06 Mar Hands On Review: Casio G-Shock DW-5600HR aka “Gorillaz Remix”
I’m going to be honest with you all and say that I never thought I’d review a digital watch. It’s not that I don’t see their usefulness, it’s more that I use this hobby partly to escape the fact that electronics dominate our lives. After all, until now I’ve written about nothing but mechanical pieces. To even consider anything else was utter heresy.
So how did I end up here, writing a review for a G-Shock?
Well, everyone needs a true beater watch. Something they’re not afraid to get scratched or dirty, and which they can wear whilst doing anything. Personally whilst I love my mechanicals, and tell myself I can wear them whilst doing all manner of physical activity, in reality I don’t want to damage pieces which cost a fair amount of cash.
So with this in mind, what should I chose as my beater? A Seiko diver, or maybe a Hamilton Khaki? After much deliberation I decided that it had to be under £100. Anything over that and I’d be (at least a little) upset if I trashed it.
And this brings me onto the Casio G-Shock. Originally conceived by Casio engineer Kikuo Ibe in 1983, all G-Shocks were built along the principals of having a 10-year battery life, water resistance to 10 bar and being able to survive a 10 meter fall onto a hard surface. Today G-Shocks are synonymous with extreme durability and reliable timekeeping. There are hundreds of models available, from bright fashion pieces, to all-black military versions. It has become the quintessential tool watch for any situation.
I started browsing through the models and came across the DW-5600HR. It’s a G-Shock Square with a mostly blacked-out look, and red highlights on the dial and inside of the strap. Recently Casio have re-christened this model the “Gorillaz Remix” due to their recent promotion with the brand. These actually come with a free download of the new Gorillaz album too, which is a nice bonus. These usually retail for £100, but Amazon were selling these beauties for £55, so naturally I jumped on the opportunity and hit the order button.
In true G-Shock fashion the case of the DW-5600HR is made from a black resin. It’s no different from any of the other G-Shock Squares really, and it’s the same iconic shape as all the rest. It feels pretty damn solid, despite being made of plastic. You can totally believe that a G-Shock holds the world record for the heaviest vehicle to drive over a watch.
The case back is the only metal part of the outer case, being made of stamped steel. Despite measuring 48.9 x 42.8 x 13.4mm, the case actually wears smaller than I was expecting, perhaps because the watch is so light. It almost feels as though you aren’t wearing a watch. I think my only criticism of the case is that the pushers are quite recessed, and therefore can be tricky to use (especially that “adjust” button). That said, it’s safe to say that it’s a deliberate design feature to prevent the buttons being accidentally hit.
When it comes to water resistance the Gorillaz Remix is rated to an impressive 200m, which means it can keep up with the best of dive watches. Again, considering how much this watch costs, it’s a very reassuring feature to have. The watch can also function in low temperatures of up to -10°C, though I’m sure it could stand up to worse. The more you look into what the G-Shock can resist, the more it seems apparent it can take whatever you throw at it.
The DW-5600HR G-Shock has a negative digital display. Personally, I think I prefer it to the positive display usually found on G-Shocks. The black display blends in better with the black case, to produce a sleeker look that the one you normally get. In terms of layout it’s very easy to read, even at a glance. In darkness the watch has an LED backlight that illuminates the whole display blue. Whilst it lacks the charm of lume it’s far brighter and more legible.
The crystal is a mineral glass, so it will offer some scratch resistance, but not as much as a sapphire crystal. Not that you’d expect sapphire at this price. The crystal is nicely recessed into the case too, greatly reducing the risk of scraping it against a wall or doing something similar. I don’t believe the crystal has an anti-reflective coating, but it doesn’t give off much glare despite this. By its nature the dial is hard to read at obscure angles, but it’s not something you really notice when the watch is on your wrist.
The Gorillaz G-Shock is powered by a Casio Module 3229. It’s powered by a standard lithium battery, which can keep the watch going for 2 years, and is accurate to 15 seconds a month. It also has a list of features as long as your arm. You get a day, date & month display, alarm, countdown timer, and stopwatch. Oh, and you can alter between 12 & 24 hour time display, and it can chime on the hour. What more could you want for a watch that costs £100? Casio have a reputation for quality electronics, and you’ll find many anecdotes of G-Shock owners whose watches have been going for years. I think it’s safe to say the Gorillaz Remix will live up to the reputation of the G-Shock family.
The strap of the DW-5600HR is of course also made from resin. The real kicker here is that the strap is dual-colour, with a black outer and bright red inner. It’s a simple, but bold touch which I am rather fond of. When it comes to comfort I’ve not got any complaints, either during day-to-day wear or when exercising. The steel buckle is decent, but I wish that it was signed. Other than that it’s a nice strap that seems like it will hold up to a lot of wear. Of course the G-Shock’s proliferation in militaries across the world tells you it will.
I must admit, despite my initial scepticism, the Gorillaz Remix G-Shock has completely won me over. Where else could you get a watch for so little money, from such a famous & reputable brand, and with so many features for so little cash? Nowhere, that’s where. I’m sure some people will still prefer a mechanical classic like the Seiko SKX, and that’s their prerogative. But, on paper, the G-Shock is clearly the better watch. It can do all an SKX can and more.
It’s on the aesthetics that will make or break your love of the Gorillaz Remix. You’ll either love the classic digital look, or yearn for a traditional analogue layout. Personally, I think I do prefer analogue displays on the whole, but the looks of the Gorillaz Remix are still very striking. I really dig that tough, stealthy look, and the red accents really pop on the dial.
I’m very pleased I bought one of these when I had the chance. I genuinely don’t think you could get better value for money from any watch under £500, and that value could probably be increased several times more. I’m going to leave you with this advice: If you’re a real-life Action Man (or woman) who’s after a watch to take with you on your adventures, buy a G-Shock!