G-SHOCK GW-S5600-1JF Review

The G-SHOCK “Square” is the most iconic model in their line. Even digital watch muggles instantly recognize it as a Casio. Since its introduction in 1983, the Japanese manufacturer has introduced more versions of the Square than ice cream flavors at Baskin Robbins (by a factor of 10). The GW-S5600-1JF is a significant evolution of the classic Square – that isn’t available anywhere outside of Japan. Domo arrigato Mr. Roboto?

Actually, thank you eBay for making the G-SHOCK GW-S5600-1JF available to G-SHOCK buyers who favor high tech materials.

I have a few collectibles (e.g., my Spyderco Domino knife) that incorporate carbon fiber and titanium. When I learned that Casio created a G-SHOCK Square incorporating BOTH materials, I was all in.

The first thing that jumps out when unboxing the GW-S5600-1JF: the Carbon Fiber Insert Construction proclamation running the length of the strap. Just in case you missed it, Casio printed another “Carbon Fiber” label at the top of the strap.

Clear-coated carbon fiber is a big thing in the automotive world. Tuners use the treated material to shave ounces off “high-performance cars” with huge, heavy audio systems (for example). The combo doesn’t shiny-up cars as much as watch bands, we now learn. It also makes for a stiff feeling watch strap. But once you’re buckled in, it’s Recaro comfortable.

Did I mention that the GW-S5600-1JF is shiny? The watch exudes a gel-coat-like sheen – case, bezel and strap. On the positive side, the clear coat makes the carbon fiber weave glisten. On the negative side, the clear coat makes the carbon fiber weave glisten.

The G-SHOCK’s “plasticky” look’s grown on me – in the same way that the cars in Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift seemed stupid right until they didn’t. There’s something about the gleaming, over-labelled G-SHOCK GW-S5600-1JF that’s “just right” for a JDM watch.

Less flashy but equally important, the GW-S5600-1JF is a titanium timepiece. The caseback, screws, buttons and buckle are all fashioned from atomic element number 22. The resulting watch weighs-in at a scant 44 grams.

For comparison, the G-SHOCK Power Trio tips the scales between 51.7 (GW-M5610 Square) and 93 grams (GW-9400 Rangeman). My Rolex Yachtmaster and G-SHOCK Frogman weigh 139 grams and 118 grams, respectively.

If you want your G-SHOCK to trip the light fantastic, the GW-S5600-1JF’s playing your tune.

The GW-S5600-1JF provides the typical slate of G-SHOCK chronograph functions found in Squares. The “set-and-forget” model also includes the universally-desirable Tough Solar (battery charging) and Multi-Band 6 (atomic clock synchronization). It also keeps track of world time in 48 cities in 29 time zones.

I’ve heard complaints that the four buttons on the 5600 series are on the stiff side compared to other Squares. Personally, I don’t have an issue pushing buttons on this watch (nor on folks who engage in debate on the subject).

If you’ve seen one Square, you’ve seen them all. Or not. There’s quite a nuanced variety of models within this G-SHOCKs genre. Some offer nothing more than different paint jobs by pop singers turned “collab artist.” The GW-S5600-1JF is more than a cosmetic makeover; it’s a Superleggera G-SQUARE. If you’re looking for a glossy G-SHOCK that weighs less than ten nickels, save your pennies for this one.

Model: Casio G-SHOCK GW-S5600-1JF
Price paid: $286

SPECIFICATIONS:
Case / Bezel:
Resin case. Titanium caseback.
Crystal: Mineral Glass (flat).
Strap: “Carbon Fiber Insert Construction” Resin.
Lume: Electro-luminescent backlight. Auto-light option.
Dimensions
: 46.7 x 43.2 x 12.7 mm.
Weight: 47g (claimed), 44g (measured).
Movement: Casio Quartz Module #3159.
Battery life: Solar rechargeable. 10 months (normal functions without exposure to light after a full charge). 26 months (when stored in the dark with the power save function).
Accuracy: Nightly atomic clock sync. Without sync, +/- 15 seconds per month.
Water resistance: 200 meters.

Functions: Digital time (hour, minutes, seconds), Day / Date (perpetual), Stopwatch, Countdown Timer, World Time, Alarm (5 of them), Signal (hourly chime).

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Design * * * * *
The “G-SQUARE” is simply a classic, and virtually indestructible, Casio design. Either you love it, or you don’t. But, from a form-follows-function standpoint, it’s undeniably perfect. The carbon fiber and titanium bits add space-age flair.

Legibility * * * *
The typical G-SHOCK positive LCD display is easy enough to read if you’ve got 20/20 vision. The date is a smaller dot-matrix type font. Presbyopic eyes might need readers to see the smaller display details. Minus one star for us old farts.

Comfort * * * * *
The extreme light weight makes the watch nearly imperceptible on the wrist.

Overall * * * *
If you’re a Casio G-SHOCK square yourself, you’ll surely enjoy this variant. The high-tech material bits add significantly to the cost, compared to a standard Square with the same set of functions, such as the GW-M5610-1 (available for less than $100).  Minus 1 star for the premium price.

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No compensation were provided for this review.

3 comments

  1. So this resin exterior band is basically as comfortable on the skin as any other Casio resin band, albeit less flexy? And as impervious to marring despite the high gloss? I never noticed the concave finger grooves around the buttons before.

    1. As to how the clear coat holds up against marring… I don’t know, yet. I haven’t worn it long enough. 🙂

      What makes the watch so comfortable, IMO, is that it is SO light. I tend to wear watches on the loose side, especially if my wrist size is “between holes.” I’ll pick the looser hole. (Don’t go there!) But, since this watch is so light, it doesn’t flop around or shift. I can barely tell I’m wearing it.

      Yeah… each button has its own protective “lugs,” so to speak.

      I had delayed wearing this watch, because the strap feels so stiff just holding it in my hands. I finally decided to give it a real wearing session and was very surprised to find it was super-comfortable. I wore it two days straight. It will have a place in my “rotation.”

  2. Funny how we change with time. I was 20 in 1983 and until about a year ago wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing a G-Shock. Now I’m up to an even dozen and can’t tell you the last time I wore my Rolex.

    Thanks for the review.

    Yours in nerdy coolness,
    J

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