Hands-On: Three Months with the G-Shock Full Metal Red Ion GMWB5000RD-4

This article is from the WatchTime Archives and was originally published in 2021.

The G-Shock Full Metal collection, since its launch in 2018, has been a major hit among both media and consumers. The collection has grown substantially since that debut and now includes a wide variety of steel- and titanium-cased timepieces, with colors including all-steel, black, blue, “aged,” and integrated resin-and-metal styles. Last year, I was fortunate to add the Full Metal Red Ion GMWB5000RD-4 to my own personal rotation, and have in effect spent the better part of the three months following that point wearing it.

It’s actually not common that I spend this much time with a watch I’m writing about, and so it has allowed me some substantial time to really learn about this piece and what it has to offer in a long term wear.

Overall, my take on the watch is much the same as it is to many classically designed G-Shocks: it’s a good watch that works well and accomplishes its intended purpose. In this case, the intended purpose is to provide a familiar, digital style and functionality, but in an overall sturdier and more elevated metal package than G-Shock’s entry-level offerings. Furthermore, in its Red Ion colorway, the watch manages to stand out as fashionable without being ostentatious.

The familiar 49.3 x 43.2-mm case sits firmly on the wrist at 13 mm tall. Its distinctive square shape and brick-pattern, digital-display dial hearken back directly to the iconic DW5000C design from 1983, otherwise known as the first-ever G-SHOCK, which serves as the central inspiration for the design of the Full Metal series. The purplish-red color provides the model its moniker “Red Ion,” and its flat bezel has a brushed surface with G-Shock’s signature engravings. The rest of the case opts for a straightforward polishing, with only sparse accents of brushed contrast on the links of the integrated metal bracelet.

On the wrist, the watch’s weight feels substantial, the metal giving it a more elegant feel, akin to a proper watch in my collection rather than a simple beater watch. Despite this, the watch is still plenty sturdy, with a construction that feels solid and ready for anything. It’s worth mentioning that my model I used for reference is the standard full-resin GWM5610-1, which happens to be my regular, “actual” sports watch, and so in comparison to that model, the Red Ion is both significantly heavier (96 grams vs. 52 grams), and more formal-looking compared to the older model’s classic, ultra-tough design. It’s also, as is likely apparent by its metal construction, much better finished, featuring a solid, screw-down caseback; a contrasting use of polishing and brushing that looks starker than the matte-black look of the resin; and slightly larger, sturdier pushers that provide for a more satisfying operation.

The watch comes standard on the aforementioned steel bracelet, which for the price of the watch feels sturdy enough, but is noticeably the least impressive part of the overall design. It would have been nice to feel the watch on a rubber strap instead, for a slightly different feel on the wrist, but the integrated design of the watch made sourcing such a strap a taller task than I was willing to undergo. Nonetheless, the standard metal is perfectly comfortable and fits the aesthetic of the rest of the watch, so there is not much to dislike about the style. 

On the dial, the features of the watch will be familiar to any G-Shock fan, with the digital display surrounded by the vintage-inspired brick pattern along with the various notes, descriptors, and indicators that come standard to the brand’s watches. The most distinguishing element is, of course, its light-on-dark LCD display, which differs from the standard dark-on-light look offered in most other G-Shock watches (as above) and makes for a slightly more formidable overall look.

As for functionality, the Red Ion features plenty of expected favorites from the brand and then some, including Bluetooth connectivity allowing it to pair with a smartphone through the G-Shock app, Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping technology, a 1/100-second stopwatch, an LED light for nighttime legibility, world-time indications, four daily alarms, and a countdown timer. The 200-meter water resistant timepiece is also powered using the hallmark “Tough Solar” technology, allowing it to virtually run indefinitely so long as it is worn regularly and frequently exposed to light sources.

As a whole, for $600 the Red Ion presents fans and newcomers to the G-Shock brand a solidly produced, substantial timepiece, with all of the brand’s best technologies and classical design elements and then some. The stark red colorway rarely contrasted negatively to any of my regular outfits with which I wore it, and for that reason it has largely found itself in regular rotation since I acquired it.

The G-Shock Full Metal Red Ion GMWB5000RD-4 is available now both directly through G-Shock and via authorized dealers for $600.

To learn more and inquire for purchase, you can visit G-Shock’s online store, here.

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  1. Steven Pennington

    A very well written, well balanced piece of work for what is a spectacular watch. Personally I couldn’t bear to break up the colour consistency by replacing the strap. The strong, in your face red colouring throughout is the watch’s raison d’etre.

  2. I think you made a mistake with the weight of the red ion, 96 grams is the weight of the titanium version, the steel watch must weigh about 130-140 grams.

  3. Darius Foo

    Thanks for this article. just a quick check, did you see any fading or scratches that lead to decolorising of the red color on the bracelet/case? I have been thinking of getting this as well but the thought that it might fade/scratch out has kept me at bay for the moment.

    • Hi Darius,

      Thanks for your question. Thus far, I haven’t seen any major discoloration or scratches in wearing it, outside of maybe a few small scratches from regular wear. That could change over a few more years of wear, but my sense right now is the color is pretty firm on there. However, I will note that the reddish color of the piece does make any oil from your hands appear much more prominently than it might appear on a steel or DLC case, which may make you want to clean your watch a bit more frequently, however I don’t feel as though this takes away from the overall quality of the watch.

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