A watch never attracted and confused me as much as the Casio G-Shock GWM-B5000D-1 hereafter referred to as the “Heavy Metal G.” On the one hand, you have the legendarily well-built G-Shock built into an all-metal case with a nicely finished steel bracelet. On the other hand, you now have a “beater” watch that’s encased in a shell that will show wear and tear much faster than it’s rubber forefather. So, as this review begins, I want to pose a question to the reader: Does the all metal construction of the Heavy Metal G change the use-case from what it was initially intended to be?
I write about G-Shocks a lot here on Bladereviews, but for those of you new to the show here’s a brief course on G-Shock history. The G-Shock was first designed and brought to market in 1983 by Japanese engineer Kikuo Ibe. These watches were designed to resist shock and water as well as remain painfully accurate over their 10+ year battery life. Since then these watches were widely adopted by anyone that needed a timepiece that would never fail them.
My Dad, a 30+ year firefighting madman, wore one daily for 10+ years on the job. On his last day, he gifted his still perfectly functional G-Shock to the chief of the department. I never forgot that and what a testament that was to the quality of the timepieces.
G-Shock has adopted atomic timekeeping, with their watches syncing to the Atomic Clock daily to ensure the tightest timekeeping possible, as well as solar charging making sure that their watches are basically self-sustaining for years and years. If you are even remotely into watches, you need to experience a G-Shock at some point…but is the GWM-B5000D-1 a good place to start?
But first some specs:
- Case Width: 43.2mm
- Case Thickness: 13.2mm
- Lug to Lug: 49.2mm
- Depth Rating: 200m (20 bar)
- Weight: 5.6oz on Bracelet
- Movement: Casio Module 3459
- Lug Width: Not really applicable here although NATO adaptors may exist
Casio has, in my opinion, hit some sort of golden ratio voodoo with these square G-Shock cases. They fit so well. By the numbers, the GWM-B5000D-1 is large and heavy however once you get it on the wrist it wears nice and trim, even with the addition of a steel bracelet (which is a first for G-Shock).
When you lay the watch down flat on a table you’ll notice that that the lugs descend dramatically from the case itself holding the case back off of the tabletop. I believe these lugs are the most significant contributing factor to the comfort on the wrist, it allows a 43mm x 49mm case to really hug my 7” wrist.
Man, there’s so much that can be said about each of the G-Shock modules. These are movements that are designed to do so much, but the 3459 has Casio’s Bluetooth connectivity features incorporated. In brief, this movement can: Tell the time, tell 5 different world-time zones simultaneously, track 4 different alarms, run a stopwatch, keep track of countdown timer, and connect to your phone helping you find it if you’ve lost it.
All of these functions are accessed by the four buttons on the case. Pressing the lower left will cycle the modes, the lower right cycles between timezones or alarms, the top right turns on the excellent backlight, and the top left interacts with the different modes.
Accessing the functions of the watch is simple and straightforward in its own right, but with the inclusion of the Bluetooth features, it’s even simpler. Now you connect the watch to your phone via the G-Shock App, and set up those alarms, world timezones, and other settings from the app and just sync the watch from there. It takes a little bit of fiddling to get it right, but once you have the hang of it, it couldn’t be simpler.
Another feature worth pointing out is the time syncing. You are able to do this via two methods—the first being via radio sync from the atomic clock like a lot of other G-Shocks have been doing for a while now. The second is to sync from your phone via Bluetooth. I think the benefit of doing it via Bluetooth would be for traveling. Once you hop off a plane quick press of a few buttons, the watch connects and syncs to the local time, and you move on, no need with fussing to get it to sync after you arrive at your destination.
I also want to point out that I am sure I am leaving out some functionality of this module—with the Bluetooth syncing and phone connection features there is so much that this watch can do I only scratched the surface wearing it.
The case is where I believe the Heavy Metal G diverges from other G-Shocks. Casio has given this particular watch an all steel case and bracelet with a variety of well-applied finishes. All of the flat surfaces on the case are vertically brushed, whereas the rest of the case has a surprisingly nice polish applied to it. The bracelet is brushed with small polished details throughout.
The debate I have been having with myself is this: The Casio G-Shock is stereotypically a watch meant to stand up to literally everything. They are generally designed in a rubber housing that can both absorb abuse and from my experience not show evidence of it. Making the watch from steel and applying the polished finishes and accents that they have, however, makes it show a LOT of wear. The example that I have was purchased used and showed all of the wear it’s seen. Even the really lovely brushed bezel around the face has a good sized ding in it (I got a good deal, I can’t complain).
Dial and Crystal
G-Shock’s excel in their readability, especially the digital versions. The Heavy Metal G has a positive digital display, meaning that the background is light and the numerals are dark. This is my favorite, I find negative displays to be harder to read (although not impossible). Surrounding the display is this a brick wall lookin’ area—this is the solar cell that charges the watch while you wear it in the daylight.
The crystal is made from mineral glass, that’s fine. It’s not ideal, and it could be better. At this price point, I would expect sapphire, if Hamilton can deliver sapphire in their similarly priced Field Khaki’s Casio should be able to here.
Some months back I wrote a review on the Casio Square G that featured their Combi-Bracelet—that bracelet, in my opinion, is a work of functional art and really makes that watch. Does the steel bracelet of the GWM-B5000D-1 do the same? Kinda… It’s built well and still utilizes spring bars construction; making it very easy to adjust.
On the negative, as with the case, the steel bracelet will and in my case does show a lot of wear. The black combi-bracelet hid wear, even desk diver marks, very well but that is not the case on the brushed stainless steel. While this is something that’s shared amongst all watches with steel bracelets if you think about the abuse a G-Shock is designed to hold up against I’m not sure if it’s the most sustainable, your mileage may vary.
Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000D-1 Review – Final Thoughts
So when I first started this review, I asked a pretty simple question: Does the all metal construction of the Heavy Metal G change the use-case from what it was initially intended to be? I think the answer is up to the owner. On the one hand this watch is gonna show a lot of the wear that it’s subjected to; however, it will continue to work as it should and will absorb that abuse like a champ.
So, as a potential buyer here, are you cool with some wabi-sabi on your timepiece? Some real honest wear marks from your adventures? Or would you prefer to keep your watch looking nice all the time? If you’re in the latter camp, I’d suggest one of Casio’s Rubber G’s, like the DW-5600E. Luckily for us, G-Shock makes a lot of different watches in a lot of different configurations so we can pretty much get all of this functionality in several different shells.
With all that said, I have to keep myself honest and point out: The steel and surface finishes are what really attracted me to the watch in the first place. I loved the vertically brushed bezel. I’ve always been a fan of really directional brushed finishes like this on watches. So if this metal G-Shock blows your hair back just by looking at it, I can assure you that you’ll be impressed in person.
Editor: If you would like to buy a Casio DW-5600E, I recommend purchasing it at Amazon 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.