Saturday, January 31, 2009

Casio G-Shock x LRG

The LRG Edition (DW-6900LRG-2AJR) will have a uniform aquamarine colorway imprinted with skateboarding giraffes from its Spring 2009 design theme “Feed The Animals”. Back plate is engraved with LRG ‘s logo while a holographic EL (Electroluminescent) back light will also feature a LRG “tree logo”. Information on availability to come soon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Casio G-Shock 7800 Series

casio gshock 7800 watches 1 Casio G Shock 7800 Series

Switching it beyond your usual 5600 and 6900 releases comes a new style for January from Casio G-Shock. The 7800 series incorporates the boxy shape of the 5600 with a larger dial. Many of the same functions you’ve come to expect are present including world-time, stopwatch, timer and LED backlight. Four models are available including your staple black model, however some bolder pieces are also on hand including silver, gold/snakeskin and black/croc.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Mad Dog Frogman G-Shock DW-9900MD-2T

A little stranger in the Frogman line is the 3rd generation Frogman, the DW-9900, introduced in April 1999. First of all the watch case is significant smaller than it's predecessors. The reason for this could be the fact that G-Shock's look a very big on the wrist of Japanese and other East Asian people as they are average smaller and much finer build than West European and US people. Therefore a big Frogman or other G-Shock could look pretty cartoonesque on a Japanese wrist.
There is another difference with it's predecessors. Have the DW-6300 and the DW-8200 the FROGMAN text on the left side of the bezel, on the DW-9900 it is on the right side. Also there was a special overseas model. In stead of the text FROGMAN, there is the text SEAMAN. The model number for the Seaman is DW-9950, but the dimensions and features are exact the same as for the DW-9900. My first DW-9900 model was the DW-9900MD-2T, the Mad Dog Frogman. I won it on an auction 4 years ago, mid July, 2004.

The Mad Dog Collaboration Frogman was released by Casio in July 1999. It's navy blue in color and has yellow lettering on the bezel. The name of the company and their credo: "Quest for knowledge, Thirst for adventure" is written on the watchband.
Mad Dog Expeditions is a very interesting company. They are specialized in extreme dive expeditions on places where you normally not easy would come. Diving at the Bikini Atoll, diving in the arctic. Diving deeper than 50m with special gas mixtures. You name it, they do it. They also accompany expeditions for underwater nature films. Mad Dog Expeditions is founded in 1994. They were named after their late company mascot, the dog Alice.Alice was thrown out of a car in Greenwich Village in 1995 before Christmas. Apparently her former owner did not want to take her on holidays. She was always taken on expeditions. I'm not sure what was the company name before Christmas 1995...
When the Master Blue Frogman was released in November 2007, everybody was enthusiastic about the black buttons.
Actually I thought I had not seen this before. Actually, even when I was taking these photo's, I did not see it. This model has black buttons too.
Something that caught my eyes when I saw this Frog for the first time was the watchband. All other Frogman models have flat watchbands with two rows of holes, the DW-9900 type Frogmans (including the DW-9950 Seaman) have a structured watchband. This gives the watch a more rugged look and makes you forget it's a little smaller than it's brothers.
The Mad Dog logo is also shown in the back engravement. The serial number learns us this watch was produced in May 1999.When I took the watch out of it's box for this photo session, the battery was dead. An excellent occasion to get a rare look inside of this frog. Note the 2 springs and two metal lips. The springs are for the alarm speaker, the lips are probably needed for the EL-backlight or for checking if the back is closed.Although Alice passed away a few years ago, she is still proud present in the EL-Backlight.Mad Dog Expeditions write about her: "She had the spirit of a true explorer and adventurer that kept on going. Alice was the "Brains" behind our operation and well known around town for her stunning good looks and charm.She is missed by all."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

G-Shock x KIKS TYO

Mainly KIKS TYO releases T-Shirts, but the in collaboration with New Balance and G-Shock they released two DW-5600 G-Shock’s in 2007. Earlier there was also a Nike Jordan G-5500 released in very limited edition and recently an Nike Air Max ‘95 G-5500 was released.

The G-Flash Pack as the 2007 KIKS TYO x New Balance x G-Shock collaboration was called contained of 3 limited edition model sneakers (New Balance 574 and 320), two DW-5600 models and a limited edition print T-Shirt showing Aki Hoshino with the black New Balance version and a gigantic KIKS TYO x G-Shock lace lock in the bikini.The two G-Shock models showed the color scheme of the NB 320 “Burning Red” and the NB 574 “Midnight Darkness” and both share the same name. The edges around the LCD are in the same speckled pattern as found on the sneakers. The KIKS TYO text logo is printed bold under the display. The speckled pattern is continued on the watchbands. The lettering shows <> and WATER 20BAR RESIST. These lettering are mostly found on Japanese only models, instead of the well known ILLUMINATOR and WATER 200M RESIST (This is not a general applying rule actually).

It is a limited edition of 300 pieces. The color scheme is taken from the Nike AJ3-071. The cracked cement pattern used for this sneaker is also found back on the watchband. Actually you find it also back on it’s box. Before this model there was also another collaboration model released (KIKS TYO G-Shock 1). I do not know what model that was, only that it was from a very limited edition of 100 pieces.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

G-Shock x Subcrew - Toughness

Casio (G-Shock) have collaborated with Hong Kong’s Subcrew in various models. Each model is a reflection of the different facets of Subcrew brand from Unity headstores in Asian cities to their online store. These should be released soon and will hit Unity stores, authorised retailers and online, so be on the look out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I.C.E.R.C. x G-Shock GW-203K Frogman Red Jelly

Nearly every month Casio releases new G-Shock and Baby-G models. Most of the are only available for the home market in Japan or East Asia. The new releases can be seen on G-Shock's Japanese homepage. If you are a bit handy with translation tools, you can subscribe to the Japanese newsletter that is e-mailed to you when new models are released.
When I started collecting G-Shocks, I focused on the basic late 90's models. Mainly the DW-6900, DW-003 and DW-004 models. I had seen Japanese collectors often mainly focused on Frogman models. The owners seemed very impressed with this model.
In 2002 I obtained a DW-8200, the 2nd generation basic, and most common Frogman. I believe I paid less than €30.- for it.Frankly I was not impressed at all. It was in new condition when I bought it, but soon it became one of my swimming watches.
So I read the newsletter of may 2003. At that time there was for me no way to get a G-Shock out of Japan. In had just started G-Peopleland. I occasionally looked at a Japanese Watches bulletin board, but this was long before I learned about Seiya-San and Katsu-San (Higuchi Inc).
(I hope you don't mind I am eating a bagette with spicy chorizo in the mean time. Bon Appetit!)
The red jelly Frogman, released to promote the 3rd International Dolphin & Whale Eco-Research Network by the I.C.E.R.C., did look awesome. I was completely drewling on my keyboard.
I already imagined how it looked in bright sunlight. I got to get one. (for more about the I.C.E.R.C. read the article about my white Gulfman on 04-27-2008).
For some time this model stayed a dream watch, but late August this model popped up on eBay. Sellers in Hong Kong and Singapore were selling this watch like they were hot buns. Even Michael of MSG-Distributors, NYC had some for sale. I obtained my first for around $200.-. The US$ was about the same rate as the € around that time.
It even looked better in real. The watch was immediately noticed at the school where I work. It was a very sunny period, and the watch looks like it's illuminated in sunlight. Students even asked me when I was going to wear this red watch again when I didn't wear it...
This model stayed on eBay un-usually long for a limited model. In a few months the marked seemed saturated. I obtained a 2nd one, for the collection around October. I paid less than $150.- for it.
Then, around February 2004 it disappeared from the market. Nowadays it's a pretty much wanted model and I am afraid you may expect to pay double the price that I bought them for.
What makes the GW-203K so special? It's all cosmetic, it's just a GW-200 model, but then wearing a red jelly jacket.
There are prints on the strap. "I.C.E.R.C." and "International Dolphin & Whale Eco-Research Network". The text "All for one" is the I.C.E.R.C. motto. Like on all Dolphin & Whale models in the G-Shock range, there is also a very beautiful back engravement. A pity you can't see that when wearing.
The GW-200 is the Tough Solar successor of the DW-6300, DW-8200 and DW-9900 Frogman range. I actually think something went wrong in the design process of the GW-200. The prefix GW is actually only used for Atomic Tough Solar models. I think Casio aimed for an Atomic model in the first place. The first two GW-200 models, the "Carbon Fiber Frogman" and the "Snakekiller", had the non solar module of the DW-9900. All other GW-200 variants are Tough Solar, but not Atomic.
This watch has been designed to dive with. The case is located a-symmetric to the left of the straps. This way your left hand (if worn left) has more freedom of movement, as when the case was connected symmetric.
While scrolling through the different modes, you find 10 programmable dive sites (of course I set one to Middelburg). Actually, if your home base time isn't between them, you have to alter one of the preset sites to your time zone (GMT offset) to let the other sites display correct time.
Next you find some ID-functions, like blood type, passport and creditcard number, etc. I think it's not wise to store your credit card number though.

The watch stores up to 3 alarms. Further it has a 24 hour stopwatch and a 24 hour count down timer.An extra feature is a bit hidden. If you press for a few seconds on the MODE button, you get in Dive Timer mode. It's a kind of special stopwatch mode. In the displays the dive time is displayed. It also displays the current time and the time the timer started. Unlike complexer dive watches and computers, the Frogman can only store the last dive parameters.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Vintage Casio G-Shock DW-8030G-1V

This is the Casio G-Shock model DW-8030G-1V.

This series was issued in 1995. This model that I have is the export version, thus having the Illuminator moniker instead of Fox Fire at the 6 o'clock position just below the LCD screen. This is the G (gold) version of the standard DW-8000-1, hence the gold lettering as oppose to the red on the DW-8000-1 (G-Shock and LIGHT).

This watch uses Casio Module 1180.

This module have the following functions:

Timekeeping Mode: Hour, minutes, seconds, am/pm, month, date, day of week.
Time system switchable between 12-hour and 24-hour formats.
Calendar system: Auto-calendar pre-programmed from 1995 to 2039

Alarm Mode: Daily alarm, hourly time signal

Countdown Alarm Mode:
Measuring unit: 1 second
Input range: 1 second to 24 hours
Others: Auto-repeat function, repeat function

Stopwatch Mode:
Measuring units: 1/100 second
Measuring capacity: 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59.99 seconds
Measuring modes: Elapsed time, split time and two finishes

Battery: One CR2016 lithium battery

This watch is impact resistant (it IS a G-Shock) and water resistant to 200m. It has EL backlight function (selection by the center button) which also activates 'Time to Get Tough' accross the upper half of the screen.

What is interesting about this watch is that it has a demo mode where the watch will demo the 'Time To Get Tough'. To access this mode, one just has to press the mode button for 3 seconds. (It is the lower left button :) )

Time To Get Tough

The case back. It is the standard SS plate held by 4 tiny screws. It is matte with the standard vertical brushing. This watch was made in Japan (Japan M). The normal markings are there, module no., model no., manufacturer, water resistant, shock resistant and stainless steel back.

The buckle is gold in colour (but I doubt it is gold). It is made in Japan and the engraving looks good.

The strap on this watch is pretty stiff and feels stronger than the straps on the newer G-Shock model. It is smooth on the exterior and feels good. It wears well. Internal markings: 413 H1, 413 H2. The insides of the strap has the ridges at the side of the strap to prevent the watch from rotating on the wrist.

The 'G' button is the light button.

Another interesting thing about this watch is that it does not have a button at the top right hand of the watch. As can be seen in the picture below, the cutout is there but it has not been punched out. In standard Casio G-Shock that button would be for the light on/off function (which this watch does not have) or the lap/ reset button. The other interesting is that the bezel is different from the standard bezel as it is textured on the bottom half. I don't remember seeing this on my other G-Shocks.

So how does the watch wear? Well it is a big watch, measuring 49.5 mm across and 53 mm top to bottom. It is thick, 18 mm in fact. It is heavy. But once on the wrist, it is ok. It is not something you would wear to office on a daily basis as it would snag your shirt cuff. I like it and would get another. The display is clear, although it has a gold tint and the EL is very good, and the 'Time To Get Tough' does somehow motivate you when the going gets tough.

The only problem I have with the watch is that the display has clouded over time. I have cleaned the the display, but that it another story. :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Michael Lau's NY FAT Gardener G-Shock DW-6900AS

The DW-6900AS, NY FAT Gardener model, designed by Michael Lau.
It was fair priced, though, the Michel Lau were already at release (April 2005) not cheap. Although the official sales price of 12000 yen, the price on internet (eBay) was around $150 ex. shipping.
The watch was for sale for a similar price shipped, so it was a good deal. My problem was that I had spend a lot of money in the summer holidays. It looks like spending the summer holidays at home is much more expensive that traveling to a an exotic destination. Luckily the seller knew how much I like this model and he agreed to hold the watch for a week, when I got my salary.
This model was mainly sold in Hong Kong. It was often offered with a Michael Lau NY FAT "Gardener Shock" vinyl mini figure. This mini figure was released on May 20th, the same day the NY FAT G-Shock was released in Hong Kong.
The website on the box does not exist anymore... In January 2007 I already obtained the Gardener Shock mini figure.
Micahel Lau is pioneer designer of Urban Vinal Toys. In 1998 Michel Lau published Gardener comics in the East Touch Magazine. He decided to make the characters of his comics in 12"and 6"vinyl as the Gardeners series.

In his series you find children, graffiti artists, basketball players, rappers, DJ's, snowboarders and skateboarders. They wear clothes inspired on popular street fashion, like Nike, Bathing Ape, etc. As fashion designer artist he knows a lot of people, like James Lavelle (designer, Mo-Wax label boss, U.N.K.L.E.) and Hardy Blechman (owner of Maharishi). These people have showed up in the Gardeners series and also did Michael Jordan.

The small mini figure (normally the mini figures are 6", this one is 4.25") wears a NY FAT logo T-Shirt and a big resin watch. I presume this watch (it is very small) represents the DW-6900AS.Although small, the figure is very good detailed, as you can see here on the pockets and the watch strap.
The DW-6900AS came with the face protector. This face protector is rarely seen on DW-6900 models. It makes this watch look very sturdy. Also it's scheme with grey lettering makes the watch looks somewhat stealth.
You might expect this watch is a Foxfire, because the watch is rated water resist 20 Bar, but on top of the face it shows Illuminator.
On the strap the NY FAT logo and the Gardeners logo (a spray painted G) are shown.

An graffiti artist is shown on the label. This figure also returns in the backlight.

The Gardener logo is also etched in the back.
From the side you can already see the impressive backlight design.It is one of the most impressive EL backlight designs I know. I think that 50% of the display is red.
You might think it is hard reading time, bit the backlight if this model does not disturb at al,
The Michael Lau will be kept safe in collection. Below you can see my garden table in the back yard at the end of the 50 Gs photo's I made Friday.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

"Taxi Driver" G-Shock DW-6900H-9

In January 2001 I obtained my first "Taxi Driver", the DW-6900H-9. It was before I discovered international auction websites.

Later I managed to get a new one and also a new red version (Red Zone) . I think if you look for one good enough, you will still find one for a nice price in Germany, though after 8 years hunting, I notice they become more scarce now. No wonder, it is a 1995 release.
When released, the G-Shock brand was just launched on the European market (October 1994). It seems there was a huge demand yellow watches. Also the DW-6630B-9 has been sold in huge numbers. Casio gave names for the G-Shock models (they actually recently stopped doing this). This one is called Taxi Driver.
I think the guy responsible for giving names to G-Shock models must have been a fan of the TV show Taxi. I was a fan of the show also, and also loved the music ("Angela" by Bob James, features on the album "Touchdown", which is somewhere in my record collection)
It might be possible the DW-6900H was originally only produced for the Japanese market. While overseas models show ILLUMINATOR and WATER-200M-RESIST in the dial, this model shows FOX FIRE and WATER-20 BAR- RESIST.
On the straps there are some tattoo like prints. One is of a spider web, the other a skull and bones on a cross.
The watch was designed for "Slashers", and sometimes also nicknamed Slasher (Japan). With Slasher Casio means board riders, like Snowboarders and skateboarders. "The soul foot in motion"appears to be US slang used by "Slashers. I always thought it was some kind of Engrish for runners.
A nice detail on this watch is the black resin buckle. It's made of a very hard kind of polyurethane. It is very comfortable on the wrist, because it feels warm. The combination with the black strap keeper makes a nice sharp contrast to the "Positive Yellow"straps and bezel.
I noticed there is one drawback with the resin buckle. Once a model with a resin buckle was sent to me in a paper envelope. Though the buckles are very strong and hard, mine didn't survive the stamp machine. When opening the envelope, the buckle crumbled out of the envelope in many pieces.
The DW-6900 is always been my favorite basic model. I still remember when I saw my first DW-6900. It was worn by a barman in Antwerp somewhere Autumn 2000. I had a little talk with that guy and I immediately knew for sure I had to get myself one too.
It doesn't not only look nice, this DW-6900 wears very comfortable. As far as I know all European DW-6900H models released in 1995 have the Japan M stamp. In 2005 there was a re-release of this model, which actually looked exactly the same. Only the back differs. The re-release is made in Malaysia.
One of the coolest things of the DW-6900 in general is the EL Backlight. It is very bright (it probably also consumes quite some battery energy). The face of the DW-6900 is probably best known from the movie Mission Impossible II. Ethan Hunt wears a heavily modded DW-6900, which appears full screen a few times in the movie.