Casio G-Shock Mudmaster
The wrist monster from 109 fathoms
This is the third G Shock I've owned in more years than I care to mention. This first when I was a kid, not sure what happened to that and the second in 2001. It lasted me until 2016 when one too many cack-handed watch shops finally put pay to it.
It wasn't defeated by use, just badly replaced batteries. The first killed the alarm sound and the final one caused the display to go off when you pressed the light. The lesson to learn is always to get your battery replaced at a good store.
My first replacement for the G-Shock was a Seiko SKX007. A mechanical dive watch much lauded by the watch community. A fine watch but I struggled with a power reserve of around 44 hours, a hefty weight and a selection of straps I couldn't get on with. Most surprising to me was the weight, more than a G-shock, and annoyingly saggy when used on a NATO strap. The standard dive strap felt cheap and clammy.
So I went back to a G-Shock. I spent some time trying to find one I liked, with hands. The digital display was never that great in sunlight.
Casio seems to go through models like water down a drain and every watch I liked was no longer available. Eventually, I managed to get this model (GG-1000-1A5) just before it vanished.
Legibility was key in my choice and many of the G-Shocks are not that great to tell the time with. The khaki strap, hands and orange subdial appealed to me straight off. I would have prefered orange numbers or hands but they didn't offer it. Of course, a Burton model appeared a month or so later with the orange hands I wanted.
Straight out of the box, the Mudmaster is large. Huge in fact. More of a Mud monster. It's bigger than my old G-Shock by some margin. At first, I was tempted to send it back. It's actually better on the wrist than the Seiko though, thanks in part to better construction of the strap lugs which help seat the behemoth. It is surprisingly light considering its size.
The engineering is immense considering it's got a compass, a thermometer, stopwatch, timer, alarm, a digital time, date and world time as well as the analogue hands. And it's 200m water resistant.
Multiple gaskets are used to protect the Twin Sensor capabilities, and the face of the watch is marked with large Arabian numerals at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock for easy reading. The face can be illuminated by a LED light and the hands are luminous. Although not as bright as the Seikos.
The strap surface is made to resemble a cloth band texture and I find it comfortable, although as the temperature changes I am altering the tightness.
This model has a range of functions, some I don't really need or want. I would have rather had an altimeter than a compass but they only do that in addtion to the compass, at a much larger price point. The world time is useful, although you can't use to automatically change time zones, which seems odd. The stopwatch, timer and alarm I use regularly but the temperature is not a lot of use. I imagine the compass is handy if you are out with a map, saves bringing a separate one, but I haven't carried a map for some time. Handy to find out where the sun rises and sets though.
Downsides? Obviously the size. It isn't cuff-friendly and works best with outdoors wear. The digital time/date are mostly hidden when the hands are between 9 and 3. The light illuminates the face, not the digital displays. The temperature gauge is obviously affected by being on your wrist. Did I mention the size?
If you spend a decent amount of time outdoors it's a worth a look. Easier to read than a digital display and will survive anything you can, it's certainly better than a Suunto or similar in many aspects.
Ultimately the decision will be, does it have the functions you need and whether you can deal with the overbearing nature of it. One thing is for sure though, it's not the kind of product you are going to be on the fence about.
Model tested: GG-1000-1A5