Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Intermezzo #46: G-Shock shopping in Barcelona, part 1

I've been to Barcelona a week ago for a short vacation. Both me and Eva have been there apart before, but Bram wanted to see the city too, so we went with the family together this time. Our hotel was located near the centre with Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. There were a lot of interesting restaurants and bars in the neighborhood, but this 24 hour bakery nearby was frequently visited by us too.
Bram had chosen the spots to visit, while I tried to see if it was possible to find some G-Shock stores. A main goal was to find the 24 Kilates store, which is near the harbor. Two years ago I had been very close, but have missed the store, before I went to the 2009 Shock The World in Barcelona. It is also near to a very good place where you can eat delicious Spanish ham (Pernil in Catalan, Jamon in Spanish).
At the second evening Bram wanted to go to the Egyptian Museum. Well, we are in Spain, so I didn't feel for going to that museum. We agreed to rendez vous at the hotel at 19:00. It was only 17:15, so I thought I had oceans of time. So, while Eva and Bram went to the museum, I went to a mall called "L'Illa de Diagonal".
My actually goal was to find a scarf, as it appeared to be cold after sunset in Barcelona, though it was very nice and sunny during daytime. From the Casio website of Spain I learned there must be a shop called "Neus Cubells Agramunt" selling Casio G-Shocks too. After a good 20 minute walk from our hotel, I arrived at this mall. It was quite bigger than what I expected.
First I went to the Decathlon. I had never visited a Decathlon before, as I live far from bigger cities, so these kind of big stores are not near where I live. To my surprise I found G-Shocks in the outdoor watches department, but only a G-7900 and a G-2900. A scarf was much harder to find, but finally I found where I was looking for. Just in time, because the sun was going to set already.
There were many, many shops, spread over three floors. Carefully I have looked on every floor. I saw many interesting shops. Above was a small Happy Pills store to lighten up your day. It sells candy in shape of medicine in plastic emergency cases and pots. Very funny concept.
A small Swatch store had these Kid Robots on display. I love those toys. At the ground floor there was an exhibition of Porsche cars. A friend of me drove one 20 years ago. Of course I took a little look at those cars.
When I reached the other side of the mall, I went to the Corte Inglés department store and found another interesting scarf. I couldn't resist to buy that one too as it looked even warmer than the one I bought (for €2.-) at the Decathlon.
After searching about every corner on every floor of the mall, I still had not found the Neus Cubells Agramunt store. when I passed the Super Dry store for about the third time, I could not take my eyes of this shirt (again) and dropped in to buy it. Spanish XXL. That's a little tight XL in The Netherlands, LOL. I saw a X-Large hoody in Japan several times in a similar color setting, but, off course not in XL (why then that store name?). Good thing is I could pay with my Dutch bank card. I still can't see why some Dutch people shout loud they want the Dutch Guilder back. One currency in European countries make this possible!
It appears Super Dry is actually a UK based brand, though they had me fooled for a while... They had nice headphone too. I have to look into that too. Would be cool to rotate with my magenta WESC headphone.
Well, I had made a little miscalculation with the time. I expected that L'Illa was only about 5 to 10 shops. It happened to be more like 100. As it was already 18:35, the sun was setting. It was time to rush back to the hotel.
I noticed this bike. Someone stole the front wheel. I remember Adan told me this was typical Spanish. Well, I can tell you you have to put a lock on both your wheels in the bigger cities in The Netherlands too. Somewhere in this city, there is a front wheel hanging in a bike stand...
I think this Gin shop has to upgrade to OS X Lion, Snow Leopard is so 2009. When I arrived at the hotel (17:50), Eva and Bram were already in the hotel room. The hotel lady had let them in already. After a short rest, we went into town for some tapas and a drink down town BCN. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

G-Shock #9: Rock Hard!

Today’s G-Shock is a G-Shock of the G’Mix series. For those who think: “What the heck are the G’Mix series”, you might have heard of the Tough Label series, but even that series haven’t come with new models for a long time.
The G’Mix series were the Japanese version of the Tough Label series overseas. Often they came with the same models, but another patch and sometimes there were other models released in Japan than overseas. About today’s GM-100 model, the GM-100-8JF to be more exact, I m not sure if it was released overseas. If it was, it probably only was released in South East Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong). I also have a back version, but alas not with the original strap, which I got from Singapore.
The G’Mix series were, as the name already suggests, made for the music and club scene. This also applies for the Tough Label, of course, although I never saw the relationship between the series name and the music and club scene.
Often the G’Mix and Tough Label models have a gadget function, referring to music. There are models with a BPM counter, models with a animated graphic analyzer, models with musical color schemes. The GM-100 is a bit different. It has melody alarms. An average G-Shock has two tones. One beep to let you know that you moved to another function, or started/stopped an action and a different beep to let you know you are back in Timekeeping Mode. If you never noticed, chick it out on your G by scrolling through the modes. Almost all digital G-Shocks, released after the DW-6600 (which doesn’t have this second beep) have this.
The melody alarm sounds are also adjustable. For the hourly chime you can choose between two signals. A simple “BEEEEP BEEEEP!” one and a melodic one. In the past I have read the question if it was possible to make a louder alarm on a G-Shock. Well, you might be careful what you wish for. This alarm is loud! I always have the hourly chime on, as I seem to forget time often, and so I had turned it on on this watch, though I actually don’t wear it. At a night I had left it in the bedroom. I can tell you, you only do that once. Every hour the watch woke me up. As it was on the other side of the room, I didn’t want to go out of my bed to bring it to my storage room, but it was the first thing I did in the morning, not to mention that my girlfriend Eva was pretty annoyed about this watch.
Battery change on the G'Mix GM-100
The loudspeaker (front and backside)
A mysterious big metal disk devides the loudspeaker part from the module.
The back shock absorber. You can clearly see the alarm springs. Probably one for each voice.
The AC contact is a bit hard to find, but it is there.
Another CR2016 battery. After resetting the module I put a little silicon grease on the gasket, before I close the watch in reversed order.
I was pretty curious how Casio achieved such a loud alarm on a G-Shock and still have a 20 Bar water resistance. Remarkable is to see there are small holes in the back of the watch. Luckily the battery went dead, so I had to open the watch. The loudspeaker is not attached under the back plate, but is a special plate, which is pressed hard against the runner seal by the back, when the watch is closed. The two voices are achieved by using two alarm springs. The room between the loudspeaker and the back acts as a resonance box, which explain the hard sound of this watch. The module us hidden under another
The design of this GM-100 is inspired Rock (“Lock”) music. I’m not sure why, but the sword represents the Rock spirit. It reminds me a bit to a drawing I saw on Busy P’s facebook page about Rock Concerts from past until 2012.
The upper part of the strap is made of leather. This is used, because a lot of rock artists wear leather. The under part of the strap is made of a strong gauze material. This is probably to make the band good breathable.
This watch would not be complete with some rock songs for the alarms. There are 5 melodies, according the description of the watch, classics from the ‘50s until the ’90’s. They include “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley (1956), “(I can’t get no) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones (1965), “Walk this Way’ by Aerosmith (1975), "New Year's Day" by U2 (1983), and “Smells like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana (1991). “Walk This Way is probably better known by the cover of Run DMC in 1986 featuring Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, the original writers of this song.
By pressing the upper right button in Timekeeping mode, the watch can play these melodies randomly. That’s why I have made cuts in my video, it would have last about 5 minutes to show all songs.
The functions on this watch are a also a bit different from what you find on a regular G-Shock. This makes this relative unknown model quite a special watch.
The first mode you enter when you leave the Time Keeping mode is the Day Counter. There can be programmed 5 Day Counter records, which are programmable between January 1, 1940 until December 31, 2039. You can assign a name up to 12 characters to a record. When a Day Counter record date has reached, the display shows “DAYS” flashing under the seconds. Casio has made more models with a Day Counter around 2000, but never was a common feature on a G-Shock. Although it’s a funny gadget, I rather have a 24 hour Countdown Timer on a G-Shock.
Next mode is the Alarm Mode. It has 5 Alarms on board. Every alarm can be linked to a song that you want to hear when the alarm goes off. It is also possible to choose a random song or a simple beep alarm. The Hourly Chime can be programed as a short melody or as a simple beep beep alarm.
Next there is the usual 24 hour Stopwatch function. Although the beeps are very loud when you push the buttons, the functioning is simple, like on most G-Shocks.
The last function that you find on this watch is the Memo Mode. In this mode you can store 5 memo’s. Every Memo record can contain a title of maximal 8 characters (upper display) and 16 characters for the data (lower display).
If you are really annoyed about the loud sounds, but like a hourly chime, you can set the volume of the watch. You can set the volume when you are in Time keeping Adjust Mode. Also in this mode you can choose between a melody hourly chime or a simple beeping hourly chime.
The GM-100 models were not quit the cheapest G-Shock models. The recommended retail price of these models (there were in total 12 different models released) was ¥18000. For instance the DW-6900CK-3MJK G-Viper model, that was also released in June 2000 had a Recommended Retail Price of ¥12000. For that ¥18000 you got a very unique G-Shock. Specially the versions with this double strap with leather upper part. I cannot remember that Casio released a similar strap for a G-Shock, although the GL-100V models have similar construction with a double strap connected to the case on each side. If you are looking for one of these now, they are not easy to find. Since I found an English manual, I think the watch was also released in South East Asia, but still you don’t encounter them often. Actually it took a long time before I found one. This is my second GM-100 and also the best looking (like I wrote above, the other does only have a simple resin strap instead of the original one). I would like to have more of these. The double Velcro versions look very nice, specially the red model. If I ever will own more, I doubt it. It’s actually not the price. I paid less than $100 for this one, but they simply do not seem to cross my path that often.