It’s hard not to have a soft spot for G-Shock watches!
First introduced by Casio in 1983, they’re some of the most-imitated digital watches ever made. Plenty of ‘80s kids got one as their first watch, and later grew up to be watch nuts like me.
These days, I’ll admit, I’m more of a Timex Shock kinda guy. Even so, there’s something about the Casio G-Shock that is undeniably appealing.
Today we’re looking at the G-Shock DW-5600E. It’s a very nostalgic watch, about the closest thing you can get to the original DW-5000C, which was the very first G-Shock. It’s also one of the simplest and most budget-friendly entries into the extensive G-Shock line, which has ballooned to span hundreds of different models.
Quartz not your thing? Read my guide on the most durable automatic watches here.
First Impressions of the G-Shock DW-5600E
G-Shock watches in general have crept up in price over the years (what hasn’t?) and at this point they tend to go for $100 or so. But the DW-5600E remains more affordable. It’s usually in the $70 range, and occasionally you can nab one on sale for around $40, like I recently did.
Call it an impulse buy. These watches have some extremely devoted adherents, as well as some equally vocal detractors.
Well, fanboys and haters be damned, I’m here to tell you that this watch is… pretty good. It’s fine. It’s not likely to knock your socks off, but you’re not likely to call it a waste of money either. The Casio G-Shock DW-5600E is, by design, pretty basic.
And you know what? I’m okay with that. Right out of the box, this watch is comfortable, lightweight, and has a simple design that I can appreciate. It’s also incredibly tough, which is pretty much what the whole G-Shock line is all about.
Construction and Design
The G-Shock DW-5600E has a basic, square design with an easy-to-read rectangular LCD display. The backlight is a mild blue-green glow which, if I’m being honest, I’d like to be a little brighter.
The modern DW-5600E has a resin (i.e. plastic) case, which is one of the few features that set it apart from the classic steel-encased G-Shock watches from the ‘80s. That might sound like a bad thing, but the resin case is waterproof, more shock-absorbent than steel, and is surely part of why this watch is comparatively inexpensive. This watch is also very lightweight at just 53g (1.87oz).
One thing I quite like about the DW-5600E, especially compared to other G-Shock watches, is its size. At 42.8mm wide and 13.4mm thick, it’s less bulky than many of its other counterparts in the G-Shock lineup. There’s something modest about its trim, no-frills design that I really appreciate.
Use and Wear
There’s no denying that the G-Shock DW-5600E gets points for comfort. In addition to being light and relatively slim, it also has a soft resin band that feels secure while offering solid comfort. You can legitimately forget you’re wearing it.
As for functionality, this watch falls squarely in the good-not-great range. Getting everything set up and cycling through the alarm clock, timer and stopwatch functions is clunky and takes getting used to. Remember that this is a watch whose functionality has been only marginally updated since the 1980s.
Of course, most people who buy a watch like the G-Shock don’t get it for its chronograph and other functions. They get it because it’s a rugged, dependable beater watch that they can wear anywhere without worrying about it breaking.
Durability and Water Resistance
The defining feature of G-Shock watches has always been that you can basically beat the hell out of them, and they’ll keep on ticking. All the way back to the original 1983 TV commercial that showed the watch being smacked with a hockey stick, that’s been the loud-and-clear message.
If anything, the G-Shock DW-5600E is even tougher than its predecessors. While the original DW-5000C boasted “triple 10” resistance (10-year battery life, 10-bar water resistance and the ability to withstand a 10-meter fall), today’s G-shocks have evolved to become more water- and shock-resistant.
With 200-meter (20-bar) water resistance, the current iteration of the DW-5600E is twice as water-resistant as the G-shocks of yesteryear. It’s hard to accurately gauge a watch’s resilience against impact, but the resin case and bezel are certainly more shock-resistant than the older steel models.
Just for the sake of science, I tossed my G-Shock out a third story window onto cement—I’d guess that’s about 10 meters—and it barely made a scratch. I didn’t run it over with my car, but if you want to see what happens when you do, there are plenty of folks doing it on YouTube.
The only area where the modern G-Shock DW-5600E doesn’t quite live up to the OG is battery life. Still, today’s model will give you a perfectly respectable 2 years of life on a CR2016 lithium battery.
There is a solar option I have wanted to try, the G-Shock GWM5610-1. If your into solar watches, check out my list of the Best Solar Powered Dive Watches here. Or the solar powered Citizen Nighthawk that I reviewed here.
Final Thoughts on the G-Shock DW-5600E
Here’s the thing about this watch: it’s designed to tickle your nostalgia bone. You’re meant to look at it and go, “Woa! They still make these? Cool!”
I totally get that, and I’m as susceptible to it as the next guy. It actually is pretty cool that they still make these, and that they still look pretty much the same as they did 35 years ago. It makes one remember how much fun it was to get one’s first digital watch way back when. Even figuring out how to use the somewhat unwieldy buttons is sort of enjoyable in a charming-throwback kind of way.
Is that a good enough reason to buy this watch? Maybe. Maybe not.
The G-Shock DW-5600E is one of those things that’s good for what it is: a durable, dependable watch that you can wear camping, kayaking, to the gym, or while doing yard work. The aspects of it that might be a little lackluster don’t really matter all that much if you just want a simple digital watch that can take all the punishment you can throw at it.
I’ll also admit that the simplicity of this G-Shock model is a virtue. If you’ve had it up to here with watches that tell you the weather, count your steps and keep track of your heart rate, then the G-Shock DW-5600E is the perfect antidote.
The bottom line, for me, is that this watch is worth your hard-earned dollars if you can grab one on sale. It’s a good buy at $40, and you can sometimes find them marked down to around that range on Amazon. Heck, they even have these things at Walmart.
But at full price—closer to $70—there are better watches for your money out there.