Sunday, July 17, 2016

G-Shock 16.01: Maharishi II

“He know the moon. He know the star” an’ he knows the Milky Way”. It’s the quote that comes to my mind when I see the second Maharishi G-Shock release. You might know the quote from the title track from the album Microgravity by Biosphere (Geir Jenssen), music that would perfectly fit to promote the DM: Lunar Bonsai clothing line and the G-Shock by Maharishi. The arctic Ambient Techno style of Biosphere, though on Microgravity still a little bit mechanic, is often very organic and nowadays pretty minimal. The sampled quote is taken from the movie “The Right Stuff” (1983). Anyone interested in (the history and present) of human space flight probably knows this movie. It’s about the seven pilots who were chosen for Project Mercury, where these Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force pilots were trained to become the NASA’s first astronauts.
The following screenshots below were made by my special assistant
The moon fascinates us all. Didn’t we all dream as a child we could go to the moon. Like Wallace refers to in “A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit” (1989), “Everybody knows the moon is made of cheese. When eating the moon, he can’t place the actual taste. He consults Gromit what he thinks. “Wensleydale?, Stilton?” I don’t know lad, it’s like no cheese I ever tasted…”. Did you know that Wensleydale was almost extinct and saved by the above quote and of course the famous quote from “A Close Shave”: “Not even Wensleydale”, like how could you ever reject the best cheese there is. 
In 1902 there was no cheese on the moon. Georges Mèliès got inspired by the books “De la Terre à la Lune” by Jules Verne and “The First Man in the Moon” by H. G. Wells to make his masterpiece “La Voyage dans la Lune”. A lost hand colored version of this movie was discovered in 1993. After a thorough restoration the movie was re-released with a new soundtrack by Air.
110 Volt Lovers, Live in 2003
110 Volt Lovers live during last concert in 2005, when I still had hair :-) No W-30's anymore, but two E-mu ESI-32's. 
I must confess that I also have been influenced or inspired by the moon. I somehow like to work in the dark (as I probably have quoted Felix da Housecat’s “In the Dark We live (Thee Lite)” many times). For instance, one of the songs I composed for our life performances with my band was called: “Mare Serenitatis” (Sea of Serenity). The track was almost dreamy ambient and was actually meant to load new sounds in out 2 Roland W30 samplers. When we were preparing for Bram’s birth in 2000, I bought a soft moon with a music box that played “Au Claire de la Lune”.
Back to this G-Shock. Maharishi is a clothing brand founded by Hardy Blechman in 1994. Maharishi means Great Sage or Spiritual Leader in Hindi. The Main goal of Maharishi is to design fair traide, long lasting high quality clothes by using natural materials like hemp, organic cottons and recycled military clothing. Before Hardy Blechman started Maharishi he worked in the Army Surplus branch. He is a big collector of camouflage patterns, which in the British Army is better known by the abbreviation DPM, Disruptive Pattern Material. While camouflage patterns are often used on for military clothing and objects, Maharishi strives to use DPM for peaceful purposes and that’s why they also use terms like Pacifist Military Design and Pacifist Prepper.
Every year Maharishi launches a new camouflage Pattern. For spring/summer 2014 it was DPM: Lunar Bonzai. Bonsai Forest is the house camouflage of Maharishi. The heavenly cloud shapes from which bonsai trees grow is mixed with a projection from the moon. In normal words I think the Bonzai camouflage are the cloudy shadows that these trees throw on an image of the moon surface in moonlight. Both bonsai and the moon are elements showing that camouflage has it’s roots in nature rather than from the military. Of course it is widely known that camouflage and mimicry has been around since animal life begun on this planet, but it is a great way to stress this again with this pattern. When I saw this pattern for the first time, I was immediately sold, but I’m a sucker for astronomy, space programs. Luckily this G-Shock model was sold worldwide in relative large numbers (rather think in ten thousands than thousands).
The GD-X6900MH-1 was released April 2014 in Japan. It went for sale in Europe around the same time and the US soon followed. It is the second real collaboration model, as I do not really count the 20 regular JP Rangemans in a special package with a flash card, released in November 2013. The first release was of course the GA-110MH-7 in DPM: Bamdazzle from 2012. The GD-X-6900MH is packed in a beautiful printed G-Shock box. instead of the camouflage box all over the box, the base color of the box is black, where the Maharishi logo and the typical hexagonal G-Shock tin shapes appear as they are cut-outs in the Lunar Bonzai camouflage. The tin inside the box is totally covered with the camouflage pattern.
The camouflage pattern is all over the watch strap and bezel. Even more the pattern also continues on the “face plate” behind the crystal. The name Maharishi is written on top of the watch on the strap and at the tip you find the name of the Camo pattern. On the short strap you will notice the Aum symbol, the mythic mantra sound, which is important in hinduism and buddhism. The sparkler is mainly black, but has a small band of Lunar Bonsai camouflage. If you turn over this G-Shock you will find the Maharishi logo etched on the backplate.
The GD-X6900 in general can be best described as a beefed-up version of the DW-6900. The DW-6900 was in the past in Japan by some collectors were called the Triple Eyed Devil. It seems the devil has grown even bigger. It’s not only beefed-up, it has also improved from it’s “little” older brother. It comes with the 3420 module. At first glance the display looks quite the same. I love the way the seconds are animated in the three eyes. The big one for the 10 seconds, the smaller ones for the single seconds. Just like the old 1289 module. 
Setting time on a GD-X6900 has become a bit easier. Where you could only change the hours and minutes forward on the DW-6900, you can now also scroll back. For many people who live in a country with Summertime or Daylight Saving Time there is also good news. It’s now integrated in the settings for Timekeeping. I have had some problems with DST changes in the past. If you change the time forward from Wintertime to Summertime after 23:00, the day and date do not change, so your watch stays one day behind. The same thing can happen the other way around if you change after 00:00 back Wintertime. Maybe it sounds like a big thing, but you often change form Wintertime to Summertime and back just before you go to sleep. In the weekends that might be just somewhere between 23:00 and 01:00. No problems with that on the GD-X6900. Just switch DST on or off and if needed, the day and date changes automatically. It is off course pretty important that you input your Home Time Zone correctly (that’s for me +1 in winter and +2 in summer). You can switch between the 12 hour and 24 hour notation by pushing the bottom right button. In the settings of Timekeeping you can also specify the length of the illumination by pushing the upper right button when the seconds lashes. A small light symbol means the duration is 1.5 seconds, a big light symbol means 3 seconds. Also you find the Flash Alert here. When an Alarm sounds from one of the Alarms, the Hourly Signal, the Countdown Timer or the Auto-Start of the Stopwatch, the display lights up with the tones. This function was also present on the old DW-6900, only you could toggle it on or off without entering the setting screen.
When leaving the Timekeeping mode, you enter the World Time. You can read the time in 48 different cities in 29 different timezones. You have to correct DST on and off if needed manually. If the time displayed is not right, even with the DST correct, you might have programmed your Home Time Zone wrong. Next you find the Stopwatch function with a 24 hour capacity (all right, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds) with a facultative Auto-Start function. When the Auto-Start function is toggled on, the Stopwatch counts down 5 seconds before it starts measuring. You do not only can read the countdown, it is also accented with Alarm beeps. The Countdown Timer can be programmed between 1 minute and 24 hours. You can also set the Auto-Repeat function and the Progress Beeper. The Progress Beeper starts beeping 10 seconds before the last 5 minutes are reached and repeats this with the last 4 seconds before every 30 seconds are reached. Also it starts beeping in the last 10 seconds every second until the end and the end beeper sounds for 10 seconds.
The illumination of the watch is delivered by a LED under the display, which lights the total display equally. As this is a negative display the dark parts light up blueish. The digits are razor sharp. The LED backlight is activated by the 5th G-button as usual. Also this watch has Auto-Illumination. This can be activated by press and holding the upper right button for a few seconds. LT will light up in the display. When switching from one mode to the other normally Button Operation Tones are heard. If you do not like these tones, you can mute them by press and holding the MODE button until a mark above MUTE appears at the bottom of the display.
The second Maharishi Collaboration model is equipped with a big CR2032 battery, which under normal use feed this watch for you happily for about 10 years. I think this watch was at the moment of the release the best looking GD-X6900 model. This G-Shock was a limited, but general worldwide release. The retail price was ¥18000 in Japan, €169 in Europe and $160 in the US. This watch was launched in The Netherlands on April 24th 2014 at a Launch Party at Concrete Image Store in Amsterdam. Although I was personally invite, I could not make it to this party as it is an at least three hour trip and have to work at least until 16:00. However, I had good contact with Dirk, the owner of Concrete and I managed to buy two of these Maharishi 2 G-Shocks. As usual, one to wear and one to keep for the collection. Although I think this is a very good looking collaboration, I do not think it is a very sought after model. Still you have to expect to pay more than retail price if you want to find one now, unfortunately. The result of the booming number of G-Shock Collectors and more worrisome, G-Shock Hoarders. I would say that you should not pay more than €200 - €230 for this model in mint or good condition, which seem also to be the market price at the moment for this watch.

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