Field Test: the Casio G-Shock DW-5600E-1V Braves the Elements in Iceland

Days before leaving for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Iceland, I had already answered the question that plagued my mind the most: which watch should I bring for the trip? Whatever I brought had to stand up to cold temperatures and windy conditions. Had to be able to fit comfortably under multiple layers. And had to be able to withstand bumps and knocks without accuracy being affected.

I chose the Casio G-Shock DW-5600E-1V—my so-called “adventure watch.”

The Casio G-Shock DW-5600E-1V, the ultimate “adventure watch.”

I bought the watch in March used for $45 in preparation of my first-ever overseas trip—a five-day bachelor party in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. I needed a watch that could withstand a lot of punishment, including late-night partying, swimming, muddy ATV riding, long flights, showering and sleeping.


After some poking around online, I found the DW-5600E.-1V It has a digital display, is shock-resistant, water-resistant up to 200 meters and inexpensive. Aside from its features, I love the watch because it’s simple. It’s all black, minus some small writing in blue, white, red and gold on the face. It feels and looks like a vintage watch, but has the build quality of something modern.

It held up beautifully in Panama after beating the living hell out of it, so I decided it should be the only watch I took to Iceland. It has become the watch I choose when I want to go on adventures—whether that means trekking black sand beaches in Iceland or hiking a mountain in Pennsylvania.

My wife and I flew from BWI to Keflavik International Airport for a quick jaunt from Nov. 12 to 16. The moment we landed, I moved the time five hours ahead, a change that took about 20 seconds.

This low-cost G-Shock has been in production since 1996 (DW-5600E) and is referred to as the Original Model III. It is a direct descendant of the original G-shock released in 1983.

Our first day was spent on the Golden Circle—a loop that features historical sites, waterfalls, a geothermal spa and geysers. The combination of 40-degree temperatures, strong winds and piercing rains made the first day a good test for the watch. The watch got wet, pounded by winds and knocked around as we visited Iceland’s natural and man-made beauties. We spent hours outside. As expected, the G-Shock DW-5600E-1V did its job with ease.

Trekking along the Golden Circle.
Iceland’s stunning waterfalls.

Our second day was spent driving along Iceland’s south coast. The landscape seemed to change every 15 minutes. We’d drive through snow covered mountain tops, lush green valleys, small developed towns and barren volcanic ash wastelands all within an hour. While the weather was much better along the south coast, there was still plenty of wet, wind and cold. Instead of incessant rain, my watch was getting wet because of our proximity to massive waterfalls and black sand beaches.

Stunning black sand beaches.
Couldn’t miss this photo op.

Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss are two giant waterfalls that open up out of nowhere. You’re driving down the coast on Route 1 and there you see them. They are staggeringly beautiful. And, while taking pictures and shooting video, my watch got pretty well soaked. The G-Shock DW-5600E-1V had no problems. Skogafoss was also the site of the only comment I got about my watch. It was when a tourist asked what time it was. I told her, happily.

Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon.

The majority of our third day was spent at the world-famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, which was formed in 1976 during operation at the nearby geothermal power plant. People began bathing in its murky, but beautiful blue waters. Now, it’s one of the most Instagrammed places in the world. The thing everyone asks about when you tell them you’re going to Iceland is the Blue Lagoon.


I wore my G-Shock DW-5600E-1V the entire time through showering, swimming and putting on relaxing mud masks. Over the four hours we were there, a storm would come through every 30 minutes or so and pelt us with rain and tiny ice balls. The watch went from chilling 30 degree temperatures to 104 degrees water temperatures inside the lagoon. It got scraped, bumped, smashed into rock walls and covered in silica mud. No scratches. No damage. It worked perfectly.

The rest of our time was spent driving, walking around Reykjavik, going to shops and restaurants and taking in Icelandic curiosities. Typical tourist stuff.

A vista of Reykjavík, Iceland.

As much as I love my G-Shock DW-5600E-1V and admired how it has continued to hold up against everything I throw against it, it is not a perfect travel watch. That’s because it does not have a dual time zone setting. A function that allows you, with the push of a button, to see your home time zone would be awesome and very practical for travelers.

There were times that I wanted to know what time it was in Pennsylvania quickly, but there’s no function on the watch to do it. You could argue that all I had to do was subtract five hours from the time and voila, I have the time. Fair enough.g-shock-gw-5600e-17But I didn’t buy this watch for travel. I bought it to have adventures in. I wanted a watch that I could scale mountains, go SCUBA diving and trek through jungles with. I wanted a watch that Indiana Jones could wear. I wanted something that could withstand all the cool activities and trips and adventures that I plan to have.

And that’s what I got with my G-Shock DW-5600E-1V.

Photography by Christian Alexandersen

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Christian discovered his love for watches around the same time he discovered he could make a living as a writer. An award-winning journalist, Christian has covered everything from presidential campaigns to princess tea parties. Now, he's combining his passion for vintage watches with his passion for writing. Christian lives and works out of central Pennsylvania.