Sunday, June 30, 2013

Intermezzo #65: Prelude to the "Resist Black" Trilogy.

In March 2013 Casio announced the third series to celebrate their 30th Anniversary, The RESIST BLACK series. It would be released in April 19, the exact date of G-Shock's 30th anniversary.

There have been many models and 2 series of watches celebrating G-Shock's 30th anniversary, but frankly I, and I guess a lot of G-Shock enthusiasts and collectors too, have waited for the, now, iconic Anniversary "Project Team Tough" model. Casio decided not only to release a DW-5000 model, but choose two other classic G-Shock designs to go along with it.
The production of these models were limited, but not very. 10,500 pieces were made of each model, so it must be pretty easy to get one of those. For the record, of the DW-5025SP were 2008 pieces made and a fast search learned me that at the moment there are still 3 on auction in Japan. 
When I received my set, I noticed that my co-author Doug had bought the DW-5030C-1JR and co-author Chris (a.k.a. Chrisek. writing here as Christofono) had also bought a complete set. While chatting or FaceTiming with Doug, we came to the idea to do a "Triple Feature" together. Chris immediately was enthusiast too. I think he was even the first author to complete his article.
So here is where you find these three articles:

Now, that's a lot to read and a lot of eye candy. To keep the stories as authentic as possible, we did not discuss or talk about these models on beforehand. This might of course lead that things are mentioned double in the articles, but on the other hand, these articles must also be possible to read as single articles, outside the triple feature concept. I like to thank my fellow writers Doug and Chris for the cooperation and the fun of making this happen. It took a lot of time, but I think it shows of and it was fully worth it.

G-Shock #29: Resist Black DW-5030C.

A few months ago, I saw the models being released for G-Shock’s 30th Anniversary, and was immediately drawn towards the DW-5030C. When these limited edition Project Team Tough anniversary models come out, they are typically VERY limited, and extremely hard to acquire. I dropped a note to Seiya to see if he had any, he quickly replied he didn't, but would notify me when they become available. Shortly after, I received an invoice, promptly paid, and 2 days later my mailman brought me a package from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Like the original Casio Packaging of 30 years ago, it is no frills. Simple cardboard box with off white coloring and the 30th Anniversary design. The box looks like, and is designed to look like it has been sitting for 30 years. It reminds me of an old Baseball Cooperstown Collectible packaging. Some folks on the forums were disappointed with the Cardboard instead of the tin, or hard case, but I like it very much. Sliding off the sleeve reveals a 2 piece cardboard box. Opening the top is a slot where the watch sits in plastic wrapping with tags, and adhesives to keep its Rose Gold Steel keeper and Black polished Screwback finish intact. Pulling the watch out reveals it's paperwork underneath it, written in Japanese. The DW-5030C offers the classic Module # 3421. I like simplicity in my Classic type collectibles, and this watch does not disappoint. No Atomic or Solar, simple old fashioned battery power.
Pulling the watch out of the plastic, removing the tags and putting them to the side, I am so impressed by the very classic charm this watch has. The display shows a coppery aged finish, it's got gold lettering on the front of the bezel. The inlay is black with gold bricks and lettering showing the button operations. In a very understated and non-distracting red it shows "Project Team Tough" below the Hour. The Display shows the Day of the week, month and date in the small box on the upper right, the time which could read in 12/24 hour format and the seconds. Holding the alarm on/off button shows an EL Hourly flash indicator. The buttons are Rose Gold as well as the Keeper. The Keeper shows 3 stars and "Since 1983" engraved into it. The Stainless Steel Screwback Case is a polished black and shows the 30th Anniversary logo engraved. The buckle is the same polished black as the back case. It has that great stainless steel weight to it to let you know it is there.
I debated keeping the plastic attached to this and storing it in the box to look at occasionally. Strapping it on my wrist, my decision was made easily, this will be sitting in my watch box and will be worn occasionally, I like it too much. This collection reminds me of a retro version 25th Anniversary Dawn Black collection. 

I tend to be a bit old school when it comes to my squares, I do not like them at all without the screw backs. I took out my DW-5600C and GW-5000 and this fit in perfectly in the middle. I have my old school classic 901 module with my DW-5600C. I have its updated completely modern version with all its bells and whistles. I have included photos of all three. The thing I love about the squares over time is the style stand the test of time (No Pun). These watches fit in just as easily today as they did 30 years ago when the G-Shock was first introduced. They continue to represent what they did years ago…toughness. Now with so many models there is a G-shock to suit anybody. Here’s to another 30 years!

G-Shock 28: The 30th Anniversary GW-5530C-1JR

The GW-5530c is an oddball within the Rising Black Series for a few reasons. First and maybe most obvious is how it even fits in, because it never should have made it! “Preposterous!” No, not exactly. When you look at the 5000 series, it was the original G-Shock, pure function. It has gone on for 30 years for that very reason, updated and refined, but the shape hasn’t changed.
The 6900 series has gone on to be the modern re-interpretation. While the exact numbers are unknown it is either the #1 or #2 best selling G-Shock of all time, with the 5000 series being the “other”.
So, where does that leave the 5500 series? In that 1st decade there were various stylistic variations of the 5000 which the 5500 was one of. The 5500 is very “80’s”. From the ridges on top of the buttons (Ferrari Testarossa anybody?) to the aesthetically “logical” building block design (makes me think of the original Tron movie). Many varieties fell by the wayside over the decades, why did this one survive? It is hard to pinpoint, but I would suggest the almost universal praise of comfort. While it is sized bigger than the 5000’s it still isn’t anywhere near today’s bigger watches it is still similarly low profile (important for fitting under cuffs of shirts and jackets) but with the weight spread out on the wider straps and module means it’s grams per square centimeter come into play.
There is also some history involved which I don’t wish to undervalue. Did you know in 1985 this “G-Shock II” was the original Master of G? The buttons are the first (within G-Shocks) to be “Mud Resist”. That term is used when the metal buttons are hooded by a larger resin button, making it difficult for mud to enter directly through the button hole. While it obviously didn’t replace the original it has been in and out of production over the years and obviously has a soft spot within Casio and G-Shock aficianados worldwide. I hope this all helps the “How did we get here?”.
That isn’t the only way it sticks out among these 3: if you’ve noticed, the other 2 are “DW”s or very basic modules. This one is a GW or MultiBand 6 as well as solar. How did that happen? Of these 3 it is the one not making it to the world market, but is a Japan market release (with a few headed to Singapore from what I understand). Very odd, and succinctly showing where the true love of the 5500’s are.
As it is the Rising Black series it is meant to be a rustic colorway and it turned out pretty amazing in person. From the faint gold lettering on the black band and bezel to the Ion Plated buckle and case back to the gold screen with light gold/brown lettering around it is understated in a very nice way. Most of the 30th Anniversary models wear the same keepers (metal, etched with 3 stars and the verbage “SINCE 1983”) in different colors. On these it is more of a rose gold and came out in an attractive way that goes well with the overall coloring and theme.
When you hear about Casio’s Ion Plating on metal bracelets (GW-3000D, GW-4000D, GW-A1000D, etc) it quickly devolves into two camps. Because the plating is all that good at protecting from scratches, wear shows. Some people love this “patina” and others simply cannot stand it. Being on the caseback (next to skin and hair) I expect it to wear a little differently over the years and should be a pretty cool effect! One of my friends recently scratched his buckle (and quickly cursed himself) and while mad at first, I believe he will eventually come to terms with the “wear marks” that I find characterful on G’s. We shall see.
With the light weight and the wider bands this watch is unusually comfortable, and because of its overall size is actually quite versatile on wrist sizes (mine happens to be a flat-top 7.5” wrist for visualizing). The straps also have a nice visual touch of hiding the break between the straps and the bezel. When looking at the topside, it is very hard to distinguish. When looking underneath you can see the jigsaw of interlocking pieces and the hidden springbar. While looking at said jigsaw you also notice the button arrangement and everything else.