Sunday, July 3, 2011

G-Shock #27: Radio Controled M-Spec.

The good thing about the Shock The World Parties is, that you meet people, you otherwise only meet on internet. One off these people I met in Amsterdam was Rogier of Kish watches. Maybe you know Rogier from his Dutch G-Shock review video’s. Riley posts them sometimes in his weekly Friday Video’s post.

Rogier was very enthusiast about the new GW-7900MS-3 models he got in. I didn’t really know which model he meant, because I knew there was this model with an orange display, but the number 3 in the suffix suggest it would be a green G-Shock (red and orange have 4 in the suffix). So I asked him, is it the model with the orange display. “Yes”, he said, “It’s the atomic version. I got 6 in and sold them all six in a day.
Next day, Friday morning, I checked out the model number and indeed, the GW-7900MS-3 had orange accents. It was indeed sold out on Kish, but had a load of them (I just checked, there are still 15 of them on stock).
I got my GW-7900 about two weeks ago. The first thing that my surprised me was the type of box. Normally we get the big box with the silver G-Shock tin. This version, which is obviously the UK version of the watch, comes in the new smaller G-Shock box with the black metal hexagonal tin. That’s pretty cool. It seems that this tin will not only in the US be the standard box, but also in Europe, well at least the UK. Cool!
First thing I noticed when opening the box was the thick manual. This manual for the 3193 module (similar to the 3200 module, which is the negative display version of this module) Has over 100 pages for each language and besides English, the manual contains German, French, Spanish and Italian. With over 500 pages, this is probably the thickest I have ever seen.

When I took mine out of the tin, it seems that it has been a while from its last sync, but December 5th (Saint Nicolas Eve in The Netherlands). This model is released in Japan in November 2010, but it seems that it has been produced for quite a while in the Casio factory in Thailand. A nice touch is that the time is set for the UK already, though, because the last sync was in December, DST was not yet applied. Setting my time zone (I prefer Paris, it’s the closest city to my location).
A few minutes in my window sill and the watch is synced perfectly. Let’s dive a little bit deeper into this watch. First of all, It has the Waveceptor function, which is Casio’s name for models that can receive the Atomic Time signals. The term Waveceptor is not present on this model, instead there is the description “Multiband 6”. I guess that is pretty much the same. When the Auto Receive is on (default) the watch will try to sync maximal 6 times at night, starting from midnight or 1:00, depending on the “Home city” and the Daylight Saving Time setting. Once the watch has synced, it will not take further attempts until next midnight. The reason why the watch syncs at night is pretty simple. At night there is a lot less radio traffic, so it is much easier to receive the radio signal, when it’s weaker. The watch can receive the signal approximately about 1000 kilometers from the transmitter.

The display of the watch can be divided in three parts, the upper part, the middle part and the lower part. The upper part is for displaying the day and date or it shows the mode you are in, with some additional info. The middle part is shows from left to right, the Moon Phase, the Tidegrapgh and an eye (“graphic Area”) that animates elapsed time. Some people find this kind of eyes a waste of space, but it has a similar function as a seconds hand on an analog watch. Above the tidegraph there is an area that shows the status of the alarm functions and Auto Illuminator function. The lower display is the main display as it shows the time functions in the different modes. At the bottom of this display you can see the status of the power functions. It’s a solar watch, so it shows the charge of the battery and if the Power Save function is toggled on or off. Personally I prefer this display lay-out over that of the G-7900
The orange amber display is very good readable. The digits on this watch are very clear. In the beginning of the home computer era you had often only monochrome displays. You could choose between a white, an amber or a green display. Although green is the color which the human eye can see best (it’s in the middle of our visual color spectrum), monochrome amber displays were often used, because the reduced eye. I think you have to stare a long time to a digital watch display to suffer from eye strain, but an amber seems for me the most eye relaxing display there is.
So what functions does this watch have to offer. When we leave the Time Keeping Mode, we’ll enter the Tide/Moon Data mode. In this mode you can see the tide at your selected time. Programming the Tidegraph is, like on the new Frogman models, very simple. In the past you had to find your Longitude and Lunitidal Interval. On this model you just have to input the High Tide. If you live near the sea and there are quite noticeable tide differences, you can probably find a tide table for your location. We have a tide difference from up to 5 meters, so we find tide tables in the local news paper, week calendars, lifeguards stations and several websites with information for harbors and ships. Just input the high tide once, and you have programmed your Tide Graph. No more searching for your longitude, moon pass over and calculating from tide tables. If you press the Adjust button, you change from Tide function to the Moon Data function. This function shows the moon phase at your selected dates. Scrolling through the hours (Tide) or date (Moon Data) is done by the buttons on the right side (REV and FWD).
 Next Mode is the World Time Mode. In this mode you can view the time in 48 cities in 31 time zones). This function only works properly if you have programmed your home city right and, if needed, have applied DST on the Time Zone you are watching.
The Alarm Mode has 5 alarms and a hourly chime. This looks more than sufficient for me, I usually use 1 alarm on a watch. The 5th alarm is a snooze alarm. A stand-up comedian reminded me recently that a snooze alarm doesn’t give you more time to sleep, but takes away time you could have slept…
A 24 hour Stopwatch Mode and a 24 hour Countdown Timer Mode make this watch very complete. The Count Down Timer has no repeat function. A cool thing is that the start-stop button for these functions is bright orange.
This M-Spec model comes with the M-Spec straps. Unlike earlier models, this is not a one piece strap, with the case attached on it, but the straps are attached like usual straps on the lugs of the case. While the one piece straps are very comfortable, this watch is also very comfortable, due to the use of wrist rests, which are attached under the case. These wrist rests keep the watch perfect in place and provide you wearing comfort. The material of the upper side of the strap is made of is “ballistic nylon”, the same material bullet proof jackets are made of, the underside of the strap has the characteristic bright orange (“Indian Orange”). This orange color is a tribute to the lining of the MA-1 Flight Jacket, better known as Bomber Jacket. These jackets were pretty popular in the 80’s street fashion. While the outside was black, dark navy blue or khaki, the inner lining was bright orange. Probably originally meant for signaling from the ground in emergency situations.
I think this watch is a very good looking GW-7900 version. I love the ballistic nylon straps. Since they are wider than usual straps, they wear very comfortable. I also like the look of the metal rings in the holes of the strap. You don’t get those worn out holes this way and it also gives the watch itself a much tougher look. This model was released in November 2010, together with a blue and lime green G-7900MS version. I am glad that Casio still is making new M-Spec models. Using the G(W)-7900 models is a pretty good idea, as these watches are promoted as rescue workers watches. With the use of wrist rest, I do not know if I would rather like a one piece strap (like a NATO strap) or this two piece strap with wrist rests. Attached on a single piece strap it is hard to lose the case, even if one spring bar breaks, on the other side, I have never broken off a spring bar, so what are we talking about.
In Japan these models are not cheap. The suggested retail price there was ¥23000. At the bigger electronics stores the price should be around ¥20500, still a firm €175 or $255. In Europe however this model can be found much cheaper. Kish had this model for €149.-, but these are sold out. Tiktox still has quite a view for £105 (€117, $170.-), which is quite a good price, compared with the prices of these in Japan. . The model sold in Europe is the same as sold in Japan. It has the “Water Resist 20 Bar” mark etched on the back. An overseas model normally has Water Resist 200M marked on the back. It seems that this model is not sold in the US, but if you look around at Tiktox and eBay, you can still find a few. With the above mentioned price tag, you get a good looking Tough Solar Waveceptor model with a lot of features for a good price.


Alan From New York said...

Coincidentally, I was looking at this series today. The display is pleasing, but I'm thinking it's better on the G-7900 and GLX-6900. The Atomic Solar features, plus the nylon straps give this series merit.

Unknown said...

Hi Alan,

I guess it's quite personal if you like the GW-7900 or the G-7900 display layout, as my preference goes slightly more to the GW-7900 version. I have the G-7900MS model too and reviewed it here a few months ago. I love the M-Spec series, because of the wide comfortable nylon ballistic strap.



sanches said...

I just love that bright orange mixed with the black. I'm thinking about buying a new g-shock and this article made me consider the GW-7900MS-3. Now I'll have to decide between this and the Riseman:) maybe I'll prefer the Riseman but it will be a decision based on functionality and price, because this 7900 has the greatest looks i've ever seen in a g-shock. Great photos and great review, thanks Sjors

csermonet said...

Hi Sjors,

Been reading your blog all night! I am a 1st time G-Shock owner as of about 5 months ago. I have a pretty basic G-100 BV and I must say I love it. Had always liked the look of G-Shocks and did a bit of wondering around the internet looking at all the different kinds. Never wore a watch much, and I ride downhill mountain bikes so I needed something durable and rugged. Saw this at a local Walmart and had to have it. Anyways, I think I have caught the G buzz. After doing some extensive looking around on the web, it is mind boggling how many there are out there! I would really like to get a limited edition collaboration watch. I really like the Alife colab G5500AL 1. I know there are only 200 I believe? I see the prices already starting to go up. A local skate shop has one in their display case for the original price, $150. Should I jump on this? If you have any other suggestions for one that I may like, I am open to that as well. Not looking to spend any more than $200. I also wanted to ask what some good online stores/ebay stores are for Limited Edition G-Shocks, if there is such a place. I have bookmarked this blog, your G-People Land, and G-Street. Thanks! Hope to hear back soon.

Unknown said...

Hi Sanshes,

There are many G-Shocks to choose from. I can imagine it's hard to decide what model you want to buy for daily use. I pretty much like this model, but I also like the classic and the new Riseman (both). They are also in about the same price range. THe big difference between the two is the alti/barometer on teh Riseman and the Tidegraph/Moonphase function on the GW-7900.

Hi Csermonet,

I think you live in a good location for purchasing G-Shocks. The prices for new models are pretty low compared to Japan and Europe. Do not focus too much on the word Limited Edition. It means most of the times only "Made for a limited period of time". For instance the KRINK is just recently released in Europe and the Information One Love and Playset has to be released yet here (end July). This must give you an other perception of the word Limited Edition I think.

Actually most G-Shock models are limited editions, exept for some long time classics as the standard DW-5600E and DW-6900-1V.

The ALife were in two variants. One very limited (in the US) and the normal version. In Japan every shop that sold electronics and sometimes also in super markets I visited, sold the DGK and the ALife version last December.



dorkinaut23 said...

OK, you sold me on it Sjors. Just ordered one off ebaY. Gotta love those UK prices. I'm officially a G-Shock addict now, considering that I'm buying Tide-graph watches and I don't live near anything with a tide.

isokuono said...

great review, although i want to comment on the 1000 km range of the german signal. I live in finland and the german station is 1600 km away, my GW-3000B receives the signal clearly everynight! No problem at all! greetings Isokuono

csermonet said...

Sjors, made a decision and pulled the trigger on an Alife 5500. G5500AL 1CR. I must say I rather like the watch as far as looks go, but the negative display is a bit hard to read in low light situations, although I suppose that is what the backlight is for hehe. I really like the strap and case design. Would like some pointers on use with the module if you have any, it is a 3160. Do you have this watch? Possibly do a write up? Love your stuff, still reading!


wills said...

i 'm french and i can't find the model in this color(totally green) have you a solution for me(web site for example) thanks

Unknown said...

Hi Wills,

I knew the GW-7900MS-3 was very popular when it was on the market.
I see this one on

It is in stock according the page. Maybe you should contact Rogier if it is still in stock. It's a trustable seller.