Sunday, July 1, 2012

G-Shock #30: The First G-Lide model

This weeks G-Shock was more special than I thought when I took it out of the box for review. It's the overseas version of the DW-002S-9T, which was released in May 1996. For me it’s special, because I have I very much like the DW-002 models.
In Japan this model was actually the start of the X-treme Series. Although 95 models were released in this series, the series was relatively short lived. In 1998 Casio started to release G-Lide models and the last X-treme model was released in 1999. Since then Casio only released the G-Lide series. According GPS 154 G-Lides are released until now. Although the amount seems not that much, compared to the 95 models released in only 3 years time, this series is still very alive. Recently Casio released very nice big GLX-150 models.
G-Lide and X-Treme were series specially released aimed for young people who practice extreme sports. With these sports Casio means sports like surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding. Often a model is made for one of these specific sports. This DW-002S-9VT, which is probably the correct model number, has the S after the basic model number. This S specific means this watch is made for surfing. There are quite some different models ending with S, like the DW-6900S, DW-9000S, DW-003S.
Recently someone asked how this series name was pronounced. It could be read two ways, Glide, like what you do on your board, or Gee Lide. I always have pronounced it like Gee Lide and later someone confirmed this was the was Casio pronounce it too.
The DW-002 models have a special place in my heart. I very much like the modle design, specially the huge looking case and the weird button design. It is the second, so called, “Capsule Tough” model, in Japan better known as Nexax. It is interesting to see how G-Shock evolved from the DW-001, via the DW-002 and DW-003 eventually to the DW-004. In these line-up, the DW-003 and DW-004 look like the final designs, where the DW-001 and DW-002 look more like prototypes. It is known that the DW-001 was actually a study prototype, that was released after a Japanese pop star had recommended to release it. The DW-002 looks also like the case isn’t totally evolved yet. Typically it the place above the case that shows the G-SHOCK text. Like the DW-001 it is in a relative thin font and located relative low, near the strap, or in this case, the strap adapter. As far as I can recall the newer G-Shock models, the G-SHOCK text is placed on about the highest place of the bezel, except for some MR-G models. Another reason to believe the DW-002 was not evolved completely is the release date of the first DW-002. That was November 1994, the same month the DW-001 was released.
Typical on this particular G-Lide model is that the back plate does not match the rubber back protector, which is characteristic for the NEXAX models. Where normally the model number and module number can be read in the little “window” of the back protector, on this model only the place of manufacturing can be read. Maybe wrong backplates were used in Korea, as my Japan and Malaysia DW-002 models seem to have the right information n the window. A quick look under this protector (after removing 8 screws and distance holders) reveal a small design error. The complete etching of the back is shifted a little upwards. Normally you can’t see the CASIO logo of the back and is “SHOCK RESISTANT” and “Stainless Steel Back” hidden behind the rubber of the back protector. I’m not sure if this is a one piece flaw that slipped through the production quality control, or that a completely production batch has this misprint (G-Shockers united!).
Pretty unusual is he white face plate. I am not sure if this is original, but I frankly have no evidence it is. The original DW-002S-9T has a black face plate, which matches more to the gray resin. Not that it looks totally off, but the white face plate looks a bit odd on this model.

Like I mentioned above, the case of the DW-002 is pretty high. About 19 mm. The raised protection rim around display looks also pretty high. The display must be well protected. The case itself looks like it is made out of two parts. Actually, it is. The lower part, which sticks out when looked from above, is actually the back protector. The well protected buttons are also formed with the case. Only the lowest part of the button can be reached by your fingers, as the upper part is almost recessed into the case. For me the buttons are the best looking feature on the DW-002. The slim and long design add to the perception that the case is high.
This DW-002 has the 1557 module. You should not expect too much functions on a ’90 G-Lide model, but this is waht it got on board: A 60 minute Surf Timer, a 24 hour Stopwatch and an Alarm function with hourly chime. Although the Surf Timer is only capable of 60 minutes count down, it has a Progress Beeper on board. If the Flash function s enabled (the Flash function flashes when an alarm signal goes off), also the EL backlight keeps you tracked of the count down progress. The Surf Timer is a bit different to program. You can push as long on the Adjust button as you like, but nothing happens. You can program the Surf Timer (in minutes only) only by pressing the upper right button. If you keep it pushed, you can set at high speed. 5 minutes before ending the Alarm sounds for about 5 seconds. From then every minute a signal is given. About three seconds before the count down ends, the alarm beeps the last seconds at a higher pitch, before the end signal sounds in a lower pitch. With the 60 minutes count down time of the Surf Timer, Casio probably assumes a surfer does not need to time long periods.
The G-Lide logo is shown nicely on the lower strap adapter, while on the other strap adapter WR200M is shown. When the EL backlight is lit, you can also see the G-Lide loge. There is no logo shown in the DW-002S-9T (the Japanese model). The strap is designed to drain water as fast as possible to the outside. That’s why there are long holes in the band. The strap adapters also keep the case a little raised from the band, allowing ventilation, so the watch dries quick after getting out of the water. The one piece band also prevents accidental loss of the watch, when due to a hard blow one of the spring bars might malfunction. In such case the case sticks still on the other strap adapter. The buckle is quite big for a Casio watch. I do not know why such a buckle is used. A plastic buckle, like on the DW-001 would be maybe more appropriate, as this kind of buckle is quite rust resistant.
It is nowadays not that easy to find a DW-002, but not impossible. Specially the basic DW-002 models pop up quite often on eBay if you look good enough. Prices are also often quite reasonable. If you are lucky you might find one for around €30 in good condition, €50 for a near mint one. As goes with more older G-Shocks, as this one dates back to 1996, it is not recommended to buy this as a daily wearer. The resin is already getting older and I have heard cases of first DW-002 with broken bezels. This is of course a pity, but G-Shocks are not made to last forever, although for a resin watch the durability of G-Shocks and Casio watches in general, is very high. I think this watch is more for collectors who love this model for it’s design or it’s history. I think I got this watch from my friend Neil in Chicago a few years ago in a batch of G-Shocks. I probably paid a friends price for it, or maybe even got it with some more expensive exclusive Gs. Anyhow, this model is fun to have in my collection. If I didn’t had written this article, I probably wouldn’t have realized this is really the first G-Lide model and also not have noticed the misprint on the case back.


Gary near NYC said...

Great article, Sjors! Very interesting model. I never quite liked the resin "G" cut-out piece covering the back plate, because of the high chance to trap water against the stainless steel backing. Stainless steel is not completely rust resistant, as you spotted on this model after removing the backing.

Anyway, a fun and curious model that started the G-Lide series. It's fascinating to see how it was just 4 years later that the GL-110 came out that harkens back to a sturdier G-Shock (tough pliable resin bezel, polished stainless steel screw caseback, all steel case, etc).

Unknown said...

Sjors, so glad you wrote an article on this piece. This exact model was my first G-Shock and led to my love for the bulky DW-002 as well!! You mentioned that you were not sure if the white faceplate was original. I can assure you that it is. As I mentioned, I have the EXACT model, however there are two very small differences. Mine has the white faceplate as well, however, the "Water 200M Resist" text on my model is yellow (matching the yellow resin) instead of red. Also, all the text in the "window" on the back plate lines up correctly.

anyway, thanks again for this great article on my all time favorite G...right color and all!!!

dorkinaut23 said...

As I understand it, there's is no "L" sound in Japanese and typically a Japanese person will pronounce it "G-Ride" just as they usually refer to Bruce Lee as "Bruce Ree". So it's understandable that Casio would have used the "G-Lide" tag outside of Japan and the "X-Treme" tag for domestic models. What's interesting is that after a couple of years they started selling G-Lides inside of Japan as well.

Unknown said...

Hi Dorkinaut,

That's a pretty well thought explanation. I should have known that, because there are more pronunciation problems. For instance, the U and A are pronounced also similar. You often see Madman instead of Mudman, which is quiet funny, though sometimes can lead to mix-ups.

By the way, my name is written in Japanese as "ショーズ", which is pronouced as "Sho-Zu". Also avoiding the R.