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Casio G-Shock Square For Starters

HomeWatch TalkCasio G-Shock Square For Starters Watch TalkGShockCasio G-Shock Square For Starters Or for those who can't see the wood for the trees by Gerard Nijenbrinks April 20, 2020 MIN READCasio G-Shock Square For StartersBeginning of the 1980s, Mr. Kikuo Ibe designed the first Casio watch according to the Tripple-10 concept. Waterproof to 10 bar, drop-proof to 10 meters, and a battery life of 10 years. This watch, the G-Shock DW-5000C, became an icon in its own right. And for many high-end watch aficionados, it became a guilty pleasure to love them.
An original G-Shock DW-5000C from 1983
Casio G-Shock SquareNow, almost 40 years later, for this matter, we’re happy that we have many G-Shock Squares to choose from. Possibly too many! Determining what to look for following the original G-Shock is tough. We get many requests from our readers to help them decide which G-Shock they should buy. We will shed some light on that, lead by three basic objectives:
The functionality of the ..

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Casio G-Shock Square For Starters Or for those who can't see the wood for the trees by Gerard Nijenbrinks April 20, 2020 MIN READCasio G-Shock Square For Starters

Beginning of the 1980s, Mr. Kikuo Ibe designed the first Casio watch according to the Tripple-10 concept. Waterproof to 10 bar, drop-proof to 10 meters, and a battery life of 10 years. This watch, the G-Shock DW-5000C, became an icon in its own right. And for many high-end watch aficionados, it became a guilty pleasure to love them.

An original G-Shock DW-5000C from 1983

Casio G-Shock Square

Now, almost 40 years later, for this matter, we’re happy that we have many G-Shock Squares to choose from. Possibly too many! Determining what to look for following the original G-Shock is tough. We get many requests from our readers to help them decide which G-Shock they should buy. We will shed some light on that, lead by three basic objectives:

  1. The functionality of the movement (module)
  2. How the watch is constructed
  3. The materials used

We won’t go into different available color schemes. That would be something of personal preference and best for you to decide. As a rule, aesthetically the examples used in this article are as close as possible to the original Casio G-Shock DW-5000C from 1983, as seen above.

Mr. Kikuo Ibe

Some general information to start with

In the beginning, the G-Shock had a solid metal inner casing. This was placed in a plastic outer case with much space to dampen shocks. Then, in 1996, Casio changed the construction of the G-Shock to become an all-plastic casing with just a metal case back. Both constructions exist next to each other today.

One year earlier, in 1995, the first, more rounded G-Shock models saw the light. To determine the difference between the original G-Shock and the latter, not long after the introduction of round models the originally square-shaped G-Shocks were nicknamed “Squares”.

The Casio module

Casio refers to the movement/caliber within its watches as a module. You will probably have heard this term before in regards to quartz timepieces. Formerly indicated by a 3-digit number, nowadays it’s 4-digits. You’ll find the module reference indicated on the case back, normally inside a box. Different modules often have different functions. Also, different modules operate in different ways. Here are the main differences.

Battery operated, manual time setting

Just like the first G-Shock in 1983, the simplest module currently available is module 3229 (click the link for the official operation manual). This one is battery operated and the time has to be set manually. The module features regular time in 12 or 24-hour format and a calendar up to 2099. It also has a daily or monthly alarm plus a switchable hour signal, a count-down timer up to 24 hours, and a stopwatch up to 24 hours. Additionally, there’s a manually operated electro-luminescent (EL) backlight function. A CR2016 lithium battery provides the power. This module is available with a negative display as well.

G-Shock DW-5600E-1

Module 3229 is, for instance, used in G-Shock watch model DW-5600E-1 – with a street price below $60. That makes it currently Casio’s cheapest G-Shock on offer. It’s pretty close to the original G-Shock, except that it doesn’t have the metal inner casing. If you’re just here for the looks, don’t look any further. There’s no need to spend more on an original G-Shock Square.

  • Battery operated
  • Manual time setting
  • Time and calendar, alarm, count-down timer, stopwatch
  • Manual backlight

Solar power operated, manual time setting

Then there’s the 3160 module. Nowadays, it is a rare beast. But it can still be found. Instead of relying on a battery, module 3160 is solar-powered, in combination with a special rechargeable battery. And, in terms of functions, it has an addition to the 3229 module as well. A World Time or second timezone function is present. This offers the time in 48 cities, in 29 timezones, around the world. Further, the electro-luminescent (EL) backlight function — instead of manually — is automatically operated when you angle the watch towards your face. The module indicates the amount of available battery power in its display. Additionally, it has a power-saving function.

G-Shock G-5600E-1

Module 3160 is for instance used in the G-Shock watch model G-5600E-1. I can’t find many of these for sale at the moment anymore, but the going price is around $95 when you would find one. Again, a model pretty close to the original G-Shock Square, but benefitting from some technical advantages like solar power and the extra world time functionality. Still, it’s made entirely in plastic and it doesn’t sport the initial metal inner casing. We did a more in-depth article on this (and the next) model here.

  • Solar-power operated
  • Manual time setting
  • Time and calendar, alarm, count-down timer, stopwatch, 48 cities world time
  • Automatic backlight

Solar power operated, radio-controlled time setting

The next step up is module 3159. Solar-powered like the 3160 above, but this module is able to set the time automatically. This time-setting is done by a technology that Casio named Multi Band 6. A system of time-signal radio-wave reception from 6 transmission stations worldwide. Nothing new here — this type of radio time-signal system dates back to the 1950s — but it still works fine. The only downside is that one has to be within reach of one of the 6 radio signals to use this automatic time setting. If you’re not, the module can still be adjusted manually, if necessary. The reach of the radio transmitters, and regions where they can be used by the Multi Band 6 system, can be found in maps here.

For the rest, the functions of the watch are pretty equal to the 3160 module. Including the 48 cities world times, automatic backlight, an indication of available power, and power safe mode. Not surprisingly the displays of the 3159 and the 3160 above are similar as well.Casio-G-Shock

G-Shock GW-M5610-1

Module 3159 is found, amongst others, in the GW-M5610-1. Because of a red line around the display, this is an aesthetically very equal model to the original 1983 DW-5000C. Technically it’s much more advanced though, and, construction-wise, it lacks the original design metal inner casing which the DW-5000C had. Not only the display but price-wise as well, this model is similar to the non-Multi Band 6 model above, with a going price just south of $100. We did a more in-depth article on this (and the last) model here.

  • Solar-power operated
  • Automatic time setting by radio signal
  • Time and calendar, alarm, count-down timer, stopwatch, 48 cities world time
  • Automatic backlight

Different construction and materials

With the same 3159 module, we find two other G-Shock Squares which I’d like to mention. They’re both in the league of classic Squares but have special construction and material features.

Casio-G-Shock

G-Shock GW-5000-1

The first one is the G-Shock with reference number GW-5000-1. Before, I mentioned the change of case construction within the Square family in 1996. The models presented above all had the post-1996 all-plastic construction. But for purists, Casio still produces a few models with the original metal inner-case construction, and therefore more faithful to the original DW-5000C. Models with a metal inner casing are quite easy to determine. They have a circular, threaded case-back while models with a plastic inner casing have a squared, flat metal case-back fitted with four screws.

Plastic inner-case Plastic inner-case Metal inner-case Metal inner-case

A JDM

As a JDM (Japan Domestic Model) the GW-5000-1 is officially aimed at G-Shock aficionados in Japan, and it’s produced exclusively in Japan as well. But, remember, the internet is your friend. You should be able to find a seller shipping these to Europe and/or the US. Expect to pay the equivalent of around $300. The GW-5000-1 has a nicer overall finish than a regular 5600 model and uses a softer and more comfortable urethane band. It’s considered the most historically significant modern G-Shock. I did a 52Mondayz article specifically on this model here.

Casio-G-Shock

G-Shock GW-S5600-1

Another JDM model, again using the 3159 module. This time I don’t bring it up for its metal inner casing — which it lacks — but for the use of high-tech materials. The main reason to buy a GW-S5600-1 might be for its very low weight of only 47 grams. This extremely low weight is obtained in two ways. One is its carbon fiber insert band, and the other the titanium case back. The carbon fiber — used to reinforce the bracelet without making it heavy — is distinctly visible from the exterior side of the band on this model. The titanium case back is milled and secured by 4 Phillips screws to the plastic inner casing. On international platforms the GW-S5600-1 changes owners for approximately $230.

Back to even more sophisticated, modules.

Solar power operated, radio-controlled, plus Bluetooth time setting and synchronization

Casio’s top of the bill modules are not just solar-powered and have radio-signal time-setting. They have Bluetooth functionality as well. This enables them to connect to, and synchronize with, your smartphone. The 3459 module was introduced only a few years ago in a new series of all-steel G-Shock Squares and slowly became available in less exquisite models. Besides the regular functions as found in the modules mentioned above, Bluetooth modules come with some additional functionality. Except for time synchronization — in case you’re outside the reach of Multi Band 6 radio coverage — it’ll connect to your smartphone through an app for convenient setting of the watch’s home time, alarm, and setting of reminders. It even sports a phone finder.

An important feature of the 3459 module for G-Shock users in Europe is the ability to show the day and date European style. Until now, all G-Shock modules were only able to show it as month-date, while in Europe date-month is common. Specifically, with dates up to twelve — like 6-7 or 7-6 – this sometimes made for uncertainties.

Casio-G-Shock

G-Shock GMW-B5000G-1

Black ion-plated solid-steel outer casing

Although the GMW-B5000G-1 might look equal to the other G-Shocks in this article, construction-wise it isn’t. As mentioned, the outer casing of all mentioned G-Shock models above is made in plastic. The GMW-B5000G-1, however, has a black ion-plated solid-steel outer casing. It features a metal inner casing as well, and, while the first models with module 3459 had a metal bracelet, this one has a soft urethane rubber strap. I hope that in the future there will be a historically faithful model with a steel inner case and plastic outer case as well. Models with a 3459 module, entirely made in plastic, do exist but unfortunately not with a classic watch face. The GMW-B5000G-1 has a classic watch face, however, and comes with a retail price of $450. In this series, similar but even more expensive models can be found, fully made in titanium.

  • Solar-power operated
  • Automatic time setting by radio signal and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Time and calendar, alarm, count-down timer, stopwatch, 300 cities world time, reminders, phone finder
  • Automatic backlight

Modules with specific functionality

So here we are, at the end of the regular modules. We’ve seen four different styles so far — 3229, 3160, 3159, and 3459 — every time with a rise in specifications, functionality, and/or technology. These four modules are found in more or less aesthetically equal watches, all quite similar to the design of the original G-Shock Square DW-5000C. But this is not the end, I’d like to add yet another module, but with specific additional functionality.

Solar power operated, radio-controlled, plus tide and moon phase indication

Almost all regular modules with time, calendar, alarm, timer, and stopwatch functions have been enhanced with a world time function also. While this is sufficient for most of us, it seems that there was a demand for additional functionality. Quite specific functionality, at that. This module adds tidal information and phases of the moon indication. Casio produced several modules providing this functionality; battery-operated modules, solar-powered modules, and even modules combined with Multi Band 6 time reception. Module 3215 seems the most sophisticated, it’s solar-powered and has Multi Band 6 reception.

  • Solar-power operated
  • Automatic time setting by radio signal
  • Time and calendar, alarm, count-down timer, stopwatch, 48 cities world time, tidal information, moon phase
  • Automatic backlight

Casio-G-Shock
G-Shock GWX-5600-1

Compared to regular G-Shocks, and except for the extra functions of the module, there’s something different about the GWX-5600-1. Of course, the red, orange, and yellow printing are different from the regular white/grey, but even more, the finish of the casing is glossy. Normally the plastic outer casings are mat. Here, it is not. While solar-powered, non-Multi Band 6 models are available in most parts of the world, the GWX-5600-1 is a Japan Domestic Model. But again, it’s sufficiently available for delivery in other parts of the world. Expect to pay around $170 for it.

The end with a hint

Here is where this “G-Shock Square for Starters” article ends. We’ve seen a diverse lineup of regular and historically faithful models. Enough to get you going, to help you understand the differences, and to help you make your choice. Now it’s up to you to decide and browse through the many styles and colors of Casio G-Shock Squares on offer, and determine which suits you best. For a comprehensive listing of most of the current G-Shock models available, please have a look at world-g-shock.com.

But I won’t leave you without a final suggestion. From time to time, typically every 5 years, Casio brings out commemorative G-Shock editions. Often these are at least time-limited, and sometimes even limited in numbers. So these models won’t be always available or around, but some of them are worth keeping an eye open for. As an example, I’ll show you one of the 30th-anniversary models which were presented in 2013.

Casio-G-Shock

G-Shock DW-5030C-1

The DW-5030S-1 sports one of the most simple Casio modules, the 3421 (which is equal to the 3229). No solar power, no Multi Band reception, just battery operated and manually set. Why this DW-5030C-1 stands out is its case construction. While regular models with this simple — yet faithful to the original DW-5000C — modules are entirely made in plastic, has this model a metal inner case just like the original G-Shock. A feature highly regarded by G-Shock aficionados and collectors (remember the GW-5000-1). Rose gold trims on the DW-5030C-1 accentuate the link to the anniversary. 5 Years later – in 2018 – a more or less similar watch with yellow gold trims, the DW-5035D-1B, was presented for the 35th-anniversary. Unfortunately, prices for unworn examples of these anniversary models easily rise up to $500 nowadays.

G-Shock Square References

The following models and modules are mentioned in this article:

  • – DW-5600E-1, module 3229
  • – G-5600E-1, module 3160
  • – GW-M5610-1, module 3159
  • – GW-5000-1, module 3159
  • – GW-S5600-1, module 3159
  • – GMW-B5000G-1, module 3459
  • – GWX-5600-1, module 3215
  • – DW-5030C-1, module 3421

Ps. I’d like to thank Casio Benelux BV for their help with the content, and for the pictures of Mr. Ibe and that of the DW-5000C.

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About the author

Gerard Nijenbrinks

Gerard has been in the watch industry for over two decades now. He owned a watch shop in The Hague, The Netherlands, and besides that he has journalistic and photographic activities in the field of watches. Collecting watches since he… read more

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