How to convert a plain G-Shock DW-5600 to a negative display

Picture of How to convert a plain G-Shock DW-5600 to a negative display
This project was a little more adventurous for me and as you will see quite a bit more complicated than some of the other projects I've done with my G-Shocks. It involves doing some pretty nasty things to the screen of a G-Shock, so if you're faint hearted this is probably not the ideal DIY project for you. If you're still reading this and, like me, desperately want to try reversing the display of one of your digital watches - read on.

I'm going to be taking my plain DW-5600 and 'hopefully' converting the regular display into a negative one with the use of some self-adhesive polarizing film. There have been many questions about where to buy this posted in the various online forums. I bought mine from in Texas. The quality was very good, service excellent, and the shipping was pretty fast (3 days). I ordered the thinnest self-adhesive film they had in a relatively small size, the part name was: Linear Polarizer w/adhesive PFA.
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Step 1: Tools needed

Picture of Tools needed
Ok, on to the project. First let me show you some of the tools you might like to have ready for this.

  • Plastic tweezers
  • Spring bar removal tool
  • Small flat head screwdriver
  • Some Q-Tips
  • A surgical scalpel or sharp modeling knife and fresh blades
  • The all important Husky mini screwdriver (a must have item)

With all the necessary tools in hand it's time to start thinking about how to tackle this. I will be using the DW-5600 that I recently stealthed the bezel on. By reversing the display it should be a pretty fine looking little watch. The next few steps will be obvious to most of you, but I figured I'd snap some pictures anyway.

Step 2: Removing the watch straps

Picture of Removing the watch straps
Take off the straps so that you can remove the back cover and so that they won't get in the way while you are working on the body of the watch. I like to use my nifty little Bergeon spring bar tool that is designed specifically for this.
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KhangDL8 months ago

Hi bfgreen, how does the light work with the negative display? Will it still display the time clearly? Thanks for the guide.

3366carlos8 months ago


jgosselin2 years ago
where did you get your new sheet of polarized material?
bfgreen (author)  jgosselin2 years ago
There is a link in the third paagraph, right at the tp of this instructable. I bought mine from in Texas. The quality was very good, service excellent, and the shipping was pretty fast (3 days). I ordered the thinnest self-adhesive film they had in a relatively small size, the part name was: Linear Polarizer w/adhesive PFA.
How was it sticking the new film on there? I'm going to get the same film as you did, thanks for the link, but I'm afraid of getting bubbles/fingerprints/dust under the film.

Do you think I would have any problems/difficulties if I got the non adhesive version?
bfgreen (author)  BoogieTrain1 year ago
Oh and if you do screw up - I have myself - you just repeat the whole process :)
bfgreen (author)  BoogieTrain1 year ago
It takes some time to clean it thoroughly. You have to get ALL of the glue reside off and that usually takes me about 10 Q-tips and a lot of Goof Off (30 mins), but is well worth doing right. Keep it very clean and dust free, the slightest speck under the film will look horrible!

IMHO you have to use the adhesive backing film, otherwise it could slide around a little. That's your call entirely, I've done this several times with sticky film and it's worked perfectly. Most recently I did a conversion of a Casio Frogman for a friend, it came out awesome!

Take your time, do it carefully and you'll be ok. - BG
I wanted to do this back when I had my 95 corvette, since those have a LCD speedometer. My 2012 Chevy Sonic has an LCD speedo as well, doing this is pretty tempting, but also scary because I dont want to destroy anything from taking it apart. Warranty wont cover that part!
wonger182 years ago
I have a dw6900-1v (not sure if the last bit was important) and i've heard that converting it to a negative display makes the numbers harder to see? And i have the same question as tcarr2 about the different colour negative displays!
tcarr22 years ago
now can you change the negative to a different color?
kaidev3 years ago
very nice..i wonder if this works with my riseman.
bfgreen (author)  kaidev2 years ago
Yup, it'll work with your Riseman :)
kaidev bfgreen2 years ago
thank you,i was about to buy a suunto only for the inverted screen:)
bfgreen (author)  kaidev2 years ago
I recently converted my Casio G-Shock Mudman GW-9000A to a negative display. Here are the before and after photos.
bfgreen (author)  kaidev2 years ago
You're welcome. There are a few models of Suuntos that I really like (Suunto X-Lander Military), but it blows my mind that none of the Sunnto watches are solar powered or atomically synced for accuracy. G-Shocks and Pathfinders have had these features for years. C'mon Sunnto make it happen!
Wow great instructable. I just did this to my new g-shock it was so simple i did it in about 10minutes.
bfgreen (author)  vinnygx3pimp2 years ago
Which model G-Shock did you do this too, just curious?
i dont remember the model lol got burnt in a car fire. and i just reversed the polarizing sheet that was already there
pyrocop15 years ago
looks good, makes me want to go buy a watch just to black it out.
bfgreen (author)  pyrocop12 years ago
They're cheap at Walmart :)
jridley5 years ago
I did this with my first LCD watch back in the 80s. Usually the polarizing material is on a diagonal; if that's the case, you don't need a new piece, just flip it over.
bfgreen (author)  jridley5 years ago
Yeah, probably - it's more an issue with the original piece getting mangled as you try and remove it that you end up needing a new piece :)
where would one go about getting new polarizing material?
bfgreen (author)  tubbychick3n2 years ago
I bought mine from in Texas. The quality was very good, service excellent, and the shipping was pretty fast (3 days). I ordered the thinnest self-adhesive film they had in a relatively small size, the part name was: Linear Polarizer w/adhesive PFA.
jridley bfgreen5 years ago
In that particular case, the material was just sitting there, or maybe taped lightly in place. I suspect that newer watches are much more machine made, so the sticky-backed polarizers are probably standard now.
=Morgan=4 years ago
where to get this glass? 
bfgreen (author)  =Morgan=2 years ago
Glass? Do you mean the polarizing film? I bought mine from in Texas. The quality was very good, service excellent, and the shipping was pretty fast (3 days). I ordered the thinnest self-adhesive film they had in a relatively small size, the part name was: Linear Polarizer w/adhesive PFA.
jleython3 years ago

Awesome... nothing to add about this. I hava a PRT 40C and i would like to turn it in a "stealth" mode. I have an ask:

Is totally necesary remove the factory polarizing film? Or I can just put the new one turned 90 degrees and it'll be in stealth mode?

Also i have a DW6700 Sky Force... i would like to mod it too, but it has a difference so has a bulb light non illuminator. Is possible to install a illuminator module to this watch?

Thanks for your time and best regards,

Juan Leython
bfgreen (author)  jleython2 years ago
Switching out the lighting module is far beyond my capabilities. There's an excellent G-Shock online forum as part of the Watch-U-Seek forums. Great folks who know just about everything about G-Shocks.
bfgreen (author)  jleython3 years ago
Juan, in my case I found that I had to remove the factory polarizing film because when I put a second layer on top it went 100% black, which was no good. If you can test it first then you might be able to avoid this step.

Let me know what you find out!

- Brian
tcarr23 years ago
cant you just flip the original screen over and it will work?
bfgreen (author)  tcarr22 years ago
Not really, you have to remove it first and it's usually glued down. Removing it makes the pristine layer of glue look a real mess. Then you actually need to turn it 90 degrees, so if it's rectangular it's not going to fit. If you flip it over instead it wont make a difference because you won't be rotating the direction of the polarization.

If you want to try it be my guest. I've done this many times with Casio G-shock watches and not one of them would have worked or looked anywhere near decent if I had not used a new piece of film.
I think 3D TVs and projectors are based on this technology. 3D glasses are probably made with these kind of things. One side is set to view one polarity and other side is another for different reflection.
twocvbloke4 years ago

I used to do this with cheap calculators (also Casio I think), and I even did it to an MP3-alarm clock I have, they look so much cooler with clear letters on a black background, I was lucky in that they had "loose" polarisers, so I just popped them out, flipped them over and popped them back in, and hey presto, a cool looking watch/clock/calculator/anythingLCDbased... :D

Didn't have to do it to my current watch though, Casio got it right first time and put the polariser on the "right" way cos it looks cool... :P
Mavamaarten4 years ago
Wow, to be honest this looks incredible :D I already have an inverted LCD watch (non-casio though)
gez4 years ago
i've done this before with my old nokia phone, just  flipping it over wasn't working, it'd needed to rotate 90 degrees., but it was very cool. i got lots of fun time spend with polarized light things.
What causes it to not be visible? I guess I don't understand LCD's like I thought I did...
bfgreen (author)  TheWelfareWarrior5 years ago
Well I'm probably not the right fella to talk about the technical specifications of a LCD display - but I do know that they are all built in such a way that they require polarization to be visible to the naked eye. This simple hack just exploits that and reverses the polarization to make a neat negative effect. BTW- Casio makes many watches with a factory negative display, but this useful for converting models that don't have that option. If anyone knows the answer to this please post it here :)
3yE bfgreen5 years ago
The light coming from the mirror behind the screen is polarized. Liquid crystal solution rotates the polarization of light when placed within a charged capacitor. The human eye is not sensitive to polarization. The polarizing film on top of the display blocks the light of certain polarity. Displays with backlight also have another polarizing film between the backlight and the display. If you want more polarized fun, play around with mirrors and polarizer films. You can also observe a fructose sugar solution or invert sugar syrup to rotate the polarization of priorly polarized light. The fact that clear sky emits slightly polarized light has been widely used in photography to make the sky appear darker compared to the scenery. To source polarizing film at no cost, you can simply strip apart a broken laptop screen.
I used to have a Motorola phone with a reverse lcd outer display... Until it got run over one day at work. Phone I have now, has colour lcd inside & out, takes pictures, plays mp3s, keeps track of stuff, does pretty much everything except work decently as a phone. I was just gonna p and m about how much better my old phone was, but then I got to thinking, "What about reversing the polarizing film on a colour lcd?"... Technowags will point out the fact that, "Colour lcds have three polarizing films". So flip one, two, or all three films, for different effects.
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