Sunday, July 29, 2012

G-Shock #34: Crush on G

I have a deep love for the G-Shock models from the 90s. Not that new G-Shocks not interest me, in contrary, I love to see how the G-Shock models keeps evolving further, but when my interest started at the end of the 90’s, these were the models that kept me into my G-Craze.
The first G-Shock I got were bought in shops. The reason therefore was pretty simple. We got our internet connection end 2000.
From New Year 2001 I started working at another dependance of our school. In the quiet hours I started looking for G-Shocks on internet in an empty classroom. I think it was late at a Wednesday afternoon, my eyes fell on this yellow DW-004 on a Dutch on-line marketplace.
The photo’s looked promising, but consumer digital photography 11 years ago was still n it’s child years. Most cheap mobile phones you can buy nowadays for scratch deliver better quality photo’s than pretty expensive compact cameras then. I decided to give it a try and dialed the phone number that was given by the advert description.
The watch was owned by a girl, somewhere north of The Netherlands. She didn’t wear it often and old it for a good price. I think we agreed a price of f75.-. It looked then as a lot of money, but less than an year earlier I bought my first G-Shock, a maroon DW-004D-4V for a hefty f250.-. In 11 years time have changed. For a price of €35.- I wouldn’t hesitate now to buy a good looking 2nd hand G-Shock and €115.- is still a reasonable shop price for a G-Shock nowadays.
While I was on the phone, I sent money to her bank account, which she almost immediately received. While I now have the patience to wait two or three weeks for a package from the other side of the world, the wait for my new watch looked weeks. This on-line market place didn’t have a feedback system, like eBay provides, so I had to trust the seller (that’s probably the reason I contacted her by phone instead of e-mails).
Next day a small package was delivered at my house. I was quite impressed that the watch looked like new. It seems that the girl had never really worn it. Maybe she got it as an unwanted gift, but if so, it must have been a quite expensive gift! I was quite surprised I could get such a good looking watch for less than one third of the regular retail price. It was not long before I discovered eBay Germany, where I bought a lot of G-Shocks for cheap prices around 2001 and 2002.
I always look up to wearing a watch for the first time. Specially when I already have a similar model. In this case I already had my first maroon DW-004D. As I had only a hand full of G-Shock’s then, that one got a lot of wrist time. Somehow, I never worn this G, so it is still looking like new, although it had been in a shoe box with other G-Shocks for more than 10 years already.
First thing I do if I do an article about an older G-Shock model that had an European release, is try to find the German name. Casio Europe, located in Germany, gave every G-Shock model variant that was released in Germany a name, until they stopped quite recently. Unfortunately, there is no real database for these names and I had a hard time finding the nickname for this one. I knew my first Maroon DW-004 was called “Solid Server”, but if I did a search to that name, Google simply referred to old material that I had written on G-Peopleland and 50 Gs. Ai Ai. I then tried the DW-004D-9V and found out, that this was the correct model number for this watch. Well, it was an educated guess, but it didn’t show up a name. Finally I got an idea. I try to keep up a small database in Word on my computer, which G-Shock model I got when. Besides a number (currently stuck on #591) and the model number, I also store the module number and the “German Name”. Luckily I had saved the name. This model was called “Crusher”.
The straps are a combination of leather and cloth. The yellow (synthetic) cloth is stitched upon black leather. I like this kind of straps, but it seems these disappeared together with the DW-002, DW-003 and DW-004 models.
A DW-6900 with the 1289 module, next to the DW-004 with the 1659 module.
The DW-004 can come with different modules, but this 1659 is probably the most common module. Actually it works exactly the same as the 1289 module (most common module on the DW-6900) and the 1595 module, which is found on the futuristic looking G-Cool GT-001. Unlike the DW-6900, the DW-004 is operated with big plastic pushers, which are protected with button guards on the bezel. When you are used to the watch, it’s easy to operate and the guards prevent accidental pushing of buttons.
The display of the 1659 module is split in three parts. The middle part is the graphic area. Where the big eye that in Time Keeping Mode counts the 10 seconds, the seconds are counted in the rectangle at the right of the eye. It works similar as the eyes of a DW-6900, but the function of the 2 eyes with 5 sections is now replaced to one rectangle with10 sections. When I bought my first G-Shock, this look with this graphic area appealed to me as the best looking display that my jeweler had in store. Like the Triple Eyed DW-6900 design, this module look also survived, as it is still used in the DW-9052. This model will probably stay in production for a while, because recently Casio updated the 1659 module with a newer module, that will have a continuing calendar until the end of 2099. Also the new GD-110 model will have a module that looks strong like this module.
The DW-004 with 1659 module has three functions on board beside Time Keeping mode: An Alarm mode, a Stopwatch mode and a Countdown Timer mode (the manual actually speaks about a Countdown Alarm, but I assume that Countdown Timer is more used now).
The Alarm mode has one alarm. Nowadays even the new basic models have 3 to 5 alarms, but this was not the standard back in the 90’s. The Alarm can be used as a Daily Alarm, a Date Alarm, a One Month Alarm and a Monthly Alarm. The latter two Alarms are the logical consequence of the Date Alarm. If you don’t input a day and a date (leave the digits black), you get the Daily Alarm, if you input the day and date you get a Date Alarm. The other two alarms can be achieved by leaving the day or the month blank. Of course there is an Hourly Chime on board too.
The Stopwatch is a regular 24 hour version. Sometimes at school (young) students ask me how to operate a stopwatch. I simply say: “You start by pushing the Start button, you Stop by pushing the Stop button and you reset by pushing the Reset button”. Well, even a not so smart student knows he asked not the brightest question. Of course you can use the split function to measure an interval (like a lap), or to measure both 1st and 2nd place.
The Countdown Timer has also a capacity of 24 hours. It also has an Auto Repeat function. It’s a bit hidden. When you set the Count Down time (digits are flashing), you push the light button. Instead of the EL Backlight lighting up, “AUTO” appears above the minutes. Note that the operation of the 1659 is exactly like the 1289 module, so this also goes for the DW-6900. Frankly I had forgotten that this function was also available on that model.
Furthermore, the watch has a Flash function. When an alarm signal sounds, the display lights up shortly. When this function is turned on, a kind of cubistic star figure appears above the seconds. You can toggle this function on and off by press and holding the lower right button.
When i started collecting DW-004’s were not hard to find for a budget friendly price. Nowadays it’s not that easy anymore, specially if you want one is a good state like this one. prices should not be too high for these. They were mass produced and sold worldwide (except in Japan). You will probably have to pay quite more than the €30.- I paid for it 10 years ago, but I think a price between €65 and €80 would be reasonable. If you do not really like the DW-004 look, but like the way the module’s look, you can pretty easily find a DW-9052.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

G-Shock #33: Basic White in High Key Exposure.

In March 2012 Casio released a series of 4 watches in the so called “Solid Colors” series. This series contains 2 black and 2 white G-Shock models. Internationally this series was split as Basic Black and Basic White series. The main feature of these models is the lack of lettering around the display. Only the brand, CASIO, is shown. Of course the functions of the buttons are still on the bezel, but no paint is used, so only shadows show them slightly. For the white models, it’s a kind of stealth, but then, in white surroundings (like snow, laboratory, etc).
This article is about the Solid Colors DW-6900WW-7, outside Japan better known as Basic White. I think I saw the first photo’s of this model in January 2012 and was quite curious how it would look like in real. Some people in the G-Shock community complained in the past about the amount of lettering on the display on some G-Shocks. While I think on the DW-6900 models this is not excessive, I even had my thoughts with the GW-M5600 with 3 lines of lettering above the display and 4 below. For me the functions on a basic G-Shock are pretty logical, specially the 5 button models. With the Mode button bottom left, the Start/Stop button bottom right and the Adjust button top left, it’s normally very easy to operate the functions of your G-Shock.
I think Casio had heard these comments and made this very interesting series. The Solid Colors series consist of three black models and two white models. These are: DW-5600BB-1, GA-120BB-1, GDF-100BB-1, DW-6900WW-7 and GD-100WW-7. I think it’s pretty logical that the BB are the Basic Black models and the WW are the Basic White models. Currently I only have this DW-6900WW-7, but I am also want to have the DW-5600BB, because it would be nice to do a face to face comparison with a DW-5600VT model.
White G-Shocks seem to be pretty popular at the moment. I see a lot of white GD-100’s and DW-6900s lately on the streets. I even spotted a student at my school wearing this Basic White model before I even got it. White is a great color (it is actually not a color but a combination of all colors) to wear in summer. There is only one disadvantage about white resin, it gets dirty fast by “bleeding” clothes. When wearing white or other bright colored G-Shocks, it’s best not to wear dark or strong other colored clothing over it, as the resin easily adapts the fabric colorants. This seems no problem for me is summer or at work. I almost always only wear short sleeves.
The first association I had with this white out G-Shock, was the big white void in the movie THX-1138, which was the prison of THX’s world. This movie is one of my favorite classics. It was the first movie written (together with Walter Murch) and directed by George Lucas.
Here stealth would not mean black, but white. As I cleaned the lab for the big summer break, I could use one to make my own white void for making “high key” images. As I actually have no experience with high key photography, this G-Shock would be an ideal model, patiently posing in my own white void.
Everything on this watch looks white, but I think the face plate and display show a very little greenish hue. This small, hardly noticeable, accent makes the watch more alive, than if it was plain white. It was something that even attracted me to buy this watch.
The DW-6900WW comes with the new 3230 module. This module is practically the same as the classic 1289 module, except that the calendar of the watch now works from January 1 2000 until December 31 2099. Besides Timekeeping function, there is an Alarm function, a 24 hour Stopwatch and a 24 hour Countdown Timer. The Alarm can be programmed as a Daily Alarm, a Date Alarm, a 1-Month alarm and a Monthly Alarm. The last two alarm types can be achieved by leaving the day, respectively the month blank in the date area. The Alarm function also has a Hourly Chime. The Countdown Timer has an Auto-Repeat function, which of course can be toggled on and off. Always cool is the Flash function. When an Alarm sounds the EL Backlight light up shortly.
The DW-6900WW, is like all other Solid Colors models still in production and can be easily obtained at a good Casio dealer or on-line shop. Prices might vary a bit, but in the US the common price is $99.-, in Europe that is €99.-. If you look a bit harder, you can find it for around €70.- in East Asia, though shipping and import duties (not mentioning the two to three weeks shipping times) might make it less interesting to buy it intercontinental. I simply bought mine at Unknown, a sneaker and street fashion store in Alkmaar, who have also an on-line shop called I Love Sneakerz. It was the last one that they had in store when I bought it (this models seems to be very popular), but since this model is still in production, I think this model will be restocked in Europe.
"You are a true believer.
Blessings of the state, blessings of the masses.
Thou art a subject of the divine.
Created in the image of man,
by the masses, for the masses.

Let us be thankful we have commerce.
Buy more. Buy more now.
Buy more, and be happy."