Sunday, March 18, 2012

G-Shock #13: Crazy Gang Stars

After a short interruption with the The Hundreds collaboration model, I'll continue with the third Gundam/Techno article this month. It's my only Crazy Gangster, I wish I had more of these.
June 1995 was a good month for G-Shock enthusiast. No less than 9 different models of the Crazy Gangsters were released, or as the Japanese translation of these series says: “Crazy Gang Stars”.
Again this is a variation on the DW-81XX model. The case is therefore the same as last week’s red Techno.
The series are inspired by the US military. Well, it is a bit odd, I think as it seems to me the inspiration is taken from the “Nose Art” of American military aircrafts and patches of the jackets of their flying personnel in, or just after World War II. About 65 years ago America and Japan were not really best friends, but luckily times have changed.
At first sight, the most Crazy Gangsters look pretty usual. They become very nice when the EL background is lit. In this DW-8195-1A6, a logo appears. This logo is composed out of a pilot helmet, a sword and wings. It symbolizes the courage of the flying crew, their love for their plane. I am not sure if this is a fantasy logo, or if it was really used. Sure is that this logo draws a lot attention. This attention is actually a bit distracting the visibility of time, but with such a background, it is a pleasure to lit it twice or more. Of course this will draw quite some energy from the CR2016 battery. Still I am amazed how long these batteries lasts in these DW-81XX models. As I don’t wear them frequently, the very low amount of EL backlight procedures helps probably a lot in the long battery life.
Although I categorize this model between the other “Game” models, it does not actually show a game in the backlight. Instead the watch shows ’90’s youth street slang statements. Funny is that there is a Japanese translation of the statements with the description of the watch.
There are 7 different statements. The 8th option is a big G. They are shown randomly in the upper part of the display. The 7 statement and, in case you don’t know what it means, their description are:
“HANG” = spend time with,
“PARTY” = let’s have a good time,
“DO IT” = Go for it,
“‘S UP” = What is happening?,
“COOL” = good, great,
“MEGA” = good, great
“RAVE” = An all-night dance party.
I guess 1995 was too early for “FAT” and “HARD” (both = good, great), LOL (= Laughing out loud).
Like the Red Techno, the DW-8195 is operated with 4 buttons, so with the light button under the display, that means there is only one button on the right side. Unlike the DW-8140 and DW-8150, you can’t turn the Backlight off on this watch. The watch uses the 1430 module. The functions are good, but simple. The watch offers you a daily alarm, a 24 hour Countdown Timer and a 24 hour Stopwatch function. Pretty much the functions you need on a digital watch.
The DW-8195-1A6 has a purple color scheme. You can see the purple color come back in the model number, where 6 stands for purple and 1 for black, the main color of this watch. It is a pretty rare notation of the suffix. On the watch a lot of the lettering is purple, as is the light button. Also the cloth/leather strap has purple striping. A nice detail are the metal inserts on the straps. Where these inserts on the Techno models say “SHOCK RESIST”, it says on these models “GANGSTERS”. I think it is very unusual that Casio uses a part of the series name on a series of models. They must have been crazy...
All Crazy Gangsters had a different EL background. There are a dragon, an eagle, this helmet with sword and wings, a chimera of a lion (strength), goat (tenderness) and snake (ferocity) with big wings, a stinging bee, a fighter jet and three different pin-ups. The Pin-Ups looks very nice and were inspired by the Pin Ups painted on US war planes in the 40’s. They represented the missed sweethearts at home and were considered the goddess of the battlefield. These pin-ups seem to have regained popularity in the US in the mid-90’s. I do not have big wishes, but one of the models I hope to find ever is the model with the red head Pin-Up (DW-8195-4). A long time ago, when I was not collecting that long, I had for a brief time e-mail contact with a guy in the US (I think it was in Ohio). It must have been around 2004 or 2005. He had a wife and daughter with red hair and was looking for this model. Eventually he found it. I was very happy for him, but secretly I want this model in my collection too. Very secretly actually two, so I can wear one…
 I actually regret the fact Casio does not make these big metal/resin bezels anymore. Closest to these models in the current line are the GWX-56 and GX-56 models, nicknamed “The King”. As Casio is now designing bigger G-Shock models agin, it would be great if Casio would design such a metal/resin bezel again.
I got this model for a very good price from a good friend in Chicago. It came in a lot with several other watches, so I can’t really say what I have paid for it. Probably it would be somewhere in the $60 -$70 range. The watch is worn, but for it’s age in remarkable good shape. The Crazy Gangsters are not easy to find anymore. They were released almost 17 years ago. You can still find them in good shape in Japan, where the prices seem not sky high. Probably these models were produced at large numbers at that time. Still expect to pay around 15000 yen for a good looking/mint model (around €140.-, $180), which is without commissions, fees and shipping costs.

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