If you don’t have a Casio G-Shock, you don’t have a complete watch collection. I sincerely believe that. Some people would tell you that you need an Omega Speedmaster or a Rolex Submariner, but let’s realistic about this – those are great watches, but I think one of the foundational cornerstones to any watch collection is a solar, atomic, G-Shock.
In 1981 Kikuo Ibe set out to design a resilient watch after experiencing an unfortunate incident with a mechanical timepiece. Ibe wanted his watch to be thin, able to withstand impacts, and water resistant to a respectable depth. The first model of Casio G-Shock to come out was the DW-5000, and the watch we’re looking at today is roughly based on that watch. The GW-M5610BC-1JF is one of the classic “square G’s” with a couple special tweaks that we’ll get into later… First some specs:
(All Measurements are my personal measurements and may differ from manufacturers specs)
- Case Width: 43.2mm
- Case Thickness: 12.7mm
- Lug to Lug: 47.7mm
- Depth Rating: 20Bar (200m)
- Weight: 4.2oz on the Combi-Bracelet
- Movement: Casio 3159 Module
- Lug Width: N/A — I know some folks swap out the straps/bracelets on their G’s, I don’t and it looks hard to do.
I have previously reviewed one of Casio’s Master’s of G, which while very cool in terms of functionality and robustness, can often times require a compromise when it comes to comfort. That is not the case with the 5600 Series watches. They are very trim at 12.7mm thick, and all of the band options that Casio offers are quite comfortable.
These watches likely are some of the most worn timepieces in existence with their entry-level brethren being available from places like Target and Walmart for sub-$50 (See the DW-5600E-1V). I feel like a good amount of this success has to be due to their unobtrusiveness on the wrist. They really are the put-on-and-forget type watches.
The GW-5610BC has Casio’s module 3159 inside of it. As with all of the Casio modules, there is an enormous amount of functionality packed into this watch including but not limited to a world time view, 4-alarms, chronograph (stopwatch), and a countdown timer. All of these functions are powered by G-Shock’s solar technology meaning that the watch’s face acts like a solar cell and can charge the battery when exposed to light.
Lastly, my favorite feature of this particular watch, the atomic-syncing functionality. The 3159 receives time calibration radio signals syncing the time with the atomic clock once a day. Effectively making the timekeeping accuracy of the movement a moot point when you factor that any deviation would be corrected every 24-hours.
Case and Crown
If you’ve ever handled a G-shock you are probably familiar with their rubber/resin coated bodies, buttons on either side to use the features, and recessed flat dial. The 5610BC is no different, and has a result it retains of the biggest flaws present on the smaller G-Shocks; there are four buttons on either side of the watch that activate the features, cycle through modes, and turn on the backlight. On the 5610BC the buttons are fairly small and recessed, this keeps them safe from damage or accidental actuation, but it also makes them difficult to use. I generally have to press them with my fingernail, not a deal breaker but worth pointing out.
The case itself is very nice. Thin, not super big, wears much smaller than the numbers would suggest. The size, as I discussed in the fit section, is probably what makes this model so popular. The dial is nicely recessed and protected by a resin bezel. As with other G’s Casio has used a steel case-back as well. I would imagine this helps to ensure the water resistance (20Bar).
Dial, Bezel, & Crystal
Unlike most other watches this portion of a 5600 series G-Shock is pretty straightforward. The bezel is integrated into the case and really only serves to protect the crystal/display. On the display you have two primary pieces of information being communicated: In the top right you’ll see the day, month, and date. Then filling the lower half of the display is the time, or if you’re in another mode whatever salient piece of information you would expect at that point. At the very bottom you have a couple small indicators for the charge level of the solar battery, and then a notification of the alarm status (so you can see if an alarm is activated before heading into a movie or something).
The crystal is called “inorganic-glass,” which leads me to believe that it is likely a mineral glass crystal. This is fairly unremarkable, and I feel pretty confidently that if the crystal encountered anything with any real force it would mark or break. That being said, the G-Shock’s design excels at diverting damage away from the face of the watch, I’ve never had a problem with it.
Most G-Shock’s come on a perfectly acceptable rubber style bracelet that’s built more-or-less integrally into the case. The particular variant we are discussing today comes on Casio’s rather brilliantly designed Combi-Bracelet. As the name suggests, the bracelet is a combination of polymer and steel, the outer links being for former and the center links being the latter. Each link is held together by a set of small spring bars.
I haven’t seen a bracelet constructed in this manner before. I’m not positive on the strength of this construction, but the bracelet is comfortable to wear and easy to adjust. The biggest difference in my experience with this bracelet is, it really makes the G-Shock feel like a “real” watch. I’m not really sure how else to describe this sort of intangible, but there’s a different feeling with the bracelet compared to one without.
Casio GW-M5610BC Review – Final Thoughts
So, what’s the deal with the 5610BC? I think when it’s all said and done you’re getting one of Casio’s most capable G-Shock models, that includes their solar and atomic technology while also including a bracelet. This is my favorite iteration of the classic G-Shocks, and while they may be difficult to find, they are generally available on amazon.com or eBay. Everyone needs a G in their collection. I suggest this one.
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