Saturday, August 16, 2008

G-Shock #32: DW-5600C, My old square.

A week ago I was sitting in the plush of a nostalgic steam train wagon. The ideal background for on of the oldest G-Shocks in my collection, the DW-5600C. Because of the nostalgic atmosphere, I made a lot of photos in monochrome.

When I bought my first G, I bought it for it's look. Colorful, big, sturdy and shock resist. Actually I didn't know much about the history in the first years of collecting. I also didn't understand why some collectors loved those "dull, simple, square" oldies. When one of the was for sale or on auction, I usually passed it.

The only square I had was a red DW-5600E with a face protector. I bought it for f80.- (€36,35) in a local sale in 2001. It looked nice, but not as attractive as the many 90's models I had.This was all before the G-Shock forum on Watchuseek started. Information of G-Shocks were hard to find on the web. One of the few websites was Casionerd's web page. Instead of big colorful models, it showed simple square models. Also Japanese collectors often seem to love these models.Around the beginning 2003 I started visiting Japanese BBS's and a Japanese Watches Forum on (that isn't active anymore for many years now).In that time I met avid collectors like Risefreak (a.k.a. Yamazaru, 山猿), Yachtrays (Sailboat Bat) and FUMI. I don't remember who told me, but someone recommended to add at least one vintage G to my collection on G-Peopleland.In the summer of 2003 I was browsing eBay Germany. My eye fell on an auction simply titled "G-Shock". The photo showed a photo of a square DW-5x00 model. I first thought it was a DW-5600E. Just before I was about to click away, my eyes fell on the text "WATER 200M RESIST".The picture was not very sharp, but it was clear enough to aware it was not an Illuminator. The starting bid was €1.-, so I placed a bid. The terrible wait starts. A week later I won this auction as only bidder. I got this watch for less than €10,- shipped!eBay Germany is very big and popular in its own country. Therefore most auctions were only for Germany only and Paypal was hardly known and used. Since the Netherlands is Germany's neighbour country and I learned myself a little German, shipping was often no problem. Most sellers were always curious, helpfull and very friendly The real problem was payment. Specially because international banking was relative very expensive, slow and hard to explain to German sellers. For small amounts I usually put money in a shielded envelope. As shield I used a freecard covered with aluminium foil. Luckily now the bank transfers between Euro countries is free of charge.

Finally, 10 days after the auction, an envelope from Germany slips trough the letter box.
was simply amazed. The watch looked different from the DW-5600E. It was much heavier. I really had a watch in my hand. The watch was visibly used over the years, but the crystal shows only 2 hardly noticeable scratches.The stainless steel case, that is even visible under the bezel, and the shiny screw back give this watch it's weight, but also very nice look. The old strap is very flexible and comfortable. This all for less than €10.-!The battery was weak, so I had it replaced at my Casio service centre. The DW-5600C with 691 module takes a CR2320 battery. The DW-5600C can also have the 901 module, which takes the CR2016 module. There are stories known of vintage squares that worked 20 years on one battery.
The first thing I noticed on the display was the small text "REM". When the lower right button (REM ON-OFF) is pressed for 2 seconds a small rectangle flashes right from this text. I discovered REM stands for remember.In my country an old saying says to put a knot in your handkerchief if you want to remember something. In stead of finding a knot when you want to blow your nose, you are confronted with a blinking rectangle when you want to know time. The only thing you need to do is remember what you want to remember. Later an improved similar function was found as "Mission Mode" on the Codename and some G-Cools. On these models a text and an alarm can be connected to an event that must be remembered.Another remarkable text on the DW-5600C is "LITHIUM". When the first G-Shock was introduced, lithium batteries were a novum. Before that button cells were of the silveroxyde type. Lithium cells could store more energy and handle bigger drains.
A function also present on the DW-5600C is dual time. A very handy feature for people who travel a lot over different time zones.The DW-5600C was introduced in June 1987. It was produced in large numbers until it was successed by the DW-5600E in June 1996. Nowadays the DW-5600C can still be found, but more than 10 years after the last one was produced, they are getting rare. Expect to pay around $100 - $125 for a good looking one. Heavy used ones can be a victim to resin rot. Luckily a replacement bezel and straps can still be found. Note that, although they look very much alike, the bezel of the DW-5600E does not fit the DW-5600C and vice versa. Mine is a Japan A with a serial number of october 1987. A few months ago it got victim of resin rot. It was a strange experience. I just finished taking photo's of my watch. I placed it on a suitcase outside my studio. Suddely, without warning the bwzel crumbled and fell in small pieces on my suitcase.
A function also present on the DW-5600C is dual time. A very handy feature for people who travel a lot over different time zones. This function is not present on it's succesor DW-5600E.
My DW-5600C still had the original - type screws. These screws are known for breakin off, so I wanted to look Not only for a new bezel, but also new Phillips screws.
Like a wonder Riley organized a DW-5x00C screw give away on "My G-Shock". On eBay I found a DW-5600C replacement set (bezel and straps). It is impressive to see the watch with the new parts. This is how the watch must have looked like when it was new. Lets hope it will look like this longer than 20 years.
The characteristic EL-backlight that is found on the recent G-Shocks was introduced in 1994. Before that, G-Shock's were equipped with a small light bulb. It is not as bright as the EL backlight, but sufficient enough to read time under dim circumstances. I think the term vintage G-Shock can be at the moment best applied on the G-Shock's that had this lightbulb. This means, G-Shock's released before 1994.

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Prince of Nicholson Avenue said...

You got that watch for such a steal.
A really good price, according to what you said. Your blog is really great, a lot of G-shock culture info.
The latest G shock I bought was the G-lide, in Black, I love it for the shiny material.

AndyS said...

You observe that some owners have batteries that have lasted up to 20 years, I am one of them.
My battery finally died after 21 years of faithful use.
I rarely use the alarm, and even more rarely use the back light (it is pretty much useless anyway.
Where did you get the small phillips screws from - I need some, but can't source any.
All the best

Unknown said...

Hi Andy,

I got my screws from a "Give away action" at My G-Shock. It depends where you live where to try to find them. Note that the DW-5600C screws are different from the DW-5600E. I'm not sure I wrote it in my article.

In Europe try Tiktox,
in the UK you can try Casio UK who seen to be very helpful,
Singapore try Casio Singapore, they are also OK
and in the US & Canada try Casio Sales & Service. The last one is best to contact by phone.

Good luck hunting,


Unknown said...

Love to collect Casio G-Shocks, G-Shocks are one of the toughest digital watches on earth. also had many cool functions too. in these days collecting G-Shocks are worthable too because vintage G-shock are too expensive and hard to find. Thanks kashif from