For many of the Fratello team members, G-Shock is a favorite due to the style and functionality that the watches offer. However, I must admit that we do not actually use many of the functions. They are nice-to-haves instead of must-haves, making a G-Shock mostly a style statement. But G-Shock has its G-Squad collection of sports watches that embody the ultimate in functionality. This makes total sense because G-Shock was created on a small number of functional aspects that still define the brand. But what if you combine the style of the original G-Shock from 1983 with the ultra-functional sports characteristics? Enter the G-Shock 40th Anniversary DW-H5600EX-1.

To be honest, I am generally not someone who wears a watch while playing sports. I do not like to wear a watch while playing tennis or golf, and in the gym, I might wear a G-Shock occasionally but just to check the time. But for people who love to wear a fitness watch during their workout, the G-Squad watches are a great solution. For the newest addition to the G-Squad collection, the brand combined the sports functions with the looks of the original G-Shock DW-5000. This special edition celebrates the 40th anniversary of G-Shock with a special design. It is inspired by the original DW-5000C drawings, and the bezel and strap feature the wiring diagram of the original G-Shock module.

A quick overview of the G-Shock DW-H5600EX-1

Let’s start with some basic specs before we get into the specifics. G-Squad is a series of watches that combines functionality with futuristic looks. But for this new DW-H5600EX-1, the brand introduces a style we all know and love. The new watch incorporates the style of the original G-Shock “Squares.” The G-Squad series is also home to the GBD-H200 models that resemble the same style but look more futuristic. On top of that, those watches have a big button like the DW-6900 models, so the design shows a mix of influences.

For the new DW-H5600EX-1, it’s G-Shock Square influence all the way. This watch, however, is slightly bigger than the traditional DW-5600. The DW-H5600EX-1 measures 51.1mm long, 44.5mm wide, and 16.6mm thick. It weighs 65 grams in total and is water resistant to 200 meters. The fun thing about the DW-H5600EX-1 is that you can change the casing and strap. It comes standard with a stainless steel bezel and resin sides, but you can take those off and replace them with a resin bezel and case sides. And you can change the matching straps to complete the look. G-Shock uses renewable biomass plastics or bio-based resins for the bezel and strap.

A watch for four different activities

The standard black form of this new DW-H5600EX-1 features a technical look with a pattern resembling graph paper on the case and strap. I prefer this over the colorful look of the gray, blue, pink, and yellow strap and casing you can replace it with, but I do love the idea of versatility with different looks. If you turn the watch around, you will see its different sensors for activity tracking, The first is an optical sensor that measures heart rate by emitting LED light to track changes in blood flow. The second sensor is an accelerometer to count steps. Pairing the watch with your phone will make the accelerometer even more accurate.

The watch supports four different activities with its functions — running, walking, gym workouts, and interval training. Navigating through the different options is easy, and with a click of the top-left button, you can access the menu of the specific activity and a series of options. The watch can display a variety of measurements in real time, including distance, speed, and calories burned.

The watch is a training analyzer and sleep tracker too

One great feature is that the watch can analyze your training. To do this, it measures the burden on the heart and lungs according to training time and intensity, and it analyzes ratios of energy used separately for carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The watch can also track your sleep and uses Polar Electro Oy algorithms to do so. Polar Electro Oy is a well-known name with a great reputation when it comes to heart-rate-focused training analysis.

For all four activities and the sleep tracker, the DW-H5600EX-1 offers a wide array of functions. The sleep tracker comes with a handy recovery status and autonomic nerve status. And for fitness activities, the watch displays the cardio load status and blood oxygen levels and comes with a function for breathing exercises. Furthermore, with the Running Index function, the watch can show the VO2 max (maximum consumable oxygen uptake).

Charging the DW-H5600EX-1

Besides the wide array of activity functions, the watch also connects through Bluetooth and the Casio Watches smartphone app for automatic time setting and correction, access to world time with 300 cities, smartphone notifications display, distance correction thanks to smartphone GPS, and a phone finder, among other things. The watch is not a “Tough Solar” G-Shock, so it can’t be fully charged using solar power. To use the sports functions, you can charge it sufficiently with the proprietary USB cable that G-Shock provides with the watch. However, the time display can be charged with solar energy, ensuring the watch’s basic functions remain operational at all times.

Charging the watch takes about three hours with the cable. Once it’s fully charged, you can use the watch for about a week if it tracks your activities for one hour per day. A full charge without additional solar charging ensures the watch will run for 35 hours straight in activity mode with that heart rate monitor activated. If you do not use the heart rate monitor, the watch will run for about one month. If you turn on the power-saving mode, that will increase to 11 months.

It’s also a regular watch with a string of functions

When it comes to the regular G-Shock timekeeping functions, it is no surprise that the DW-H5600EX-1 is packed with them. Among them are world times, a stopwatch with split time, a 60-minute timer, four different alarms, a full calendar, and a full auto LED light with a 1.5-second or 5-second afterglow. A fun feature is that the watch will always display the time on the bottom-right side of the MIP (Memory In Pixel) LCD screen while in the stopwatch or timer mode.

Are you still with me? There is just too much to mention when it comes to all the different functions of the DW-H5600EX-1. To be honest, you will also need to read the product manual carefully to operate all the different functions. While the menus are easy to navigate, it’s not always easy uncovering all the different options the watch offers its wearer.

Wearing the G-Shock DW-H5600EX-1

In all honesty, in the short time that I had with the watch, I wasn’t able to check out all the different features. Quite simply, there was just too much to discover, and I don’t usually do the activities that it tracks. But I did wear the watch for a few nights to track my sleep, and I was quite interested to find out if the data would correspond with my other sleep tracker. To my great surprise, there were indeed striking similarities in the data from the watch and the machine I use daily.

And it was also great to be reminded to do the breathing exercises that I used to do when I still played tennis a lot. The exercises focus on increasing your lung capacity and stabilizing your breathing rhythm. And it was very easy to track my heart rate over a couple of days while doing these exercises. It triggered me to re-read the book The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown with breathing techniques that really helped me to improve my overall health and fitness. But I am drifting off here.

Final thoughts on the G-Shock DW-H5600EX-1

Despite its bigger size, the watch is a joy to wear. Additionally, it was my first experience with G-Shock’s new MIP LCD screen, which displays data and functions clearly. A fun feature of this special 40th-anniversary model is its design and the option to change its appearance. But honestly, this is a watch for people who are looking for a wide array of functions related to running, walking, working out, and interval training. So if you are in the market for a smartwatch that you can use for these activities, the DW-H5600EX-1 is one to check out. Not only does it offer a lot of functionality, but it also celebrates the iconic G-Shock style perfectly, and that would be the main draw for me. There is simply a sentiment that I have with G-Shock that would make it a preferred option over many other smart/sports watches out there.

The 40th-anniversary DW-H5600EX-1 is one of five different DW-H5600 models that the brand will launch. A total of 300 pieces of this special edition will be made available in Europe for a price of €450. As mentioned, if you are in the market for a very cool G-Shock with activity tracking, I would definitely check out this new DW-H5600EX-1. Its design is something truly special that makes it stand out in comparison to the other four models — and to a lot of other competitors, of course.

For more information, check out the official Casio G-Shock website.