In 2004 watches with a wide leather strap (“wide cuff”) became very popular for a while. I think that from this trend lead to the recent trend of extreme big watches. While 5 years ago G-Shocks were considered big and owning watches was considered being stupid, because you could read time from your phone, nowadays Dutch street fashion is dominated by huge watches with cases that easily can be bigger than 60 mm.
In June 2004 Casio released the first of the L.X series. This series have characteristic leather straps. According Casio the design is done by the “famous L.S.D. brand”, which specializes themselves in silver accessories. I think Casio refers to Love.Sex.Diamonds a.k.a. LSD Fashion Lab.
Casio released in June 2004 not less but 6 L.X models. Three G-5600 models, a G-5700, a G-7300 model and a GW-500 model. It was a busy month for Casio, because also a bunch of the I.C.E.R.C. models were released, one of them the I.C.E.R.C. Frogman of 2004. Also the Triple Crown model of 2004 was released the same month.
In November 2004 Casio released 4 more L.X models. This time it were 4 DW-5600 models. Also the Lovers Collection 2004 was inspired on the L.X series. Both the G-Shock and the Baby-G had a big, wide leather strap.
The most important characteristic feature on the L.X models is the leather strap. There are two kind of straps used. Versions with a wide part at the case that goes into a normal width strap and a single hole buckle and versions that have a wide strap over the whole length.
Special parts are sewn upon the strap to attach the case. The case is actually hovering above the strap. On both parts that are holding the case is a little metal button for decoration. This small buttons have the letters G and S engraved on it. It’s a pity that it’s so miniature, because it is a very nice design.
This G-5600LL-4JR comes with a strap that is wide on the whole length. It gives quite an impressive look to the watch. It’s a pity the trend of wide straps was not a very long one. Soon after the wide straps came the trend of watches with big cases (often derived of Russian Submarine watches).
The strap has a kind opening under the case, which is covered with netting fabric. I guess this opening is made for ventilation. Also the models of the L.X series with the less wide straps have this kind of opening. Maybe artificial leather is less breathing.
The G-5600 was the first solar 5600 model. It dates from September 2002. The looks of the case are pretty classic and most of the display looks just as the old DW-5600C and DW-5600E models. The battery indicator, which is the oval futuristic thing in the upper right corner, breaks with the classic looks in my opinion. On the later Waveceptor models this indicator was replaced by a more classic design, which matches more with the classic look.
On the G-5600LL the futuristic energy level indicator looks great, because the whole watch looks pretty much different from the classic design. The use of red (artificial) leather gives the watch a somehow retro science fiction look.
I think it is a pity these versions of the series was only available for a very short time. These wide cuff strap models of this series were released in June 2004 and if you tried to find it around August or September 2004, there was only a very small chance you would find one. Once I saw a photo of a Japanese pawn shop (many years ago) with the black version in the shop window. I wish I was there, because I would have probably bought it in a moment. For me at that time the watches were too expensive to buy more than one of each model (I bought the black and the red G-5600LL version with one month between them). The version with the leather strap that is only wide at the case was easier to find. I guess there were made quite a lot more of these.
So what’s under the hood of the G-5600 model. Of course the G-5600 is a basic model. It’s the successor of the popular DW-5600E. The G-5600 has not been a very popular model in the past. There were pretty much start-up problems with this model. A lot of basic G-5600s got the “Recovery Blues”. It is said it is from a failing rechargeable Panasonic CTL1616 battery, but also the 2597 module of this model had some flaws in the beginning. Recently a G-5600 was released in the Green Colors series. It seems Casio has still faith in this Tough Solar non-Atomic model. Since there has been at least 5 years between this Green Colors model and the last G-5600 version, I think the module has probably been revised on this new one.
Like on almost every G-Shock you can scroll through the functions with the lower left (MODE) button. The first function of the watch you’ll find when you leave Timekeeping mode is the Countdown timer. It is a decent Countdown function. It is programmable up to 100 hours. I always plea for at least a 24 hour timer. 60 minutes is simply often too short. With an over 4 days capacity, this Countdown Timer is great.
The next function you find is the Alarm Function. It has 5 alarms (one is a Snooze Alarm) and of course a hourly signal.
Next you find the Stopwatch function. Like the Countdown Timer, the Stopwatch also has a 100 hour capacity (well, actually it is 99 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds and 99 hundreds of a second).
The last function on the watch is the Dual Time function. Actually I like Dual Time. The Worldtime function, found on many recent G-Shock models do not have a function that automatically changes the DST settings in different timezones. With focusing on just one other timezone it’s much more easier to compensate for DST, if it might apply for your desired timezone.
One of the nicest designs on this particular G-Shock model is pretty hidden. You need to remove the strap from the case to view. The back of the watch is beautifully etched in the same style as the letters on the metal buttons.
The EL backlight has a very nice designed skull. I still regret I never got a second of this model, so I could wear one. I pretty much am interested how the strap would hold out when it is worn for longer times.
The original price of this watch was 16000 yen. I haven’t seen this version for sale for quite some time. The black version I have seen for sale recently in Japan for around $100.- I think (quite used). I was very happy with it, back in 2004, but it somehow looks a bit dated now, since big pilot and submarine watches have successfully replaced the wide cuff watches in street fashion.