Sunday, July 31, 2011

G-Shock #31: One Love.

It’s summer here (on the Northern Hemisphere). Though the weather isn’t really cooperating now, I am enjoying my summer vacation as much as possible. What can be better than sitting in the backyard in the evening sun with some relaxed music. I think Bob Marley’s “One Love” would be great music to complete my summer feeling.
On Hawaii it seems always summer. As a primary school pupil I already wrote a little essay about these islands and it always kept my attention. I had no idea back then that Hawaii was also the place to be for surfing.
Hawaii and G-Shocks seems also a good combination. When the G-Shock forum on WatchUSeek (WUS) just had started in about 8 years ago, AndyFromHonolulu learned me that the “Mil-shock” was made in Hawaii. The “Mil-shock” were a special treated DW-5600B model. The springbars were replaced by stainless steel pins and the plastic strap replaced by a 20mm Zulu strap. These G-Shocks were made by a Hawaiian technician on request by a US Special Task Force in Afghanistan. There were two batches made (the second with the standard DW-5600E) and small numbers had been available for public through Broad Arrow.
Also the Triple Crown of Surfing is held on Hawaii and Casio G-Shock has sponsored quite some events in the past years, resulting in several Special Editions G-Shocks. There is only a little I can find on the Hawaiian Lovers models, but Hawaii has their own Lovers Collections models. These Hawaiian Lovers were only sold on Hawaii. There is not much information about these.
Since 2008 the street culture clothing brand In4Mation has brought us 5 G-Shock models. They started with the GLX-5600X-3 in May 2008. Else than the color code may suggest, this watch isn’t green but turquoise blue. This model was followed by the purple GLS-5600X-6 in November 2008. In May 2009 an very nice apricot GLX-5600XA-4 was released. As it shows “Aloha” in the Backlight, this model was also called the “Aloha model”. In May 2010 a gray/blue GLX-6900X-2 was released followed by this GLX-6900XA-9 in May 2011. While the first four releases were easy to find for a good price for a longer period, it seems this “One Love” model of this year is very popular. Although the European release is just released or about to be released, it seems getting rare on the global market already now.
Typical for the In4mation G-Shock releases is that they all are special G-Lide models. In4mation and I must have a common interest, as I love the G-Lide series, though I do not surf, neither ride a snowboard or skateboard. Exept for the GLS-5600X-6, they all have a Tidegraph on the display. Hawaii has indeed tides, though they are not spectacular. At springtide we are talking about 2 feet (60 cm) difference between low and high tide. Still tide predictions can be handy with all kind of activities at the beach.
This “One love” In4mation model is packed in a beautiful decorated box and tin. The Japanese model is sold in a cardboard show box with a special print. Also nice, but I think that my preference would go to this tin. It shows the Lion of Zion in a circle of text: In4mation - Positive Vibrations - Roots and Culture - One Love.
At first glance this “One Love” might look a bit like the GLX-6900A-9. The G-Lide GLX-6900A-9 looks pretty good, but when compared with the GLX-6900XA-9, “it bleaches”, as we say here, there the details of the In4mation design are much better.
The gold face plate is probably the best looking part of this watch. Very nice is also the use of a dark green and a red strap. If people still didn’t got the “One Love” and the package hint, they now should see this watch is inspired by reggae culture. The In4mation loge can be found on the gold face plate and on both straps.
The GLX-6900XA is the 3194 module. While the Moon Phase and the Tide Graph is already visible in the display, the watch has also a 29 time zones and 48 cities World Time function, 2 (!) 1000h Stopwatches, a 24 hour Countdown Timer and finally it has also 5 alarms with a hourly chime on board. As usual, the 5th alarm is the snooze alarm. The first Stopwatch function also can use the Auto Start function, which counts down 5 seconds before the stopwatch function starts and the Countdown Timer has an Auto-Repeat function and a Progress beeper, to keep you informed about the progress in the count down, with shorter intervals between the alarms when the final countdown time is approached. I still think this is a nice feature. Considered that G-Lide models from the 90’s often had to do with one 60 minute Stopwatch and Countdown function and that models with a Tidegrapgh not even had a Countdown function, I think that the GLX-6900XA, considered that that GLX-6900 models are “basic G-Lide” models, is very well equipped.
Sorry, I forgot to take a wrist shot of this watch, so I borrowed this pic from HipHop Cube weblog.
The 3194 module has still the old way of programming he Tidegraph. While newer models with this feature simply work with your home city and a high tide, which you have to program once, this module needs your Longitude and Lunitidal Interval. This interval is the time difference of the moon passing over (moon at the highest point in the South in the Northern Hemisphere) and the next high tide. This delay is caused by the geographical factors as shape of land masses, depths and undepths, etc. The Lunitidal Interval can be easy be calculated if you know your local tides. If you live near sea, but you have never seen tide tables, the tide in your location might be insignificant. If you know the high tides, you can find local moon data on several websites. I usually use the World Clock on Time and Date. This website does not only have local time on a big database of places on the earth, they provide also local sun and moon information. If you do not live in or near a big city, go to the nearest gig city on the list and go to “Coordinates”. There is a link that says “See other cities near [fill in the city you had chosen]”. A big list with cities appears. You city appears maybe too and else you can chose a city near. Best is to find a city that is near the same longitude. There you find when the moon is at the highest point, so you can calculate your Lunitidal Interval.
The retrial price of the In4Mation GLX-6900XA is with 16000 yen in Japan quite higher than the GLX-6900A, that costs 12000 yen. I have searched around for mine and I paid around €129.- for mine, which is probably the same price for this model as you buy it in a shop in Japan. I don’t think it was much cheaper when it was just released and it won’t get any cheaper I’m afraid. It will be only harder to find, though, if I’m in4med right, it is just released in Europe or it’s about to and the price will be around what I paid for it, only available in limited quantities, I’m afraid. If you think the price is too high, you might consider the GLX-6900A-9. This model does not have the great Reggae look as this model, but it’s yellow and has the same module. You can find this model for around €75.- shipped worldwide.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

G-Shock #30: White is the new Green!

The past two years Casio has been pretty good in releasing a lot of good looking G-Shock models, so it’s for the a collector with a limited budget hard to choose which new models to acquire. One of the series that I like is the “Green Colors” or “Green Collection” series. The name of these series is a bit unclear. Casio refers in Japan to the “Green Colors” series, but on the box “Green Collections” is printed. In North America these models were released as the “Go Green” series. I’ll stick to “Green Collection” from now on in this article, as this is the name printed on the box, so probably the most logical name to use.
 There have been three Green Collection series released thus far. The first series were released in January 2010 in Japan. I think they were available worldwide, but you could buy the at least in East Asia and the US. A second series was released in July 2010. These clear and blue jelly models were only sold in overseas in East Asia. Although I am not a fan of blue colors, I think a lot of people like these jellies. Not sure what’s the connection with deep blue and green, but maybe oceans and seas might have been the inspiration for these models. In February 2011 the third series were released. There is only this G-6900EW and a special Tough Solar G-7900 variant, the GR-7900EW. The GR-7900 is probably special made for Green Collections series, as this is the only Tough Solar, non-Atomic 7900 model.
The Green Collection series was introduced in 2010 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, celebrated on April 22nd annually. This day is introduced for to make us aware of the environment.
The green colors on this G-6900EW model are inspired by the glossy green tones of leafs on trees, while the sun is shining on them and is reflected in our environment. That’s why the Green Collection models also are glossy. White is used, simply because the combination of green and white is stylish, well according the description of Casio. Couldn´t they have come up with something better. It reminds me to the early spring flowers that come up through the snow at the end of winter (that’s around February here).
It’s probably not exact a secret that Japanese culture involves a lot of love and respect for mother Nature. I believe that is very important for such a dense populated country. I was a bit surprised that in my interview with Mr. Ibe Kikuo, now a month ago, he mentioned that he loved our green nature in the forests most and that our cities are clean. Personally I think that the streets in the big cities in Japan are cleaner than the streets in our big cities. On the other hand, I noticed that in the Japanese cities the houses are built very close to each other, with only a little green zones in small parks and playgrounds.
Besides nature, Japan loves electricity. The brighter the lights and louder the sounds, the better. There I sat in the train to Tokyo Central Station, in my ski jacket and totally packed with my backpack and photo bag. It was cold in Tokyo they told me. I have other thoughts of temperatures around 17°C. Especially when I discovered, bathing in sweat, the seats were heated, probably the level set to maximum. Also double glass in the poorly isolated houses is a rarity. A strong reduction in energy use and thus a better care for the environment can be easily achieved. On the other hand, we could learn a lot here from the very sufficient public transport system. While you see here in the Netherlands enormous numbers of cars, mostly carrying just one person, in Japan most people move by train from place to place.
The engine of the watch is the 3180 module, which is the same module that is used in the Color Display model that has been featured here a week ago. For a bit more details I kindly refer to this article, but in short these are the modes featured on this watch: a 24 hour Stopwatch, 24 hour Countdown Timer, 5 Alarms (one is a Snooze Alarm) and a World Time function.
Personally I think this watch is quite a good looker. The display has the same green tone as the G-6900GR of the first “Green Collection” release. First I thought it was the same case with a different bezel and straps, but the lettering on the crystal is different. While the G-6900GR has white and red lettering, the G-6900EW has green and white lettering. It’s a minor difference, but yet, it’s one. The resin of the bezel (case cover)) and straps is bright white and shiny. It’s indeed a very nice combination. When I had my first one signed, I already planned to buy this one.
 I think I was just in time with buying this second one. It was not easy to find one for a decent price. I paid around €80 for the first one, but it was hard to locate this one, which I paid around €90 for. I actually bought them from the same seller, although that’s just a coincidence. I tried to buy it from another seller, but the sale was canceled, because the watch was faulty. I think the display was dead, due to the Power Save mode, but I haven’t questioned about the defect. If it was the Power Save mode, only a little sunlight would have been enough to revive this watch, but maybe the box was opened in a dark office. A fast check on eBay learns that it is not easy to find this model under €100. In Europe this model is still available. The retail price in Europa seems to be around €129.-. The green G-6900GR was available for a long time, but I guess that this model will be sold out in a shorter time. Although the G-6900GR looks a more popular model than this one, you could find that model for about a year for a normal price easily. I guess that these third series were made in a smaller quantity as these already became rare in about 6 months. The retail price in Japan for this model was 15000 yen. This means you’ll find them in the big electronics stores for about ¥13000 – ¥13500.
I think the popularity of this model was tempered, because of the release of the basic white DW-6900NB, which was featured in an Eminem video. Personally I like this “Green Collection” model more. It is Tough Solar, the solar panels give a very nice black a barrier between the green display and the white resin. The DW-6900NB would probably have looked better with a normal or a (slightly) colored display, but that’s just my personal opinion.