G-SHOCK x Oneness. A bourbon-themed collaboration between a Japanese watch maker and a Kentucky sneaker boutique? Totally makes sense! Bourbon and time have an important relationship. But first, let’s go back to 1981….
The History of the DW-5000C
A Casio engineer by the name of Kikuo was walking down the street when he accidentally bumped into a stranger. His prized mechanical watch – given to him by his father – popped off his wrist and shattered on the ground.
Fragile and finicky mechanical watches had been the norm for decades. With the introduction of quartz-powered battery-operated watches, Kikuo recognized an opportunity to make an “indestructible watch.” In April 1993 Casio made it happen.
They dubbed the original version the DW-5000C (a name that just rolls off the tongue). 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: the DW-5600. For the G-SHOCK x Oneness version, Casio partnered with Louisville-based style and fashion brand Oneness to produce a watch specifically styled to pay homage to American bourbon.
You can’t just wake up and “make” a bourbon; the 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.
The G-SHOCK X Oneness homage to whiskey starts even before you open the box. The watch ships in a specially-designed collector’s box mimicking the cardboard sleeves used by whiskey packagers. Inside that box: the watch wrapped in a felt cloth pouch.
Truth be told, cardboard spirit sleeves are more closely associated with Scottish spirits, and the felt pouch is more of a Canadian Crown Royal thing. It’s a touch strange for a Kentucky bourbon.
The watch itself comes with a handy display stand sporting the Oneness brand name. The stand is a welcome addition for those who like to show off our collection, rather than sock it away in a watch box.
The most striking thing about the G-SHOCK X Oneness watch: the color. Instead of the traditional black case and strap, the collab comes in a slightly transparent orange-y amber color – just like a good bourbon.
Most aged spirits aren’t just brown. They’re some variation of amber, identified by an added orange tint. The watch’s strap 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.
The plastic is nearly transparent round the G-SHOCK X Onesness watch, giving an excellent view of the black plastic body underneath. It also gives the watch a charred appearance, like the charred oak barrels used to make bourbon.
The watch face continues the charred wood theme, albeit inverted from its normal appearance. Instead of a light face with segments appearing to form the numbers, the face is black and the segments disappear to form numbers in the negative space.
A gold border surrounds the black face – a stark contrast that feels just a bit flashy and special. That band’s clasp echoes the metallic color. It’s in-line with Oneness’ ostentatious and flashy “street fashion” style.
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 – text calculated to resonate with the target buyer’s “hustle-and-grind” mentality.
G-SOCK X Oneness – At One with Your Wrist?
One of the first watches I ever owned as a kid was a G-SHOCK DW-5600 given for my birthday in the mid 1990’s. I loved that watch. It’s the reason I still have an infatuation with these timepieces.
Strapping this watch on my wrist feels like slipping into a new pair of my favorite sneakers. It’s stiff; it needs some breaking in before it can be fully comfortable. But there’s nothing wrong with how it feels. The synthetic straps are just elastic enough to have some give without feeling loose on the wrist.
The overall package is incredibly light. Not as light as my Breitling Aerospace, but as light as you can get before dipping your metaphorical toe into exotic metals. The inescapable downside to the G-SHOCK X Oneness watch: the synthetic materials don’t breathe.
After a swim or walking around in warmer climates, moisture gets under the watch and band. I wore my original DW-5600 sailboat racing on Long Island Sound. The daily moisture situation was annoying AF. For normal daily use in normal weather, the G-SHOCK X Oneness watch shouldn’t rankle.
Under the G-SHOCK X Oneness’ Hood: A Barrel of Fun!
Just like any other DW-5600, this watch sports a quartz movement. The factory spec for this watch: +/- 15 seconds per month. That’s a far sight better than pretty much any mechanical watch on the market (chronometer-certified watches only guarantee to -4 or +6 seconds-per-day, about two-and-a-half minutes per month).
The current time is displayed on the face of the G-SHCOK X Oneness watch using a familiar seven segment LCD display, which barely sips battery power. A single CR2016 battery with an approximate two-years service life powers the watch.
The display also shows the current date and the day of the week, computed automatically by setting the year, month and day. An onboard calculation that only works until 2099 – talk about “planned obsolescence”! There’s also a stopwatch, alarm (for a specific day, even) and a countdown timer.
Is the Sun Over the Yardarm Yet?
The Casio DW-5600 is a famous, well loved, known quantity. The C-SHOCK X Oneness’ appeal boils down to two things: the verisimilitude of the whiskey homage and the whether the watch’s style suits yours.
Personally, I’m not sure a quartz watch is the right form factor for a bourbon-inspired watch. It’s too high-tech and modern. Bourbon distillers reach back into history looking for inspiration and historical methods to make their libations better. Not to mention the time traveling nature of the spirit itself.
A fine bottle of bourbon is 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 a quartz G-SHOCK with its air of immediacy and modernity.
Bottom line: this watch isn’t for me. Whiskey and cigars are my jam. I enjoy spending some time with anyone who enjoys shares my passion. But I’m much more comfortable in a blue blazer rather than a track suit. If you get my [Tokyo] drift. But if a more modern style is your thing, then the G-SHOCK X Oneness watch offers you a perfectly suitable timely reminder of your passion.
Model: Casio G-SHOCK x Oneness DW5600ONS234 (no commission on link)
Case: Resin (48.9 × 43.8 × 13.5 mm)
Crystal: Mineral glass
Movement: Quartz Casio 3229
Battery Life: 2 years
Water resistance: 200m
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * *
The colors – evoking charred bourbon barrels and the orange liquid within – make sense without beating you over your head
Legibility * * * * *
I prefer this watch to the standard G-SHOCK. The white numbers on a black background are highly legible
Comfort * * * *
Lightweight, easy to strap on your wrist, and something you will (usually) just forget about… unless it gets wet.
Overall * * * *
A great conversation piece for the modern, irreverent whiskey enjoyer.
This review originally appeared over on Thirty-One Whiskey,
Nick’s blog about whiskey, cigars, and pretty much anything that is simultaneously flammable and imbibable.