Hands-On Watch Review: The Unfathomably Kitsch Casio Rainbow Metal GM-5600SN
I’m currently in a lot of trouble with my girlfriend. No, it’s not another woman. No, it isn’t about the drink, drugs, or my burgeoning interest in model railways. The problem is truly holographic. Yes, that’s right: I’m into holographs and holograms in a big way. Recently, my obsession with holographic material has extended to bubble jackets. At the best of times, my beleaguered paramour has to deal with me dressing like a member of the Beastie Boys in 1986. Now she must contend with a new look, which I’ve dubbed BB2086. The perfect watch to complete this futuristic hip-hop ensemble? The perilously fruity Casio GM-5600SN and/or its funky little brother, the Casio A1000PRW-1ER.
Look, Casio must know these watches are bonkers. I’m not going to pretend that I’m blind for the sake of skewing positive (Casio expects more from me than that). And I will fully acknowledge that these watches (especially the Casio A1000PRW-1ER, which only snuck into this review because I was terrorizing my colleagues in the office the other day by double-wristing these two and I developed a soft spot for it) are for the very, very few among us. I, however, seem to be Casio’s target market, and I’m not sure why. I might even buy one… What started as a bit of an idle threat became a serious consideration… Am I broken in the head or are these the watches I’ve been waiting for to fix me for so long?
Don’t be afraid of color (unless you’re called Dave Sergeant)
Color is awesome. I love it. As a die-hard American sports fan, avid jersey hoarder, and notorious baseball cap collector, it will come as no surprise to know I frequently dress like a chromatically confused clown attending a Pride parade. I take great pleasure in my comfort in color. The only time I feel bad about it is when I hang out with my colleague Dave.
Although mildly color blind, there is a running “joke” that Dave can only see in shades of yellow. For him, this watch is a no-no. For those of us able to see the whole spectrum, however, it is very much value for money. Why? Because it practically features the whole spectrum on the watch head.
The bonus Casio A1000PRW-1ER review
I will keep this brief so this hijacker can scoot off to the colorful shadows from whence it came and quit befouling your eyes. It is, in short, a monument to madness. Firstly, the watch itself, when presented in this vivid livery, looks like the design is entirely unfinished. Look, even the silver one with the silver bracelet has a bit of MOP on the dial to spice things up, but its chromatic consistency at least makes it look like a proper watch.
On the majestic A1000PRW-1ER, the colorful surroundings make the black display border look like the last rock to the lava party. And yet — and you will hate me for saying this — the blatant “oversight” is so obvious it must have been deliberate. Therefore, this watch follows exactly the same principles as ’80s fashion did. It is considered chaos. It is decisively divisive. In short, it is the punk rocker of “affordable” watchmaking.
Now this perky little bad-boy comes in at a not insignificant €179, which, while less than the GM-5600SN, makes it poorer value in my opinion. I would definitely have bought the A1000PRW-1ER if it were €100, but, for me, I’d rather put my money toward the GM-5600SN. If, however, you have a small wrist or a particular love of listening to Cyndi Lauper till your ears pop, buy the A1000PR-1ER. It is, for €179, a watch that could foster world peace if only we all bought one. “How?” I hear you cry. I’ll tell you: everyone would be so scared of everyone else’s mental state, they wouldn’t dare start a war with one another. Who says diplomacy is dead? Casio’s leading the charge…
Back to the GM-5600SN
Everything is about context. That’s especially true of watchmaking. Next to a classic Rolex 1675, this model looks like Jackson Pollock’s living room after he stumbled home drunk one night. However, when you sit it next to the A1000PR-1ER, it starts to look a lot more refined. Better still, when you get it on your wrist, you really start to appreciate how wearable metal Casio watches can be.
In my opinion, this is what Casio should do with its metal-cased pieces. This and the Blue Phoenix reviewed here last year (and having duked it out in the Summer Splash competition here) are my favorite pieces of this type that Casio has ever done. You lose none of the functionality we’ve come to expect from the Japanese stalwart, and yet we have this added splash of joie de vivre. I really find myself regretting I didn’t include this in my own Summer Splash line-up, because I honestly think it might have had a chance against the big boys…