The G-Shock. It's a name that most people will know, even if you don't care about watches. The first models came out in 1983, and set a new standard for durable watches. Shockproof, waterproof, and very, very durable were the goals, and they were met after a lot of prototyping. There have been a ton of G-Shocks made over the last 41 years, and the DW5600E-1V is one of the longest-produced specific models, going back to 1987. How well does this classic digital watch fare in 2024?
What is the Casio DW5600E-1V G-Shock?
The DW5600E-1V is a durable digital watch, made by Casio since 1987. It is an evolution of the Casio 5000, which was the first G-Shock. Both share a similar "brick" shape for the case, but the DW5600E-1V has some features that have made it a longer-lasting timepiece. We'll touch on features down the line, but let's talk about what being a "G-Shock" means.
The G-Shock was a creation from Casio's Project Team "Tough", spearheaded by Kikuo Ibe. The goal was to make "a durable watch that not break even when dropped", and years of time went into that goal. Eventually, the team found that encasing the watch in a durable, shock proof case would lead to a durable watch. They used the idea of a bouncy ball, with the watch module inside of it. With this design, they've encapsulated the watch "guts" inside of a box with springs in it. The springs allow the module to move when a shock happens, to better transfer the force to protect the module. With that, the G-Shock was born.
The DW5600E-1V wasn't the first G-Shock, but it's been around for 37 years. As such, it's pretty popular. It's partly due to the durability, and partly due to the price. MSRP is $74.95, but you can routinely find them for under $50 on big box retailer sites. To give up the ghost early, the DW5600 made the top of my "Budget Casio" list back in January. I really like this watch, but I want to explain why. Let's start with the dimensions and construction.
Dimensions & Construction
If you know G-Shocks, you probably know that many are very large. Well, the DW5600E-1V is not nearly as big (or gaudy) as many of the newer G-Shock models. Case width is 42.8mm, with a thickness of 13.4mm, and a lug to lug of 48.9mm. Now, the lug width is 18mm, but you'll need an adapter to really make non-OEM straps work.
While the dimensions may seem big, this watch is very, very wearable for most folks. Whether you've got a big wrist or a small one, the DW5600E-1V will work for you. Part of what assists in that is the material used.
Most of the DW5600E-1V is resin. The band, the outer shell for the case, the case itself, and the guts feature a lot of resin. As such, the DW5600E-1V is fairly featherweight at 53 grams. While it isn't a wonder material, the resin is made to be durable, yet soft to the touch. The caseback is stainless steel, as are all of the screws on the watch. Covering the display is a recessed piece of mineral glass, something that is very nice to see for $50.
Speaking of recessing things, the four buttons on the DW5600E-1V are quite recessed. This is done so that if the watch takes a drop, the buttons will not be accidentally depressed. Now, I understand that, but it does make pressing the buttons a bit harder to do. Not impossible, but harder.
What does pressing those buttons do anyway?
The module with the DW-56ooE-1V is a simple one. It's the Casio 3229, a module found in a lot of the early G-Shocks. Accuracy is quoted at +/- 15 seconds a day, and I've found that to be true in my experience. The complication is fairly uncomplicated, as we've only got a handful of functions.
Well, the watch tells the time, has a perpetual calendar, an alarm, a countdown timer (with repeater), and a stopwatch (with split). We've also got a fairly strong backlight. All of what you need, and (mostly) nothing that you don't. I've got a video below, where I show the functions there.
Now, this is a barebones watch, but it makes sense when you factor in the age. When compared to something like the AE-1200, this seems really basic. Well, yeah, it is. But with that simplicity, I've found that I'm actually using the functions more. The single alarm comes in plenty handy, as do the countdown timer and stop watch. Since we've got a perpetual calendar, you only need to set the date once, and it's always good.
What's really notable on the DW5600 is the backlight. You can configure it to either stay on for 1 or 3 seconds, and it is bright as can be. The teal color of the light gives a very retro feel, while being extremely practical. The display is generally very legible, but with the backlight, you'll have no problems reading it when taking a quick glance. With the simple feature set and strong backlight, we've got a 2 year battery life via a 2016 battery. Not the best, but not bad at all.
How well does this G-Shock wear on the wrist?
Fitment & Comfort
The DW-5600 is extremely easy to wear. The OEM resin strap is quite comfy, and provides enough holes to size it to most wrists. I've got a 7.25" wrist, and it fits rather comfortably on me. The design of the strap also makes the watch more durable, as the ribs on it help to absorb some shock.
Due to the tapering down on the OEM strap & case shape, this is a large watch that will wear small on most people. I've seen folks with relatively small wrists who can still pull off the G-Shock square. Now, part of the fun of this immensely popular watch is modding it.
I love me a good NATO, double-pass strap. I prefer them over rubber and bracelets, but fitting NATOs to a lot of Casio watches is a pain. Well, I found a seller on Etsy who made 3D printed adapters for the DW5600, that allows the use of a NATO. Well, I bought a pair of those, and for most of my time with the DW5600, I've been using a two-tone NATO. I prefer this over the resin band, mostly due to my preference of nylon on my skin.
Aside from modding the DW5600 to use NATOs, you can do a lot of other work. Swapping the outer housing, swapping the mineral glass for sapphire, and mods to use metal bracelets are all out there. I'm content with a simple band swap, but the sky's the limit for customizing the DW5600.
How durable is this G-Shock? Does it live up to the name?
Well, I've not gone out of my way to destroy my watch. However, I've not babied it either. It's been in the rain and snow, been in the shower plenty, been in hot and cold, underwater, and bashed into plenty of things. As such, it's my de-facto "beater" watch, one that I'm not afraid to wear in rougher situations.
With that, all I've managed to do is put a few scratches on the outer resin case. The watch is durable, and feels durable on the wrist. There's a reason why the DW5600E-1V is on the NASA astronaut approved list, and has spent time in space. Between the beefiness of the design, the mineral glass, and the water resistance, we've essentially got a durable dive watch for a bargain price.
Can you destroy the DW5600? Well, yeah, of course you can. You can break any durable thing, if you know how to break it properly. That being said, I doubt you will accidentally do that to this G-Shock.
How has my EDC experience been with the DW5600?
EDC With the DW-G
Right off the start, the DW5600 became my standard "gym" watch. I got into wearing watches due to wanting one while lifting weights, and the G-Shock felt like a good fit for that job. I know that dropping a dumbbell on my watch can (and has) happened, so a durable watch is needed.
At the gym, the module functions are nice to have. Being able to use the stopwatch to time cardio is great, and being able to set an alarm to leave has come in handy too. I lift before hitting my day-job during the week, and it is easy to lose track of time while doing so. Even when getting sweat on the DW5600, I never had any corrosion on the watch, or irritation on my wrist.
The DW5600 has also become my shooting watch, when the weather is rather adverse. It's been with me on rainy and snowy shooting trips, and is the watch I wear when shooting at night. While the water resistance rating isn't being tested while at 5000' above sea level, I never need to worry about water damaging the watch while out in the elements. The backlight comes in extremely handy while doing night shoots, as it is nice and bright, and can be quickly turned off too, to maintain IR compliance.
With great features, wonderful durability, and a ton of legibility, this has become my favorite beater watch. Now, it's not perfect, as there is a feature that I wish the DW5600E-1V had.
There's one element of the DW5600 that I'm not the biggest fan of, and a feature that I wish the watch had.
The buttons on the DW5600 are recessed, to best protect them during a fall. This makes sense for durability, but it makes hitting the buttons harder than on most other Casios. It's not impossible, but it does make it hard to use certain functions. On my specific DW5600, the "Adjust" button was the most hidden one, so setting the time, or resetting the stopwatch/countdown timers was quite hard. I trimmed a little material off of the outer shell to make button access easier, so you can play with that issue.
I really, really wish that the DW5600E-1V had a second time zone function. I've been spoiled by watches like the AE1200 and DW291, both of which can track two (or more) time zones concurrently. In both my professional and personal life, I like the ability to track multiple time zones. Whether it be to contact a client on the other side of the country, or to not wake a friend vacationing in Mexico, it's a feature that I've really come to appreciate. Now, many of the higher end versions of the DW5600 offer this function, but the older, simpler DW5600E-1V doesn't. Is it a deal breaker for me? Not at all, but I just wish it had a GMT/dual time zone function.
When it comes to wristwatches, a lot of folks buy for function, and a lot buy for the history of the watch, or manufacturer. Well, with the DW5600E-1V, you can do both, and for less than a $50 bill. For that price, you'll get a durable, water resistant, and extremely comfortable time piece. I said it was my favorite budget Casio, and I'll be standing by that until something dethrones the venerable DW5600E-1V. I think I'll be waiting for a long while.
Additional Reading & Patreon Link
If you liked this review, check out some more of my watch reviews:
- Timex Expedition Scout 40 Review - In The Field 
- Casio F91W-1 Review - A Timeless Classic 
- Casio AE-1200 Review - The Casio Royale 
- Invicta Pro Diver Quartz Review - Rolex-ish 
- Islander Watch Port Jefferson Review 
If you'd like to support me on Patreon, I've got the link for that here. Nearly everything that I do on Primer Peak is paid for out of my own pocket, and my content is not shilled or driven by manufacturers or companies. If you decide to donate, I'd really appreciate it, as it would allow for me to continue to bring you quality work.