For some fans, G-Shock is the 5000-5600 Series, as the DW-5000C was the first G-Shock ever made and its case is a timeless design that has not just survived but thrived over three and a half decades. Its creator, Kikuo Ibe, still favors the “square” line for his personal use, and the classic case design will always be a major part of the G-Shock lineup. Some of the distinctions of the 5000 Series include movie appearances (Speed), certification for space flight by NASA (DW-5600), and inclusion in the “Essential Historical Materials for Science and Technology” registry at Japan’s National Museum of Nature and Science (DW-5000C).
For those who are new to G-Shock, here is an overview of all the currently available 5000-5600 models. (We are focusing mostly on models that are available outside of Japan which retain the classic square case. For more on the history of the 5000 Series, see Watch Geek’s excellent “G-Shock history – 1984 – 1995 – squares” video.)
The DW-5600 is the most common of the 5000 models and is often the base model for special color editions and limited collaborations. The standard DW-5600E-1V, with a list price of US$69.95, can be found heavily discounted online and is one of the most affordable G-Shock watches. Though limited in its functions compared to other 5000 models, the DW-5600 is just as shock-resistant and water-resistant (200M/20BAR) as more expensive G-Shock watches. Those who are concerned about that should watch the real world 200-meter depth test video.
(The more advanced DW-D5600 is not commonly seen outside of Japan but sometimes shows up as a special edition, such as the DW-D5600NH-1. Upgraded features of the DW-D5600 include world time, 3 alarms with 1 snooze alarm, button tone on/off, auto EL backlight, and estimated 10-year battery life.)
There are a number of G-shock watches that Casio produces for sale only to the Japanese domestic market (JDM). Some of these are upgraded or specialized versions of common G-Shock models. This list of Japan-only G-Shocks focuses on the 5000-series models. Current models that are part of the 5000-series include the common DW-5600 and the GW-M5610 models. Other 5000-series models that are less well-known but recognizable to G-Shock enthusiasts include the DW-D5500, GW-5500, and the highly regarded origin model GW-5000. The 5000-series is the most historically significant G-Shock line, as it descends directly from the original G-Shock from 1983, the DW-5000C.
Back in the old days, the only way to buy the JDM models was through personal contacts in Japan, but now, thanks to the proliferation of e-commerce, they are easily obtainable. You will have to pay a premium for these imports, but their uniqueness makes up for it. They are also excellent choices for visitors to Japan who want to bring back a special memento. Here are the Japanese import G-shock 5000-series watches that we suggest looking into.
Update: The GW-5000-1JF, GW-M5610BC-1JF, and GW-S5600-1JF have been replaced by the GW-5000U-1JF, GW-M5610UBC-1JF, and GW-S5600U-1JF. The old models are pictured here, but the shopping links are for the new models. The old and new models look nearly identical, with only slight differences for the light label and light indicator on the face and display. Please visit G-Shock 5000U/5600U/5610U Updated Module “U” Series to read about all the new features and see the new images.
Many people who fall in love with G-Shock and start building a collection of watches will eventually think about buying the GW-5000, sometimes to the point of obsession. Others who are new to G-Shock may want a premium watch with a classic design that is a step above the average model. The GW-5000 has a case that is based on the first G-Shock from 1983. Like the early G-Shock models, it has a screw-lock case back and is one of the only current G-Shocks, along with the digital Frogman and GMW-B5000, with this type of build. It adds modern features like Tough Solar power and Multi-Band 6 radio time-syncing. While its look is intentionally basic, it is considered a prestige G-Shock because of its higher price and made-in-Japan status. It has a full stainless steel inner case under the bezel and a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating, while standard 5600 models have a resin case. It also has a nicer overall finish than a typical 5600 model, with a softer and more comfortable urethane band. Buying the GW-5000 is a great way to express your appreciation of G-Shock and its history, in addition to simply owning a great watch. For watch enthusiasts who must own at least one G-Shock, it is the recommended choice.