Saturday, June 30, 2012

Intermezzo #54: Happy Casio Day!!!

You might have noticed that almost all digital Casio G-Shock stock photo's or big shop display props show the same time, June 30th, 10:5850. Well, I cheated a little, as it is actually 10:58 pm, but we do not use this kind of time notation here. Casio uses this notation probably to show all digits spread over the screen well, without showing 88:8888. As in some countries are used to the 12 hour (like analog) format and others use 24 hour format, Casio used a time before 12:0000 so these stock photo's and other material could be used worldwide. To match my month of Mudman, I conclude this intermezze with an appropriate photo.
Happy Casio Day!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

G-Shock #29: Men In Military Colors Mudman

This is not the usual Sunday, where I publish my weekly G-Shock article, but since June ends on Saturday, I'll throw in an extra Mudman article, to conclude a month of Mudman models. Todays Mudman is the Men In Military Colors Mudman, model number GW-9300ER-5JF. It is a Japan only release, although there is an overseas version, G-9300ER-5. The Men In Military Colors series is called “Earth Tone Colors”.
The Men In Military Colors series were not released all at the same time, but spread over two months. It might be a little delay caused by the flood in Thailand last year. The GW-9300ER Mudman and GF-8250ER Frogman were released in April 2012, the GW-9110ER Gulfman and the GW-9200ERJ Rideman were released a month later, May 2012. I guess both series names give away the color schemes of these watches. The Frogman and Gulfman are in navy-blue and gray tones, the Riseman is in dark and light khaki green tones and this Mudman is in brown tones, that remind me of wet and dry red brown mud. Funny detail is that Casio recently premiered a promotional Mudman video, featuring a motor cross rider, riding on a trail of red brown mud. In Zeeland (Zealand), the province where I live, the soil is sea clay, which is gray to blue gray in color. Still, I think it is cool that Casio released a Mudman actually in mud colors. It’s a bit like the green GW-200F-3JR Frogman of 2009. Eventually Casio had to release a green Frog…
When this series was announced I immediately understand it was impossible to go for the whole series. They were all not quite the cheap models. As, at the time of release, I didn’t had one of the new 3rd generation Mudman models, I thought it would be great to own this brown GW-9300ER. I was also very tempted about the green Riseman, which had, in my opinion, also a very nice color scheme. The Frogman and Gulfman, based upon the old DW-6300B-2 Frogman, did appeal less to me. They just do not appeal that good to me personally.
While the navy-gray and the khaki green models represent the traditional navy and army colors. With the Mudman I think Casio let inspire themselves with the U.S. 6 Color Desert Camouflage, better known for it’s nickname “ Chocolate Chip Camouflage”.
Actually U.S. 6 Color Desert Camouflage was not an effective camouflage. It got it’s nickname from one of my favorite ice creams “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough” and it was therefore also sometimes called Cookie Dough Camouflage.
While I’m writing I actually just returned from shopping, driving in the car with the sun burning above, playing “Lady” of Modjo. A Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough would go in like, eh, ice cream… It’s of course also possible that the colors were inspired by the 3 Color Desert Camouflage pattern, but that pattern has also a green component and then I could not have mentioned the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Need to run to the freezer now!

Not only the colors of the Men In Military Colors refer to the military theme. When the backlight is lighted an on military insignias inspired image lights up. The Frogman shows an anchor with a serpent, the Gulfman an anchor, the Riseman an eagle and this Mudman shows a big star in a circle.
The GW-9300ER has, like all GW-9300 models, carbon fiber straps. It is from the outside not clearly visible, but you can feel the difference. The strap holder has the known carbon fiber pattern. A black anodized buckle is a nice finish of the strap. I do not think carbon fiber was used to reduce weight. The G-9300 weighs 68 grams, the GW-9300 weighs 70 gram. Both very light, thought he G-9300 has normal resin straps. It must have been done for a bigger strength.
The GW-9300ER Mudman is driven by the 3260 module (last weeks G-9300 had the 3261 module). Since I reviewed the G-9300 Mudman last week pretty thoroughly, I hope, I think I mowed myself quite a lot of grass before my feet already. In functionality it is practically the same, except for the fact that this model also receives the signals from the 6 public Atomic Time transmitters. If you have set your hometown right and you live in the service area of one of those transmitter the Mudman will attempt up to 6 times to catch the signal after midnight. When the signal is picked up successfully, the next attempt will be next night.
The most important addition to the 9300 type Mudman is the Compass and Thermometer function. You come into Compass and Thermometer Mode when pressing the COMP button, the unusual middle button on the right side. The Thermometer is pretty accurate, but yo need to take the watch off and let it acclimatize to the surrounding temperature, as the wrist temperature and possibly clothing disturb a good reading. More useful is the compass. I just discovered the Bearing Memory function. If you need to store a bearing, press the ADJUST button and instead of the bearing, the degrees of the stored direction is shown in the upper display. Probably a good function if you need to follow a certain direction for a certain time. Unusual is that the Thermometer function can show ºC and ºF both. Normally JP Domestic models only display ºC. Interesting detail is that you can’t view the temperature in ºF when you have chosen Tokyo as your home town.
With the MODE button you can scroll through the normal modes of the Mudman. You find the Moon Phase (Moon Age) Mode, a 48 city and 31 time zones World Time mode, a 1000 Hour Stopwatch, a 24 hour Countdown Timer and an Alarm Mode with 4 normal Alarms, a Snooze Alarm and of course the Hourly Chime.
I went to a colleague of mine who is an avid fisher and asked him the meaning of the Moon Phase. At new moon and full moon, the tide difference is the highest. At dead tide the difference is here about 2 meters, but at spring tide it can be up to 5.5 meters. Although my colleague said to me he doesn't really look at the moon phase, the currents are of course a lot stronger at new moon and full moon. The interesting fish like high currents. As we have even a 2 meter tide difference at dead tide, there is always strong currents.
At the time of writing this article, I have written some articles in advance, the GW-9300ER is still in production. This probably means that this model, and it’s overseas G-9300ER version are probably still available for some time. Unfortunately the overseas version, which is, as far as I know, at the moment only released in the US, is marketed as rare. It looks like this model is kept artificially rare, so sellers can sell it for a higher price than the MSRP of $200. The MSRP for the GW-9300 is ¥36000, but I got it for a much better price. I frankly have no idea exactly what I paid for it, as I also had ordered two of the new G-Shock mooks (magazine x book = mook), but I guess it was something around ¥30000 (±$375).
The price of this Mudman got me puzzled. The retail price of a G-9300 would be €200 here in Europe, maybe €220 max for a special edition. This doesn’t really explain the €100 price difference between the JP Domestic model and the overseas model. If you like this model, it might good to consider if you go for the Japan domestic model with the carbon fiber strap and 6 multiband Waveceptor function or the cheaper overseas G-9300ER. With three months of production, this model will not sell out fast, but if you want to buy one, I recommend to buy it now and not in a few months, as this color scheme seems pretty popular.