Sunday, August 22, 2010

#35 Seeing Red with S-Kool G-5500C-4

First off, I would like to thank Sjors for giving me the great honor of writing an article for 50 G’s.
I’ve enjoyed reading the articles written by him, as well as those who have been invited to contribute, for years, that I’d never imagine myself being a contributor.

What I enjoy most about these articles, are the great pictures taken and stories behind the acquisition of the watches, on top of the usual reviews and discussing its features. I figure I could never write like that, or even be interesting enough to have a story. So I offer my apologies in advance to readers if you fall asleep halfway reading this article. I hope I can make up for it by taking beautiful pics.

Red: Passion, blood, fire, rage, beauty, revolution.

I absolutely love red among all colors. Not that I’m obsessed with it, but I feel that this particular color evokes the most variable kinds of emotions when applied to different subjects. I use red a lot in my art too.
It’s a different theory however, when it comes to watches. I prefer my watches black, silver or gray. Most of my watches in other colors barely got their deserved wrist time.  So what got me  hunting for this red piece? I honestly don’t know, but this article will probably help churn up some "excuses".
I was on a break from acquiring G-Shocks for a while, for about 2 months (seems damn long) due to my busy work schedule, and the fact that I had gone broke from an almost monthly G-Spree. It was a couple of days from the final stage of the FIFA World Cup 2010. Teams have been narrowed down to two; Netherlands and Spain. Not that I’m a fan of soccer, but just because this was one of the biggest sporting events watched all over the world, I ended up watching it too. I never had a favorite team to support to begin with, but as the matches passed and teams got eliminated, I fell in love with Spain’s performance. Powerful, precise, and perfect.

Probably driven by the bold colors represented by both teams, I felt the urge to look for a  G-Shock of either Orange or Red. So my hunt was narrowed down to two; a used but in great condition red S-Kool series G-5500C-4 from an online forum, and the orange Summer Gradation series DW-5600LC-4, which I found mint in a local store. Both models were released in 2007. Both models look great, and it sure was a tough choice to make, even though I know I’d pick a red watch over an orange watch anytime. So first I did a visual comparison of the two, then weighed in the features and my vote quickly veered towards the G-5500C-4.

Then there was this much-hyped octopus named Paul in Germany that made accurate predictions of the World Cup match winners. For the final match, Paul "The Oracle" had chosen Spain as the winner. So I decided, “Ok, let’s go with Paul’s decision. With this purchase, I’ll bet that Spain will win the final.”
Photo: AP/Roberto Pfeil

Well we all know who won!

I didn't receive the watch until about a week after the finals, so I missed the chance to celebrate together. When i saw this watch in person for the first time, I think I would have believed if Casio said this was a G-Shock X España Collaboration.
G-5500C-4 Vivid color/ S-Kool series
The G-5500C-4 was released in November 2007 along with 2 other colors, G-5500C-3 in green and G-5500C-7 in white. As described by their title, all 3 colors are vividly strong and really pack a presence when worn on the wrist. I think this series makes for a great summer watch. A quick search online for this series showed that it was released under 2 names, 1 for the Japan Domestic Market, the other for worldwide release. While it was released as vivid color series worldwide, the Japanese market released the same models as S-Kool series. S for Stylish, Smart, Sporty. Kool was added to complete the idea of the influence G-Shock has had among the popular youth culture, the "cool" people. S-Kool also reads skool or school to indicate this model was adapted from its 'Old Skool' model from the mid eighties, the G-Shock II DW-5500. It has since been given a new "engine" and solar charging technology.
What I like about 55xx series is the construction of the bezel and band. Unlike other models, the part where the bezel and band meets are perfectly flushed you would be convinced it was constructed as a single piece. The first of the G-55xx model I owned is the Solar Atomic 25th anniversary GW-5525A. I had to take it apart to feed my curiosity as to whether the bezel and band are a single piece or not.
Putting them back together was no easy task as well. The 55xx bands have an extra securing loop just near the screw holes that you need to be aware of when replacing the band so as not to snap the side, which I find it looks pretty fragile when it's taken out.
I also found out the button covers were not constructed with the bezel as a single piece, but the way the covers flushed so well with the bezel, just like how it is with the bezel and band, made the whole resin look unified.
The well covered buttons are pretty hard to press at times, that's evident in most mud-resist models (the DW-5500 was regarded as the first mud-resistant G-Shock) , but it's a relief to know that no dirt will get in between the buttons. Its raised bezel is also much higher than any other square models, giving the crystal extra protection.
Here you can see the difference in legibility among different 55xx models.

While taking photos for this article I found out the LCD display of the G-5500C-4 is one of the hardest to take photos of. Legibility is harder indoors but once it's outdoors the screen is sharp as a knife. The lay-out of the display is close to the other squares, e.g DW-56xx, except for the day and date feature. On this 3062 module to toggle between day of the week and date you have to press the adjust button.
The black solar panel compliments the black buttons well and it makes a cool proportional contrast against the overpowering red. It would be interesting though if solar panels can be created in different colors.
I find it a major plus too that the digits can be adjusted in a forward and reverse manner. On the older modules when you're setting the time for example, if you missed a digit you have to continue pressing the forward button until it goes full circle to the digit that you want.
I really like the 2-holed wide bands and the brushed metal buckle with the G-Shock text embedded into it. These 2-holed bands and buckles are also found used the the latest GA-100,110 series, my current favorite series. It makes the watch look visually stronger and less worried about scratching them as opposed to the shiny normal-looking buckles on other models. The buckles on the frogman models are superbly done as well.
The usual modes are found on this module; Time keeping, World Time, 5 daily alarms, stopwatch and timer. Too bad though the timer can only be set up to 60 mins, so does the stopwatch that can only record up to 60 mins. It would be better if both could go up to 24 hours.
I have a 6 1/2 inch wrist so this watch looks big on my wrist. Actually almost all the other G-Shocks look big on my wrist. But I like big chunky watches and that was one of the reasons i fell in love with G-Shocks in the first place.

Blue/green EL Backlight

Probably another reason why i'm passionate about red. Red is a color that is found in my country's flag, SINGAPURA.
On the 9th of August we celebrated our 45th year of Independence. On this day, most of us will be seen wearing red and the city hall will be packed with people trying to watch the National Day parade. The parade will be filled with spectators dressed in red or white. I didn't attend the parade, but I managed to catch the military contingents preparing while I was on my way to work. Because of space constrains, access into the parade ground is limited, so the crowds gather around the area to watch aerial displays and fireworks, a favorite hobby of Singaporeans.



Roy said...

Nice article! I'm very surprised to see a Singaporean to write on Sjor's 50Gs blog! By the way I'm Singaporean too!

vqa said...

What can i say about the article ? Well, i like pictures. They are well done. Since this model of watch is not very interesting for me, i havent read the whole article.

What can i say about the watch? In red it looks nice. But this display color is not the best option.