The G-Shock Mudmaster may be smaller and lighter, but it’s as extreme as ever

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The G-Shock Mudmaster watch has always had a true, individual identity, mostly based around its wrist-dominating size. For 2019, Casio adopted a new design for the GG-B100 Mudmaster, using its latest Carbon Core Guard structure, which makes it smaller, lighter, and less imposing. Gone are the button guards, and the overwhelming tank-like appearance, replaced by a relative sleekness that’s at odds with the Mudmaster’s old design.

Why soften the Mudmaster’s look? Casio wants more people to wear it. The question is, has this new look stripped away the Mudmaster’s character, and does newly-incorporated technology have the pull to make the watch more desirable to more people?

It’s yes on both counts. The Mudmaster is as tough as ever, yet so much more wearable, and considerably less visually challenging, then brought sensibly up-to-date with the latest connected technology. I’ve had one on my wrist for a week, and here’s what it’s like.

Design

When I first tried on the Mudmaster GG-B100 at Baselworld 2019, I couldn’t quite believe how different it was to the old Mudmaster. It’s 92 grams, compared to the old GWG-1000 Mudmaster’s 119 gram weight. This is especially impressive given the GG-B100 has gained an additional sensor and Bluetooth connectivity. The case is several millimeters smaller all around but is actually a tiny bit taller than before. This means it’s still difficult to fit it under a shirt sleeve.

The G-Shock Mudmaster may be smaller and lighter, but it’s as extreme as ever
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Anyone considering the Mudmaster will be aware it’s a large watch and must be comfortable wearing one, but naturally, it will look massive on a smaller wrist. G-Shock watches are made to be worn loose (yes, if you’re doing the strap up tightly, you shouldn’t be) and the GG-B100 is quite top-heavy and often tried to slip over the top of my wrist. The strap is very stiff at first which doesn’t help, but should mold to your wrist over time.

The Carbon Core Guard structure — a monocoque design for strength, just like a racing car — is joined to a stainless steel case back that’s covered in glass fiber resin, all of which means the Mudmaster is as tough as you’d ever need. The buttons, now without guards around them, are wonderfully tactile and easier to press than before. The face is surrounded by a resin bezel with a carbon fiber sheet visible through the transparent top layer.

In black, the Mudmaster GG-B100 has a stealthy style and arguably the best looking of the three new models.

I love the wear-and-forget nature of a G-Shock. Shock resistant, water resistant, and mud and dust resistant too, there’s little that will damage it. It means even if I don’t live the lifestyle that demands such a tough watch, it won’t be phased by everyday knocks and accidents. In black, the Mudmaster GG-B100 has a stealthy style and arguably the best looking of the three new models. A classic military green and black model is also available, along with a striking orange and black version.

No, it won’t go with every outfit, but slimming the case and emphasizing the new materials means Casio hasn’t lost the no-nonsense appeal of the Mudmaster, while still succeeding in its efforts to make it more appealing.

Technology

Setup is a breeze, and Casio’s Connected G-Shock app remains one of the very best examples of a watchmaker adopting Bluetooth technology. Our Mudmaster connected on the first try, in only seconds, to the app where a short three-step guide takes you through the available features. These are a Mission log which records your walking route and altitude data, while a location indicator shows the heading and the distance to a previously registered location. Finally, a step tracker provides basic fitness tracking information. Location data is provided by your phone, as the watch does not have GPS.

The G-Shock Mudmaster may be smaller and lighter, but it’s as extreme as ever
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Mission Log is the most complex feature on the new Mudmaster. It uses altitude readings from the watch and GPS on your phone to track your progress on an excursion. Activate the Mission Log, and the location is recorded on a map, along with activity time, distance, and elevation changes. This is tracked in real-time in the app, while altitude is shown on the watch’s screen. The Mission Log starts with a long press of a single button on the watch itself, and is very easy to use, but anyone unfamiliar with G-Shock functionality will have to read the instructions in the app first.

Long press on another button and the watch logs a position on the map, which you can then use the second hand on the watch as an indicator to guide you back. Again, it’s only a simple button press to activate this feature. Casio’s G-Shock Rangeman offers all this and plenty more, but feels like a very serious outdoors watch. The Mudmaster takes the key features, makes them easier to use, and will appeal to anyone who enjoys a weekend hike for a few hours, and likes to add a little tech into it.

The step tracker is simple — it shows steps and calorie burn — and can be viewed either on the app, or by pressing a button on the watch. No, it’ll never match the Apple Watch for fitness tracking prowess, but that’s not the point. It’s sensible, helpful additional functionality on a tough-as-nails G-Shock, that let’s remember, does not need charging. What else can the Mudmaster do? There are alarms and timers, all of which can be set using the app, a world time feature, a phone finder, and there are sensors for barometric and temperature readings.

It’s not a traditional smartwatch, so it doesn’t show notifications or run apps. It provides simple, useful activity tracking through a well-designed and reliable app, while making its more complex features easier to activate and use.

Conclusion

The G-Shock Mudmaster may be smaller and lighter, but it’s as extreme as ever
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

To spread the G-Shock word, the Mudmaster had to evolve, and the use of new technology — from high-tech materials to Bluetooth — achieves this. It’s not all great news. It’s a shame the GG-B100 doesn’t have sapphire crystal over the dial, and an even greater shame Casio’s Tough Solar feature isn’t included. On the design side, I’m not sure I like (or even understand) the 60/30/30/60 Indicator at the top of the dial. An odd space-filler, it seems.

Otherwise, there’s little to say against the GG-B100. At $350, or 325 British pounds, the Mudmaster is a mid-price G-Shock, and is more expensive than most Fossil or designer touchscreen smartwatches, plus about the same as the entry-level Apple Watch Series 4. It’s a different beast though and certainly aimed at someone who values watchmaking and toughness over notifications and apps.

You can buy the G-Shock Mudmaster from G-Shock’s online store in the U.S. and in the U.K. now.

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