Everyday Carry

Is the Casio G-Shock DW-5600 Worth It in 2021?

Mikey Bautista
Is the Casio G-Shock DW-5600 Worth It in 2021?

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When talking about watches for everyday timekeeping, the term “tool watch” inevitably joins the discussion. Unlike a regular fashion or luxury watch prized mostly for its aesthetics, tool watches—like the tools in your EDC—have a specific purpose when worn. Tough, task-specific watches like pilot and dive watches fall into this category, making them popular choices for a daily driver; after all, these watches are designed to keep time and do their job even in the worst conditions. But ultra-rugged, overbuilt timepieces aren’t the only watches that deserve a spot on your wrist. The humble Casio G-Shock DW-5600 has been an EDC staple ever since it merged exceptional resistance and an affordable pricepoint with its introduction over 30 years ago. But 30 years is a long way from 2021—these days, is the DW-5600 still worth your time?

Why Was the Casio G-Shock DW-5600 So Popular?


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Hands and arms and wrists get banged up in the course of one’s day, that’s an unfortunate fact. Even more so when your day involves time in hazardous situations like heavy machinery or in the line of duty. So wearing an expensive, delicate watch doesn’t make much sense from both a practical and financial perspective. What’s the point of spending so much on something that might get scratched at any given moment? That’s what makes the G-Shock an easy first pick for a daily watch, no matter how your day goes. The shock-resistant structure that was designed all the way in 1983 found its footing with Casio’s first flagship model, the DW-5600, launched 4 years later in 1987 and kept its signature square face and resilient features to this day. Though technology has since progressed in the past 30 years, the DW-5600’s core features of 200 meters of water resistance, shockproof design, and versatile timekeeping functions still find their way to G-Shocks today. It’s a prime example of a product getting it right the first time.

Our Recommendation


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There’s a reason the DW-5600 and all its descendants have found their way onto the wrists of everyone from kids to civilians to servicemen and women on active duty alike. Try your best to find a hardy watch with 200 meters of water resistance, wall-banging levels of impact protection, illumination, and a complement of alarms and multiple timekeeping modes all for under $70, and you’ll still likely end up on a G-Shock. Whether its your first watch or your fiftieth, the DW-5600 will always be a solid (and sensible) pick for EDC.

Even if you eventually move on to more exotic or specialized watches, there’s always a place for the incredible value the DW-5600 provides.

Buy ($43.99)

Other Robust Digital Watch Options to Consider

We highly recommend the Casio G-Shock DW-5600 to any EDCer, but in the 30 years since its inception, lots of watches offering plenty of value have joined the fray, even from within Casio’s vast catalog. If you’re looking for alternatives in price, functionality, or even simple aesthetic, check out our other picks below.

  • Timex Ironman Classic 30: Designed to be your partner for the grueling race it takes its name from, the Timex Ironman is a lightweight, sportier, and more affordable alternative for a watch ready to take on the harshest conditions. A large display with a negative LCD readout offers easy at-a-glance timekeeping, while instant access to Timex’s signature Indiglo backlight and the watch’s other timekeeping modes keeps it as nimble as you are. Sealed construction with water resistance up to 100 meters and a 10-year battery life ensures the Ironman lives up to its name. (Buy)
  • Casio Wave Ceptor: The Wave Ceptor WV-59DJ-1AJF is a modern example of Casio's mastery over the everyday digital watch, featuring a versatile retro style and feature-rich display. All the information you need is at a glance, from a large time readout to day/date/year displays. Casio's standard four-button system takes care of adjustments and modes including timers and a world time function, and a Multi Band 5 radio keeps the Wave Ceptor accurate thanks to 5 radio stations around the world automatically correcting its time. (Buy)
  • Nixon Regulus: If you want a watch that's tough, precise, and functional, why not look for one designed by someone whose job is to be just that? That's what Nixon did with the Regulus, their entry into the “tough digital” watch world. They worked with Special Operations officers to spec out this rugged watch that's ready for hard use in the field. With a reverse-LED display, tough polycarbonate/Poron concstruction, and thoughtful design throughout, the Regulus makes its debut as a strong contender for your next everyday timepiece. (Buy)

Chances are you might have a Casio G-Shock DW-5600 of your own. Do you think it's still worth it today? Let us know how it holds up in the comments below.

#watches #dw-5600 #g-shock #casio #edc-classics #have-you-carried #buying-guides #dw5600-review #casio-g-shock-5600-review see all

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Discussion (14 total)

I am not a battery watch guy anymore. They are not THAT durable. I work for a defense contractor so I frequent some of the harshest places you can imagine. Points to note, digital can't handle magnetism, High RF back scatter or extreme cold well. You can't get watch batteries in the mail (Silly rule) to change out. So in the middle of 2009 deployed to Iraq my Mudman died, I was bummed, I liked that watch except it was a tad bulky. It tracked a 2nd time zone that was real handy. I bought a Seiko dive watch off a Team member used. I am still wearing it, what a tank, all Stainless Steel. It glows almost all night. It gets scuzzy and I just hit with soap and toothbrush. It had a rubber strap that was hot underneath and I swapped it for a metal bracelet off Amazon. Its all scratched up now, but cleans up pretty good. I like analog I have decided, it just works with my brain better I believe, seeing the time ahead and behind. Plus I find the sweeping second hand calming, and sometimes I really need to calm down. All that said, I have little patience for someone who doesn't wear a"Mission Timer", a phone is not a watch. And this watch at $40 is a smoking deal...YMMV
Just my two cents, but when working in an austere environment it is a lot simpler to pack a tiny screwdriver and a couple extra coin-sized batteries if the battery dies, than it is to find a watch repair shop if an automatic watch stops keeping time.

Automatic watches are also susceptible to magnetism and extreme cold as well (as any metal item would be). What is your concern with backscatter? I've logged countless hours situated just feet away from a radio jammer with no problem with any battery-powered or digital watch.

Among other watches, I've got both a G-Shock 5600 and a Seiko SKX007 that I love for different reasons. I have a lot of faith in my Seiko's ISO 6425 certification which includes a lot of fail-safes intended to keep a diver alive including a degree of shock and vibration resistance. But when it comes down to impact resistance, which is the biggest threat to a watch for someone with an active lifestyle-- I trust my G-shock to be far more impact-resistant. I could beat my G-shock relentlessly, and drop it repeatedly and not have much worry. I could not say the same about my Seiko. It is a tough watch to say the least-- Just not a G-Shock.
Foch ·
You make a strong argument. Had I had the foresight I would have packed a battery or two. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. The backscatter came off one of the largest radar dishes out there for deep space tracking at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Test site in the Marshall Islands. I have never had an issue with my Seiko. Not diving under the ice in Lake Michigan or the heat of the Sandbox. Maybe I am getting old fashioned. But as I have said, I have come to the conclusion I am an analog guy. And I think Seiko offers a lot for the buck. Where I am currently deployed the 2 most common watches I see are G shocks by far and Marathon GSAR. The GSAR has been issued to the pilots here so that accounts for them being common. But I must also say I don't care for the rubber strap as I break out under it with sweat. As also stated I believe everyone should have a watch and mean no offense to anyone...IMHO
Fair enough. In that case you may want to also consider adding a lead-lined jock strap into your EDC kit LOL. I used to do some work up around 32 Area of Camp Pendleton, and there is a large hill that overlooks the flightline that had some big ominous dishes there. Always made me want to face the other way.

Both G-Shocks and Seiko's are good watches to say the least-- different strokes for different folks I suppose. The GSAR is a beaut that I'd love to own, but I couldn't bring myself to wearing a watch in that price range out in the field-- that is to say I don't have the disposable income to afford such a lifestyle..! Stay safe
Foch ·
Agreed...the GSAR is dumb money expensive, and not really worth it in my opinion. Or I guess I would have one.
Johan Bertilsson ·
I like Casio watches, different models have been my goto watch since the early 80s. Mostly Casio Databanks or those with only calculators. Now i use a Wave Ceptor. I have one Gshock GD 100 when im hunting or fishing or walking my dog in rain. Yes a Casio is always a good buy
There are a few iconic products out there that are just so successful they will probably never go away.Products like Levis 501,Weber Grill,Converse Sneakers,Opinel Knife,and the GShock DW-5600.
This watch is still an incredible value and a very cool looking tool watch.Its not one of the really large GShocks and will easily fit under a shirt sleeve.I really prefer the square shaped GShocks over the round ones.
I guess there are some extreme conditions that this watch might have a bit of a problem in but for most of us its durability is over kill.Not to mention it is also 200 meter waterproof .
You won't find a better value.

Bruce Bingaman ·
I bought my first Casio in 1985, the 5600. I've replaced the battery, band and bezel a couple of times but still wear it weekly. Timeless time piece. I have a newer G-Shock and have gone through 2 Pathfinders. Still love my original G-Shock 5600.
Michael DeAmicis ·
After going through half a dozen or so of the large Gshock watches I was sick and tired of having such a huge watch on my wrist. Then I discovered the 5600 and got curious. And then I found out about the model with the hybrid composite bracelet and solar battery for 200 bucks. Hands down the most comfortable watch I have ever worn. The only time I take it off is in the shower a couple times a week towash the dirt out of the links.
I may buy a cheaper version if I can find a lower priced bracelet as comfortable as the one that came with this one.
gwm-5610 solar version, automatic world clock
SOLAR, SOLAR< SOLAR !!!!! Are people really bringing up the battery as an issue????!!!!!! They do this watch with Solar Power, as are many G-shocks. All of which will run for a few months in the dark, if you are trapped in a mine. I would not buy another watch make, not just because they are tough (all things can break) but also because they can be relatively inexpensive, never have to consider if I am wearing it before do something, because I know it will survive and if it does not, then I have not lost £££££.
It's absolutely still worth it. You won't find a better value for a tough watch under $50. Same could be said about the GW-M5610 for under $100. I have a DW-5200C (Hero) still going strong, although it don't really get worn anymore. It's a collector piece for me now. Everyone needs at least 1 G-Shock.
And if you really want to love it, order a GW-5000 band for it. Comfort level 100.
Iron Man ·
I am a watch collector and have special interest in Casio G Shocks. Undoubtedly DW 5600 is one of the best economical, rugged and fantastic watch ever built.