Sunday, November 27, 2011

G-Shock #47: It’s time to Party with the G-Shock x Parra

I today’s article I present you the second Dutch Collaboration model with G-Shock. I was in doubt if I would buy the OntFront x G-Shock collaboration model. It would have been easy for me as I live in the Netherlands and a simple phone call would have helped me further, but frankly I was not too fond of a snake pattern and also, because of it very limited character, it was also very expensive.
I was very happily surprised Casio came up with a second Dutch collaboration and this time with a worldwide known artist. Let’s hope Casio does more Dutch collaborations in the future.
Somewhere in September a Hong Kong based blogger published pages from a Fall/Winter catalog of Casio. These kind of catalogs are only for internal use of Casio personnel, like brand managers and sales managers. From time to time images of such a catalog leaks out a few days before the official news, but this was quite an early leak. I sometimes get a little inside info from Casio, so I knew there was a new collaboration Dee & Ricky model coming in November, but to my surprise also a collaboration model with Dutch artist Parra was shown.
This week the Parra was released in The Netherlands and I am actually proud the second Dutch collaboration model is with Parra.
 Last three photo's were taken at the Japan Release Party in Beams T's Harajuku store, December 18, 2011. Copyright photo's by
As I was on route with a touring car full of students, I called a known sneaker shop for this model, though it had still to be delivered to the shop. A few hours later I got the conformation it arrived and so I got this one quick. I do not think I had seen this model in the flesh on-line, so it might be that the Parra collaboration is launched in my country first.

Piet Parra is the artist name of Piet Janssen (1976). He’s a graphic designer, illustrator and musician in the band LeLe. He designed sneakers for Vans, Etnies, Converse and Nike.
The name Parra is derived from Paranoid. A friend of him called him that way as a kind of Surinam joke. Actually his real name is bit funny. There is probably no plainer Dutch name than this. Piet (pronounced Pete) is a typical old Dutch name (I actually can’t remember I have had a student by that name) and Janssen is about the most common Dutch surname. According Parra, his atist name was also not a wise name to choose for an international artist, as in the US he is called Pera and in Japan Palla.
In Amsterdam he is known for his trademark hand drawn posters for clubs and parties. Also he has a clothing line with mainly T-Shirts with his colorful drawings. Often his artwork shows a hybrid between human like organisms with bird heads and hand drawn letters and ciphers. Returning items in his illustrations are curvaceous woman like creatures with texts. His colors are always saturated. Often these creatures are blue or hard pink. Other returning colors are red, white and orange. Not strange we find these colors back on his G-Shock.
The human like creatures in his paintings all have beaks like birds. It’s a way to make them look all generic. It draws the attention of the viewer direct to their posture and brings the focus on the texts. Somehow his drawings remind me to a favorite cartoon figure of me from the 60’s and 70’s. As a child I could dream away in the colorful world of Coco Bill, created by Benito Jacovitti, with salami sausages on feet and animals with über flexible legs in impossible positions.
Parra has a clothing line, called Rockwell. He started his own clothing line because he could not find a good place for T-Shirts, so he decided to start his own shop. His shirts are well known in the club scene. It is a bit like the Dadara Tees in the 90’s. I was a big fan of Dadara and had many shirts of this artist.
A Dadara baby.
Frankly I have always wanted to have a Rockwell Tee, but never got to buying one. I rather have a black shirt and most cool graphics are printed on white shirts. As I am a wild guy, that’s why I need G-Shocks, but I can’t keep a white shirt white for a long time (that’s why I always hope for black photo shirts of Kiks TYO). I think the first Rockwell shirt I wanted was an CD cover of Teenage Bad Girl’s Cocotte.
Last year I managed to get a beautiful Parra glas, which were sold in limited edition with four bottles of  Duvel. It was a favorite glass for a while, but unfortunately it broke a few months later. Definitively not G-Shock proof.
Lele is the band of Piet Parra, Rimer London and Faberyayo. I think it is in The Netherlands best known for the hilaric video clip for their single “Skinny Jeans” which was released in 2007. This video does not only feature LeLe singer Faberyayo, but also Sanne Vogel, a comedian who likes to flirt with her curvaceous body. Personally I think she looks much better than the bones warehouses I see on the catwalk on Fashion TV (we got digital TV recently). I do not quite understand what fashion designers like about those skin on bones models.
Faberyayo is in the Netherlands and Belgium well know as one of the rappers of De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig ("The youth of today", a Dutch expression often used by elderly people in the Netherlands to talk about youth behavious, often forgeting their behaviour in their youth). Rimer London also works solo. About a year ago he released the single "Love Dagger" with Cata Pirata. Not sure if the succes was internationally, but this great song is pretty much worth listening.
So let’s have a look at the watch. First the watch is packed in a custom designed cardboard package with random Parra letters and his autograph. I pretty much like this kind of packaging. The cardboard packaging make me think this watch was not aimed for the US market, as they get the usual tins. Japanese releases get this kind of package. For me as a collector it is a bit more practical as I can stack a lot more watches in a crate than the huge tins. The use of black letter on a white underground marks Parra’s latest trend to use only black and white.
The watch itself is, in contrary of the box, is an explosion of colors. The straps are pink and red, while the strap keeper is orange. You might think I won’t like the baby blue bezel, but in the explosion of colors I think it looks nice, especially with the orange faceplate. The black rectangle line you normally see on DW-5600 models is replaced with a pink rectangle, which has not much contrast to the orange background. Of course the trademark Parra autograph comes back at the bottom of the display. The Parra signature is also engraved at the back. As a nice plus, you get a beaked woman figure in the backlight, which, in my opinion, makes this Parra signature model complete.
This DW-5600PR model features the new 3229 module. Casio recently put new modules in their DW-5600 and DW-6900 models, which have a automatic calendar function that goes on until December 31 2099. The old modules stopped on December 31 2039. There is for now still a long time to go until 2039, luckily.
The functions on a DW-5600 are just the basic functions you need on a watch, without fringes. A basic Alarm function with hourly chime, a 24 hour Countdown Timer and a 24 hour Stopwatch function. The Alarm time can be set as daily (default), or on a date, or on a day on the month or for a whole month, depending how you program the date.
I think there was not much time between the manufacturing of this watch and the release. Usually the watch is set to a certain time zone (usually GMT+9), but it looks the watch was not set after the battery was installed. When I got it the date showed January 29, which probably meant the watch was assembled on October 25 (I received this watch on November 23).
For a collaboration model, this model is not very expensive. The usual shop price is €120 here ($160), which is only €20.- more than a basic G-Shock. I think the extra €20.- you pay for this model is worth all the money. I would say strap it on when you go clubbing. The watch is available in The Netherlands already, but I think it will be available in Japan and the rest of Europe soon. I’m not sure if this model is available for the US, but time will learn. These kind of collaborations are usually not made in small numbers (think around 5000 pieces), so for now it should not be a real problem to get yours. Mine was bought at I Love Sneakerz, the Dutch on-line version of Unknown, the sneaker shop of Alkmaar.