Review: Casio G-SHOCK x Oneness DW5600ONS234

Bourbon and time have an interesting relationship. You can’t just wake up and “make” a bourbon — it’s a process that takes years to complete. After each distillation run, you seal up a moment in history and wait years for some lucky people to enjoy it. That relationship between bourbon and time is something that Casio and local Louisville, Kentucky sneaker boutique Oneness have teamed up to explore with their new limited edition version of the classic DW5600.


Yep, we’re doing a watch review — in cooperation with our friends over at The Truth About Watches.

One day in 1981, a Casio engineer by the name of Kikuo was walking down the street when he accidentally bumped into a stranger, causing the mechanical watch given to him by his father to pop off his wrist and shatter on the ground. Fragile and finnicky mechanical watches had been the norm for decades, but with the introduction of quartz powered battery operated watches there was now an opportunity to improve that situation. Kikuo vowed to make an “indestructible watch” and in April 1993 Casio made it happen.

The original version was dubbed the DW-5000C (a name that just rolls off the tongue) and it lived up to the hype. By using a combination of synthetic materials and some ingenious internal padding, the watches were able to withstand falls of over 10 meters and still keep remarkably accurate time. The latest incarnation of that iconic timepiece is the DW-5600, and for this version Casio partnered with Louisville-based style and fashion brand Oneness to produce a watch that is specifically styled to pay homage to American bourbon.


The homage to whiskey starts even before you open the box, as the watch ships in a specially designed collector’s box that seems to be mimicking the cardboard sleeves you’ll sometimes find bottles of whiskey packaged in, and inside that box the watch is wrapped in a felt cloth pouch. Although, to be frank, the cardboard sleeves are more closely associated with Scottish spirits, and the felt pouch seems more like a Canadian Crown Royal thing. So it’s a touch strange for a Kentucky bourbon… but I’m not going to gripe that much.

The watch itself comes with a handy display stand sporting the Oneness brand name. I appreciate the addition of the stand, which is helpful for those who like to show off their collection rather than just socking it away in a watch box.

The most striking thing about this watch is the color. Instead of the traditional black case and strap, this version comes in a slightly transparent orange-y amber color — just like a good bourbon. Most aged spirits aren’t just brown, but instead some variation of amber which can be identified by the addition of some orange tint to the liquid. The strap of the watch plays into this range of colors, varying from light to dark amber as it wraps around your wrist just like the spectrum of colors in a Kentucky bourbon.


Around the body of the watch, the plastic is nearly transparent and allows the black plastic body to be seen underneath. It also gives the watch a charred appearance like the charred oak barrels used to make bourbon. That idea of charred wood is continued by the watch face, which has been inverted from its normal appearance — instead of a light face with segments appearing to form the numbers, here the face is black and the segments disappear to form the numbers in the negative space.

Surrounding that black face is a gold border — a stark contrast that feels just a bit flashy and special. That gold metallic color is repeated for the clasp on the watch band as well. It definitely seems in-line with the “street fashion” typical of Oneness, the ostentatious and flashy style that they are known for. Their brand name is also written in big block letters across the top of the face of the dial, with the question “what are you waiting on” along the bottom. That bottom text might resonate with the hustle and grind mentality that someone who buys this watch might have.

One of the first watches I ever owned as a kid was a G-SHOCK DW-5600 that I was given for my birthday in the mid 1990’s. I loved that watch, and it’s probably the reason why I still have a bit of an infatuation with these objects to this day.

For me, strapping this watch on my wrist feels like slipping into a new pair of my favorite sneakers. It’s definitely a bit stiff and needs some breaking in before it can be fully comfortable, but there’s not a single thing wrong with how it feels. The synthetic straps are just elastic enough to have some give and be comfortable without having the watch feel too loose on the wrist. And the overall package is incredibly lightweight — not as light as my Breitling Aerospace, but as light as you can get before you start dipping your toe into exotic metals.

The one thing that I will complain about is an inescapable truth of these materials — namely, that the synthetic materials don’t breathe. Especially after a swim or in some warmer climates, you are probably going to get some moisture under this thing during the day in a way that a natural material won’t. I wore my original DW-5600 while racing sailboats on the Long Island Sound and eventually found it pretty annoying to have that kind of moist situation daily on my wrist, but for normal daily use it should be fine.


Moving beyond the aesthetics and the haptics for a moment, let’s talk about the guts of this watch.

Just like any other DW-5600, this watch sports a quartz movement (one where the electrical charge across a small piece of quartz causes it to vibrate at a known frequency, and by counting the oscillations of that tiny rock the watch can accurately track the passage of time). The factory spec for this watch is +/- 15 seconds per month, which is a far sight better than pretty much any mechanical watch on the market (even chronometer certified watches are only guaranteed to -4 or +6 seconds per day, which is about 2 and a half minutes per month).

The current time is displayed on the face of the watch using a familiar seven segment LCD display, which barely sips any battery power to maintain. In fact, the whole watch is powered by a single CR2016 battery which is expected to last approximately two years before needing to be changed. Also displayed is the current date as well as the day of the week, which is computed automatically by setting the year, month, and day on the watch (although this apparently only works until 2099 — talk about “planned obsolescence”).

In addition to the normal date and time, the watch is also capable of running a stopwatch, setting an alarm (for a specific day, even), and a countdown timer.


The Casio DW-5600 is a famous, well loved, and known quantity of a watch. So, in my opinion, this review really boils down to two things: the verisimilitude of the whiskey homage and the whether the style of the watch is your style.

I do feel like they did a good job of being an homage to bourbon, at least as far as they could go. Personally, I’m not sure a quartz watch is the right form for a bourbon-inspired watch — it’s too high-tech and modern. Just about every bourbon distiller is constantly reaching back into history looking for inspiration and historical methods to make their spirits better, not to mention the time travelling nature of the spirit itself.

There are stories about distilleries where one distiller placed whiskey in a barrel only to be decanted later by their grandchild long after the original distiller’s death. As I mentioned at the top of the article, it’s a tiny time capsule that we seal up and send to the future in the hopes that someone will appreciate it. That’s a very different vibe than the quartz G-SHOCK can pull off, which instead has an air of immediacy and modernity.

Which I think is the key problem here: this watch isn’t for me. I’m only one aspect of the whiskey drinking public, and I bring a very specific cultural perspective to the discussion. Whiskey and cigars are definitely my jam and I always enjoy spending some time with anyone who enjoys those things as well, but I’m personally much more comfortable in a blue blazer instead of a track suit.

This is a watch that seems specifically designed for the irreverent, modern, self-made whiskey enthusiast. That’s not me — I was somehow born a grumpy old man and have only gotten worse, complaining about kids these days and shaking my fist at clouds. But if that more modern style is your thing, then this is a great option for the whiskey and bourbon lovers.


Model: Casio G-SHOCK x Oneness DW5600ONS234
Price: $130


Case: Resin (48.9 × 43.8 × 13.5 mm)
Crystal: Mineral glass
Bracelet: Resin
Movement: Quartz Casio 3229
Battery Life: 2 years
Water resistance: 200m

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Design * * * *
This watch isn’t for me, but I can tell that a good level of effort went into making something like this make sense. It has an internal logic to the piece, with all the components working together and definitely pays homage to whiskey in general.

Legibility * * * * *
I actually prefer this to the standard version — white numbers on a black background is highly legible.

Comfort * * * *
Lightweight, easy to strap on your wrist, and something you will (usually) just forget about… except if it gets wet.

Overall * * * *
A great conversation piece for the modern, irreverent whiskey enjoyer. So long as that is your thing.


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