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Discussion Starter #1
Although there are dedicated G-Shock forums out there I feel more comfortable baring my ignorance here. I know that there are knowledgeable collectors in this community so...

I have always appreciated G-Shocks from the perspective of being a purpose built tool. While form does not strictly follow function in every design they are, by and large, really well designed tools. I have had a few go through my hands over the years but none have stuck. I think at this point I would be most drawn to a more classic 5600 based design or a Pathfinder (yes, I know, not strictly a G). What I am always dumbfounded at though is the pricing and the collectible desirability of certain limited release versions.

The notion of limited release barely holds on a mechanical watch when the numbers are in the 200 to 500 piece range. When the number produced is in the 1000+ range the notion of exclusivity seems downright silly. So taking that out of the picture there is the question of the actual unique qualities of the limited release. So many limited Seiko watches are just parts bin specials that aren't really well thought out (Samurai "Ninja" L.E. anyone?) that offer nothing special other than higher pricing.

So what makes an L.E. special? In the case of some Seiko historical reissues it is obvious to the collecting community. If I had the funds (say, $3000) I would be torn between a 6215-7000 or a 6159-7001 and an SBDX003. Given the scarcity of the originals, the historical reissues, while produced in reduced but not super exclusive numbers, hold a definite cachet to my eyes. A classic design, beautifully produced again with some subtle updates.

Maybe it's too much of my personal bias on digital watches in general but I just don't understand why a certain Frogman would be $200 and a limited all black version $1200. Without delving into the areas of different case materials (resins vs. titanium) or limited production runs (limited being a subjective data point), what makes the G-Shock collector pay, in some cases, a huge premium for a G-Shock?

G-Shocks do not represent any sort of horology as I define it. They are really nifty, tough, multi-purpose wrist computers. The most accurate ones require external signal synchronization so we are not talking any sort of high accuracy quartz development (and yes, I know that their basic +/- 15sec/month non-atomic calibrated modules can deliver very consistent accuracy). What is it that drives a G collector to pay more for a bit of plastic that is fundamentally the same as a cheaper version? Maybe I'll never really "get it"?
 

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LE are not for the normal person or even the watch enthusiast. They are for the die-hard brand/style collectors. So why are there LE G-Shocks? Simple: it's a cash cow.
In fact, that goes the same for any modern LE watch, diecast cars, knifes, pocket knifes, baseball caps, whatever.
 

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haha...okay, let me take a stab at your questions...
I will just ramble from the top of my head on Gs, since I started getting into them back in 2004 when 9 others and I started our G-Forces forum.
Gs came on strong in the early 1990s when quartz and digitals were very popular with the youth generation. (remember that the Seiko SUS line began in 1992 to introduce the analogue SUS line to the then digitally weaned youth of Japan. Casio, ever the common man's affordable watch, brought out hundreds of G Shock models with various colors, model lines (digital, ana-digitals, average to large sizes like the Frogman series - part of the Master of G series.

Part of Casio's marketing campaign was to cater to the then music scene of the Bob Marley Reggae music and the bright yellow/green/red theme. Another niche marketing strategy was to create Commemorative models for international events such as the Triple Crown of Surfing event in Hawaii, the Seattle Scientific Conference for the Exploration of the Antarctica etc. Each model would be different by adding some text and dial cosmetic/color differences creating a Ltd Edition version from the regular module Gs.

No great addition to Horology, you say? hahaha! Well, if you investigate the sub series called the Master of G series, you will find that amongst the 8 or 9 models is the Frogman, a 50mm wide, only ISO rated titanium cased rugged diver model. The Wademan was an electronic compass watch, the Raysman was a solar model, the Mudman had rubber covered pushers to protect the ingress of water and dirt etc. Each model specialized in a certain area (the Gaussman had higher anti-magnetic rating , I think). Perhaps not so earthshaking innovations, but nevertheless to those hooked on innovation, size, and variety of colors, the G Shock phenomenon steamrolled around the world. Pricepoint was certainly a major factor in the G's popularity...and to this day in 2010, the G Shock still offers the best bang for the buck IMO. Even here in Japan, the Casio G must outsell all other watches! Everyone from bank tellers, to tradesmen, to busdrivers, kids, teens, men AND women can and do sport G Shocks.

As with any addiction, once you get hooked on Gs, it is hard to forget them! haha! Form and Function can be found in a nice balance (the simple DW5600E which morphed into the modern atomic/solar model now) and often a favorite of armed forces guys. Even NASA approved the DW5600E! haha! If anything, Casio G Shocks excel at their rugged and tough casing design. Of course using resin has its limitations. Older vintage models became somewhat prone to rot depending on exposure to certain toxic chemicals (even Seiko vintage thick diver straps have been known to just break apart!).

Once in 2004, the wife and I went into Osaka to a special G Shock shop, a very tiny room in a commercial building. Many collectibles were in the showcases, rented out to collectors wishing to sell the Gs. Talking to the lady owner, she said she had been selling Gs since the 90s, and the trend is cyclical returning every so many years! One Korean fellow who used to do business in Japan at the time would often drop in and buy the Frogman special editions for his collection, spending well over $300usd for them!

Ltd Edition models? I guess the marketing departments in ALL watches cater to a weakness in human nature - wishing to be special, to be exclusive
from the rest of humanity haha! Certainly there is usually no inherent, intrinsic added value to a Ltd model if only text and an engraved back is added, while the module/movement remains the same. (the Seiko Monster series comes to mind and those Ltd versions from Thailand!)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thian, Thank you for your off the cuff musings. I actually was motivated to post on the subject after seeing your 1997 Triple Crown of Hawaii Commemorative over on AWF.

I guess one could equate G obsession, at least as far as collecting multiples of very similar models, to the swatch collecting craze in the '80s. I never really understood that at all. But to each his own.

As for contributions to horology, I was speaking strictly in terms of time keep technology. The rest of the package, protection against mud, dust, magnetism, the ability to check the tides, altimeter, barometer, compass, all fall in my definition of multi-purpose wrist computer. As I said, a fantastic bit of technology on the wrist, just not what I speak of emotionally when I say the word wristwatch.

I suppose that makes me a bit of a watch bigot. I admit it. I wish it were otherwise. There are a lot of great looking and functioning analog quartz watches out there that I would love to have but watching the second hand go step-step-step just kind of gives me the creeps. I'd consider a Spring Drive (love the GMT) but if I had the money it would go into vintage 6138's or an Omega Speedmaster! I suppose I'm just old fashioned, my hi-fi is all vacuum tubes (except for the CD player).
 

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sjbrook said:
" that offer nothing special other than higher pricing."
IMHO, with that part of your post, you've answered your own question. And if any buyer is willing to pay extra for a "limited edition", the seller will be more than happy to take his/her money.
 

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Many of the limited editions are really just marketing tools from companies putting their name or cause on a custom designed watch. They are usually on the most basic models. We could do the same for the SCWF as it is just a matter of design and money. The models by BAPE have so much demand that they are actually counterfitted.

I'd say that Casio's own limited editions fall in the same bucket as other watch companies and have the same list of criticisms.

I think your definitation of horology is a little strict. Although Casio did not invent the solid state digital quartz, they have nearly perfected the manufacturing and commercialization of it. I guess this is a wider perspective of "horology" than the time keeping object on your wrist. Additionally I can understand the opposing opinion that radio controlled watches are not an advancement in the time keeping of the watch, but at the same time, the use of radio controlled watches cannot be ignored as an advancement to horology in the larger perspective. Besides, the commercialization of RC watches is yet another advancement that Japanese watch fans can be proud of that will also be poo-pooed by the Eurpoean competition.
 

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Very interesting, Thian, thanks for that overview! I learned a lot.
thianwong said:
haha...okay, let me take a stab at your questions...
I will just ramble from the top of my head on Gs, since I started getting into them back in 2004 when 9 others and I started our G-Forces forum.
Gs came on strong in the early 1990s when quartz and digitals were very popular with the youth generation. (remember that the Seiko SUS line began in 1992 to introduce the analogue SUS line to the then digitally weaned youth of Japan. Casio, ever the common man's affordable watch, brought out hundreds of G Shock models with various colors, model lines (digital, ana-digitals, average to large sizes like the Frogman series - part of the Master of G series. ...
 

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thianwong said:
haha...okay, let me take a stab at your questions...
I will just ramble from the top of my head on Gs, since I started getting into them back in 2004 when 9 others and I started our G-Forces forum.
Gs came on strong in the early 1990s when quartz and digitals were very popular with the youth generation. (remember that the Seiko SUS line began in 1992 to introduce the analogue SUS line to the then digitally weaned youth of Japan. Casio, ever the common man's affordable watch, brought out hundreds of G Shock models with various colors, model lines (digital, ana-digitals, average to large sizes like the Frogman series - part of the Master of G series.

Part of Casio's marketing campaign was to cater to the then music scene of the Bob Marley Reggae music and the bright yellow/green/red theme. Another niche marketing strategy was to create Commemorative models for international events such as the Triple Crown of Surfing event in Hawaii, the Seattle Scientific Conference for the Exploration of the Antarctica etc. Each model would be different by adding some text and dial cosmetic/color differences creating a Ltd Edition version from the regular module Gs.

No great addition to Horology, you say? hahaha! Well, if you investigate the sub series called the Master of G series, you will find that amongst the 8 or 9 models is the Frogman, a 50mm wide, only ISO rated titanium cased rugged diver model. The Wademan was an electronic compass watch, the Raysman was a solar model, the Mudman had rubber covered pushers to protect the ingress of water and dirt etc. Each model specialized in a certain area (the Gaussman had higher anti-magnetic rating , I think). Perhaps not so earthshaking innovations, but nevertheless to those hooked on innovation, size, and variety of colors, the G Shock phenomenon steamrolled around the world. Pricepoint was certainly a major factor in the G's popularity...and to this day in 2010, the G Shock still offers the best bang for the buck IMO. Even here in Japan, the Casio G must outsell all other watches! Everyone from bank tellers, to tradesmen, to busdrivers, kids, teens, men AND women can and do sport G Shocks.

As with any addiction, once you get hooked on Gs, it is hard to forget them! haha! Form and Function can be found in a nice balance (the simple DW5600E which morphed into the modern atomic/solar model now) and often a favorite of armed forces guys. Even NASA approved the DW5600E! haha! If anything, Casio G Shocks excel at their rugged and tough casing design. Of course using resin has its limitations. Older vintage models became somewhat prone to rot depending on exposure to certain toxic chemicals (even Seiko vintage thick diver straps have been known to just break apart!).

Once in 2004, the wife and I went into Osaka to a special G Shock shop, a very tiny room in a commercial building. Many collectibles were in the showcases, rented out to collectors wishing to sell the Gs. Talking to the lady owner, she said she had been selling Gs since the 90s, and the trend is cyclical returning every so many years! One Korean fellow who used to do business in Japan at the time would often drop in and buy the Frogman special editions for his collection, spending well over $300usd for them!

Ltd Edition models? I guess the marketing departments in ALL watches cater to a weakness in human nature - wishing to be special, to be exclusive
from the rest of humanity haha! Certainly there is usually no inherent, intrinsic added value to a Ltd model if only text and an engraved back is added, while the module/movement remains the same. (the Seiko Monster series comes to mind and those Ltd versions from Thailand!)

Haha, and this is why I call you my sifu/sensei ole wiseone and jedimaster. :))


Congrats on that new G triple crown. ;)


Cheers, Dave.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
nhoJ said:
Many of the limited editions are really just marketing tools from companies putting their name or cause on a custom designed watch. They are usually on the most basic models. We could do the same for the SCWF as it is just a matter of design and money. The models by BAPE have so much demand that they are actually counterfitted.

I'd say that Casio's own limited editions fall in the same bucket as other watch companies and have the same list of criticisms.

I think your definitation of horology is a little strict. Although Casio did not invent the solid state digital quartz, they have nearly perfected the manufacturing and commercialization of it. I guess this is a wider perspective of "horology" than the time keeping object on your wrist. Additionally I can understand the opposing opinion that radio controlled watches are not an advancement in the time keeping of the watch, but at the same time, the use of radio controlled watches cannot be ignored as an advancement to horology in the larger perspective. Besides, the commercialization of RC watches is yet another advancement that Japanese watch fans can be proud of that will also be poo-pooed by the Eurpoean competition.
I think that LE watches are real when they really are LE and unique. A prime example beyond the Seiko historical reissues would be the Eddie Platts PRS-2 Dreadnaught. 200 made, nothing else like it, never to see the light of day again (can you guess that I would really like to have one ;D ). Otherwise I think the LE marketing machine is just as you say, churning the revenue stream.

As for my definitions of horology...I suppose the image of the white haired, stoop shouldered, squint-eyed octogenarian watchmaker laboring over the manufacture of teeny tiny little gears is a bit of an anachronism and yet...
My interaction with quartz controlled timing circuits comes out of the world of electronic engineering and I have a hard time seeing the developments of wrist based quartz timing as being especially exciting. Of course a G-Shock is much more convenient for daily walkabout than a Fluke 910...

 

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My interaction with quartz controlled timing circuits comes out of the world of electronic engineering and I have a hard time seeing the developments of wrist based quartz timing as being especially exciting. Of course a G-Shock is much more convenient for daily walkabout than a Fluke 910...

While I can appreciate the traditional view of Horology ( gears, automatic etc), I don't subscribe to the "no soul" viewpoint per se. To me, it is strictly a personal feeling by watch lovers what they like about watches and why. Call me a pragmatist if you will, but in the end, a watch simply tells time for its owner.

One can appreciate both the 'old' tube equipment AND circuit board IC stuff. The LE phenomenon is pure marketing IMO and appeals to the cosmetics (usually, as your example shows the exception) but it is still within the realm of how to make more profit ...

Of course, back in the G Shock past, I too laughed many times seeing all the G Shock Limited Edition models churned out over the years! One was dedicated to a Japanese soccer player who had joined a European team in those days! Pure marketing! Take a current model, paint it green, add the name to the band..and voila! haha!

If you want to see how quartz watches can catch the imagination and fascination of a few, go to the WUS HEQ forum and peek in and read with awe how a few regular members get so deep into the intracacies of timing perfection via electronics. Meanwhile, I continue to love my vintage Seamaster 200m quartz caliber 1441 1987 (rated at +-20sec/year but recently tested to under +5secs/year!.....and my Tsunami with the 6R15 caliber......haha!....or even my Bell-Matic auto....or even my Chinese Seagull ST5d auto......
:))
 
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Thian! great reply! You sure know your casios. I only have one g shock but plan on getting another one soon.
 

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Here's a perfect example of Limited Edition Marketing by Casio. Pict from mygshock.com These are marketed as a "Green Collection". Although they aren't actually all green in color, they are supposed to be environmentally friendly. The truth of the matter is that these are just jelly (instead of resin) versions of existing solar charged models packaged in recycled cardboard. They create a buzz because they are jelly and G Shock fans love jelly and it hasn't been around for a while and you know these will be a single run and when they are gone, they are gone.


Truth be told, I don't expect these to be priced at ridiculous points like many other LE so they just represent a fun watch for the summer that will likely turn a funky color from sweat and grime by Christmas and tossed in a drawer only to be replaced with the next cool watch for next summer.


Now which one am I gonna get...the 5600 or the 6900??? ;D Its a shame they aren't the radio controlled versions. LOL!


EDIT: Sorry, the forum software has shrunk the picture. If you are interested here is the link to the original.
http://mygshock.com/2010/07/15/new-green-collection-jelly-g-shocks/






 

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Clever marketing on Casio's behalf. I don't like all of the LEs, but I really like some of the urban cammo pieces, and various coloured Frogmans. A lot of people like these colour shemes. So what does Casio do? Only make a few!

:'(

So, wheteher it is sensible or not (I'm sure it isn't) I'll one day fork out for a Brazillian Frogman or the green one or something similar. For not much more I could get, say, a Seiko Shogun. Brand new. A real watch. Quality auto movement, scratch resistant Ti, Seiko's dive watch heritage, etc, etc...

But you know what? A coloured Frogman would make me smile more, and get more wrist time. And isn't that what it's all about?
 

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jason_recliner said:
Clever marketing on Casio's behalf. I don't like all of the LEs, but I really like some of the urban cammo pieces, and various coloured Frogmans. A lot of people like these colour shemes. So what does Casio do? Only make a few!

:'(

So, wheteher it is sensible or not (I'm sure it isn't) I'll one day fork out for a Brazillian Frogman or the green one or something similar. For not much more I could get, say, a Seiko Shogun. Brand new. A real watch. Quality auto movement, scratch resistant Ti, Seiko's dive watch heritage, etc, etc...

But you know what? A coloured Frogman would make me smile more, and get more wrist time. And isn't that what it's all about?
And isn't that what it's all about? .......so true, at least in my book!
Here is a seldom seen Baby G Frogman I had found used in April this year and grabbed it! It is not a LE model, but targeted to the ladies, and thus not seen much even on the Yahoo Japan auctions. Is it unique? Well, only that it is a 'smaller' version of the full 50mm Frogman at 45mm wide! and the casing is SS, not titanium as the current crop are. It is still ISO 200m rated.


 
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