Beginning of the 1980s, Mr. Kikuo Ibe designed the principal Casio watch according to the Tripple-10 concept. Waterproof to 10 bar, drop-verification to 10 meters, and a battery life of 10 years. This watch, the G-Shock DW-5000C, became a symbol 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. Conceivably too much! Determining what to search for following the original G-Shock is tough. We get many requests from our readers to help them decide which G-Shock they should purchase. 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 shading schemes. That would be something of personal preference and best for you to decide. As a rule, esthetically 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 strong metal inner casing. This was placed in a plastic outer case with much space to dampen shocks. Then, in 1996, Casio changed the development of the G-Shock to become an all-plastic casing with simply a metal case back. The two developments exist next to each other today.

Much earlier, more rounded G-Shock models saw the light. To determine the difference between the original G-Shock and the latter, the originally square-shaped G-Shocks were nicknamed “Squares”.

The Casio module

Casio refers to the movement/caliber inside 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 discover the module reference indicated working on it back, normally inside a crate. Different modules often have different capacities. Also, different modules operate in an unexpected way. Here are the main differences.

Battery operated, manual time setting

Just like the principal G-Shock in 1983, the simplest module currently available is  (click the connection 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 month to month alarm in addition to a switchable hour signal, a tally down timer as long as 24 hours, and a stopwatch as long as 24 hours. Additionally, there’s a manually operated electro-luminescent (EL) backlight work. A CR2016 lithium battery provides the power. This module is available with a negative display as well.

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. In the event that you’re only 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, tally down timer, stopwatch
  • Manual backlight

Solar power operated, manual time setting

Then there’s the . Nowadays, it is a rare beast. Yet, it can in any case be found. Instead of relying on a battery, module 3160 is solar-powered, in combination with a special rechargeable battery. And, in terms of capacities, it has an addition to the 3229 module as well. A World Time or second timezone work is present. This offers the time in 48 cities, in 29 timezones, around the world. Further, the electro-luminescent (EL) backlight work — 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.

Module 3160 is for instance used in the G-Shock watch model G-5600E-1. I can’t discover many of these available to be purchased at the moment anymore, however the going price is around $95 when you would discover one. Again, a model pretty close to the original G-Shock Square, however benefitting from some technical advantages like solar power and the extra world time functionality. All things considered, 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, check down timer, stopwatch, 48 cities world time
  • Automatic backlight

Solar power operated, radio-controlled time setting

The next step up is . Solar-powered like the 3160 above, yet this module can set the time automatically. This time-setting is done by a technology that Casio named  . 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 — yet it actually turns out great. The lone downside is that one has to be reachable for one of the 6 radio signals to use this automatic time setting. In the event that you’re not, the module can in any case 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 .

For the rest, the elements 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.

Module 3159 is found, amongst others, in the GW-M5610-1. Because of a red line around the display, this is an esthetically very equal model to the original 1983 DW-5000C. Technically it’s significantly more advanced though, and, development wise, it lacks the original design metal inner casing which the DW-5000C had. The display as well as price-wise as well, this model is similar to the non-Multi Band 6 model above, with a going price only 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, tally down timer, stopwatch, 48 cities world time
  • Automatic backlight

Different development and materials

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

The initial one is the G-Shock with reference number GW-5000-1. Before, I mentioned the change of case development inside the Square family in 1996. The models presented above all had the post-1996 all-plastic development. Be that as it may, for perfectionists, Casio actually produces a few models with the original metal inner-case development, 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 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. In any case, remember, the internet is your friend. You ought to be able to discover 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 completion 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 .

 

Another JDM model, again using the 3159 module. This time I don’t bring it up for its metal inner casing — which it lacks — however for the use of high-tech materials. The main reason to purchase a GW-S5600-1 might be for its very low weight of just 47 grams. This extremely low weight is obtained twoly. 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 particularly 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, in addition to Bluetooth time setting and synchronization

Casio’s top of the bill modules are not simply 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  was introduced a few years ago in a new series of all-steel G-Shock Squares and gradually became available in less exquisite models. Besides the regular capacities 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 games 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. Up to this point, all G-Shock modules were simply 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.

Black particle plated strong steel outer casing

Although the GMW-B5000G-1 might look equal to the other G-Shocks in this article, development 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 particle plated strong steel outer casing. It features a metal inner casing as well, and, while the main models with module 3459 had a metal bracelet, this one has a delicate 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 yet 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 yet even more expensive models can be found, completely made in titanium.

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

Modules with specific functionality

Solar power operated, radio-controlled, in addition to tide and moon phase indication

Almost all regular modules with time, calendar, alarm, timer, and stopwatch capacities have been enhanced with a world time work also. While this is sufficient for a large portion 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. 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, check down timer, stopwatch, 48 cities world time, tidal information, moon phase
  • Automatic backlight

Compared to regular G-Shocks, and except for the extra elements 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/gray, however even more, the completion of the casing is glossy. Normally the plastic outer casings are mat. Here, it isn’t. While solar-powered, non-Multi Band 6 models are available in many parts of the world, the GWX-5600-1 is a Japan Domestic Model. Be that as it may, 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. Presently it’s up to you to decide and browse through the many styles and shades of Casio G-Shock Squares on offer, and determine which suits you best. For a comprehensive listing of a large portion of the current G-Shock models available, please have a glance at .

But I won’t leave you without a final suggestion. Now and again, 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, however some of them merit keeping an eye open for. As an example, I’ll show you one of the 30th-anniversary models which were presented in 2013.

 

The DW-5030S-1 games one of the most simple Casio modules, the (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 development. 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 much the same as 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 connect 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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