How do you build a grey man’s watch? Does it involve a completely new design, or could you take an old classic and make it into a one-of-a-kind “sleeper” watch? If you’re wondering what a “sleeper” is, let’s look at an extreme example, a watch that costs much more than most automobiles on the road today: the Patek Philippe 5270, a very simple and ordinary case with incredible engineering inside and an MSRP of $164,000.00. Not a watch you wear to show off, a watch you wear for a completely opposite reason; to blend in, not stand out, but have something really incredible on your wrist. Its not a watch for the crowd, its a watch just for you (on a personal note, it’s fucking insane to pay that for a watch).
Casio’s GW-5000 J1F is precisely that kind of an animal: a very simple-looking engineering marvel that only some of the most anal G-Shock collectors will truly appreciate.
If you are like Russian Tim, and like big, bold watches, this may not appeal to you. It’s an anti-hero of the “tacticool” watches – a minimalistic tool, with practically no visual appeal – and it’s pretty small by today’s standards. At the same time, this watch is probably the toughest G-Shock made today, tougher than the Mudmaster, Frogman, etc.
This model adapts the well-known aesthetics of the original G-Shock, DW-5000C, introduced in 1983, which was eventually replaced in 1990s by a very common DW-5600 (which can be still be found at every Walmart and Target for about $35). Most folks experience a bit of a sticker shock when they find out that the new 5000 retails at just over ten times the price of DW-5600 “square” – yes, you read it correct, GW-5000’s msrp is $400 USD (it’s not officially sold in US, Japan only, thus the price fluctuates a bit based on yen-to-dollar exchange rate). Typical discounted market price is still around $350, and it has to be shipped from Japan.
At this point you must be thinking, “WTF” ? Read on. The devil (or the pure awesomeness of this watch) is in the details: Japanese pedigree, full metal DLC case with a screw in diver case back, atomic radio calibration, solar recharge, and much more.
Size, comfort, fit
By today’s standards, it’s a small(ish) watch. Matter of fact, it almost feels like your dick shrinks by an inch or two when you wear it (Back in the 1983 it was considered a very large watch – and your dick gained few inches just by wearing it).
Dick jokes aside, it’s the most comfortable watch I own. The size has nothing to do with it; Casio uses a model-proprietary material for both the case cover and the strap. While most G-Shocks use a blend of a rubber resin, GW-5000 uses a unique natural rubber blend – very, very soft and pliable. It must be noted, this is the only watch made by Casio that uses this material, and it’s also one of the main selling points of the watch, as it makes it incredibly comfortable to wear. 5000 is a bit heftier than a basic square due to the full metal case. It’s actually exactly twice the weight of the 5600 (which is still pretty light).
- 43.5 mm left-to-right edge
- 47 mm top-bottom
- 13 mm thickness
- 21/13mm screen size
- 74g weight
- 17mm lugs (covered by resin, thus it does not look that tiny)
- Band – 21mm at lugs, 19 mm at buckle
- 38 mm Screw-in caseback diameter
Another dose of awesome. While the $35 version has a resin case, the 5000 is DLC stainless steel, with a screw-in diver watch caseback. Unless you butcher-fuck the watch by taking it apart, you will never have a chance to really see the awesomeness of the case (but that really is the point!)
- DLC-coated stainless steel case (although you can only see the screw-in caseback, it’s so fucking cool – the exact shade of Darth Vader’s helmet)
- Double-gasketed push buttons with extra-strength springs, recessed just slightly deeper into the case (if you have particularly large booger hooks, you may need to use a nail to push the buttons)
And yet again, more awesomeness. It takes all the standard functions of a basic G-Shocks, and adds a lot more, such as solar charging and atomic timekeeping.
- Atomic Timekeeping: Japan, USA, Germany, England & China (5000 syncs with one of the six broadcast radio stations just after midnight, every night – thus keeping this watch very accurate without any need to adjust it manually)
- Solar recharge (the manual has a convoluted explanation of how much and what kind of light exposure is required, but in my experience, indoor light for a few hours a day keeps it fully charged; power reserve is really fucking long – about a year in total darkness)
- World time: 48 cities (small difference from many standard G-Shocks – 5000 shows both UTC and London TZs, while many Casios show just one)
- Hourly time signal (I know this is minuscule, but this watch sounds very different from other G-Shocks – frequency and speed)
- 1/100-second stopwatch (24hr range)
- Countdown timer (24Hr range)
- Five independent daily alarms
- Battery power indicator
- Power Saving mode (after an hour in the dark, the watch shuts off the screen – this function can be switched off for night ops)
- Auto-calendar, 12/24-hour format
- Electro-luminescent backlight / tilt activated (this function is total BS, in my humble opinion of course – the watch lights up when you tilt the wrist; great way to give away your position while really killing the battery life. Disable that shit – yes, it’s easily disabled)
- 200m / 660ft
- I took GW-5000 on a couple of shallow dives (50ft max); used buttons underwater – no issues whatsoever. The screw-in in caseback and reinforced pushers make this watch very much suitable for diving.
This is another standout. GW-5000 has a premium-grade display; it’s sharper and has better contrast than any other G-Shock (yes, I really mean it; the new $1000 2016 Frogman comes close, but not quite the same). This square also has “fatter” screen font, further improving legibility.
Backlight is dimmer then a standard G-Shock, but it’s also much easier on a night-adapted vision. No worries, it’s still very visible.
Would I recommend this as a tactical watch? Fuck yes. This may be the very definition of a tactical watch.
Cheers and god bless.
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