Casio’s tough new G-SHOCK Mudman GW-9500 is a no-fuss tool watch, in the best way possibleJamie Weiss
Have you ever dropped your watch in the mud? If you have, you know how much of a nightmare it is. Maybe that’s why in 1985, Casio released the DW-5500C, better known as the G-SHOCK II, which was the first G-SHOCK to feature a mud-resistant case. Collectors quickly nicknamed it the “Mudman” and 10 years later, Casio would go on to release an official Mudman line of mud-resistant G-SHOCK, which ranked as some of the toughest G-SHOCKs in their range.
It’s now 2023 and Casio has just released the fifth generation Mudman, the GW-9500, which might just be the most capable Mudman yet – yet its no-nonsense design stands out as one of the most handsome G-SHOCK in recent memory, to my eyes at least.
The Casio G-SHOCK Mudman GW-9500 features a Carbon Core Guard case with a bio-based resin outer structure and stainless steel caseback with four steel hex screws dominating its bezel and providing some visual contrast. In classic G-SHOCK style, it’s a pretty big watch, measuring up at 52.7mm wide and 14.8mm thick – but because of the way the strap is designed, where it has these two large, curved lugs or first links that attach to the case, it’s got an effective lug-to-lug of almost 67mm by our calipers. That sounds intimidating but those first links really hug the wrist, so it’s less scary than it sounds.
Another unusual design choice of the GW-9500 is its buttons: they’re quite big, but they feature pronounced knurls which make them somewhat odd to press with your bare fingers. That’s because they’re designed to be mud-proof, but more importantly, they’re also designed to be easy to press while you’re wearing gloves. The steel surrounds on the buttons also mean you really need to push them from the top, which for those of you (like me) used to other G-SHOCK designs, might take a little bit of getting used to.
Overall, the watch’s design is mostly function-over-form, but it’s quite aesthetically pleasing. Some G-SHOCK designs are a bit over the top, but the GW-9500’s is a bit more restrained: less is definitely more, if you can call a watch with such a case diameter and functions list somehow ‘less’. It’s also significantly thinner than previous-generation Mudmen and weighs just 81 grams, so despite its large wrist presence, it’s exceptionally comfortable to wear.
A fun little piece of flair is the redesigned Mudman mole mascot logo adorning the caseback. He’s a bit of fun, and does much to lighten the character of this otherwise uncompromisingly tough watch. The Casio G-SHOCK Mudman GW-9500 comes in three colourways: black, khaki with a black bezel and black with orange highlights.
Some useful context: the Casio G-SHOCK Mudman GW-9500 is a bit of a successor to the popular G-SHOCK Rangeman GW-9400, and is aesthetically very similar to that watch – but unlike that Rangeman or, indeed most previous generation Mudman models, the GW-9500 features a completely uncluttered digital display. There are no plastic reticules or display subdivisions: it’s just one big piece of glass, which gives it a cleaner, more purposeful look.
But it’s not just a cleaner dial layout that the Mudman GW-9500 brings to the table. It’s actually the first G-SHOCK with a duplex LCD display, with one layer for the primary displays, fonts and digits; and a second underneath in a different colour. This is a feature borrowed from Casio’s popular ProTrek model range – it’s good to see it finally make it to a G-SHOCK.
The Casio G-SHOCK Mudman GW-9500 utilises Casio’s 3553 module, which is actually a previous-generation module – but that doesn’t mean it’s by any means outdated or unfit for purpose. Far from it. The Mudman GW-9500 boasts a dizzying array of features, including a super cool digital compass, barometer, thermometer, altimeter, sunrise/sunset time display, a 1/10 of a second stopwatch, a countdown timer, 5 alarms, a full-auto LED backlight, a manual memory recorder and a world time function with 48 different cities.
It doesn’t stop there, either. The GW-9500 is also solar-powered, shock-, dust- and mud-resistant; has Multiband 6 radio timekeeping and is water-resistant to 200m. The only thing it doesn’t have is Bluetooth, unlike some other more modern G-SHOCKs (although there’s something to be said about an old-fashioned ‘unconnected’ digital watch).
The Casio G-SHOCK Mudman GW-9500 features a bio-based resin ladder strap designed for airflow, with a double-pin buckle. While I like the fact the strap is nicely ventilated, the double-pin buckle is a little cumbersome to use and doesn’t feel nearly as robust as the rest of the watch. That’s a real nitpick, however.
There are plenty of G-SHOCKs out there and most of them are pretty tough, but the Casio G-SHOCK Mudman GW-9500 is particularly beefy – yet Casio have resisted some of their baser aesthetic impulses with the GW-9500, eschewing needlessly aggressive design cues in favour of a cleaner overall design. No one can accuse the GW-9500 of being subtle, but there’s just something about its design that I really like.
The big kid in me also loves all of its features (the digital compass is particularly cool) and even though I rarely step foot near muddy trails, this is a G-SHOCK I’m keen to add to my collection. It’s tough – maybe the toughest G-SHOCK yet – and it looks the part.
G-SHOCK Mudman GW-9500 pricing & availability
The Casio G-SHOCK Mudman GW-9500 is available now from all good Casio dealers and online. Price: A$849.
|G-SHOCK Master of G Mudman GW-9500
|52.7mm (D) x 14.8mm (T) x 56.7mm (LTL)
|Bio-based resin with Carbon Core Guard
|200 metres, dust and mud-resistant
|Duplex LCD display
|Bio-based resin strap with pin buckle
|Casio module 3553, solar-powered
|6 months, 26 months with power-saving function
|Hours, minutes, seconds, day/date, perpetual calendar, digital compass, barometer, thermometer, altimeter, sunrise/ sunset time display, 1/10 second stopwatch, countdown timer, alarm, full-auto LED backlight, manual memory recorder, world time, Multiband 6 radio timekeeping