G-Shock Mudmaster GWG-2000 Watch | Review - Outdoors Magic

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G-Shock Mudmaster GWG-2000 Watch | Review

This piece is arguably the definition of a rugged outdoor watch. But is the latest version a genuine upgrade on previous generations, and does it win out over a smartwatch or a classic steel tool watch?

The terms ‘rugged outdoor watch’ and ‘G-Shock’ go together like ‘vacuum cleaner’ and ‘Hoover’, or ‘waterproof’ and ‘Gore-Tex’. There’s a good reason for that: all-round robustness, long-term durability and specifically extreme shock resistance are essentially the G-Shock’s raison d’etre.

The G-Shock’s origins are well known. Back in 1981, Casio engineer Kikuo Ibe accidentally dropped and broke a pocket watch given to him by his father. Dismayed by the mishap, he vowed to create an ultra-rugged watch with ‘triple 10’ resistance: something with a battery life of 10 years, a water resistance of 10 bar (100m) and which could survive a fall of 10 metres. It took nearly 200 prototypes to get there. Famously, the first G-Shock’s internal protection system was inspired by Ibe’s realisation that the core of a rubber ball doesn’t suffer from the effects of shock even when bounced on the rough surface of a playground.

Today, there are hundreds of G-Shock watches ranging from style-focused models to seriously rugged utility watches, much-loved by military users, emergency services and law enforcement. These top-end models are known as the ‘Master of G’ series. They’re big, brutish and pretty much bombproof. The latest addition to the collection is the GWG-200 Mudmaster, designed – as its name suggests – to resist mud, muck and all the other challenges that come with life in the great outdoors.

Who is the G-Shock Mudmaster GWG-2000 Watch For?

Photo: Matt Jones

It’s pretty much the perfect outdoor adventure watch for anyone who needs something durable. Its overbuilt design ought to outlast even the toughest smartwatch, and since the GWG-2000 is powered by a solar quartz movement that’ll run for up to six months even in total darkness, it doesn’t rely on temperamental lithium batteries or a delicate mechanical movement. And while it’s not quite as clever as a GPS-equipped smartwatch, it’s still pretty sophisticated, with a host of built-in tools such as a compass, altimeter, barometer and thermometer.

Materials

The GWG-2000 Mudmaster is an evolution of its predecessor, the GWG-1000. Both watches use the brand’s Carbon Core Guard, a resin case that incorporates carbon fibre for increased rigidity without additional weight. It’s now been redesigned to be 1.9mm slimmer and 13g lighter yet also stronger than the previous version, with the lugs, shock absorbers and internal casing also now incorporating carbon fibre elements.

Inside, a patented Hollow Core Guard Structure protects against impact and vibration, surrounding the watch module. Redesigned Mud Resist buttons with stainless steel button pipes and a silicone buffer material improve overall resistance to ingress.

Photo: G-Shock

The chunky bezel ring and knurled screw-down crown are both made of solid steel. Screw-down forged carbon bezel guards at 12 o-clock and 6 o-clock protect the crystal, which is itself made from highly-scratch resistant synthetic sapphire, finished with an anti-reflective coating to preserve legibility. A patented gasket design prevents ingress from water, mud and dust, guaranteeing reliable operation in the toughest environments. Despite the fact that this isn’t a dive watch, it has a water resistance rating of 200m (20 bar).

The watch comes on a similarly robust resin strap that is highly resistant to wear and tear. According to the brand, it incorporates textures ‘reminiscent of the grips of heavy machinery or chequer plates’ for a more industrial aesthetic. It’s undoubtedly tough, but it is fairly stiff and unforgiving. You now get a rubber keeper instead of a metal one though, which is less likely to scratch other surfaces, and holds the end of the strap in place better too.

Dimensions

Like most G-Shocks, the new Mudmaster is a chunky monkey. In fact, the case measures 61.2 x 54.4mm, with a thickness of 16.1mm. It weighs a substantial 106g too. So, it’s a bit of a beast on the wrist, and certainly not for you if a) you don’t like or b) can’t wear big watches. If you’re skinny, it’s probably going to look a bit silly.

It’s undeniably a statement piece, and people will notice it. But perhaps that won’t bother you, especially if you tend to wear your outdoor kit all the time anyway. And for genuine outdoorsy stuff – hiking, camping, backpacking, canoeing, trail running, mountain biking and more – it’s a great adventure companion. In fact, in our experience, despite its size and weight, it becomes a reassuring thing to have on your wrist rather than an uncomfortable distraction.

Features

Right, deep breath – ready? The new Mudmaster features a 5-day alarm with snooze function, an optional hourly beep, an automatically adjusting calendar, a battery level indicator with auto power save if the watch is low on charge, a 60-minute countdown timer, date and weekday display, analogue time with a Neobrite luminous coating on the watch hands and indices for low-light illumination (improving on the previous version and other Mudmasters in the current range), multi-band 6 automatic atomic timekeeping, LED backlight with selectable 1.5 or 3-second duration, a 24-hour stopwatch accurate to 1/100th second (with elapsed time, split time and 1st-2nd place times) and a world time function that displays the current time in major cities and regions across the globe.

Photos: G-Shock

Phew. Those aren’t the really clever bits though. An in-built sensor is also able to give altitude, barometric and temperature readings. The watch measures barometric pressure, which is converted to relative altitude, measuring from -700 to 10,000m (-2,300 to 32,800ft) within a range of 1 metre or 5 feet. The watch also measures ambient air pressure and presents this on a display to indicate weather patterns (whilst also recording specific pressure in hectopascals or inches of mercury, for all you avid meteorologists out there). The thermometer can measure air temperature from -10°C to 60°C (14°F to 140°F). Lastly, a direction sensor detects magnetic north, displaying both this and your current direction on the watch face, in compass points and degrees.

Do these smart features work? Yep, mostly. Once you calibrate the compass, it’s impressively accurate, and the barometer does a good job of telling you whether pressure is rising or dropping, a good indicator as to whether bad weather is likely to move in. The altimeter is best used as a guide rather than an absolute – it didn’t always correspond with the spot heights of an OS map. And you need to take the watch off and leave it somewhere (preferably shady) for around 20 minutes if you want a reliable temperature reading – otherwise the sensor simply seems to tell you how warm or cool the surface of your skin is.

If you’re also thinking all those features sound like they’d be hard to navigate, you’d be right – it’s well worth sitting down with the manual to work out how everything functions before strapping the G-Shock to your wrist and heading for the hills. Having said that, a new ‘Smart Access Interface’ does make things a lot easier. Rather than cycling through the menu options with endless button presses, you can just pull out and turn the crown for faster and more intuitive control over all functions.

“The high-capacity solar cells on the watch face harnesses the power of any light source.”

A couple of other modifications have also been added to aid general user-friendliness. First up is a hand shift function, which means that you can push a button to temporarily move the hands move away from the LCD display – helping you to see what you’re doing. And if you’re using the watch at night, an auto light feature can be activated to automatically illuminate the watch face when you tilt your wrist towards you. Handy for one-hand operation in the gloomy recesses of a tent, when rain hammering on the flysheet wakes you up at 3am.

Movement

The Mudmaster is powered by a tough solar quartz movement. The high-capacity solar cells on the watch face harnesses the power of any light source (indoors or outdoors) for reliable watch operation with minimal impact to the environment – no battery required.

It’s accurate to within 15 seconds per month, and in practice is far more accurate than that, since an automatic hand adjustment function checks the home position of the hands every hour and corrects if necessary, counteracting any discrepancies arising from impact or magnetic forces. You literally have no excuse to be late, ever.

Conclusion

With the G-Shock, form nearly always follows function, and with the Mudmaster in particular there are few concessions to style or looks (though its still not as loud as the Luminox Bear Grylls Survival Master). But that in itself creates its own very distinctive design language, so whether this is the watch for you depends on how you feel about its chunky dimensions and the unapologetically robust build.

Photo: G-Shock

If what’s important is pure performance – namely, rugged reliability in all environments, plus a fair bit of on-board tech – then there’s probably no better all-round outdoor watch out there. Being fractionally slimmer and lighter than the GWG-1000, with a more premium build and better lume, it represents a genuine upgrade in our books, and though it lacks the Bluetooth capability of the lower-spec GG-B100 series, it adds solar charging and doesn’t have such awkward, protruding buttons. Then again, at £699, it’s more than double the price.

That’s a serious outlay, though comparable to a nice automatic watch or a higher-end GPS-equipped smartwatch. But the GWG-2000 is tougher than either of those alternatives, and we reckon it’ll outlast anything made by Garmin or Suunto. And though a regular steel watch is going to be a bit more wearable and versatile, not even the most complex of mechanical movements has as much adventure-ready functionality as the G-Shock Mudmaster.

Specifications

£699 / Carbon Core Guard case with steel crown and steel/forged carbon bezel / Stainless steel case back / Tough solar quartz movement / World time, date, alarm, stopwatch, timer, altimeter, barometer, thermometer and compass functions / 200m/20 ATM water resistance / Sapphire crystal / Resin strap.

BUY NOW: G-SHOCK.CO.UK

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