Sunday, December 18, 2011

G-Shock #50: …and the Beast!

In the box I got begin October from my friend Neil was not only the MR-G Frogman. That day was a great high for me, because it contained another grail watch that I thought I never would have. It was the MR-G Revman. Only three models Revman were released. Two in July 1999 and one in December 1999. The Revman of December 1999 is a little different from the black model of 1997 (only the name REVMAN was white in 1997 and red in 1999). Around 2003/2004 I have seen several Revman on eBay at a BIN price of $250.- at a Hong Kong based seller. I think the model I saw was probably the 1999 model.
I was a bit surprised when I opened the box of this watch (it is actually not the original box). I expected the standard black version (either the 1999 or 1999 version), but it was actually the blue dial version. Cool, I didn’t even know there was a blue dial version, until I checked G-Shock Perfect Search (GPS).
The fact I didn’t knew about this model, while I have seen this model several times before, indicates that this version is probably much rarer than the basic black version. Not that the basic black version looks bad, the red accents on top of the dial look great in my opinion, but the blue dial looks great too.
A little bummer was that the watch was dead on arrival. Little bigger became my bummer when I found out I didn’t had the SR-920W and SR-621SW battery I needed to revive it again. Well, I could choose two ways to obtain these batteries, order on-line and wait 10 – 14 days or jump on my bicycle and go to a hardware store. Well I went for the second option. Unfortunately the hardware store in Koudekerke did only have the SR-920W. While cycling back, I suddenly remembered there was a store for parts of household apparatus in Middelburg too. I might try my luck there. About 25 minutes later I stepped out of this store with the last SR-621SW battery they had in stock. Well, that’s exactly enough, there I only needed one.
It was not a big deal replacing the batteries. It is a similar operation as with the Gaussman and a Giez GS-300 model. The back plate can easily be removed. The battery locks are a bit small, but with the proper tools it must not be a problem. I opened them actually with my smallest watch screwdriver instead of with the usual sharp poins tweezer (which I typically found back after the locks were opened).
Maybe the title of this article is a bit misleading. It might suggest it is not a beautiful looking model. No that’s not it, but compared to the MR-G Frogman that was reviewed last week, this watch looks totally different. Where the Frogman looks al streamlined with beautiful curves, this Revman looks more edgy and sturdy. I think it might even look tougher. The first thing that came to my mind when I first saw a Revman was that it looks like a Medieval shield for a knight. There are raised minute marks at the 5 minute markers on this shield shaped part of the bezel (except for the 15 and 45 minutes marker). Also the button guards look very solid. Actually the buttons look like they are part of the bezel. First time I had to try them. They push easy but solid.
Like other MR-G models the bracelet is made of solid links. I think it’s unique that these links are thicker in the center than at the sides. It perfectly fits with the bezel design of the watch and probably add extra on the medieval idea I have about the design of this watch.
The Revman was the first MR-G model that had no screwback. Instead it has a pretty solid titanium back plate attached to the case with 4 screws. The screws also hold two plastic “wrist guards”. The plastic feels a bit rubberish. I think it has a similar function as the rubber ring that you find on the metal screwback MR-G models that were released before this model. They probably serve two functions. The first is to secure the watch comfortable on the wrist. The other is probably to allow a little ventilation under the watch, preventing irritation. One of the guards has G-SHOCK printed on it, the other shows MR-G.
Very special is the image on the back. It show a Frill-necked Lizard (Chlamydosaurus Kingii). This lizard is mainly found in North Australia and New Guinea. I do not know if this lizard is fast, but in the image on the back it’s walking with a car tire. I think the lizard is chosen, because it lives in a tough environment and the car tire was chosen, because this watch was aimed for car racing sports.
I was curious about the meaning of Chlamydosaurus, so I went to my colleague who is a classical language teacher. Chlamydo- or Chlamyd- means mantle, cape or cloak. Chlamydosaurus can thus be translated to "Mantle Lizard" or "Caped lizard". I think this name suits this animal well. In case you want to know where the name of the STD chlamydia comes from. This disease remains often stealth or cloaked if a woman is infected.
It’s not a coincidence the above mentioned battery change is similar to that of the Giez GS-300. The Revman has the 1798 module, which has the similar functions and looks of the 2301 module, found on the GS-300 Giez model. I can’t remember what batteries went into my Giez, but I won’t be surprised if they were the same as I installed in my Revman.
During the photoshoot, Eva brought me this delicious pumpkin cake...
I did not know where exactly the name Revman came from, until I watched an episode of "Top Gear"  yesterday. It's probably clear if English is your first language and you are into cars, but I'm not too much into cars and English is not my first language. "Rev" is short for  "Revolutions per Minute". Special on the 1798 module is the Stopwatch function that can be both used as a Single Stopwatch and as a Dual Stopwatch. You can reach the Stopwatch Mode when push and hold the MODE button (lower left). Frankly the Dual Stopwatch is not an easy mode to operate. I have tried it a few times and found it hard to stop. The time is reset when one of the upper buttons is pressed for several seconds. There is no stop button in this mode. The single stopwatch uses both digital displays wisely. The above section shows the Lap Time, while the section below shows the total time.
When you are back in Timekeeping Mode you can scroll through the Result Mode, Dual Time Mode, Alarm Mode and Hand Set (H-Set) Mode. In Result Mode you can review the 5 best laps in the Stopwatch Mode (both for the Single and Dual Stopwatch). You can also input the length of a lap. The manual says in kilometers, but in other units, you get the results in those units per hour. It’s not really easy to explain how it works. I suggest read the manual of the 1798 manual if you own a Revman and want to use these functions. You can program the Dual Time in hours and minutes, independent of the time in Timekeeping mode. The seconds are synchronized with the Timekeeping Mode. It works well, if you are visiting a country or state in a different time zone. I think it is not even a problem with traveling through more time zones as you can easily set a new time. The Alarm Mode has just one daily alarm and a hourly chime, which can be both toggled on and off. Finally there is the H-Set mode. In this mode you can adjust the hands of the analog time with the digital time. You will notice you have to do this when you have changed a battery and the digital time has started from 12:00:00. Your hand would probably not have stopped exactly at this time. Unfortunately the hands cannot be synchronized with the digital time. As the minute hand moves every 20 seconds, the minute hand sets itself as the hand is stopped at the minute as the seconds have passed 20 and 40 seconds.
Getting yourself a Revman now is probably much harder than it was 10 years ago, when it was relative easy to find one and the price was, compared to the original suggested retail price of 70000 (now $900, €690), very friendly. I have seen them for around $250 on eBay from Hong Kong sellers. For that price you would have gotten the more usual basic black version, which also looks very good. Nowadays it’s not easy to find one, especially in good condition as steel and titanium bracelets reveal the first signs of wear easily. On probably the busiest watch sales corners, the WatchUSeek Sales Forum, I could only find 4 or 5 Revman, that have changed owner since 2008 and this Revman showed here is one of them. Nowadays you might expect to pay between $300 and $600 for a Revman. At the moment I can find one Revman at Yahoo Auctions Japan. The price is a firm 45000 yen, which is $575 or €445, without fees and shipping.

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