The Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000 Series
35 years after the very first G-Shock was launched on the market (1983) this year Casio presented an evolution of the 5000 series that synthesize 35 successful years of history of this Japanese brand.
Starting from the presentation of the DW-5000C model the 5000 series has always remained consistent with no major or radical distortions and modifications, it has constantly maintained a strong solution of continuity in stylistic choices, such as the classic square case that, since the very beginning, has been associated with Casio itself. The innovations introduced with the launch of the new G-Shock B5000 are various and they show how much they have advanced in terms of technology.
What is new
The main innovations introduced with the B5000D are three and one of these is quite obvious to the naked eye, the remaining two, however, are apparently hidden, but, nevertheless, not less interesting. The case, the bracelet and the bezel are entirely made of stainless steel (on three out of four models) - quite a "premium" choice if compared to the various high quality derivatives of synthetic rubber that are generally used for the models of the G-Shock collection combined with carbon fiber and other materials.
It is not the first time that Casio has crafted a watch that is using metal - simply take a look at the high-end models of the MR-G series, but the brand had never attempted to do the same with the 5000 series before; a choice that shows the will of the Japanese brand to position the collection to a higher level in the general public perception.
An increased resistance to shocks
the mission of each G-Shock watch is to be virtually indestructible. Steel therefore represented an additional challenge for the "military" standards that the brand has set itself - an additional challenge due to the need to completely review the technology previously used to protect the watch. For this very purpose, Casio's technicians introduced a new resin that is injected between the case and the bezel and that is capable of increasing the mechanical characteristics of the steel.
They are numerous, although we are not at the same level as a GPW's because it is something that is not required. The possibility of connecting the watch to the smartphone using a technology called "Connected Engine" stands out among all the new functions - by downloading a dedicated app you can interface with the watch by programming it and adding new features, such as setting the correct time in any part of the world you find yourself thanks to the connection to international time servers.
Why not craft a B5000 smartwatch then?
Given the presence of a smartphone connection why was it decided not equip the G-Shock GMW-B5000 with a smartwatch architecture? After all, the functions offered by a smartwatch are endless and they include personal activities too (fitness, GPS, standard phone functions and so on). In addition to the will to craft an object that would operationally replicate the simplicity of its illustrious ancestor, the answer to this question is strictly linked to the use that Casio foresaw for its B5000 - a use that is completely different from the mission of a smartwatch.
The B5000 is a very resistant watch and more versatile watch than a super-vitaminized G-Shock that is distinctly sporty and that looks almost exclusively dedicated to a Navy Seal member. Unlike a Mud Master, for example, we can easily use this timepiece during the most extreme occasions (involving water, dust, a strong acceleration) and during non-extreme ones too.
A B5000 is not out of place when worn under the cuff of a shirt (it fits it quite easily). In short, despite the fact that this watch was created to be resistant and enduring (the real fate of every authentic G-Shock), its main mission is to be a much richer re-edition of the first watch created by Kikuo Ibe.
As usual Casio came up with many versions of the same timepiece and list the differences between one and the other could prove quite difficult, but it is a duty that we have to try and help our readers. The G-Shock GMW-B5000 versions are four and the difference lies in the strap material and the treatments that the steel underwent.
GMW-B5000D-1: steel case and bracelet, silver color
GMW-B5000-1: steel case, black resin bracelet, silver color
GMW-B5000TFG-9: steel case and bracelet with IP Gold treatment. It is the limited edition that celebrates the 35th anniversary of the G-Shock and it features a celebration logo silk-screened on the case-back.
GMW-B5000TFC-1: the case and the bracelet are in steel with DLC (Diamond-like Carbon) treatment used to increase its resistance and provide it with a beautiful dark gray color. It is made in collaboration with the leading brand in the luggage sector - Yoshida & Co. and is sold in a special box made by Porter (one of the Yoshida & Co.'s brands). It is a limited edition of 500 pieces and it features the G-Shock 35th anniversary logo on the case-bak.
Does the G-Shock B5000 remind you of something familiar? Yes, it does - it reminds us of the Santos de Cartier. The square shape of the case and the workmanship of the bracelet are clearly inspired by the icon of the French brand, but the comparison stops here because the market niches around which these two clocks gravitate are totally different (at most they could be complementary).
In this case it is a matter of reinterpreting classic stylistic forms and choices associated with a completely different environment and use mission, - the case of a G-Shock may undergo different extreme situations that we rarely face in our day-to-day life. In terms of surface resistance to shocks and scratches we could find some similarities with some Rado timepieces, but this comparison would also stop here.
Casio brought along substantial innovations for its 5000 series by implementing functions that ease the interaction between the user and the device without giving up the sturdiness that one would expect from a G-Shock watch. The feeling on the wrist is that of a premium object, especially when it comes to the DLC treated version.
To sum it up I think the product is successful and the only negative notes are represented by its weight (167 grams) - a weight that is excessive for a digital steel watch because it is halfway between the weight of a mechanical steel time only watch and a mechanical golden chrono watch (the weight oscillates between 135 grams and 195 grams taking into consideration the case of two classic watch-making models - the Submariner and the Daytona). The second negative note is the retail price that totals about EUR 500 for the GMW-B5000D-1 model.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting by Peter Tung)