G-Shock deployment

Very often a bone of contention are the straps and bracelets used on G-Shock models and some are easier than others to change.  My old favorite the Casio DW5600-E is one such model and fortunately the PU strap/bracelet is one of the easier ones to manage.

New deployment strap fitted.

New deployment strap fitted.

The original strap is a buckle type and I’ve never really suited these divers style affairs as my wrist is relatively small and I much prefer the rubber deployment style – easier and quicker to get on and off and is flat on the wrist side, so always more comfortable.  OK you do have to cut them to fit, but of little consequence as they’re not expensive, easily obtainable and not tied to any particular watch model or type.

So what did I do to get my silicon deployment strap fitted?

First off, the DW5600E is a favorite for a few reasons.  One it is a neat size for a G-Shock as it’s 43.6mm across the center though the lug to lug is over 50mm and actually larger than it needs to be with the standard Casio strap fitted, owing to the under-strap molding that holds the strap out from the case.  This in fact is another reason for the strap change, but more of that later.

1) Remove the G-Shock case cover - using recessed side screws.

1) Remove the G-Shock case cover – using recessed side screws. (note 16mm spring bars)

So first thing is to get at the strap/case fitting and the spring bars (fortunately this model still uses the tried and tested spring bars between the lugs for the strap fixing).  For access it’s much easier therefore to remove the outer G-Shock resin over-case and this is easy by simply unscrewing the 4 screws on the side of the case (not the false indents on the top of the case).  These are recessed but easy to access.  Once removed simply hook your finger nail under one side of this case cover to clear the push buttons and the case cover is removed completely as shown.  Now we can get at the spring bars much more easily and remove the original strap.
Note that the spring bars/strap fittings are only 16mm but the case at the lugs is actually 25mm wide.

Now a standard 16mm strap whilst it would fit easily, would look silly being far too narrow on the watch, so I’m going to fit a 24mm wide silicon deployment strap, but cut down to 16mm at the ends.  And this is very easy to do with a Stanley knife or similar as you’re basically just cutting off the corners of the strap end.  Measuring my 16mm I cut perhaps 4mm back into the strap (any more you’ll get gaps showing where the strap meets the case) both side of the strap and fitted it to the case to see how it looked.

2) Cut corners off replacement deployment strap to 16mm and check fit to case.

2) Corners cut off replacement deployment strap to 16mm and check fit to case (with G-Shock case cover removed) and note cut strap parts on bench.

This was fine and I slipped on the spring bars with a bit of WD40 as they are quite chunky and the strap hole at the end is relatively narrow and fitted the strap with spring bars to the case.

I then replaced the G-Shock case cover which also covered the strap ends, so it looked really neat.  And here is where the dimension of the finished watch differ from the original.  The top to bottom or lug to lug measurement is now under 50mm and the strap can flex down to fit smaller wrist than before and look great.  It also has the benefit of allowing the watch to sit upright on a table as for this first image and not have to sit on it’s side.

New strap fitted - looks good.

New strap fitted – looks good.

As you see the 24mm wide deployment strap fits nicely to the case and looks as if it was made for it – which it was of course!

So that’s my favorite G-Shock re-strapped to suit me and it wasn’t difficult to manage at all – no conversion parts required and the total cost around £7 for the new deployment strap and around 20 minutes of my time with basic tools and a coffee after I checked the fit of the strap before refitting the G-Shock cover.

Strap now flexes direct from spring bars - fits small wrists. (note side recessed screws for G-Sock case cover removal).

Strap now flexes direct from spring bars – fits small wrists. (note side recessed screws for G-Shock case cover removal).

This watch will now fit smaller folks with a small wrist as the strap flexes around the actual spring bars and not held stiffly out from the case at right angles.  This is a bug bear I have with other models with molded bracelets and strap as you cannot lay the watch down on it’s lug ends, upright, but rather you have to lay them on their sides.  I can take this watch off my wrist, put it on the bedside cabinet upright and facing me and I can easily read the time.

Tools required - Bergeron spring bar tool, screwdriver, knife (Pliers not needed after all here).

Tools required – Bergeron spring bar tool, screwdriver, knife (Pliers not needed after all here).

As to other straps – you can very also easily fit a NATO strap and again make sure you get a 24mm wide one, then at the position of the spring bars, cut out small areas either side to fit the 16mm lug neatly.  Just a pair of scissors and a spring bar tool required and that’s it – job done.  The neat thing about the G-Shock case cover is that it extends slightly larger than the actual watch case, so hides any intolerance you may have done when fitting/cutting.  In fact I fitted a fast wrap strap to a friends G-Shock a few months ago (he’s one of those rugged types that climbs things and treks everywhere) and his friends have been really, really envious when they see his particular G-Shock combo.

It sometimes amazes me the odd conversions people do to change straps and yes often they can be tricky to manage and yet I’ve found that the simplest ways are invariably the best.  All too often a complicated solution can be looked at again and re-appraised in the light of simplicity.  Could I do this simpler way, a better way and more often than not – a cheaper way?

Might be one of the other reasons I like this particular Casio DW5600E.
It’s really quite basic function set is absolutely fine for me, Time, Day, Date, Month, Year and 12hr or 24hr selectable time display, an Alarm (daily, by date or monthly with auto repeat) function with selectable dial light flash.  It also sounds for a decent 20 seconds.  A Stopwatch and Countdown function.  I also like the fact that when using other functions, the Time is always indicated on the upper right portion of the dial – very useful.  It’s got a 200m Water resistance and it’s as tough as old boots!

And now it’s got the strap I like on it – what could be better?


New strap fitting - neat and the right size width at 25mm.

New strap fitting – neat and the right size width at 25mm.

New strap fitted - job done.

New strap fitted – job done

Deployment means flat on the wrist - for a neat fit.

Deployment means flat on the wrist – for a neat fit.


A Classic but is it for me?

Well this is about as far as I go on my search around the Digital watch models, as the one I’ve found is said to be the the best of the best.  In fact I’m told this is THE modern Classic – the Casio G-Shock DW-5600E-1V model with the 3229 module.

Casio G-Shock DW5600E Module 3229

Casio G-Shock DW5600E-1V Module 3229

Arguably the best designed Digital Watch of it’s time, this particular design first appeared in 1996.  This DW5600E version is also about as simple as a G-Shock can be and inside has a set of “sensible” every day use functions and features.  Such as the commendable 200m water resistance, a multifunction Alarm, a Countdown Timer and a Stopwatch.  Note this one features Module 3229, which has the Auto-Calendar to 2099 (previously to 2039)

Other details are as follows –

The Countdown Timer can be set for any duration from one second up to 24 hours, in one-second increments; optional auto-repeat function.
The Stopwatch: 1/100th second, which measures net time, split time, and first – and second-place times; rolls over at 24 hours.
One Alarm but unusually in addition to the hour and minute, a month and/or date may optionally be set, so the alarm will only sound during the specified month or on the specified day of the month.  Actually a very useful reminder, if like me you forget the Dentist appointment.
There is also an Hourly Chime option.
Backlight is provided by the Illuminator, which is an Electroluminescent type, which shows blue/green to light the whole display at any time, though excels in low light situations or at night.
The Battery is a Lithium CR2016 and should last around 2 years in normal operation.
As a G-Shock it has the shock resistant design and in fact is intended to survive a 10-meter fall.  This DW5006E version has a Polymer composite-case and a flat steel back panel (4 screws) and is light weight in comparison with older models.  Because of the neat flat back, lower profile and relatively small dimensions, it also sits better on the wrist.
Water Resistance is an excellent 200m, so this model has no issues under water!

G-Shock - special strap means it can't sit upright.

G-Shock – special strap means it can’t sit upright. Note small smooth recessed pushers.

The DW5600 series has a classic shape with it’s square/rectangular 43.6mm wide case in tough black Polymer and matching flexible rubber strap.  Interestingly when you first strap it on, it suddenly dawns on you that it’s actually one tough watch, but amazingly comfortable.  It’s also rather compact for a Casio G-Shock – which HAS to be a good thing and it suits me VERY well!  In fact the case depth is a neat 12.6 mm, so it wears nice and flat on the wrist and slips easily under a shirt cuff.

So no Solar power, no World Time, no Compass, Altimeter, Thermometer or Barometer here – but a classic WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) kind of watch that is not only refreshing, but it’s also darned good.  A case of less is more, you could say.

Slim profile fits the smaller wrist.

Slim profile fits the smaller wrist.

A well protected mineral glass sits above a good contrast Casio digital display.  In normal or Timekeeping mode it shows the Time (Hours, Minutes & Seconds – in 12hr or 24hr format), the Date, Day and Month.  Note that the Date and Month are contained in a small outlined area of the display and when in Countdown Timer or Stopwatch modes, this area changes to and shows the current time – I think this is a really useful feature.  Not so clever for UK users is the fact that you can’t reverse the Date/Day format to Day/Date (we Brits like to know what Day it is first, rather than the Date – I mean who cares about the Date!).

The functions as with most digital watches are operated by the use of pushers or buttons on the sides of the case and here there are 4, two on the right and two on the left.  There is always a compromise with these as to protection, that is, to make sure they can be used easily and have protection from inadvertent use.  Usually this is done either with a recess in the case body and/or small shoulder lugs either side of the pusher.  In this model it’s achieved by the case shaping and on this model the top left SET pusher is virtually flush with the case and is really difficult to operate easily.
This is doubly tricky as it’s the most difficult pusher to reach for a left wrist wearer who is right handed.  Also as each of the pushers are really rather small I already find it tricky to “find” the night light for example (bottom right) especially in the dark and end up fumbling around with my (small) fingers searching for it.  The case has many hollows and bumps so one recess or bump feels much like any other.  Another point is the pushers are small, round and smooth and for me I would prefer some texture on the surface.
As a consequence setting or selecting the functions is not as easy as I would like.  Also if I was being picky the sequence of operation of the functions is not as intuitive, for example, as a Timex.  An example would be in the setting of the time, where the right pushers don’t act as up and down buttons when setting figures, but only the the upper pusher is used and it only increases numbers – you can’t dial down the numbers.

However these niggles aside I still like this model – mostly as it has very few gimmicks and it can be worn on large or small wrists and it’s comfortable.  The Display has good contrast and is large enough to read easily (when on the wrist) and it shows a lot of information in one glance.  It has Timers that can be set in various options AND you can read the current time when using these.  It has beep Alarms and and the dial can flash at the same time when these are activated.  It’s very tough but at the same time it’s a sensible size.

As folks tell me, it’s a G-Shock Classic sure enough and design wise I agree with some but not all of the hype and for me there are reservations – and of course the question always has to be –

Does it work for me? 

Now bearing in mind that I have just acquired a Timex T49854J, it may be interesting to have a quick comparison here and now and decide, from a practical point of view, which one I personally prefer.

Case/body style – Timex wins – conventional strap means ease of replacement AND it allows the watch to sit off the wrist on a bedside cabinet for example, upright on it’s lugs.  The pushers are larger and very much easier to use and whilst they don’t have physical protection I have not yet had an accidental push.  The night light is very easy to find as it’s the largest pusher on the right center of the case, where the crown would normally be.

Casio v Timex - a personal choice.

Casio v Timex – a personal choice.

Display – Timex wins – the display is much larger and easily readable from a distance and even easier when upright. (the Casio has to sit on it’s side, so this fact and owing to the slightly recessed face, at 6 feet I can’t read it).

Functions – Timex wins – They both sport a similar range of functions, Multifunction Alarms, Chronograph, Countdown Timer, Hour chime etc. though the Timex does have some additional functions and options.  But basically the Timex is easier to use and more intuitive.  Pushers are larger, textured surfaces, easier to use and the setting procedures are both quicker and simpler to manage.  Also the Timex has the option to set DAY/DATE format for the UK users whereas the Casio doesn’t.  Also the upper and lower right pushers can alter the digits up and down, so setting times etc. is much quicker.  In short the Timex function program wise, is in my opinion more user intuitive than Casio.

Alarms – Timex wins (for me) – Though this is personal and purely as this Timex has a Vibration Alarm option.  It can have vibration and/or beeps and as I can’t hear the beeps any more – a Vibration Alarm wins every time.  It’s also useful when the watch is off the wrist and on a bedside cabinet.  Sitting upright on the case lugs (which the Casio can’t do) when the Alarm sounds it also vibrates against the surface it’s on (just like a cellphone) and is easily audible even for me.  On the wrist of course it’s fine as the vibrations are easily felt.

Nightlight – Illuminator v Indiglo.  Not much to choose between them – I would guess the Timex is slightly brighter and it’s larger of course, but both are good.

Water Resistance – Casio wins – but the winning is moot – 200m against 100m – let’s face it both are very good.

The practical choice - Timex T49854J Expedition, Vibration, Chronograph.

The practical choice – Timex T49854J Expedition, Vibration, Chronograph.

So all in all as a personal preference it has to be the Timex basically as I have no issues with it at all.  And this is rare I can tell you!  It IS a little thicker though unlikely I’d wear either watch in a dress situation.  After all the Timex is advertised as an Expedition watch, so fair comment.
The Timex just manages to suit my average wrist and it is the easiest by far to use practically, be it Functions, Pushers, Display, Alarm and that conventional standard fitting strap wins every time.

So whilst it’s the Timex for me by a short head, I have to say I like them both and I consider them great buys.