Sunday, January 11, 2015

G-Shock #1: My precious analog classic MR-G.

It’s 7 years ago, when I posted for the first time on 50 Gs. Actually, challenging myself to make 50 post with a different G-Shock in one year. Actually, I didn’t plan to review G-Shocks thoroughly. Just 50 posts, that was it. I actually didn’t know really had any idea how to write a good review. It turned out a little different, another year of 50 Gs, and, why not, yet another. Now, 7 years later, I am pretty happy that I did a sabbatical year. I even already know that 2016 will be a sabbatical too. I plan to travel with my son to Japan. I will meet some Japanese wristwatch and G-Shock collectors, like 5 years ago. This means I will need all my money. Maybe I will make an exception on an I.C.E.R.C. model, if it looks too good, but that will probably be it. Keeping my weblog updated is quite an expensive activity. All G-Shock I write about are from my personal collection and not for sale. Luckily I have a my friend Christofono, who will be co-author this year on 50 Gs. He has already some great idea, so I think we can again bring you 50 G-Shocks reviewed in articles this year, featuring some old and new amazing G-Shocks.
Above: Extra photo's taken before, during and after shooting the photo's for this article on the beach. You might notice, some photo's were taken by my son Bram with my Olympus TG-3.
Today I start off with one of my all time favorites. I actually reviewed it 7 years ago as second G-Shock on 50 Gs. I still remember taking the photo’s with my new Canon 400D camera with a common zoom lens and a macro lens. It was alone on the beach between Domburg and Westkappelle on the northwest coast of our island in a quite heavy storm. Actually, I think there were probably only handful of people who dared going on the beach, knowing that they were sand blasted, just like me. Still I think the set of photo’s I made were quite good, specially considering I still had to get used to photography with an DSLR.
For this article I went also to the beach, now near a small cosy village called Zoutelande (“Salt Lands”). And I was not along, as Bram came with me. Although it was sunny, there was a strong cold wind. Luckily it had been raining recently, so most of the sand was still wet, preventing us from sand blasted again.
The MRG-121-8A was released November 1996. It has quite a unique model number, as there is no location suffix init. So no -8AJF or -8AVR, etc, jut -8A. It was part of the first MR-G series. These were pretty handsome full steel or titanium G-Shock models. This MRG-121 is the only Stainless Steel model made. There were 3 other models released, which were all titanium.
The MRG-121 comes with a 1789 module. Not that there is much to explain how this watch works. It has an analog module, but if you want to be exact, it is actually a digital module with an analog time indication. The second hand moves every second forward. Unlike many ana-digi models, the minute hand seem to move continue, instead of visible once every 20 seconds. If you look at a HD movie taken with my 100 mm macro lens, you se the minute hand moves every second, meaning that hand actually moves around the dial in 3600 increments. Pretty cool.
The screw down crown has first to be opened by turning it counter clockwise before you can set time. If you pull out the crown, the second hands stops. This way it is easy to set the time to the second. My MRG-121 is very accurate, so if I pick it out of the box every now and then, I most of the times do not need to correct the time. Note that the crown is on the left side. It looks unusual, but it is a pretty clever design. If you wear the bracelet a little loose and your hand is by force moved upwards (seen from the arm), the crown cannot be smashed into your hand.
Photo Bomb by Bram...
On the back you find the only resin part. It is a kind of shock absorber that makes the MRG also rest comfortable on your wrist. The bracelet can be adjusted with three holes in the bracelet, so it will always fit like you want it. The bracelet consist of nice heavy solid links, giving this watch a very tough and strong feel.
This watch does not stand out by fancy functions, like button tones, stopwatches, countdown timers, alarms, etc. It can only show time. There s a little extra function. There is a beautiful EL backlight hidden behind the perforated dial, which gives an awesome effect. The hands and 5 minute markers are painted with illuminating paint, but don’t expect too much of it. Even while taking photo’s the faint light died pretty fast. I think the strongest part of this watch is that it does what it has to do. Only display time. For me that’s really what I like most on an analog watch.
I bought this watch a very long time ago. I must have this watch for more than 12 years I think. I have no real idea what I paid for it, but I think it was somewhere around 80 to 100 German Marks. If you calculate it back to €40,-, it does sound quite cheap, but back in the time that was a real lot of money for a second hand G-Shock. The original retail price in Japan was ¥40000 and in Germany DM699, about €350.-. The old MR-G models are nowadays not to easy to find anymore. There were some classic MR-G collectors, but not many. I got most of mine from Germany and the US, but most of those were originally obtained in Japan. Popular or not, this MG-121 has since I got it been one of my most precious watches I own. That was the reason why it was one of the first G-Shocks shown on 50 Gs and now, 7 years later, for the same reason the first G-Shock on 50 Gs in 2015. Happy New Year!


Unknown said...

Awesome. Can't wait to tune in each week. Great work on the photos Bram

dale vito said...

He's back! Great work Sjors & Bram!

doctoracai said...

Congrats Sjors pretty story

Cytherian said...

Great story, Sjors. Sorry that 2016 will be a sabbatical year for you -- will look forward to your return and new reviews. Speaking of old MRG models, I recently picked up an MRG-220 that I'm enjoying. It was short one link for the right comfort, although I could still wear it when my wrist is cool. But when warm, wearing the MRG-220 would become a bit tight. VERY hard to find spare links, unfortunately. But a nice WUS member sent me a similar link from his assorted supply and it turned out to just fit with a similar design. I can now wear the watch anytime! I'm loving the MRG-121 design. I think your model is the best, next to the titanium MRG-121TEC (Eric Clapton model). Cheers ~xevious

felix said...

Hi Sjors, wonder if you can help? I have a 121 and the strap had broken (split pins had broken). Recently I managed to get an entire new strap form Camtech - but can't figure out how to remove the original strap. Of course I could just cannibalise the new strap for only the parts I need, or replace it outside of the 1st links - but would love to replace the whole thing. Any hints or tips would be gratefully received. Cheers