Sunday, December 29, 2013

G-Shock #50: Dawn of the Year of the Horse

We probably are preparing for the end of the year. My Christmas holidays already have begun and a lot of friends of me also have a short end of the year break between Christmas and New Year. When I was preparing for a new series of 50 article a year ago, I knew from a few models that they should be included. This was the first one that came to mind and I also knew when to post it. As 50th and close to New Year. I think when you see which model I am talking about, it makes sense.
Todays article is about a model which you won’t find much information about. It was released as a 20th Anniversary model, but pretty limited and only in Hong Kong. It’s the Horse model from the 2003 “12 Beasts” series. It seems that the initiative to this series was made by the famous Javys in Hong Kong, the legendary G-Factory shop. Recommended to visit if you may be there, but bring a fat wallet.

The 12 Beast series were first introduced March 2000 with 7 G-100BT models. A very beautiful series, which were sold worldwide. This ana-digi models had a tie dye double cloth/Velcro strap and a cool dial with chinese characters instead of ciphers on the dial. In January 2003 Casio released 12 GW-300BTJ models for the Japanese market. These G-2900BT models were released in March 2003. In January 2004 Javys returned with another 12 Beasts series, but now based upon the G-7100-1JF model.
This G-2900BT does at first look not look that special. It actually looks like a basic G-2900 model. The reason why this watch is special will reveal in the dark. It has a special backlight. There are 12 different G-2900BT variations. On for each animal of the Chinese Zodiac. When these came out, it was just out, so I could choose from all 12 Beasts. I choose the Horse (馬 ), as I am born in 1966. In the Chinese zodiac that was the year of the Horse.
The Chinese Zodiac, is like the Western Zodiac divided in 12 parts, but instead of cycle periods of a month, the Chinese Zodiac has cycle periods of a year. A full cycle of the Chinese Zodiac takes 12 years. The sign of a year is also linked to one of the five element. These elements change every two year. This means a full cycle of the chinese Zodiac takes 60 years. In 1966 I was born in the year of the Fire Horse. The Horse is the 7th sign. This new year, 2014, which actually starts according the Chinese Zodiac on January 31st., will be the Wooden Horse.
The year of the Horse should be a better year for people born in a year of the Horse. So I looked at a random Zodiac website. The start is not that good for me, I think. “Horses will be prone to health issues specifically those conditions that target the lungs. They are more likely be involve on accidents too.” Well, the lucky numbers are 2, 3, and 7, which are nice. I often choose number three to be my lucky number. people close to me know it comes from the infamous TB303, one of my favorite machines. Lucky colors to wear are blue, grey and purple. Bloo? I’ll stick to purple then, ha ha. “Horses are more likely to have money issues.””They typically over spend for entertainment and fun and to help others.” Now, that’s funny close. I spend a lot of money to buy G-Shocks, but also on hosting services for my photo’s and websites, so you can view my collection and articles. I better should not read too deep and serious into my Zodiac sign.
The G-2900BT is a slight variation of the G-2900-1A. Instead of red lettering of the G-Shock name, all lettering is white. The G of the light button isn’t red but black. It gives the watch a pretty clean look. The design is typical for the first half of the ‘00s. The watch is moderate in (G-Shock-) size and has a kind of streamlined forms. In the first half of the 00’s Casio released several G-Shocks that were or looked smaller than was usual in the ‘90s, like the G-2300, G-2600 and G-3000. Quite the opposite of what’s happening now with all the new X-Large models.
These 12 Beasts series are also part of the 20th Anniversary of G-Shock. It comes in the usual cardboard G-Shock box, but it has an extra “20th Anniversary” printed under the G-Shock logo. The 20th Anniversary logo (as far as I know, not yet designed by Eric Haze) is engraved on the back of this watch. It’s the only visual mark on the outside of the watch to show it’s different from a basic G-Shock. Unless you unleash the amazing backlight, of course. In my case, a multicolor Chinese Zodiac Horse shows up. That’s why I like this watch so much. It’s very well done and almost a pity these watches are not much known.
On board of this watch you find a pretty unique 2548 module. The functionality of this module is actually the same as the 2821 module, found on the G-7100BT models, which were released a year later. The display of the 2548 module has quite a sporty layout. The big eye, which, strangely, counts up and down minutes, loos like it’s moving. The seconds are count down by two some kinds of sails.
Most different function on this watch is the e-Memory function. It is a kind of Databank function, but then password protected. You can set a 4 digit password to protect the content of the e-Memory from other people. The password can only be reset with an AC reset, so it’s good to find a number which is easy to remind for you, but difficult to decipher by others. The e-Memory can store up records with URLs, e-mail addresses ad other important text data. In total there is a free memory for 315 characters. One record can hold maximal 63 characters. So the number of records you can store depend on how much characters there are stored in memory. I have 2 records, one holding the server address to upload to G-Peopleland and it’s username in one record, my old contact e-mail address in the other. That upload address is pretty long. The memory shows me I have 70% of free memory left.
The other functions on the watch are a 27 cities and 29 timezones World Time, 5 Alarms (one is a Snooze Alarm) with a Hourly Signal, a 24 hour Countdown Timer with facultative Auto-Repeat function and a 24 hour Stopwatch function. Also on board is an Auto-Illuminator function. When toggled on, the EL backlight lights up when you tilt your arm towards you when holding your arm parallel to the ground. This is usually the way you hold your arm when you want to know the time on your wrist. The G-2900 was one of the first G-Shocks with EL that was designed to have a 10 year battery life under normal circumstances. Since I bought this watch more than 13 years ago, I can confirm the original battery is still alive and kicking. I have to admit it has almost never used an Alarms sound or an EL backlight operation, so it might survive another year easily.
This 12 Beasts model is a must have for everyone who likes the Chinese Horoscope. It was cool that you could choose your own sign at the time this model came out. Frankly I do not remember what the price of this watch was. I think I paid around €100.- for it. I cannot remember if it was very expensive, so it probably wasn’t. They sold out pretty fast around that time, so I think they were not made in huge numbers. I also can’t remember seeing one for sale, and actually never saw those G-7100BT models for sale too. Probably they were only sold in the G-Factory in Hong Kong and were never intend to be sold on-line. All I can remember the guy selling it to me had direct access via Javys. Although the look of the G-2900 is not very spectacular and I never will wear this watch, it’s a pretty loved piece in my collection. This concludes my last G-Shock article of 2013. I hope you all have a good “Year of the Wooden Horse”. Happy New Year!!!