Now that Casio’s top-selling Full Metal 5000 watch collection is becoming more mature, G-Shock, whose product cycles fall more in line with streetwear than that of traditional watchmakers, presumably has to offer new variations more frequently to keep the sales flowing.
Enter the new for 2019 Full Metal 5000 Black Aged IP, which like the first Full Metal 5000s launched in 2018, is a fully metallic version of the original square-shaped G-Shock design that premiered in 1983 (Ref. DW-5000). This year, as a limited edition, G-Shock gave the Full Metal 5000 one of its newer white-on-black LCD screens, and an all-new deconstructed black ion-plated stainless steel case. The result is a very unique looking watch, that’s incredibly resistant to scratches, without really many changes, although there’s a significant premium for this upgraded aesthetic.
The Case and Bracelet
Dimensionally, the new Black Aged IP Full Metal wristwatch is the same as previous editions. The diameter is 43 mm across, it’s 12 mm thick, and the lug-to-lug length is 49 mm, which all represent conservative measurements, especially for a company known for watches that are typically substantial in size.
This translates into a watch that wears very comfortable on my 7″ wrist. I currently tend to like 39-43 mm diameter watches, and 50 mm or less in lug-to-lug length, so this is about perfect in that respect.
The look was designed in the decade following the Patek Philippe 5711, and at the time in a resin case, nevertheless, you can see a slight resemblance, particularly the Nautilus-style hinges on the left and right case flanks. This is, of course, a good thing considering how iconic both wristwatches have become. And even though it sells nowhere close to the price range the Nautilus does, some of the Full Metal 5000s do command a premium due to high demand that often outstretches the supply. This limited edition will likely run into the same issues considering its unique case finish and limited availability, although it’s not a numbered edition and the quantity being produced has not been disclosed by Casio. G-Shock has sold over 100 million of their watches to date, all starting with the original DW-5000 in 1983, so we at least know there will be many more of these available then the impossible to find Nautilus, which is at the opposite end of the spectrum.
On the wrist
As someone that wears mostly watches on straps, bracelets can tend to feel heavy to me but this was not true here. The watch’s conservative dimensions and good ergonomics make the 171.2 grams (case and bracelet) not that noticeable on my wrist. Bracelets do tend to get cumbersome if they are super heavy and poorly designed. The design of this bracelet is very good, and that may be partially why it fits so comfortably. At the case, the bracelet is integrated into it. The measurement is 25.5 mm at the case, which would be a super-wide interlug width by traditional watch standards but here it’s not. From this point, the bracelet tapers all the way down to 18 mm (or 20 mm if you include the clasp width). The tapering looks good, despite the fact that I prefer non-tapered straps for some of my watches, and it likely increases the ergonomics.
Resizing the links is pretty easy, all you have to do is push out the spring-loaded pins, which is far better than solid pins with collars.
With a sexy gunmetal clad exterior that’s more akin to the finish you might find on a high-end Urwerk case, you’re getting a lot for your money…
The clasp is a dual-push button deployant with nice “clink” sound when the pin locks into place and because it’s locking, there’s less worry of it opening, say underwater. And with a water-resistance rating of 200 meters, despite it not being a dive watch, it’s sturdy, well made, and highly capable of going in the water.
Not only capable in the water, like all G-Shocks, this watch can withstand serious impacts, drops, extreme heat, freezing, and really anything you throw at it. You’d literally have to smash it with a heavy blunt metal object such as a hammer, repeatedly, to cause it to stop working.
There’s no crown, instead 4-push-buttons, located at the 4 outer corners of the case, which control everything. The solid caseback, with laser engravings, screws-in to the caseback.
The crystal is a mineral crystal, set below the fixed steel bezel, meaning it’s armored, which is great considering mineral crystal is easier to scratch than sapphire, but that won’t matter much because it’s very tough to get past that raised bezel. That said, a mineral crystal is more resistant to impacts so the reason Casio chose it may not have been purely for cost reasons.
The G-Shock Full Metal 5000 Black Aged IP comes with a digital black LCD display with white numbers and fonts, driven by a solar-powered quartz movement which is calibrated via either an atomic signal as a backup or your phone’s incredibly precise internet time signal, the latter of which is done by connecting to your phone of the G-Shock app, which takes less than a minute, and once paired calibrates the time down to the second.
Additionally, thanks to the G-Shock Connected app, when paired to the watch via low energy Bluetooth, many of the functions can be controlled on the phone and communicated to the watch. And one really cool function is the ability to press a button that records the current date, time, and longitude/latitude coordinates, which can be viewed on a map within the app.
The dial and movement
This is a digital quartz-powered watch and the battery is supposed to last 22-months on one full solar charge (light enters through the honeycomb grid that surrounds the dial), however, if the battery is low there is a warning. This means you will never be charging this watch like you have to do daily with a smartwatch, and no winding like you have to do with a mechanical watch. Plus, thanks to the Bluetooth timekeeping, with redundant Atomic radio timekeeping as a backup, once you connect and set the correct timezone, you won’t even ever have to set the watch again, everything will just be synced up perfectly. This is convenient, even for mechanical watch aficionados, in fact, you can use this as your reference timekeeper to set all your mechanical watches like an observatory chronometer was used historically, but this is many magnitudes more accurate. In fact, I’d go as far as to say these are the most accurate wristwatches (not smartwatches) available on the market today.
In addition to automatic timekeeping the Full Metal 5000 comes with a world time function that has 39 time zones* (27 cities + coordinated universal time), daylight saving on/off, auto summer time (DST) switching, 5 daily alarms, a full auto-calendar, 1/100th of a second stopwatch, date/month display swapping, a battery level indicator, indication if the time signal was successfully received, and a countdown timer.
Reading all the display at different angles changes the look but at no time did I find it hard to read the actual time at a glance. Moreover, the blue LED backlight, available by pressing the button on the upper right side of the case, turns on in either 2 or 4-second bursts, so you can view the watch even in complete darkness.
G-Shocks are literally the most durable watches available (which is why military and law enforcement rely on them more than any other wristwatch), and with the rugged black ion-plated finish (part of the finish has been removed to create the “aged” look), along with an armored crystal, this all-metal G-Shock is not just luxurious, it’s even more durable against scratches than the entry-priced models constructed in resin, and even the non-plated stainless steel Full Metal 5000s.
Like the black on white readout from the original Full Metal 5000s we reviewed last year, the black LCD display with white readout display can become washed out in bright sunlight, which is perhaps something Casio can focus on improving in future iterations as screen technology improves, as this key timepiece in the collection continues to evolve. Although for now the reliability of the watch and hassle-free delivery of the time, without the full smartwatch level of functionality but with smartphone level accuracy, and no need to charge it as you do on with smartwatch, is quite compelling.
With a sexy gunmetal clad exterior that’s more akin to the finish you might find on a high-end Urwerk case, you’re getting a lot for your money, despite the GMWB5000V-1 being about twice the price of the original stainless steel version that came out last year.
Learn more at G-Shock.