second beer, I walked to the bar and noticed the watch of the bartender. For those days, it looked huge.
The bartender appeared to be an US student and had this watch already for years. While I had a nice talk with this student, probably about his study, I could not take my eyes off from his watch. Those three eyes are almost hypnotizing.
DW-6900S with a 1557 module.
It are these eyes which I think make this watch look so special, though not all DW-6900’s have a 1289 module. There are also DW-6900 models with a 1449 and 1557 module. Still if you mention the DW-6900 model, every G-Shocker immediately thinks about the versions with three eyes.
DW-6900's (Left European, right Japanese version) with 1449 module.
About 7 years ago, when I was starting the G-Peopleland website, I often read Japanese bulletin boards. Once I read a message on such board, regarding the DW-6900. The poster of the message called this version (translated) a “Triple Eyed Devil”. I don’t know who posted this message, but I think it was on the BBS of Yachtrays a.k.a. Sailboat Bat. While this (private) bulletin board is hardly active anymore, one of the members, FUMI, is still an active G-Shocker. Since I have read this message, I started referring the DW-6900 as “Triple Eyed Devil” as I think this is a matching name for this model.
In Japan some models are also referred to movies where they are used in. Probably best known is the DW-5600C which Keanu Reeves wore in the movie “Speed”. For this reason the classic DW-5600C model is often called “Speed”. The DW-6900 was featured in the movie “Mission Impossible 2”, so this model is sometimes also called MI:2. While this name was pretty common several years ago, I noticed this name is not used much anymore. It might be because it’s already some years ago this movie was released.
Actually the DW-6900 used in MI:2 was a mocked up watch. The texts “CASIO” and “G-SHOCK” were removed and the watch module seems to be digital altered with an “transponder tracking device”, whatever that might be.
The DW-6900 is probably the most used model for special editions. It is probably harder to find a (still produced) basic DW-6900-1V than a special edition. You aren’t hearing me complain about that. I love the look of this model. It is somehow classic, but it looks fresh in many new releases, like the recent Crazy Color designs and the countless collaboration designs. Many of these models have passed the revue here and this one will for sure not be the last.
Like the basic DW-5600E the DW-6900-1V can be found for very friendly prices. In Europe you can’t find this model. The basic DW-6900 here is the DW-6900E-1ER “Rough Rowdy” here. It costs around €80.- in the shops. It’s better to look in the US or South East Asia for a DW-6900-1V. On eBay you can find them for prices starting already from $35.-. It is a pretty good daily beater. I think every G-Shocker should at least have this basic model in his or her collection.