In life, most people have what’s known as a “white whale.” These are goals that generally fall beyond our grasp, or just outside the realm of the possible. Up until now, one of mine has not been white, but dirty and covered in mud — more of a hog, really. And that hog goes by the name “Mudman,” the G-SHOCK GW9500 to be precise.
The latest hard-use watch in the Mudman line, Casio lauds it as “developed for professionals working in the harshest environments.” Belonging to the company’s vaunted Master of G line, this iteration offers such features as solar power, a dual-layer LCD screen, and the super-useful radio-controlled atomic timekeeping.
Outside of my own personal affinity for this ethos, GearJunkie has been trying to get its hands on a Mudman for a while now. So, it was an easy “yes” when Casio’s PR crew came calling with an offer of a test loaner. Here’s how the GW9500 fared over a month-plus of regular wear and tear.
In short: The G-SHOCK GW9500 Mudman is everything it claims to be: rugged, versatile, and bristling with enough features to more than justify its $380 price. The solar charging and atomic radio-controlled timekeeping are big winners packed into a surprisingly wearable package. And if that primary time display is a little bit plain, well, it adds to the legibility of what can certainly be considered one of the best tool watches in the G-SHOCK catalog.
- Case length 56.7 mm
- Case width 52.7 mm
- Case thickness 14.8 mm
- Case material Bio-based resin
- Crystal material Mineral
- Movement G-SHOCK Solar/Radio-controlled quartz
- Water resistance 200 m
- Weight 81 g
- Strong legibility
- Solar charging and atomic timekeeping
- Thoughtful/rugged design
- Easy wearing
- Wide-ish gap between band holes
- Nooks and crannies can accumulate mud
Casio G-SHOCK GW9500 Mudman Review
First things first: As with most G-SHOCK models, the GW9500 Mudman isn’t for the slight of wrist. Its 56.7mm length and 52.77mm width provide a substantial ride, at least on the X and Y dimensions.
But once we get to the Z axis, the 14.8mm thickness provides a slimmer profile than most other watches of this size. Add in a relatively light mass of 81 g, and you’re left with a more manageable on-wrist experience than the dimensions would indicate. Think of it less as a “hockey puck” and more as an “air hockey puck.”
As to its materials, the Mudman utilizes the current G-SHOCK standards. The marketing copy states that the GW9500’s “case, bezel and urethane band are made with bio-based resins derived from renewable organic resources,” along with a “thin module and Carbon Core Guard.”
The mineral crystal and steel case back are also as expected, but the metal cylinders housing the pushers provide a bit of rugged oomph. This particular configuration (with its black chassis and white/red accents) is known as the GW9500-1. There are two additional color schemes available, with olive green and red popping to the fore.
A note on the band: As flexible and nicely textured as it may be, I feel that the clasp holes are perhaps a millimeter or two too far apart. The fit on my 7-inch wrist was always either slightly too tight or loose.
Features and Facets
Apart from the usual G-SHOCK durability and Casio’s suite of timekeeping features, the GW9500 packs several outdoorsy party tricks. There’s the one-click compass (accessible with a press of the 2 o’clock button), the barometer at 3 o’clock, and the altimeter at 4 o’clock.
And a note on the pushers: Unlike some hard-use watches, the buttons on the Mudman are impressively easy to use. I like the contrast between the black-capped pushers on the right and center, and the plain steel of the Mode and Adjust pushers on the left, which creates a neat bit of visual interest.
In fact, these visual tidbits are one of the strong suites of the Mudman. Take a look at the symmetry in the case.
Even though the 3 and 9 o’clock sides are sporting a slightly different configuration, the overall silhouette is nearly the same. The abundance of notches and angles come together to make you feel like you’re wearing a piece of rugged sci-fi tech, without the obnoxiousness found in some other G-SHOCKs.
Heck, Casio has even included a tough/cute mole mascot on the back of the case, which is a fun touch for what purports to be such a serious tool.
The Mud Moniker
And speaking of marketing touches, it’s clear that Casio is serious about this watch’s dirt n’ grime ethos. So, I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t drag the tester through at least a half dozen puddles.
One thing became immediately clear about this Mudman’s notchy design: Those little cracks and crevices that provide visual interest also provide places for junk to accumulate. This had no effect on the function of the timepiece, but come on — who wants to be left with a muddy ring on their wrist?
In the past, I’ve cleaned up watches by running them through the washing machine. But you know what’s perhaps a better test?
That’s right — in with the plates and silverware it went. The high-pressure water jets of a dishwasher are known to be rough on things like nice kitchen knives and other delicate gear, so it seemed like a better challenge for the Mudman.
And wouldn’t you know it, the watch survived not one but two cycles, with the metal case back nicely heated by the plate warmer.
G-SHOCK GW9500 Mudman: Conclusion
So, where does the GW9500 Mudman fall on the list of G-SHOCKs I’ve reviewed? Everything about this watch, from its structure to its appearance and adventure-ready functionality, screams “heavy-duty pro.” For my money, I’d place it near the top.
And speaking of the price, I’m in alignment with Casio here; $380 seems a reasonable amount to pay for this level of versatile durability, not to mention the boatload of features.
It’s in that sweet spot of the best high-quality tools, offering top-flight usage without (too many) pretentions to luxury. This jives with my personal experience. And unlike some other high-price tool watches, I’ve actually seen Mudmen on the wrists of real-life workers.
So, whether you’re the Tough Mudder race type or a veteran of earthwork and concrete, the GW9500 is a solid bet. Come for the feature set, stay for the legibility, and get hooked on the surprising comfort and attention to detail. And if the band is a bit loose on your wrist, well … that just means you need to work those arms a bit harder.