Sunday, September 16, 2012

G-Shock #39: Feel the Summer with Breezy Colors.

After a short break 50 Gs continues with the 39th G-Shock this year. It is my birthday today, so I choose a nice colorful G-Shock to review today. Enjoy the read, as I enjoy a good glass of beer and some tasty cheese. Á votre santé!
I live near the sea (the North Sea that is). Like many people who grew up on our island, it is actually not an island anymore, but has grown with another island into a hue peninsula, the sea is an attractive place to be. In summer you go to the beach or hang out at the Flushing boulevard, but with the big storms in autumn and spring we also love to look at the sea. If the wind is not too hard, it’s great to feel the cold wind while walking over the beaches or dunes, but it can also be treacherous.If you ever read my 2nd article, I wrote here on 50 Gs back in 2008, I was a bit surprised by the strong winds as I left the north shoe beach “a little” sand blasted after I finished the photo’s. If it is hot in summer though, there is nothing better than relaxing in the summer breeze at the beach.
In April 2012 Casio Japan released a series of 4 models in the Breezy colors series. Except for the DW-5600SN, the models were having a color scheme involving shades of light blue and white. In the case of the DW-5600SN it is a black resin case and straps with light blue cadre around a black negative display. The G-001SN is baby blue with white buttons and accents. The other two models are GA-110SN’s. This one is not really blue, nor is it green. It is some kind of aqua, let’s say, greener than turquoise. The other GA-110SN is white, with some blue accents.
I am not sure when these models were released in Europe, but I think it was around June 2012. I knew these models were coming since the end of the winter, so I already had this model on the wish list. At that time I was also the Maharishi and the I.C.E.R.C. model came out, so I had to skip this one. Actually, this version is not quite often advertised with. You often see the white GA-110SN.
At a morning in August, I shot a message to one of the guys of Ace jewelers in Amsterdam, what they had in stock. Stupid question. I received a bombardment of G-Shock display photo’s of their actual stock in store, but I couldn’t find this GA-110SN-3AER. When I asked specific for this model, I got a reply that it was in stock. Although I was a bit afraid it was the white model, a following image was sent to confirm it was the right model (a small cheer was heard on this side at the keyboards). I also asked if they something else nice for me that I hadn’t, so I ended up also with a DW-5600BB-1.
When I opened the package, I was very surprised about the color. It was greener than what I expected. The stock photo’s look indeed a little more green than turquoise, but now I knew it was in real too. Beauty is of course a personal thing, but this model has quiet a “Wow” factor for me. Besides the usual bill, which is printed on very luxurious paper (Ace is also a dealer of Omega and IWC), I found a cool card signed by Dale, Dimer and Farid of Ace On-Line.
Besides of the nice colors, it is basically a GA-110 model. At the moment Casio has released already 27 versions of this model, which is by far the largest amount of all X-Large models. It doesn’t surprise me either. In my opinion, the GA-110 is the best looking model in the X-Large line-up, despite the new X-Large releases, like the GA-150, GAC-110 and GD-100. There is a little side note for the GA-110 models… If you buy it for fast reading analog time, due to a busy dial, these models are not always pretty good readable if you are not used to it. The white Breezy Colors model has contrasting blue hands on a merely white dial, so actually that model is probably easier readable than this model where the blue and aqua hand rotates over a white dial with aqua/turquoise digital displays. Well, I even got used to the total magenta hands and dial of the pink Hyper Colors model, so if you only own this model, you probably get used to it.
The GA-110SN-3AER has a 5146 module (a module is the digital equivalent to the caliber of a mechanical watch). It is powered with a CR1220 battery. In the past almost all non-solar G-Shock modules were powered by the CR2016 battery, but the new X-Large ana-digi models are powered by a CR1220 battery, while the digital X-Large models are powered by a CR2025. The choice for the smaller CR1220 is probably because the movement doesn’t allow enough space for a CR20XX battery. The choice of a smaller battery for ana-digi modes is not new. In the 90’s these models, like the Gaussman and the early Giez, were often powered by one or more small silver-oxide batteries. According the manual the CR1220 battery should power the watch for at least 2 years at normal use. For a G-Shock, this is exceptional short as 3 years is more normal. In my experience batteries last often much longer than what the manual says. My pink Hyper Color GA-110B-4 is 2 and a half year old and is still working fine.
So what do we find on this 5146 module. First of all, it keeps time. It’s, of course, the most important function on a watch. The time is shown analog with the hands, and in Time Keeping mode, you can also read the time in the lower display. You can actually toggle the lower digital display between showing current time and current date. The seconds keep ticking in the top right corner.
First of all, when leaving the Time Keeping mode, you find a 100 hour Stopwatch unction. You can use this stopwatch as a normal stopwatch, but it can also function as a Tachymeter. If you input a distance and measure the elapsed time, the watch can show you the speed of the object or vehicle while passing that given distance. It can measure the speed up to 1000 units/hour. For units you can think about kilometers and miles. It’s a cool feature, but I think most GA-110 owners hardly use this nifty function. It also requires a little study of the manual to understand the speed reading.
Next function you’ll find is the Countdown Timer. It’s a regular 24 hour version, with a handy Auto-Repeat function. The programmable interval is 1 minute, which is sufficient in most cases.
The World Time function can show you the time in 48 cities in 29 time zones. Like other watches with the World Time feature, it is important to set your timezone in Time Keeping mode properly (including DST if necessary) to get the right readings in World Time mode. You have to apply DST manually for the different cities if necessary. This is unfortunately a little weakness in the World Time function. The rules for DST (or Summer Time, as it is called here in Europe) are not always strict. As the watch is pre-programmed to 2099, it is simply impossible to apply current DST rules for the programmed cities, as it is not sure if they all apply until 2099.
The Alarm function has 5 Alarms on board. Like most current models with multi Alarms, one is a Snooze Alarm. Like almost every G-Shock model, this model of course has a Hourly Chime (Hourly Time Signal) too. Are there model that don’t have this feature, I can hear you think. Well, there is the analog MRG-120/121 which simply doesn’t have any alarm and there is the DW-5200C, which has a half hourly chime, which is pretty unique.
The GA-110SN has an amber LED that can light the dial. It is not meant to light the digital displays, or if it was intend to, it doesn’t do the job very well. The hands however, could be read properly.
It is a pity I bought this watch at the end of the summer. The color combo is at it’s best on the first sunny days in spring. These color probably give you a similar happy feeling, like seeing the soft pink tones of the blossoms of cherry trees, or the first fresh green leaves after a long cold and dark winter. According GPS, this model is already discontinued, in opposite of the other Breezy Colors models (I’m writing this early September 2012). Luckily it is still widely available, but probably stocks will run out, so it might become hard to find. In Japan it was with an MSRP of ¥15000 (€152.-)quite expensive, compared with the retail price in Europe and the US (respectively €129 and $130). In Japan it is pretty normal that you pay a price that is about 10% less in the bigger electronica shops though. If you like this fresh color and a nice big striking G-Shock, this is the one. I’m pretty happy with mine. I need to give a big Thank You to Dale and his colleagues of Ace On-Line for their extensive help and service in purchasing this model. Thank you guys!

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