G-Shock diehard review of the Ironman shock resist
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  1. #1
    HOV
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    G-Shock diehard review of the Ironman shock resist

    The Timex Ironman Shock Resist 200m

    I was bitten by the G-Shock bug this year.

    Before that though, a few other watch bugs took a bite out of me and my wallet: first it was the Orange Monster when I wanted a change of pace from my trusty Orient Mako; then a Boschett Ocean Mariner when I got the itch for something Swiss Made with hacking and handwinding. Both were fine watches and both got a good amount of wrist time.

    But then I started getting picky. Once I had a watch with an ETA heartbeat, I became a movement snob. It started mattering to me if the minute hand hit the marker right as the second hand swept past the 12. I started setting the time to atomic and tracking variation throughout the day. I got the Emerald Sequoia atomic time app for the iPod so I could tote around the atomic time and check my watches. I started thinking about regulating my mechanicals. Nuts! (Well, par for the course for a WIS, but nuts to regular human beings.)

    I ended up one day hovering over my watch case with iPod in hand, checking the accuracy of my watches. That’s when I noticed that my DW-5600 G-Shock, which I hadn’t set in about a year or so, was off by no more than 30 seconds. It may have been a coincidence, as I didn’t set to atomic back then, but there it was – chugging away, untouched for months, steadfast in its timekeeping among mechanicals in their various states of unwind.

    I realized that my interest in getting a mechanical watch to be just so, had skewed my standards to the point where I was considering spending uncool sums of money in pursuit of an ever ducking-and-dodging grail. But there, sitting in my watch case already, was a $35 modern marvel that out-everythinged (read: accuracy, features, lume, toughness, price) even the finest mechanicals on everything but boardroom panache (depends on the boardroom of course).

    Logically, what followed was G-Shock fever. I went through a few choices until I settled upon a Stormtrooper Mudman. And it was through that – Mudman ownership, being bored at work and reading threads on G-Shocks – that I stumbled upon the subject of this review, the Timex Ironman T5K196.

    I’ve always like the no-nonsense display of the Ironman series, but the colors used in the cases were hard to swallow. It was fine for the 80’s but looked rather dated to me now. Also, the Casio marketing machine had its effect on me and I just believed that the Ironman watches weren’t as tough. So it was good for Timex that their marketing department fired up the “shock resistant” phrase and applied it to the new Ironman series, as those words mean the world to G-Shock diehards like me. This new Ironman had the word “shock” written on the band and the colors were fairly monotone. So I bought one.

    AESTHETICS AND CASE

    The watch is designed in the same way as the original Ironman digital watches from 25 years ago. A shape that’s reminiscent of a stopwatch, with two buttons on either side, and a fifth on the front. The display is in the shape of most of a circle; the time takes front and center within that space by means of a bold, modern-looking font. Day and date are also displayed.

    Untitled by Locuscope, on Flickr

    The bezel is not very deep but it does provide a millimeter or so of protective spacing for the glass. What I very much like about the glass is how much space there is between it and the module. There’s lots of it, and it gives a nice feeling of depth to the display. The resin used for the case feels very comparable to that used in Casio watches; I can’t tell a difference just by handling it.

    Untitled by Locuscope, on Flickr

    The band has two very thoughtful touches. First of all, there’s a positive latching feature on the end of the band; when you tuck it in to the keeper, it stays kept.

    Untitled by Locuscope, on Flickr

    Secondly, right at the springbars, the band can assume one of two positions – either curved to fit a wrist, or if you bend it thus, flat. So the caseback can sit completely flat on a table if you just snap the band outward.

    Untitled by Locuscope, on Flickr

    Untitled by Locuscope, on Flickr

    Finally, the band uses conventional springbars to attach to the case, so no adaptors are necessary to use aftermarket bands. The buckle is beefy and has a solid feel. Casio designers should pay attention to this band, it’s the smartest I’ve yet seen on a digital resin watch.

    The caseback is familiar territory to anyone who owns a G-Shock. Stainless steel, four screws, nothing revolutionary here. What is nice about the caseback is that it tells you what kind of battery to buy: a CR 2016.

    Overall, I love the no-nonsense look and feel of this watch. In this particular color, it reminds me of the altimeter of a plane – a utilitarian, gauge-like feel.

    MODULE

    This module is loaded with very thoughtful touches. I’ll start with beeps and chimes: unlike the Casio ritual of pressing an unknown button for an unknown period of time in an unknown mode to set or stop a beep or chime, these on the Ironman are set right in timekeeping mode. They’re part of the things you scroll through when setting the basic watch functions and are clearly indicated as on or off.

    Dual time is also set in timekeeping mode, and if you don’t want to set a second time zone, you don’t have to set one. There is no dedicated mode for dual time, you can just toggle between the two time zones in regular timekeeping mode.

    A note about setting anything on this watch: it’s easy, because Timex has programmed in a little flashing + and – sign to show you which buttons increase or decrease value; and also a little flashing “next” and “done” icon to show you which other buttons will scroll through options or end right there. A very nice touch that will save you that “Doh!” moment when you accidentally reset your seconds instead of scrolling through to what you really wanted to set.
    Timex has a few different ways of addressing automatic lighting, but in this module there is what’s called “night mode”, indicated by a little moon icon that appears when you press the Indiglo button for 4 seconds in timekeeping mode. Night mode lasts for 8 hours then turns itself off, just like the Casio Auto EL mode. Night mode works quite simply: it turns on the Indiglo lighting every time you press a button. The benefit to this elegant system is tremendous: you have full night vision capability for ANY timing function. Whether using the chrono, setting timer or alarms, checking the dual time, setting the time, whatever – as long as you’re pressing buttons, the watch will be illuminated. In my opinion, this is a huge advantage over the Casio system.

    The Indiglo lighting differs from Casio EL lighting in that it only lights up the numbers, not everything but the numbers as do the Casios. I like this approach, as it places needed emphasis on the information that needs emphasis. Many suspect that Indiglo saves battery over the Casio EL system, but without direct evidence of electrical current usage for either system, I’d be hesitant to agree with that assessment.

    Untitled by Locuscope, on Flickr

    Now on to the primary reason I bought this watch. I’m a recreational swimmer, and I like to time my laps. The Mudman is kinda sorta up to the task, but to see how I did through my whole workout, I’d need a buddy to write down all the lap times. The Ironman has an ingenious system of keeping track of lap times, and it keeps them all in memory so you can review when you’re done. It’s simple: every time you finish a lap, you press the fifth button. The watch automatically calculates your current lap time and keeps the stopwatch (and you) running. There is even the option to choose how the times are displayed; you can either place the lap time or the total time elapsed at the forefront in the big font, with the other time in a smaller font up top. If you’re doing anything that requires keeping track of lap times, this watch is pure gold.

    Untitled by Locuscope, on Flickr

    UPDATE: LOUDNESS

    I tested the loudness of the DW-9000, the DW-5600, and the Ironman Shock with my Radio Shack sound level meter. The watches were tested with the meter held about 2 cm from the watch, with the probe of the meter positioned normal (90*) to the glass. The watches were all tested using the countdown timer.

    Average results follow after 4 trials:

    Mudman: 64 dB
    DW-5600: 64 dB
    Ironman Shock: 69dB

    The results were surprising to me. Without measurement, I would have said that the Ironman alarm was as loud if not a little softer than the G-Shock alarms. Empirical evidence states otherwise. I suppose my particular set of ears may not be tuned to that frequency.

    One thing to note was that the DW-5600 and the Ironman were very easy to test, thanks to their countdown timers having the ability to be set to the nearest second. The Mudman made me wait a minute each time.

    Another note: my sound level meter is not calibrated for use in an industrial setting.

    SHOCK RESISTANCE

    There’s not much information out there on the shock resistance of these new 200m water and shock resist Ironman models. I’ve read that they’re built to similar shock resist standards as the Casio G-Shock models, but I haven’t read anything official along those lines. So I have nothing to offer on this subject except this: don’t write off the new Ironman as being any less tough than the G-Shock unless there’s evidence to support. It’s easy – and indeed tempting – to be the megaphone for Casio’s marketing department by touting the long-established history of G-Shock toughness, but just because the G-Shock is tough doesn’t mean that the new Ironman can’t be. Given some encouragement, I may do a torture test on one of these watches, but right now I’m just enjoying using it.

    SUMMARY

    This is an understated, utilitarian watch that excels at its intended functions. You can tell what time it is at more viewing angles and from further distances than a comparable G-Shock, thanks to an uncluttered display with a large and clear font. The retro styling and updated colors and features, at a very low price point, make this watch a no-brainer for an easy acquisition. As far as $40 watches go, I’d recommend this over the DW-5600. Unless of course, the shock and water resistance ratings on this relative newcomer redesign turn out to be just marketing fluff. But with the long history of the Timex company (you know they were the ones that came up with the slogan, “it takes a licking and keeps on ticking”?) I think this is a safe bet.

    ABOUT ME

    I am a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia, veteran of the U.S. Navy, and father of two homo sapiens. My hobbies include photography, music, mechanical engineering, weightlifting, swimming, cooking, loading ammunition, and auto detailing. I have no affiliation with the Timex corporation.

    UPDATE: MORE PICS

    As requested in this thread, a size comparison with the DW-5600. I threw in another comparison with the Mudman because I happened to be wearing it at the time. Also, I wanted to show the white one.


    Untitled by Locuscope, on Flickr


    Untitled by Locuscope, on Flickr


    Untitled by Locuscope, on Flickr
    Last edited by HOV; July 21st, 2011 at 15:34. Reason: Added more pics
    Cristobal, xevious, rjt65 and 22 others like this.

  2. #2
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    Re: G-Shock diehard review of the Ironman shock resist

    Great review. When you use "night mode" does the watch stay lit with the press of a button until you choose to turn if off? Also, I was very attracted to the version of this exact same watch except with the nylon/velcro band. Perhaps the great resin band on this watch demands its purchase?

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    Re: G-Shock diehard review of the Ironman shock resist

    Wow, very nice review and pictures. Thanks for posting it.

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  5. #4
    HOV
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    Re: G-Shock diehard review of the Ironman shock resist

    Quote Originally Posted by dead of night View Post
    Great review. When you use "night mode" does the watch stay lit with the press of a button until you choose to turn if off? Also, I was very attracted to the version of this exact same watch except with the nylon/velcro band. Perhaps the great resin band on this watch demands its purchase?
    Thanks!

    The watch stays lit indefinitely if:

    1. You hold down the Indiglo button, or
    2. You keep pressing buttons in night mode

    This is a very well-designed resin band, hopefully it stands up to wear.

  6. #5
    G-Shock Mod stockae92's Avatar
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    Re: G-Shock diehard review of the Ironman shock resist

    Awesome review, I like the Ironman and it will continue to have a place in my collection

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    Re: G-Shock diehard review of the Ironman shock resist

    It's funny what you said about mechanical movements. I have two Seiko dive watches: the black monster and the SKX-007. I've never demanded strict accuracy from these watches although I love them. I actually set the 007 one minute slow. I know it'll catch up in a couple of days!

  8. #7
    HOV
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    Re: G-Shock diehard review of the Ironman shock resist

    Quote Originally Posted by dead of night View Post
    It's funny what you said about mechanical movements. I have two Seiko dive watches: the black monster and the SKX-007. I've never demanded strict accuracy from these watches although I love them. I actually set the 007 one minute slow. I know it'll catch up in a couple of days!
    I've been considering the 007 for my next special occasion. Very nice look to that one.

    Thankfully my G-Shocks and this Ironman have cured my desire to have very accurate mechanicals. I'll just enjoy them for their heritage and style. When I'm bored in meetings, I sit there and watch the second hand swep around.

    In the case of my Orange Monster, I'll enjoy it because it's orange. I put it on an orange Zulu strap just to increase the feel-good effect of that goofy thing.


    Dead giveaway by Locuscope, on Flickr

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    Re: G-Shock diehard review of the Ironman shock resist

    I hear you HOV. I had gotten the mechanical bug 10 years ago and spent lots of money. I have learned to appreciate
    quartz and digitals again. I am anal with the accuracy also. Hence I keep my collection small.
    I still keep one mechanical chrono. Since my tastes change a lot I can by G's and cheap autos when necessary.
    Timex watches are tough to beat. And are really inexpensive. I have been looking into them and their functions.
    I race karts once in a while and the lap counter would be great.
    Thanks for the review. I think a real WIS can appreciate ANY watch if it functions for them w/o the brand loyalty thing.

  10. #9
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    Re: G-Shock diehard review of the Ironman shock resist

    Very well written review, HOV. Thanks for sharing with us about this Timex Ironman model. I'd seen it before, but in other color schemes. Apparently there is a T5K195, T5K196, T5K198, and T5K199. Essentially the same watch, but with different color schemes and one has a simulated fabric band. I didn't know that it has a reverse LCD backlight (numerals lit instead of entire background), something I consider to be an improvement over the usual backlight.

    It's obvious to me from what you've shown that Timex has thought out this module very well. I agree, there's no reason why a (+) and (-) couldn't be shown on the Casio watches for setting times. True, you learn that eventually through use, but what if you have several watches that do it differently? It's annoying to run into this. Also, when it comes to lap recording, Timex seems to have a better design. Casio has made some very interesting and feature laden timing functions over the years, but they seem to have abandoned those and opted for more simple features in current models.

    How loud is the alarm on yours? Do you find it more audible than your usual G-Shock?

    As for protection, the G-Shock is super... and that's fine for anyone who really knocks their watches around a lot. But I'll bet anything that most of the customers who buy G-Shocks tend to avoid harsh conditions, never putting their G-Shocks "through the ringer". I'll bet anything that the Timex is plenty rugged enough.
    In rotation: Citizen Attesa ATV53-2834, Eco Drives | Omega Seamaster | CASIO: TW-7000, MRG-220, RevMan, G-2000D, DW-5700ML, GW-9100 | Seiko SKA-413, SBPG001

  11. #10
    opc
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    Re: G-Shock diehard review of the Ironman shock resist

    I quite like the functionality of these Timex models. Always been a runner, always had Casios, but I have looked at the Ironman series in the past when thinking about buying a running watch. Last running specific watch that I bought was a Casio STR-1000 in about 1990 and it's still going strong, athough I tend to wear my GW-6900 when running these days.

    For around £40 I might pick up one of these Timexs and give it a go though.
    G-Shocks - GW-5000, DW-5030C, GW-6900 & DW-5600E.
    Chronographs - Heuer Monaco 73633B, Tissot Quickster & Festina 9472.

    Wish list - DW-5025D, DW-5000ML, DW-5700ML, vintage Heuers, Tudor Heritage Chrono, Seiko SBDC 001 "Sumo" & Stowa Prodiver.

    Owned in the past -
    GWF-1000, GW-M5600BC, GW-M5600, G-5500TS-8 & Seiko 7016-5001.

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