At the start of this week, I was lucky enough to spot and win a new GW-M5600BC on the bay, a mere 41 minutes after it had been posted. I bought it, not only because it was a bargain but also to see how I found the negative display and composite bracelet.
I quickly realised that neither were to my tastes. The negative display was clearer that I had expected but it was not for me. The bracelet added some heft to the watch but although comfortable, it didn't feel right. I suppose I expect a G to be on a strap.
So a plan hatched, why not swap the positive module from my GW-M5600 and put it in the GW-M5600BC case? The aim being to create a subtle, understated GW-M5600. In reverse, I thought that the red line on the GW-M5600 crystal might work well with the negative display, black and red being a popular combination.
I checked the forum and read that a couple of members have completed this mod before. Special thanks go to SSPARTAN for his previous posts which alleviated several concerns. The modules can indeed be swapped straight, as their built-in atomic syncing antennae are contained within the module and the solar panels are in the case, connecting with the module once it's seated correctly. All in all, it took me, including photography, about 40 minutes.
Now the pics.
Here are the GW-M5600BC and GW-M5600 side by side awaiting their surgery. Alongside is some silicon grease for the O ring seals, my Bergeon spring bar tool, a jeweller's Phillips screwdriver and some tweezers. In the end I didn't use the silicon grease, as both watches are new, I didn't disturb the seals and there was some grease on the back of the watch which would contact the case back when it was reapplied.
First job, take off the straps.
Here are the watches with the case backs removed and the rubber module protectors resting on them. With the aid of a very fine slotted screwdriver, I have prised up the modules at the 1 o'clock position, so they're free from the case, ready for extraction. I was mindful of Sjors' warning to be careful not to turn over the module and loose the case back spring used for the speaker.
Half way there! You can clearly see the wound wire on the atomic sync antenna at the 12 o'clock position. Also obvious is the “all clear” (AC) contact for battery reset after a battery change. As I swapped the modules over quickly, to avoid dust, I didn't have an opportunity to take a photograph of the case's inside but I could see the solar panels circuitry on the rear of the crystal.
The swap is complete, all that remains is to reattach the straps - but which strap to which model? In the end, I decided to keep the composite bracelet with the negative display. The spring bars on the composite bracelet are noticeably thinner than those from the regular strap, which I found slightly surprising, given that the bracelet is heavier. So if you are thinking of buying a separate composite bracelet, make sure it comes with the correct spring bars. While still not a huge fan of negative displays, the red and the black do combine well. There is almost an MIRB feel it.
Three Gs sharing a pillow, from left to right, the positive GW-M5600BC, my as yet unworn GW-5000-1JF and the negative GW-M5600 on composite bracelet. As you can see they're all synced. I manually synced both modded watches to make sure that function worked, as did all the buttons, sound and light. I'm not sure what to do with the negative GW-M5600 - it may appear in sales corner soon...
As this final shot shows, this GW-M5600BC “positivisation” does indeed result in a stylish G-Shock, similar in appearance to the much more expensive GW-5000-1JF. Of course the modded watch does not have the screw case back, the DLC coating , metal body or the 6th atomic band, but it is still a feature rich and stealthy watch.
I'm going to enjoy wearing it and I hope you enjoyed the photos.