Sunday, January 18, 2015

G-Shock #2: The Bull Bars are back!

2 pages from the "Get Tough" catalogue (Germany) from 1999. 
Sometimes I get happy by seeing a new basic model. Well, this happened to me when I saw the GD-400 for the first time. And actually, I haven’t even seen a color variation I don’t like yet. Even the greenish bloo model looks good to me. It is quite a choice for me to buy the right one. First I was thinking about the greenish bloo version, but my friends Piowa and Kronos really convinced me that red is definitely the best for me.
You may ask maybe why I was instant happy by seeing this model. Well, I can’t help it, but these models look pretty much like my beloved G-Lide DW-003S and DW-9000S surf models, launched spring 1997. Those DW-003S models looked kind of big in the late ’90’s, but Casio beefed the 2014 versions up a little, so they fit into the popular G-Shock X-Large models line.
Although the size is seemly larger than the DW-003S, it actually doesn’t look real big or too big. This makes this watch probably suitable for most wrist sizes. What amazes me a bit is that these models were released as basic G-Shock models. I think they would have been a great model for the G-Lide series. The original DW-003S models had a single piece resin strap that went through strap adapters. The straps on the GD-400 is a two piece style and does not go through adapters, but two extra attachments that give a similar look. The strap is guided through the attachments. They seem to prevent the straps to move too much outward, so it stays in round shape, while taken off the wrist. I think these attachments are pure cosmetic, but they really look nice and give the watch a tough look. The G-Shock brand text on these attachments are also very nice. The strap itself is remarkable flexible. The outer part of the straps have a nice relief pattern.
Probably loved by many G-Shock collectors is the face protector. This steel frame is made of a quite thick diameter steel wire. It is perfectly symmetric shaped that it fits above, below and under the button guards, which hold it perfectly tight in place. The face protectors are also generally known by the nickname "Bull Bars".
The display is divided in three parts. Top left there are two "Graphic Areas". The top area shows the seconds, the area below it shows the 10 seconds. Top right there is a big eye, which can show if the Alarm, Hourly Chime or the Mute function is activated or not. The large area under these "Graphic Area" and Eye is reserved for the time display. Because of the bigger case, there is also a bigger display. The digits are big and clearly readable. Although not a real bummer for me, the current time is not shown in the upper part in the Countdown Timer Mode and Stopwatch Mode.
The GD-400 comes with the new 3434 module. It may look like the old G-Lide models, this watch has quite an improved number of features. Most important is of course the Timekeeping Mode, that displays the day, date and time as usual in big clear digits. The GD-400 is prepared for those who are fond of traveling. The Time Keeping Mode has a quick reachable 4 programmable Time Zones (T-1 to T-4) called Time Screens. T-1 is the Home City. By selecting another Time Screen (for instance T-2) and pressing both the upper buttons together, changes the Time Zone of T-2 to become Home City (T-1). A pretty handy feature if you travel a lot. The Home City can be changed in the Time Setting mode, so you can by switching Home Cities program C-1 to C-4.

When leaving the Timekeeping Mode, by pressing the usual bottom left button, you enter the World Time Mode. The World Time Mode can show you the time in 48 cities in 31 time zones around the world. You need to apply DST/Summertime in these cities yourself. Since the watch is pre-programmed until 2099, it's of course impossible to know if DST switch dates change over the years and if they still apply in the future.
Next you will find the Alarms. There are 5 Alarms. There is no Snooze Alarm (which I actually never use), but you can program an Alarm as a Daily Alarm or as an 1-Time Alarm. That last feature actually looks very functional to me. After an 1-Time Alarm has gone off, it is immediately disabled. Pretty handy if you need an Alarm at an unusual time and don't want to be bothered at that time on other days (for instance very late or very early).
Further you find a 24 hour Countdown Timer and a 24 hour Stopwatch function on board. There is nothing real special on these features, but in my daily experience they the most used modes besides Time Keeping. The 24 hour range on both modes is in almost all cases more than sufficient.
There are some extra features on the GD-400 that are a nice extra. It has a Flash Alert. If toggled on, the LED backlight shortly flashes too. The Illumination of the display is standard set to 1.5 seconds, which, in my opinion is a bit short. No panic, it is possible to toggle between a 1.5 (L1) and 3 seconds (L3). Both the Flash Alarm as the Illumination duration can be toggled on and off in tone of the Time Keeping Setting screens. An other extra feature is the Mute function on the button sounds. Like on other G-Shock models with this feature, you can activate and deactivate the mute function by press and holding the lower left (MODE) button. If it is activated, the indicator in the "Eye" for MUTE will turn black. The eye can also show if the Alarm and if the Hourly Signal is activated.
The GD-400 is in my opinion a great model. Although there is obvious a similarity in it's case design of the older DW-003S and DW-9000S models of that '90s, it is a modern looking watch with a sturdy design.The Bull Bars look awesome. I think a lot of color and strap combinations are possible on this model. I pretty much hope this model will be a basic model in the G-Shock line for a long time. This model simply has potential to become a new classic and a good base for future G-Lide models, for all kind of board sports. I really would be happy if Casio in the future will launch not only a series Surf models,but also Skateboard and Snowboard models.
Kish.NL, the on-line shop I bought my GD-400 has also a physical shop in Oldenzaal. Unfortunately for my, completely on the other side of my country. 
The GD-400 appeared first in July 2014 in Japan and followed a month later in Europe and the rest of the world. The retail price of this watch is €109 in Europe,$110,- in the US and ¥14500 in Japan. In Europe we only get three versions of this model, black, greenish blue and this red model. There are also a green and a yellowish brown model. The last one looks actually pretty nice too, probably because brown is not a quite usual color for a G-Shock. I got mine from, originally a Dutch on-line wristwatch shop, but recently they opened a physical shop in Oldenzaal. Unfortunately it's a three hour drive to the north east end of my country, so I can't easily visit. I met the owner,Rogier, at Shock the World Amsterdam. He is really a great guy. I ordered my watch, via the chat function, two days for Christmas, and I got it just in time for Christmas Eve. A big thanks for the always friendly Kish crew!
I think I do not really have to say I love this watch, I think I already summed up in this article why I love this model so much. At least one new black model will be released soon and I hope many more will follow. Just a small hint to Casio. If you can "hear" me, I would love to see this model in a series of jellies!!! For now, enjoy my article and the photo's. See you next week!


VintageCovers said...

Won't the bullbars leave a dent on the rubber face after awhile? Also won't dirt accumulate under them?

Unknown said...

Hi Vintage Covers,

I actually expected that, but as far as I can see this did not happen (yet). I have to admit I haven't removed the bullbars, so I'm not sure. I have seen however that some people have removed the bull bars and I saw no visible dent.

Indeed dust and dirt can accumulate under the bullbars. I usually whipe it away with a photography brush or a soft cloth. The dust and dirt can be very persistent though.

For everyday use it won't be a problem. Rinse your watch every once in a while and it's clean again. These watches are not really made to kept as museum pieces forever ;-)



Unknown said...

Thanks Sjors what a great pictures

~ Leigh Anne Spriggel said...

Hello, I have looked all over the internet - Do you know how to remove the BullBars?

Thank you,
Leigh Anne