Sunday, March 31, 2013

G-Shock #14: Glider

G-lide through the day
Glide through the Moon Light
G-lide, G-lide through the sky
For far in the Distance
Far away
There lights a fire for someone
who has waited
Page from "Hard Body", catalog, USA, 1998
Page from "Tough Stuff", catalog, Germany, 1999
I was cycling home this week. Finally it was a bit warmer and we had some sunshine. I was thinking about which watch to feature this week and somehow I thought about this watch. Probably a bit early, as this is a nice summer watch. So what should I write about this model. Unconsciously, I found myself singing the above song, a variation of the song by Stephen McCurdy, from the motion picture “Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence”. I saw that movie in 1983 in Paris, where it was shown under the title “Furyo”.
So, let’s get on topic now. This watch model was a very popular watch in the late 90’s. I assume it was released in spring 1997. No less than 6 color variation were released in Europe and the US. I’m sure this watch was released in Asia. This particular version is called "Glider" by Casio Germany. The DW-003S G-Lide is the overseas variation of the Japanese DW-003XS of the X-treme series. Until 2000 the name X-treme was used for the models that were released outside Japan as G-lide. A possible explanation for this is that the pronunciation of “glide” is not easy for Japanese people. You can see this coming back in the product description of G-lide models. Behind the series name G-Lide, between parentheses you’ll see the name in Japanese, Gライド. It translates back to “G Reid”.
Maybe you also recognize this model also from the MTV stunt series “Jackass”, where one of the stuntmen wore a DW-003 in red in the beginning. Not a bad choice I think, if you see what those guys did.
I mostly remember seeing these models at our beach. This watch is made for summer and water sports. We only have a small spot for wave surfing on the north shore of our island, but you can see kite surfing and windsurfing a lot along the other beaches. Specially the German water sport tourists wore G-Shocks in the late ‘90s and a lot of them were these DW-003S models. Although 6 color variations were released, you mainly saw the green, this pale yellow and the red version, so I assume these were also the most popular colors at that time. For quite a long time these G-Shocks were pretty easy to find. I have two of these pale yellow, the red and the green. About 6 years ago an ex-student of me asked to look out for this model, which I found fairly cheap in new condition. The beginning of the ‘00s was a perfect time to search for cheap new or almost new G-Shocks, specially in Germany.
The design of this watch is entirely focused on water sports. On both ends of the case are strap adaptors, while the strap itself is lead through these adapters. This construction allows space between the strap and the back of the watch, so water might fast evaporate when you come out of the sea, lake or swimming pool. Extra protection on the back, as found an all DW-00X (Nexax or Capsule Tough) models, provides extra protection from impact and a screen protector (“bull bars”) gives extra protection for the crystal. I do not have experience with surfboards, but in case of an accidental collision in the waves, you and your G-Shock are pretty good protected. An extra advantage of the two strap adapters is, that if by force one of the spring bars is torn out, the case still hanging on the other strap adapter. With some luck, a new spring bar is all you need to repair your watch.
The watch is equipped with the 1647 module, which does not particular excel in features. Timekeeping, a 60 minute Countdown Timer, a 24 hour Stopwatch and a simple daily Alarm. That’s all there is on board.
The Countdown Timer is actually a “Surftimer”, with a different set-up and operation from what we are used from Casio. The Countdown Timer can be set in one minute increments by pushing the upper right button. By press and holding that button, you can scroll fast through the minutes. You start and stop with the fifth light button, while the bottom right button acts as a light button. The Countdown Timer has a progression beeper, which inform you the last 5 minutes before the Countdown is finished every minute. Unusual is that this progression beeper cannot be turned on or off. It’s just there.
Also the Stopwatch uses the light button to start and stop timing. The upper right button can be used to view Split Time when the Stopwatch is running, or as a reset button when the Stopwatch function has stopped.
Nice extra on this watch is that you can view the time in Countdown mode and Alarm mode. Unfortunately, the Stopwatch uses the upper digits to display the hours. In the ‘90s the Auto Illuminator function must have been great too, but it’s also a battery drainer. You activate the Auto Illuminator by press and holding the bottom button for 2 or 3 seconds. When the Auto Illuminator is activated and not manually deactivated, it will turn itself off after 3 hours, to save the battery.
I pretty much love my DW-003S, but I do not often wear it, preferred during the summer time. The jelly straps beg for the sunlight to play with it. Nowadays you won’t find these models not that easy anymore in good condition. The jelly straps have one drawback. Sunlight (specially UV), sweat and salt water cause the strap to yellow and look dirty over time. From time to time you can find a used one on eBay. The prices for these models are often very reasonable. Well, 10 years ago you might have paid between €20 and €40 for these models, for a mint one today you might expect probably double. A small price for nice looker on the beach.