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After I destroyed my Seiko SKX173 digging a ditch in my back yard, I found myself without a watch. I was not in a place financially where I could replace it with another automatic, and the thought of getting it fixed did not cross my mind. So the only thing to do was to find something cheap to replace it – and to replace it fast.
Buy the Casio DW-5600E at Jomashop
Like many Americans, I found myself browsing the aisles of Wal-Mart. Moments later I walked away with a Casio G-Shock DW-5600E strapped to my wrist. I knew that G-Shocks were supposed to be tough, and for $40 I could swing the purchase. That was the extent of my pre-purchase research. Oddly enough I also bought my first knife at Wal-Mart with no research.
The DW-5600E ended up being my daily wear watch for the next 3 years. I eventually got my SKX173 fixed, but the DW5600E stayed on my wrist 95% of the time. I eventually upgraded to something cooler (and 50x more expensive), but I still use my DW-5600E to time my laps at the swimming pool and for dirty jobs.
Case and Movement
The DW-5600E has a 42.8mm wide case, is 13.4mm thick, weighs 54g/1.9 ounces, and is made in China. I would say it wears small thanks to the rectangular design. Casio originally developed the G-Shock series in the 80s, with the goal of creating a heavy duty, water resistant watch with excellent shock resistance (G-Shock is actually short for “Gravity-Shock”). They ended up creating a modular digital quartz watch with a polymer cushioned case that has since spawned hundreds of iterations. Even the average lay-person can identify a G-shock, so to say the result was successful would be a massive understatement.
Personally, I have beat on this watch for years without a second thought. Whenever I am testing a large fixed blade knife, or doing something stupid, I choose the Dw-5600. It hasn’t failed me yet and I’ve owned the watch for years. The shock resistance Casio advertises is no joke. I have had cheaper quartz watches that fell apart.
The DW-5600E is currently Casio’s most basic model in the series. The 3229 module is the heart of the DW-5600E. I am not going to claim to be an expert on quartz digital movements. I will point you to Casio’s user’s manual for the 3329 if you want to know the ins and outs of the features and how to operate them. From what I can tell, my watch has kept great time.
The DW-5600E is powered by a CR2016 lithium battery, and Casio says that it should last for 2 years if you use the backlight and alarm once a day. I use mine less than that and the watch has been going strong for 3-4 years now without need for a new battery.
Rounding things out case back that is held down with 4 Phillips screws. This is to be distinguished from a screw down case back. The original DW-5600C came with a full steel case and screw down case back (making it uber desirable among G-Shock collectors). While the current iteration is less robust, it’s still good for 200M of water resistance and has held up great for me.
Dial and Bezel
This is a no-frills watch, but still offers a staggering number of features, including a timer, stopwatch, alarm, calendar, and illumination. Everything is clearly laid out on the dial, and you press one of the 4 buttons on the case to rotate through the functions. I use the watch and calendar functions on a daily basis, and find the stopwatch handy for timing laps in the swimming pool or sets in the gym.
Using the watch is intuitive. I am not going waste your time by trying to explain the feature set of the 3229 in great detail (read the user manual for that). The digital read out is legible, and it’s easy to cycle through the functions and manipulate the watch. The electro luminescent (EL) backlight works well and elicits a soft blue glow.
The LCD is covered by a mineral crystal. I have not had any chips or scratches on my crystal, thanks in large part to the protruding plastic bezel. While it doesn’t rotate and click like a dive watch, it does say “G-SHOCK PROTECTION” on it and soak up bumps and scrapes.
Strap and On the Wrist
The Dw-5600E comes with a removable polymer strap. The watch is designed so that the strap looks integrated, but if you wear it out it is easily replaced with a spring bar tool. Like the rest of the watch, the strap is practical. The strap is secured with a stainless steel buckle and polymer strap keeper.
I find the DW-5600E to be a fantastically comfortable watch. It is lightweight and since it is on a strap rather than a bracelet, adjusting the watch for a perfect fit is easy. Being a sport watch, it’s chunky, but it does fit underneath the collar of a dress shirt, if you are as sartorially clueless as I am.
I paired my 5600 with a Benchmade Griptilian, as both are polymer clad utilitarian objects.
Casio DW-5600E Review – Final Thoughts
For less than $50, the DW-5600E is an impressive piece of hardware. I wore mine with impunity for years and it has performed flawlessly. Although I have since moved on to fancier mechanical watches for daily wear, I still use my DW-5600 regularly – especially for the gym, working in the yard, and for other dirty jobs. It is a perfect beater watch.
Although this is considered an entry level G-Shock, it has everything I need and should work well for most people. I am not a huge fan of the oversized G-shocks, and I think that the beauty of the 5600E lies in its simplicity. It is a lightweight and rugged watch that is ready for work. It also represents great value for money.
I recommend it with confidence if you need an inexpensive, practical and tough watch.
- Black resin sport watch featuring shock resistance, comfortable resin strap, and multi-function rectangular dial
- Quartz digital movement with accuracy of +/- 15 seconds per month
- To prevent accidental adjusting of settings,the top left button on this watch is designed to be pushed in further.
- Functions include multi-function alarm, 1/100-second stopwatch, countdown timer, hourly time signal, auto calendar, and 12- and 24-hour formats
- Water resistant to 660 feet (200 M): suitable for recreational scuba diving
If you would like to buy a Casio DW-5600E, I recommend purchasing it at Amazon.com or Jomashop. Please consider that buying anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
I also got this watch, when I decided that I would start wearing a watch and I love mine. Personally I wear this watch with everything – I have decided I want to own an Omega someday when money allows for it and in the meantime I’ll just stick with this G-Shock. Trying to avoid the “upgrade treadmill” as Tony from Everyday Commentary describes it. Great review happy you are as pleased with this watch as I am mine!
I am basically in the same boat as you – I wore this DW-5600E every day until I eventually bought an Omega (review forthcoming at some point). It is a great watch, and if I did not wear a suit every day I am not so sure I would have jumped to upgrade as the 5600E has everything I need from a functional standpoint. It’s just a phenomenal timepiece and is “totally adequate” for most applications much in the same way the Alox Cadet or Streamlight Nanostream is.
I have had a few G Shocks – down to two, of which I really wear one. the DW-5600E is a classic but for me it’s a little light on stuff – i believe it only has storage for one alarm, and I actually use all 4 of mine on a daily basis. there are several increasingly well equipped version of the classic square G-shock, including a bluetooth version that does some neat stuff.
Even when I dress up I rarely put on an analog watch; i just like these.
I must confess that I don’t use the alarm on mine at all, let alone 4 alarms, but yeah if you need additional features Casio seems to have a watch that has it. Glad you enjoy yours as well.
I own a watch store and i have acces to pretty much the entire G Shock line,but i only wear my beloved DV5600.It has all.i need and nothing i dont;for me its the Glock or Endura of watches:awesome in its,clean,simple,no-non sense design.
I could not agree more. I have been fixing up a house over the weekends and this is my go to piece. It has taken an absolute beating that I am sure would have broken my mechanical watch several times over.
I was using seiko 5 as my daily beater watch, but since i have started riding my motorcycle i keep switching between my ecodrive and gshock 5600 as the bikes vibration might be detrimental for automatic watches.
I hadn’t really thought of the 5600 for that specific application, but it makes perfect sense. I have been wearing my 5600E while operating power tools for the exact same reason. Lots of shock and vibration that can kill an automatic watch.
Wear yours in good health and thanks for checking out the review!
French EMS since 2013. Security officer 5 years before. One watch the 5600E.UNBREAKABLE. I had a Seamaster Peter Blake. 6 months at the Omega’s customer service…I’ve trust only in my 5600.
J. Doe says
Thanks for the great review.
Under the “Strap and On the Wrist” section you mentioned the strap is easily replaced with a couple Phillips screws. Actually those Phillips screws should not be removed unless you are replacing the whole polyurethane bezel (less likely). If you’re just replacing the straps, then remove only the spring bars as for most watches (use a spring bar tool or small jeweler’s flat blade screwdriver).
Although the back is stainless steel, like most watches, it will form corrosion pits right at the o-ring seal over time (due to build up of salt from your skin). To avoid this, it’s a good idea to thoroughly rinse off the watch under water occasionally, especially when sweating a lot.
I hope Casio doesn’t discontinue this model because there’s less to go wrong with it. No atomic time keeping circuit to malfunction. No solar power stuff to malfunction (and those solar batteries do eventually require replacement).
Thanks for taking the time out to comment and point that out to me. I have never tried to remove the strap and simply assumed the screws held it in place, but you are absolutely right. When I peer down in there I can see the spring bars. I have updated the review accordingly.
And I 100% agree with you, I hope Casio doesn’t discontinue this model. It’s dead simple and perfect for all the dirty jobs in life. I wear mine often on the weekends and am glad to hear you enjoy your 5600E as well.
I’ve had my 5600e for probably 10-12 yrs. still running on original batt! I’ve done all kinds of manual labor and this bad boy keeps rolling! Love it!
Thanks for taking the time out to share your experiences with the 5600e. Come to think of it, mine is on the original battery as well, and I’ve had it for 5-6 years now. I just strapped mine on yesterday to do some work installing a fence. I love how it is indestructible!
I have 40 gshock watches.l have 12 Protrek watches.I Love my Dw 5600 watch . You can’t find a more durable watch for the money. I wear it for the gym and Swimming. I have 4 , dw5600-1v gshocks .l have been wearing gshocks for 34 years. Since the, 1st one came out in 1983.
I came across this review of the 5600 a few months ago and really enjoyed it. Dan did a great job of bringing out the personality of this simplest G-Shock. I think the watch has a genuine backhanded cool to it.
It’s a good reminder that there are normal-sized G-Shocks, not just the honking, G.I. Joe Special Mission looking ones that Nutnfancy loves. (Those wrist monsters are charismatic in their own way, but not for me as a medium-build, white-collar suburban dad.)
Anyway, this review prompted me to pick up the 5600’s close cousin, the DW5750E-1. It’s the same module and controls, a similar build, but with a round instead of square case. Handsome. This is apparently a throwback design from the late 80s that Casio revisits in limited runs every so often.
I really like the 5750 so far and recommend it. The case is a touch bigger than the 5600, while still being low-key and easy to pair with different types of clothing. Same strap as the 5600; I agree with Dan that the comfort is exemplary.
You’ll pay more for a 5750 than grabbing a 5600 at Wal-Mart; I got mine for about $75 and consider that price totally worthwhile.
I enjoy my analog watches too but it sure is nice having month, day, date, and exact time all there at a glance, as well as being able to stand in the kitchen and count off an extra 40 seconds cook time for the pizza, without having to use the oven timer.
Just another option for folks to consider.
Dan Jackson says
RD, Glad you enjoyed the review and I appreciate the recommendation of the 5750. I like the look of that watch!