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With the Casio G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER, there is another watch besides the celebrated MR-G, which reinterprets the first G-SHOCK from 1983. However, it costs only a fraction of the extravagant special model. Is it also possible without titanium, app connection & more?
David against Goliath
In the house of G-SHOCK, there are currently several models that are visually strongly oriented towards the first G-SHOCK ever, the DW 5000C-1A. They are the successors, the next generation, you could say. Two of them couldn’t be more opposite. One is (or so I’ve been told) very highly regarded internally by G-SHOCK employees, is considered an insider’s tip, and is a price-performance monster. The other one is the Casio G-SHOCK MRG B5000B-1DR, a 4000.00 euro special model.
Well, you wouldn’t have expected that now, but the top model of 2022 has got serious competition – from the own ranks. We’re talking about the Casio G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER, a 129.00 euro entry-level G-SHOCK. The wristwatch has been on the market for about 10 years and has been updated several times since then, most recently in July 2021, sharing the design with the G-SHOCK x SUPER MARIO BROS DW-5600SMB-4ER. Another watch I had the pleasure of testing a few weeks ago, proving that the 5600 series is good for surprises. Why shouldn’t the same be true for its black sister model?
The descendants of the original G-SHOCK
Laymen might not notice the design of the GW-M5610U-1ER. Fans, on the other hand, will immediately recognize the red framed display and know about the special feature behind this otherwise so ordinary G-SHOCK. Like many others, I entered the watch world in 1983, almost 40 years ago. At that time, I was given a DW 5000C-1A as a gift, which I unfortunately no longer own today.
So, if you want to get back the nostalgic feeling and wear the memories on your wrist, you have four options. Number 1: you buy a (hopefully) original DW 5000C-1A on the second hand market. For more or less well preserved models, you can quickly pay more than 2000 Euro. Second: you spend twice as much for one of the new MR-G watches. Third: the GMW series. With this series, Casio started for the first time to build a homage to the original G-SHOCK. This includes references like the Casio G-SHOCK GMW-B5000TVA-1, for example, or: forego the gimmicks of the premium class and reach for the GW-5610U-1ER instead.
And while one high-end wristwatch after another causes a stir, the affordable Casio G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER flies under the radar. Unjustifiably? Whether the entry-level G-SHOCK is a serious alternative to the MR-G, you can read in this watch review!
The Casio G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER comes in a typical G-SHOCK hexagonal box. Let’s start with the visual comparison!
GW vs. DW vs. MR-G – who copies the Ur-G-SHOCK best?
How was it in the old days in school? Copying from the class leader was allowed – you just couldn’t get caught. And so it was important to set “your own accents” in homework or exams. The concept could also be applied to a new edition of a watch. If you compare pictures of the original and my test watch, you’ll notice how similar the two watches really look. The GW-M5610U-1ER is the spitting image of the first G-SHOCK and adopts even more design elements than the MR-G already did. This one is much more independent and presents itself a bit tidier and with golden accents of higher quality.
However, you have to actively search for differences between the DW and GW, i.e. the original and the inexpensive new edition. Here a slightly different notation of the water resistance, there a different structure of the dial surface. If you are primarily more concerned with the 80s style than the fact of wearing the first G-SHOCK ever, this is the watch for you. The Casio G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER perfectly mimics the great example. However, if it goes by subjective sense of beauty, I would prefer the MR-G with its shimmering titanium case. By the way – if you are interested in a detailed comparison between the MR-G and the DW 5000C-1A, you should check out my YouTube video on the subject!
The Casio G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER on the wrist
Before we get into the detail, however, it’s worth taking a look at the wrist. With dimensions of 46.70 millimeters in length and 43.20 millimeters in width, the G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER is pleasantly compact and significantly smaller than watches from the MTG series, for example. Personally, I like the compact G-SHOCK cases with octagonal bezel better, as they are more practical. The small case is also accompanied by the very light weight of only 51.70 grams. In everyday life, you hardly feel it and only take notice of it again when you want to read the time. That’s what I call daily rocker qualities!
The strap made of resin is pleasant on the wrist and provides a decent wearing comfort. A conventional buckle ensures a secure fit.
The case in detail
If you go into detail, you quickly realize why one model costs 129.00 and the other 4000.00 euros. Despite almost identical shapes, the watches follow completely different philosophies. The MR-G draws from the full range and uses everything that the Japanese watchmaker is capable of. The Casio G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER is a bit more ordinary and unspectacular. Instead of the high-priced titanium alloy with DLC coating, this case is made of conventional resin. It should be clear that resin is inferior to titanium in all aspects. Does that make the GW-M5610U-1ER a bad watch? Not at all! You just have to know what you want. The question of whether you need or want allergy-friendly titanium is something everyone has to ask themselves. The GW-M5610U-1ER is – charmingly meant – again more the real “plastic watch”. Mineral glass protects the display from external influences.
Regardless of its price, every G-SHOCK since 1983 has been defined by its eponymous shock resistance to impacts and shocks. This is realized by the sophisticated structure, which is clearly visible on the back. Embedded in the resin case is a stainless steel core. It protects the movement.
With the Casio G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER, you can even dive. The manufacturer specifies a water resistance of 20 bar, which is at least required if you want to wear a wristwatch on dives.
How the Casio G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER becomes a radio-controlled watch
Behind the stainless steel caseback is a drive, which is surprisingly not identical to the SUPER MARIO G-SHOCK. There, I had noted that the battery is not powered by solar energy. Fortunately, this is different here. Possibly, the change was made with the last model change when the classic received a facelift in 2021. Now, invisible solar cells sit beneath the dial. Casio’s Tough Solar System is a must-have for me when buying a G-SHOCK, as it brings only advantages. There is no need to change the battery every few years. You don’t have to accept any loss of performance. Even in a drawer, the watch can “survive” for months in power saving mode.
The movement drives a few important functions that are familiar and useful but won’t amaze fans. What I find most useful is the radio signal reception. It ensures that the watch is always accurate. You can also update it manually via one of the pushers. World time, stop functions, up to 5 daily alarms with snooze, a calendar and a timer round out the overall package. Those who are tech-savvy might miss a Bluetooth connection including app control. But that brings us back to the old topic, the price.
All information can be read very clearly on the display. In the dark, you can illuminate it with the Illuminator.
My conclusion about the Casio G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER
With some expectations on my part, the G-SHOCK GW-M5610U-1ER went into this test and the – admittedly somewhat unfair – comparison with the top model MRG B5000B-1DR. That it has to admit defeat to this all-rounder is hardly surprising. However, if you put the performance in relation to the price, things look different again. We don’t need to talk about the quality. It is consistently good and even better than the low price would suggest.
Visually, the digital watch looks like a clone of the original G-SHOCK. However, those who want to experience this “effect” don’t have to dig deep into their pockets. 129.00 euros fit into every budget. Thus, the GW-M5610U-1ER is the classic G-SHOCK for everyone. Even if you don’t want to wear it on your wrist every day, you won’t have a guilty conscience about keeping it in your collection for most of the year, unlike a 4000.00 euro watch.
You cannot determine a winner. Decisive are the own preferences and the wallet. As always, you’ll find all the important links below!