After months of lurking around, and after scrutinizing the Casio GW-5000-1JF watch in detail and researching it thoroughly on this forum, I decided to give something back and put in my own review, as other people’s reviews greatly helped my purchasing decision. I usually make purchasing decisions pretty quickly, but this one agonized for me for some reason. This forum was a great resource, particularly the 'psychology of the GW-5000 thread', you have no idea how many times I read and re-read that thread
Having always wanted a Casio G-Shock when I was younger, I finally purchased my first Casio G-Shock, the GW-M5610! Wait, isn’t this review about the GW-5000-1JF? Yes, that will come later, I promise.
The features that I wanted were simplicity, Tough Solar, and Multiband Atomic Time keeping. To me, the idea of a watch like this, is the perfect time keeper, something that never needs battery replacement or adjustment, and can withstand water and the elements. Some of the larger G-Shocks turned me off, as since I have small-ish wrists, they wouldn't look right with a huge bezel on my small wrist.
Initially, I had wanted the GW-5000-1JF purely because of the looks. However, the high price really turned me off. I mean, really? Over $300 USD for a G-Shock? I then purchased the GW-M5610 for a very good price, however I wasn't totally satisfied with the watch, more like 95% satisfied. For one thing, I didn't really enjoy the red ring around the watch, but it was a compromise I was willing to agree to, since the price is among the lowest for a G-Shock with Tough Solar and Multiband. To me, I really wanted the Tough Solar and the Multiband Timekeeping function. When you narrow it down to these two requirements, your selections of watch is somewhat limited.
However, as time went on, I went to yearn for the GW-5000-1JF because it had the aesthetically the perfect look that I'd always wanted. Mostly black, discreet. The red ring had always bugged me a little bit and over time, I grew to enjoy the watch's features very much (Multiband 6, and Tough Solar), but also at the same time, grew to feel very neutral about the aesthetic.
I enjoyed the G-Shock experience enough to start looking at the GW-5000-1JF again. After several months of owning the GWM5610, I decided to take the plunge and go for the GW-5000. I ordered from a very reputable Japanese seller and the shipping was very fast and was able to track all the way. It arrived very quickly and I was very excited to try it out.
What a beauty!
I will break this review up into different sections, so that each part of the watch can be analysed and compared with each other.
Wow, when you first unbox the GW-5000-1JF you really get a feeling that this is the King of the G-Shocks. It commands a price premium and no doubt about why when you really examine the watch. It is worthy of that price premium because of the feeling. The weight is quite noticeable, and various others have said it. I didn’t think I would notice it that much before I got the watch, but after wearing both watches for a while, I can definitely tell which one is on my wrist without looking at it :) The lightness and the Red Ring around the bezel to me are the GW-M5610's most defining features. The most defining features of the GW-5000-1JF is definitely the heft, the build quality, and the subtle looks.
-Physical Weight and the Back of the Watch
When it arrived, I was very excited! This is the G-Shock I had been waiting for! It appears more sleek in real life compared to the promotional product shots. Never judge a watch by the catalog pictures, you've got to see other's post pictures of the watch in real life in order to get an accurate assessment of the watch in my opinion.
As I mentioned before the first thing you immediately notice about the GW-5000 is the weight of the watch. It feels substantially heavier and more solid than the GWM-5610. I suppose this is attributed to the Black DLC back of the watch, which by itself is more beautiful than the back of the "Made in Thailand" GWM-5610. It's almost that the back of the GW-5000 is as beautiful as the front. And what a finish it is.
One thing to note about the screwback, it is also more comfortable to wear because of the mirror finish of the metal. Compared to the GWM-5610, which has imprinted writing, I noticed this surface was a different feeling.
However, the tradeoff is that the GW-5000 is heavier, so if lightness is what you are seeking, the GWM-5610 might be a better choice. It really is personal preference.
The GW-5000 is definitely the thicker watch as well (The GW-5000 is the watch on top), so there is a bit more bulk overall when wearing this watch compared to the GW-M5610. However, I didn't find that the extra thickness bothered me, it was more the weight that contributed to the biggest overall difference between the watch (besides aesthetically).
When researching the GW-5000-1JF, I came across many reviews that talked about the new strap and how much softer compared to the other G-SHock straps. While I agree that side by the side that the urethane strap of the GW-5000 feels a little bit more supple than the other resin of the GWM-5610, I cannot say that the strap is an order of magnitude in difference. It is overall the same hold and design, the material is slightly different and for most people I believe would be not detectable in feeling difference in a blind test unless you were very familiar with G-Shocks. I originally had planned to upgrade the strap in the GWM-5610, but for $50, I don’t think it is very necessary. The strap isn’t sized any differently. I would say I have medium sized wrists, and the hole to select is in the middle. For people with very large wrists, I don’t think it would look idea, as the wrist strap would be at it’s limit. Looking at the strap’s design, the smallest setting would be for a very young child. If they’re able to wear a GW-5000, lucky them! Honestly, if you're thinking about upgrading the strap, I think you'll notice the difference to be fairly minimal. One thing I did notice, is that the urethane strap did hide the "stress marks" of using the strap often, better than the one from the GW-M5610. If you look at my GW-M5610, you can very easily tell what setting I use my watch at it because of the wear around the caused by the band.
-The front bezel.
The LCD viewing experience of both watches is nearly identical. When you hold the watches up and compare only the LCD portion together, you cannot tell the differences between the LCD quality. The major differences are the branding and labeling, (presumably to cover as much as solar panels as possible from viewing, which is done rather well on both watches./ When you look at the watch and try to isolate all the solar panel areas, it is rather large. Bravo to Casio for finding a great way to subtlely hide the solar panel as best they can by covering it with branding and words.
Unless you’re a fan of the Red Ring around the edge, the GW-5000 clearly is the winner here. It’s front bezel experience is more subtle and stealthy. The red ring of the GWM-5610 is far more noticeable. I really the subtle-ness of the GW-5000. No one will know it's value except you. This watch won't turn heads. In fact, I got more questions when I wore the GW-5610 than my GW-5000 probably due to the red ring. I would get comments like "Nice old school G-Shock!" No one has said anything regarding the GW-5000.
This was a feature that I really was looking forward to when owning the G-Shock. I came from wearing Timex Ironman watches, granted, I really enjoyed the digital watches displays they made, I didn't enjoy the fact that every month the time would stray several seconds. Now with Multiband 6, I never have to worry about it again. Here's a shot of what the watch looks like during the 12:00am synchronization period.
The illumination feature on both of these watches are near identical as far as I can tell. They are the same brightness and the illumination duration is the same. Both support the auto-illumination by turning the wrist. Both the brightness is about the same. Readability is also the same. I've got both watches on side to side as a comparison so you can see for yourself.
If you require a pure time-keeping device as a tool and price is the most important factor to you, the GWM-5610 is a fantastic buy and you get pretty much all the time keeping features of the GW-5000 along with the Tough Solar and MultiBand 6 features.
However, if you’re looking for the best G-Shock experience and don’t mind the price to pay, then the GW-5000 is the ultimate watch. I don’t believe anyone who buys this watch stumbles across it accidentally and decides to purchase it. Most people would be quite familiar with G-Shocks before deciding to pull the trigger to get such an expensive digital watch. To put it into perspective: The GW-5000 costs more than many of today’s smartwatches including the Apple Watch. Granted the Apple Watch can do far more things and is far more advanced. However, if you want to own the GW-5000-1JF you don’t need to be sold on the features, it is just something that you gravitate towards. You're getting a really high quality timepiece here. Like ultra-high quality, and it makes me wonder how many years this thing will last.
Since I love the GW-5000-1JF so much and wear it on a daily basis, you might be wondering what I do with the GW-M5610? I initially thought about selling it, however, since it was my first G-Shock, I decided to keep it. However, due to the similarities between the GW-M5610 and the GW-5000, was there any point to keep two very similar G-Shocks?
Since I’m a minimalist, and usually prefer not hoarding things and just have one of a certain item, I decided to give the GW-M5610 new life by attaching a Leatherman Tread with a product I stumbled across called Chronolinks. If you’re into multi-tools then no doubt you have heard of the Leatherman Wrist Tool. Now using my GW-5610 together with the Tread, it’s my Go-To watch when I go somewhere a little more rugged or if I anticipate needing a tool, like if I'm hiking, biking, or camping. I save the GW-5000 for more dressy occasions and day to day occasions. So now that I have this solid distinction between the two models, and they each have their own purpose.
Feel free to ask any questions, since I'm rather enthusiastic about these watches, I'm happy to answer anything. The GW-5000 has become a dependable friend, and I never leave home without it. Here it is on an international trip at Amsterdam Schipol Airport.
Long live the G-Shocks!