Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks x G-Shock DW-5600

The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, Japanese baseball team, have announced a new collaboration model G-Shock. Only 300 of these DW-5600 watches will be released. It's very similar to the previous collaboration that came out last year. They're selling for around $150 USD, but they'll probably sell out fast as this team is very popular.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

L.R.G. x G-Shock DW-6900LRG-2AJR Now Available

The new LRG collaboration model DW-6900LRG-2AJR G-Shock has landed at least one US retail store. Only 500 pieces were released to the US market. This baby blue watch comes in a nice gift box and trunk case. The color might not be for everyone, but this does have lots of nice custom design elements.

Buy it here


Terje Haakonsen x Casio G-Shock Riseman

Terje Haakonsen is a world famous snowboarder. He rides for Burton Snowboards and was the initiator of the Oackley Arctic Challence.
The official Burton Snowboards website starts his bio:

"What can be said about Terje that hasn’t been said already? Right when you think the guy has set to simmer, he reappears, guns blazing. Need proof? Then check out “It’s Always Snowing Somewhere,” Burton’s latest team video. Co-founder of The Arctic Challenge and all around versatile bloke, Terje secret just may be the healthy, organic lifestyle that he promotes. Fueled by a constant flow of Omega-3’s, Terje’s off snow time (which is ample when you consider that he only rode a handful of days last season) is spent chilling with his family, growing veggies, surfing, playing soccer, and kneading dough in his organic bakery/café. Not too shabby for dude who was born in a taxi."
Photo credit: Burton Snowboards

In 1993, 1995 and 1997 Terje won the I.S.F. World Championship half-pipe and won a lot of other prices. In 2007 he set the highest air (9.80 m) during a qualification doing a backside 360.

In January 1998 Casio honored Terje by releasing a signature series series of 5 DW-004BD X-Treme models (X-Treme is the Japanese variant of the G-Lide series). In January 1999 a new Terje Haakonsen signature series was released. This time Casio used the Master of G for Altitude, the Riseman. Not less than 4 different versions were released.
To be complete, in 2000 a Terje Haakonsen Wademan was released. It might be a confusing model, since it says Haaken on the watchband and his signature (saying Haakon) in the EL backlight. Haakonsen means "Son of Haakon, which might explain this.
The Terje Haakonsen version is different from the basic version. Where the basic version has straps made of leather and parachute cloth, this model has a high comfortable rubber strap. The longest end seems longer than normal, probably made to fit over your jacket in the snow. The green parts of the strap are translucent, so that light can play with it. The crystal is a little sphered, which makes it, like the Raysman, harder to make good photo's with no reflections. In my opinion these reflections do not affect reading the display under normal outdoor and indoor circumstances.
I have two of the Terje Haakonsen Riseman. My first one is an unworn red version, this one is a worn grey/green version. The exact model number is DW-9100BD-8AT.
The module number of this Riseman is 1664. This is the Japanese Riseman module, that cannot switch to imperial units.

A nice touch from Casio are the metal buttons. I actually suspect these are metallic plastic buttons, but they look very real. Although this watch has been worn quite a lot, there seems no trace of wear on the butttons.
A returning theme on this Riseman are cats. Snow leopards to be more precise. There are paws on the end of the strap and the strap keeper is a cat's face.
Even funnier, if you look at the back, there is even a funny cat's tail (nice detail).
The snow leopard also comes back in EL backlight of 3 of the 4 models (the red version shows Terje in one of his jumps).
The Riseman has two sensors. The most important (if you want to call yourself a Riseman) is the barometer sensor. The other sensor is the Thermometer sensor. The barometer sensor is very accurate and because of this accuracy, it can be used to measure altitude differences.
This sounds pretty awesome, but there are two "buts". First a barometric sensor is not only air pressure dependent, but also temperature dependent. Well, Casio solved that problem easy. It has also a thermometer on board. I hope it can operate in Terje's habitat, the minimum working temperature of the watch is -20ºC. Second, if you want a accurate reading of your Altitude, you need to set your altitude. If the weather is stable, you can use the Altimeter function for many hours. Since air pressure always changes, your altitude readings change too if you do not set it for a long time. Still barometric altimeters are the most reliable, though GPS based altimeters can be an alternative.
The Riseman also has a recorder function on board, which can store 50 time-altitude-temperature datasets. When the recorder is activated, a sample is taken every 15 minutes, so you can maximal record 12.5 hour trips.
The basic functions on the Riseman are in fact sober. Just one alarm and a 24h Stopwatch.I bought this watch from a good friend and a colleague teacher. I think I paid around $100.- - $125.- (shipped) for this watch, which is in my opinion a good price.
As you can see on the back, you can understand why this series is called the Terje Haakonsen signature series. His signature is engraved on the titanium backplate. The 4 small bulbs on the back protector are probably there for ventilation.
There it is again, the snow leopard. The returning cat theme is a wink to Terje's amazing high jumps. Like a cat falling from hight, he always returns on his "feet" (board).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Review of the Bright Green G-Shock GLS-5600V-3DR G-Lide

G-Lide is one of the oldest and longest running series in the G-Shock line. In Japan the first models, the were called X-Treme. Therefore it is possible to have two same models, with a different name printed on it.Actually I prefer the name G-Lide. The words Extreme is used pretty much in all kind of advertising ways from sports to shaving blades. And would Glide not be more appropriate for shaving.It started with the DW-002S and the DW-6900S, both surfing models, released May 1996. These X-Treme models were also released outside Japan. I have an overseas DW-6900S, which has no reference to any series. Though the looks of the popular DW-003S G-Lide's is already present.The November 1996 released DW-003X models of the X-Treme series (one of my beloved models), were also released overseas, but then as basic models.
The DW-6900X, also released in that month, was released in Europe as a G-Lide. The silver version was a popular model, which could be often seen in street fashion back then.The G-Lide series were designed to be adopted by board sports enthusiasts. Hence the name, boards glide, on wheels, through snow and over water. There you have the main targets Casio is aiming on with these series. skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing.
Snowboard and skateboard models were often released with double Velcro straps, while surf models have resin straps, sometimes with modifications to allow faster drying.Actually double Velcro straps had not been used for a while. I was happy to see it used again on the new GLS-5600V models.Actually double Velcro straps had not been used for a while. I was happy to see it used on the new GLS-5600V models.
Casio does not only aim with these models on board riders, also special events and pro-sporters are sponsored.
Some big events sponsored by G-Shock are Air + Style, US Open Surfing and the Triple Crown at the North Shore of Maui.
Some sponsored pro-sporters are: Ed Templeton (Toy Factory), Jeremy Klein (Hook Ups), Caia Koopman, Erica Hosseini and Terje Haakonsen.
In the beginning G-Lide models were often based on existing G-Shock models, though since the release of the DWX-100 models in 1998 a lot of G-Lides are released based on unique models. For instance the GL-150 series were quite unique shaped.
If basic models (more precise the case) are used, they often get a different module. Surfing models often have a Tidegraph or a thermometer.
The last 5 years G-Lide models were more or less based on cases of the DW-6900, G-2300 and DW-5600. For the GL-7500 you could ask if the G-7500 was the basic model. In my opinion the G-7500 looks already like a watersports watch.
Since the release of the GL-7500 in 2005 it has been a little silent on the G-Lide front. Therefore I was glad Casio picked up this line in May 2008 with the GLX-5600. In good G-Lide tradition, Casio came in November with a Snowboard version, the today featured GLS-5600V.
Soon (May 2009) Casio will release a 2009 series G-Lide models, which in my opinion look very good. I am specially interested in the GLX-5500 models. I love to see a snowboard version of this one too (preferred with double Velcro strap, of course).Enough history, back to the model of today, the November 2008 GLS-5600V models. Though based on the classic DW-5600E, apart from the case, this watch looks completely different from it's basic brother.
These series come in three color combinations. While the white/black model looks already striking, it falls in the shadow of it's black/pink and lime green/purple brothers. I own the black/pink model (2x) and the lime green/purple model(2x).The shade of green on this watch is hard to describe. The color is not fluorescent yellow, though it sometimes look like that on photo's. Fluorescent yellow is hard to capture on photo's, since fluorescent objects are light sources from themselves. I think it's color can be best described as very intense light green. Though I didn't correct for color on the series photo's I shot for this article, I think they are pretty much representative.
As I am very happily satisfied with these models I probably will try to complete this series in my collection with the white/black model in the future.
These G-Lide models are also very nice priced. You can find the for around $79.- (€60.-) shipped. That's actually a very good price considered the official retail price 13500 yen ( $135.-, €102.-).
Most appearing is obviously the etched metallic area around the display. When watched in different angles, light seems to walk around the display.
Like I wrote above, the GLS-5600V has a double Velcro strap. It seems a different variation strap from the ones I know. The upper part is made of a thick synthetic fabric. It looks like the strap of my Street Arts, but there the upper strap wasn't as hydrophobic as this one.
I think this new fabric allows the strap it to dry quickly when wet. The fabric seems to have a very open structure. So if you enter the après ski after your snowboard adventure, you don’t have to worry about a wet strap around your arm, caused by melting snow.
The under part of this strap is also unique. I think I have seen a similar fabric before on my Lovers Collection 1998, but this fabric looks like a better breathing upgrade.
This part of the strap (the part that touches the skin) feels and looks a bit like felt, compressed with very high pressure. Though it feels like very strong material, it also feels soft when touched. I think the tire like structure (with a beautiful G logo stamped in it) has the purpose to make the strap comfortable (breathing) and fixed on your wrist.
I never have seen this kind of strap before. It looks like Casio has successfully tried hard to innovate new fabrics to make these straps both comfortable and hygienic, pushing these type of straps type to a higher level.
I hope Casio will use more of these straps in the future. I'm also pretty curious how these bands will do in hot summer conditions (though these are snowboard models of course).
Very nice is also the patch on the strap. It's a kind of rubber resin that has the name of the series written on it with shiny silver letters. The patch itself has a structure of circles on it.
Though the presence of these silver letters and metallic rim around the display might suggest different, the watch does not appear to be blingy in my opinion.
So we have now only talked about appearance, lets take a look under the hood. The LCD of my green G-Lide looks under most light conditions black, but a closer look with bright light reveal that actually a purple liquid crystal is used. It matches nice with the purple lettering on the case. The black version has a "Deep Cerise" liquid crystal display. I expect that the white version has the "common" negative display.
The display in Time mode, does what it must do. Besides time, it displays day, date and month, just in case you lost track of time. Time keeping is based on the bias of UTC (GMT). This is pretty handy. The watch is in the factory set to UTC+9 (Japan), so if you set the watch to your time zone and if needed apply DST (Summer Time), the watch will give approximately the right time already.
A nice surprise is the presence of 2 stopwatches. The first stopwatch function has the possibility of a 5 seconds countdown, toggled on and off by pressing the ADJUST button. (Edit:) Not only there are two stopwatches on board, but they can measure times up to 1000 hours too (thank you Joakim!).
The watch has a 24h countdown timer with facilitative repeat function. Since a lot of G-Lide models, specially surf models, only have a 60 minutes countdown timer, this is a big plus on this model.
The GLS-5600V has 5 alarms (one is a snooze alarm) and of course the hourly chime. To bring more joy at night, you can toggle Flash mode. Every time an alarm sound is made, the EL lights up.
A nice surprise on this watch is that also a World Time function is present. I am always a bit biased about this function on a G-Shock. Daylight Saving Time (Summer Time) has to be set by hand, since they do not apply in every location in different timezones. Also DST starts and ends on different dates on different timezones. In Australia there is even a time zone where the southern half have DST, while the northern part don't use DST.
Well, the fact I can write quite a story about this model, indicates that these cheerful model must be something special. I think it's a small miracle that you can get this watch for such a good price.