Sunday, April 5, 2015

G-Shock #15: G-8000, the Retro Futuristic G-Shock.

Christofone and I have set a goal for April. In my country we celebrate “King’s Day” at the end of the month. As you maybe know, the family name of our Royal Family is Orange. So that explains our national color, which is often omnipresent on “King’s Day” and on big international sports games where. So let’s try to post an Orange G-Shock every Sunday in April.
As a child I was a big fan of Science Fiction series. As I'm born in 1966, I was too young to understand Star Trek, the Original Series, though I was already watching that with my parents probably in the late '60s and re-runs in the early '70's. No, my favorite series came later. Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica (oh, how much I wanted to own a Muffit), Blake's 7 and my all time youth favorite, Space 1999. Luckily I was at that time (1975) not yet into physics and chemistry, as I rather think a nuclear chain reaction will rather destroy the moon, than sweep it out of orbit at a speed, big enough to travel along star systems full of alien life. With my Lego's I build moon bases and Eagles, but the best part of the show was the intro. Maybe a bit forgotten, but in my opinion, along the iconic Doctor Who theme (with a Theremin), the theme of Space 1999 is one of the best television series theme's I know.
Every once in a while Casio comes up with a G-Shock model, that looks completely different from all other digital watch models you know. The strange ana-digi AW-550, the iconic DW-6400 "Gundam", and maybe the strangest of them all, the ever forgotten GC-1000, which more looked like a bracelet, than a G-Shock (not evening mentioning it's one of the few G-Shocks with only a 100 bar Water Resist rating and the very hard button operation). In October 2005, Casio came with the G-8000 model. Quite different from what we have seen from G-Shock before. Probably a "You love it, or you hate it" model.
The G-8000 came in several color schemes, but I immediately picked out the orange version to buy first. This model reminds me to the mid ‘70s color schemes and designs. The time my parents had that weird busy wallpaper and we drove around in a bright orange Opel Kadett C. Wouldn’t this watch be great to wear this G-Shock in the Matti Suuronen UFO house, while on holiday? The square face almost implies it’s one of the on board instruments and that you can fly away any moment. But rest assured. It is a wristwatch. well, not just a wristwatch, bit a full functional G-Shock.
The design of this model is pretty streamlined. The straps are merging fluidly into the case. They are kept on the case with 4 large screws. I bought this model about 9 years ago and it was still running. Well, it did until I pushed the light button and noticed the first sign of a fading battery. For changing the battery, you need to unscrew the strap, to reach the 4 screws that keep the backplate attached to the case. Changing a battery is pretty easy as it is like many other G-Shock models, equipped with a CR2016 battery. Don’t forget to perform an AC procedure (short circuit the AC contact with the top of the battery for a few seconds). It took me two attempts to revive.
Most eye catching is the big dot at the lower right part of the bezel. No, it’s not a beauty mark, but it’s a functional LED. Every time an Alarm sounds, it flashes up. Pretty nifty, as the LED light is relative bright, specially compared with the EL Backlight and it also consumes much less energy. I think the display looks kind of cool. Like I mentioned above, the lines and circle on the display makes it look like an airplane instrument. At the left the seconds are shown, while the 10-seconds are shown at the top. When using the Countdown Timer, the last 10 minutes are also shown on the right side of the display.
OK, enough about the design. Let’s see what’s under the hood. The G-8000 is powered by a 2958 module. This module number is the same for the positive as well as for the negative display. The Time Keeping mode is synced to a Time Zone in World Time mode, so it is necessary to choose the right Time Zone before setting the time. Besides setting the right time, you can also toggle on and off DST, change illumination duration and sync or un-sync the Flash alarm. Like usual the bottom left button is for scrolling through the different modes. The upper right button operates the EL backlight. If you press and hold it, you can also toggle the Auto-Illuminator on and off. This means that when you hold your arm parallel to the ground and twist your wrist towards you, the EL backlight turns on automatically. Since this is conventional lithium battery powered wristwatch, I do not really recommend this function, but to save the battery, this function turns automatically off after 6 hours. With the bottom right button you can switch between 12-hour time keeping and 24-hour time keeping. If you are easily annoyed by the button tomes, while switching between modes, you can choose to mute them. Just press and hold the MODE button for a few seconds and MUTE shows up in the display. Use the same procedure to turn the button tones on again.
When leaving the Time Keeping mode (by pushing the bottom left MODE button), you first enter the World Time mode. You can choose between 48 cities in 29 time zones, so there must be a time zone for you too. Next you find a 24 hour Stopwatch mode. You can use it as a normal Stopwatch, but you can also use Auto-Start. When the screen shows all zero’s, push the upper right (ADJUST) button and -5” shows up on top of the display. When Auto-Start is choose, the watch counts down, with beeps, to zero, while another tone gives the start signal. Next you find the 24 hour Countdown Timer. Also here you can choose between a normal, 1 time, Countdown Timer or an Auto Repeat mode. Frankly I would love to see this feature on more modern G-Shocks. Last, but not least, you have the Alarm Mode, before returning back to Time Keeping Mode. Here you find 2 normal Alarms, a Snooze Alarm and of course, the Hourly Signal.
The G-8000 was not a very popular G-Shock in 2005, though it came in some funky color schemes. The negative displays can be a bit hard to read, although the cool factor is pretty high, the positive display models are very crisp to read. This model was plentiful available between 2005 and 2010 and it will probably not real hard to score one even nowadays, almost 10 years after it’s release. Also the prices are pretty friendly, as not only the numbers made were huge, but also somehow, it is not a watch you find a lot in G-Shock collections. It’s size is pretty moderate, maybe a little larger than a DW-5600, but certainly smaller than a DW-6900. Still I think the G-8000 and specially this version looks great. I don’t know where I actually bought mine, but I paid full retail, which would be around €100 at that time. Anyhow, if yo think this watch looks great, try to find one and feel the great futuristic retro look.

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