Wednesday, May 4, 2011

G-Shock #18, Golden Week special 2: G6900GR-3JF “It’s not easy being green”

This photo was made by my friend Trase Uno, who has the same moel G-Shock too. Photo placed with permission.
The Golden Week starts on April 29 and ends on May 5th. On May 4th Japan celebrates “Greenery Day”. Originally Greenery Day was on April 29, the birthday of the former emperor Shōwa. Emperor Shōwa was a Marine Biologist and he loved plants. Since emperor Shōwa was controversial, the day of the his birthday is first named after his hobby so his name was not mentioned. Since 2007 April 29 is called Shōwa Day and Greenery Day is moved to May 4th. Greenery Day has about the same message as Earth Day. It is a day to commune with nature and receive it’s blessings.
Your author working late hours to finish this article.
I have been wanting to write an article about this “Green Colors” collection model for some time and parts have been in my head since I returned from Japan, just before New Year. The name of this series is somewhat vague, as the box of these models says “Green Collection”, while Casio Japan refers to as the "Green Colors" models. In the USA they were introduced as “Go Green Project” series, though the box is the same as on the Japanese market.
This video was also made by Trase One. The best unboxing video I know around.
This series is released for the first time in January 2010, to commemorate “Earth Day”, which is on April 22nd. The series was also released in the US one month later.
I had to think hard how I got this watch, but finally I remembered. On December 27th 2010 I had arranged a meeting with Anicar near the Sky Tree. I know Anicar almost 4 years now, as we both have a Japanese weblog with “life with wristwatches” as a common theme.
We had already met the day before at the “Off Line Meeting” in Tokyo, where we made final arrangements to see each other at the foot of the “Sky tree”. This was actually funny. We had to exit the west exit of the station. The exit was also called “Sky Tree, so we had to be at the right place, but how we looked, we didn’t see the construction place where this tower was constructed, while at that day the tower was already 628 meters high. The exit of the station was at the junction of several small streets (hé, you are in Tokyo, what’s new). There was only one high building in the area, an about 20 stories high office complex. Also we couldn’t find Anicar. After walking around the area and making sure we were at the right exit of the station, we got a bit puzzled. We got a call from Anicar where we were, but while she was on the phone, we saw her walking toward us from one of the other tunnels leading to the west exit. After she joined us, she guided us next to the office complex and there it was. The office building was just big enough to take the view of a building more than twice in height than the Eiffel Tower on a construction site from the road at the exit of the station.
We walked to the construction site (it looked close, but it was a little further than I expected). This Sky Tree was already breath taking, while being build. I have visited quite some high buildings in the world, the Sears Towers in Chicago, the Twin Towers in New York, the CN Tower in Toronto and earlier that week also the Tokyo Tower, but this building was of another order. While it had not reached it’s final height, it was already 100 meters higher that I had ever seen. I hope there will be a high observation deck when this tower is finished. As the queue is not as long as the one we observed at Christmas at the Tokyo Tower, I might want to go up there if I visit Tokyo again.
While we were walking at the construction site I received a text message from Dragon Jade. He knew I liked this G-6900GR-3JF very much, but I had not bought it. He had seen this model for a good price at Big Camera in Shinjuku. The people who were at the “Off Line Meeting” knew I was buying a lot of G-Shocks (I had even bought two G-Shocks on the way to the meeting). While we were watching the enormous foot of the Sky Tree, Anicar asked me, “Did you buy any G-Shock’s”. My friend Bernard, who traveled with me, laughed a little and said: “I think he just bought another one”.
The watch was packed in a regular Japanese G-Shock box. A little bit pity, but on the other hand, I had to limit my traveling volume to fit it all in my bags. I didn’t bring any box home and had packed all watches in some separate parts of my photo bag, which was always with me. I actually forgot about these watches on the way back to Europe. I was scanned twice at the security of the Copenhagen airport. At the second check I found my ski-jacket, belt, wallet, iPhone, Frogman and laptop at the other side of the X-Ray machine. As I had to put on my belt first and had to put my wallet in my pocked, I actually did not yet notice yet that my photo bag didn’t come out of the tunnel (while a quite nervous woman behind me was worried about what the X-Ray machine could have done to her MacBook. While I was still grabbing my things a friendly security officer handed me over my photo bag. “Sorry sir, we had to scan your bag three times through the scanner, as there was a lot of photographical equipment in the bag and we had to be sure. Sorry for the delay”. Without even thinking about it, I smuggled 13 G-Shocks more into Europe, than the two I left with.
You might think it’s a pity I don’t have the box. Well, I am a bit, because I do not only like the watch, but also the special “Green Collection” box. On the other hand, people buy normally a watch to wear it and not for the box. Watches are often placed in a display box in shops and department stores. I had a good look in Japan how watches are stored at Yodobashi and Big Camera. When I bought my 2nd yellow GF-8250 Frogman at Big Camera in Kyoto, I thought I was buying the one in the display. I was quite surprised the sales man did not take the watch out of the display, but took a small box from behind the counter with quite a few of this yellow Frogmans. As I have seen a lot of these kind of stores in Tokyo and Japan and most of them carry these so called “rare G-Shocks”, this shines another light on the term Limited Edition. The watches were packed in the typical plastic bags, you often get with your G-Shock. The boxes came from another shelve. The tag is cut off the strap (you got to be real fast and in really helps if you speak Japanese as you don’t want this). Then the watch is put around the cushion, plastic bag around it and the innerbox is put on the outerbox. In the plastic bag there is a sticker, which is sticked on the box and you have a custom G-Shock box for your model. I also know my local dealer had a room full of boxes (citizen, Seiko, Casio). If you bought a watch, you got just one of these boxes from that room. Probably a collectors nightmare, but this seems to be the way things normally go in bigger jeweler shops.
I’m drifting from the subject, the G-6900GR-3JF of the Green Collection series. This series was released to commemorate Earthday’s 40th anniversary on April 22nd 2010. In the official press announcement the box is mentioned, because it’s made of recycled paper. As far as I know all cardboard boxes of Casio are made of recycled paper. All “Green Colors Collection” models are Tough Solar, which means all models have solar panels providing energy which can be stored in a large capacity rechargeable battery. The battery provides enough energy to keep the watch running for months, even in the dark. The battery lasts very long (all my Raysman models from 1998 still run), so for a long time no need to replace the battery.
Casio has committed company wide to preserve the global environment, with minimizing carbon dioxide emission and tries to reduce, re-use and recycle waste. With this series Casio is proud to present an environment conscious products.
The glossy finish and green color is inspired by fresh leafs on trees that are bathing in sunlight. I think this series must appeal to the Japanese people, as they feel close to nature. Still I think there is room for improvement, as I noticed in Japan. So are all G-Shocks still packed in a plastic bag. Well, everything in Japan is packed in plastic bags. When I was buying breakfast at a bakery in a mall, all buns I bought were packed in separate plastic bags and packed together in a big plastic bag.
DragonJade told us that it was a pity we didn’t go to the KFC during rain. Like other American fast-food chains, items are packed separately in paper bags, but if it rains, these bags go into a plastic bag. Everything put together in a big paper KFC bag and this bag packed again in a bigger plastic bag. There is quite some to gain for the environment friendly thinking there I guess, although it is a pleasure to walk through the very clean streets (I wish people in my country became more environment conscience sometimes as I am riding over the islands with my mountainbike).
Well, let’s have a look at the watch. It’s a G-6900 model, which is a bit odd, since other Tough Solar 6900 models have the Waveceptor function. Probably Casio has done a concession to make the Green Colors Collection models more affordable by leaving out the Atomic Time function. Also it’s easier to make one model that can be sold worldwide, instead of one model for the domestic market and one model for the overseas market. I actually think it’s still strange that Casio makes a Mutliband Waveceptor version of models for the domestic market, while outside Japan a Tough Solar model is available, without the Waveceptor function (Waveceptor is Casio’s name for the Atomic Time receiver function).
The green color is not only restricted to the band and bezel, but this model has a very nice white light button with a green G, a nice dark green rim around the display and the center circles of the eye are green too. The green eyes are probably the most eye catching as it almost looks like it lights up as light falls on the display. Of course, the EL backlight is also green. The strap keeper is in a little different shade of green and is not glossy, which is a nice accent.

I think this is the first G-6900 model, but probably not the last, as I pretty much like this model. So, let’s see what’s under the hood of this very nice model. Besides the Timekeeping Mode, the G-6900 (Module 3180) has also 4 other function.
First function is the Worldtime Function. This module holds the information of 48 cities in 31 time zones. Interesting is that the Timekeeping mode is linked to a city of a time zone. As Amsterdam is not in this list, I always choose Paris, which is actually only only about 300 kilometers from where I live. When you compare that to Amsterdam, which is about 200 kilometers from here, it is relative not far. For my time zone I can choose also for Stockholm, Berlin, Rome or Madrid. With 5 cities I live in the most represented time zone. Cool!
In Timekeeping mode is possible to change the upper part of the display from day and date to the selected worldtime in the Worldtime function. Actually I sometimes use this function, since I have some contacts in Japan and other parts of the world.
Photo taken December 27 by Bernard Vercouteren van den Berge.
Next function is the Alarm Mode. The G-6900 has 5 alarms and a hourly chime, which all can be toggled on and off. The 5th alarm is the Snooze Alarm.
The other two functions are a standard 24 hour Stopwatch mode and a 24 Hour Countdown Timer mode. I am pretty happy with the 24 hour capacity of both functions. I hope Casio will eventually leave the 60 minute versions of the Stopwatch or Countdown modes.
The lay-out of the eyes has changed from the classic 1289 module of the good old popular DW-6900 model. The big Eye is still animating time. While it shows the 10 second marks on the old 1289 module, it shows here the seconds The small eye on the left shows the power status of the watch. The power status shows the capacity level of the battery. It also shows if the Power Save (PS) mode is toggled on or off and if your battery is almost totally drained the CHG (Charge) digit lights up, attending you that your watch really needs to be charged with light.
This model gives me a pretty spring feel, as the green color does make me think about the young leafs on the trees at the beginning of spring time or a fresh green lawn after rain. This model had been available for over a year and has become relative rare now. This model will probably disappear from the market. At the moment the prices are going up as the lowest price I could find was €135.- going up to a firm €200. I have bought this one for ¥11000, which was quite a good price as the retail price was ¥15000. With the standard 10% discount you get in big stores, it was sold for around ¥13000 in Japan. In the mean time Casio has released a new Green Color Collection series earlier this year. I pretty much love the white G-6900EW-7JF. I actually suspect that the case and module are exactly the same as on this G-6900GR model. The only different is the white strap and bezel. Actually I think the deep green colors contrasts very well with white. I might be looking out for one of these soon. Luckily they are still available for consumer friendlier prices.


MannyShock said...

Should have picked up one of these last summer, now there impossible to find.

Unknown said...

Mi Manny,

It's a cool watch indeed. I as pretty lucky you could find in in Japan in many stores in December. Since the new Green Collection is released, I expect this model will be hard to find now.



Alan From New York said...

I can't help being lured back to this watch, even though I continually reach for my wallet to get the blue jelly G-6900.

The green fetches a $50 or so premium over the blue, plus there is also the lure of the Atomic Solar GW-6900. Particularly the yellow one. Which brings me back to the yellow G-6900. And the green and the blue.

Sometimes, Casio is devious. :-)