The menu system is relatively straightforward but only if you get the hang of which button to use to enter submenus, to change a setting, or to confirm what you are seeing now. I really wish the pushers were labeled as Next Option, Change Setting, Confirm. The backlight can be set to operate for either 1 or 3 seconds maximum (if this is your first G-Shock just forget about finding and changing that setting on your own, you’ll definitely need the manual) – which, again, is not very helpful, as you almost constantly have to switch it back on again to see what you are doing. I wish there was a 5 or even 15-30 second light on mode – I presume it generates heat and/or requires a lot of energy, but I couldn’t tell why a longer backlight option was not possible with the Tough Solar recharging.
When it comes to legibility, you will need the assistance of the backlight a lot of the time as the grey on darker grey display can be difficult to read under some lighting conditions (and not just in low light). The digital display’s numbers are large and easy to read, though, and the green backlight is just one of the coolest functions on a watch that I don’t think I will ever get bored of.
Okay, so those were my criticisms, but what is it like to just wear the GWX5600C-7? In short: it’s fantastic! The white resin case measures 48.9 by 42.8mm, is a manageable 13.4mm thick, and weighs a mere 56g, making it one of the smaller G-Shocks out there. The octagonal design of the bezel works as well as it pretty much always does on a watch – regardless if it costs $150 or $15,000. The angled design of the bezel and the lug structure make it one of the more serious-looking G-Shocks.
G-Shocks are available in both glossy and matte white colors and this particular one is glossy – to be clear, this very G-Lide model you can only buy in glossy white or red. What I heard from friends who owned one was that the matte white just gets dirty and loses its crisp color very quickly, while in my experience, this glossy white is much, much more resistant. Even a month or so of wearing it under the scorching sun in Dubai and in Florida, scraping it on stuff while traveling through about 16 airports over the last month, and just banging it onto a table to see what it can put up with, this GWX5600C-7 looks good as new! No scratches, no dents, no discoloration of any kind.
This leads me to the point of design and wearability – it is a rather “loud” watch despite its relatively smaller size and crisp white color. Over the aforementioned period I did end up wearing it at a rather formal event, paired it with a smart casual suit and, to be frank, I did not think the watch was at all out of place. I was among fellow watch nerds and journalists, but even that notwithstanding, I feel this watch can be worn with anything less formal than a tuxedo (and, heck, it might even work with that)!
Last but not least, there is something empowering (for the lack of a better word) about wearing a watch that is virtually indestructible. Wearing a dive watch resistant to hundreds if not thousands of meters is something similar, but a key difference is that with this watch you could literally go off-roading on a bike, ride a jetski in the Atlantic, climb a mountain, or fall down a flight of stairs (if that’s your thing) and still always, and I mean always, find the watch just ticking away, unscathed.
This sense of indestructibility makes me respect and be in awe of the engineering that went into this $150 G-Shock the same way as I feel when looking at a six-figure priced complicated mechanical watch. Better still, the low price does not mean a badly made watch either: the strap does screech a bit when new but that goes away quickly and the way the case and strap are put together and how they feel on the wrist don’t leave anything to be desired. It’s just a simple, comfortable wear – and again, the less than ideal design of the pushers is more an issue of how the pushers are constructed and not the cost of production.
In essence, then, the G-Shock GWX5600C-7 is a great everyday beater, costs as little as a properly made simple watch possibly can, is versatile enough to go well with most any occasion and attire if you yourself feel comfortable wearing it, packs a few highly useful features that make your everyday life easier – and also a few that would require a bit of fine-tuning. The Casio G-Shock GWX5600C-7 costs $150, making it a lot of bang for your buck. gshock.com
>Model: G-Shock GWX5600C-7
>Size: 48.9 x 42.8 x 13.4mm
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking for his/her first G-Shock and wants something that is more wearable and restrained than most others from the brand.
>Best characteristic of watch: Fun to wear, reliable, dependable, indestructible, cheap.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Pushers and menu system can be annoying to use; wish the backlight could stay turned on for longer to improve legibility.