Sunday, April 28, 2013

G-Shock #18: A special Christmas Gift for the workers of Tullow Oil on the Sedco Energy

From time to time I get e-mail from people who want to sell their G-Shock to me. Although you might I have a well paid job, because I have such a big collection, you’ll be disappointed. I have to turn down a lot of these mails, or, when it is really interesting, I’ll ask if it is possible to hold for a short time. That is what happened with this G-Shock. It is a real interesting G-Shock I think. Also, because it is not from a hot fashion brand, I could get it for a fair price.
Most interesting was that the mail was sent to me from Ghana. Recently an oilfield was discovered about 60 kilometer from the coast of Ghana. The exploitation of this oilfield is in hands of Tullow Oil, one of the biggest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies. Although based in Europe, they are the leading oil company in Africa, with recent discoveries in Uganda, Kenya and Ghana.
Near the cast of Ghana you’ll find the oil rig Sedco Energy, exploring the oilfield for Tullow Oil. Last Christmas Tullow Oil had a special gift for the workers on this oil rig. They received a special G-Shock. A DW-9052 with the Tullow Oil and Tedco Energy printed on the straps. For this limited edition Tullow chose the less usual version with yellow/white lettering. That’s why the model number has -1BCG. as suffix (1B means in this case it is a variation of the basic black model). As the Tedco Energy can house maximal 130 workers, I guess that probably around 150 of these G-Shocks were made, which were all given away and not sold in public.
You might think, why would this worker sell his watch to me. Work on an oil rig is pretty rough, so a G-Shock is a pretty good watch on such a location. The worker that sold me his G-Shock already had a G-Shock. As this was a special G-Shock, he couldn’t get himself to wear this watch. He would rather sell it to someone who is really happy with it, and doesn’t want to resell with inflated prices. A pretty interesting story I think. I am very pleased he found me.
Another interesting aspect to introduce this watch on 50 Gs is that I actually do not own a DW-9052, although it is a pretty popular basic model. The DW-9052 is mainly sold in the US. In Japan the DW-90XX models went already out of production in 2002 (XX stands for a variety of number variations, with the same case), but this DW-9052 is recently produced. You can tell by the new 3232 module. The new modules were introduced in the summer of 2011. Before that time, the DW-9052 was equipped with the 1659 module. The only difference is that the old module had a pre-programmed calendar that ends on December 31 2039, while the calendar on the new 3232 module lasts until 2099. The fact Casio upgraded the old 1659 module to the 3232 module suggests that the DW-9052 will be in production for a long time.
Although the look is very different on that of the DW-6900 with the 3230 module, the operation is exactly the same. For those who think the eyes of a DW-6900 might be distracting, the look of the 3232 module probably looks more calm. I personally like the lay-out of this module. The animation that counts the seconds divides the upper and lower display pretty well. The eye counts the 10 seconds, the bar the individual seconds. The upper display shows the day and date in Time Keeping Mode. In Stopwatch- and Countdown Timer mode it shows current time. If you use these functions for longer times, this is a pretty nice feature. Also a nice extra is the Flash Alarm. If you press and hold the lower right button, you can toggle it on and off. If it is toggled on, a star like icon will appear above the seconds in the lower part of the display. The Flash Alarm lights up briefly every time an Alarm tone sounds. It does not light up (luckily) at the button tones.
The case of the DW-90XX models has quite basic but tough look. Similar cases are also used for Codename cipher (DW-8800). Remarkable are the 4 metal pins around the display. These pins are actually pure decorative. It is a small metal pin places in a hole in the bezel. When the watch is abused for a long time, there is a chance you loose one of these pins, but that does not affect the performance, shock resistance or water resistance. Pretty well for working under the tough conditions of an oil rig is the button protection. The buttons are located in four rounded rectangular tubes on the side of the bezel. Due to this protection, it’s harder to reach the buttons, but to make it easier for you, the buttons are pretty large. There is almost no chance on accidental pushing a button.
Basically, the DW-9052 is a very nice watch. It does have a pretty basic, but it has the toughness of a G-Shock. The display looks calmer than the triple eyed DW-6900. Also the display is very clear. This might be the reason Tullow Oil choose this model to customize for their workers. The watch comes in an old style box. I haven’t seen this kind of box on models released after the first G-2300, about 10 years ago. Actually I find this a pity. It’s (again) a simple box, but it has a nice stand. The bottom of the stand holds also the sticker with the model number and it is shown through a hole at the bottom of the watch. The manual is also folded in the holder. It’s a pretty practical way to put a watch on display in shops. You always have the right box and manual at hand when you slip the holder, manual and watch back into the box. Nowadays I get often my watches in the right boxes, but the wrong stickers. Not a big deal (this does of course not happen t limited editions), but a little unhandy when storing. Also the size of the box is pretty nice. You can store a lot of these boxes small space. Casio get’s my vote if they would start using this type of boxes again for their regular models.
Regular DW-9052’s can be found pretty easily on-line for friendly prices, sometimes starting with prices from $55.- up to $75. Usual prices in a shop would be around $99 or €99.- in Europe. Because this is special model I have paid a little more, but well, then you have a special edition. Probably for most collectors not a very interesting model. An oil rig is not quite the same as a popular fashion brand. I can’t say anything about the size of this emission, though it is probably not high. I read there is place for 130 people on board of the Sedco Energy. Probably not places will be taken all the time and there will probably crews switching on and off the rig. My guess is that between 150 and 250 of this special Christmas gift edition were made.