November 18, 2019
by Ariel Adams
For 2019, the new flagship Casio G-Shock watch in the $300-$400 USD range is the Mudmaster GG-B100 model family. It consists of a few color variations, with this mostly black-toned reference GGB100-1A being the version I reviewed. Recall that aBlogtoWatch offered a hands-on debut look at this G-Shock Mudmaster GG-B100 here with another colorway when it was first announced back in March.
There is a lot to say about the 2019 G-Shock Mudmaster. Certainly, we see Casio continuing its iterative approach to product improvement by building on what they have done in the past — but having said that, this G-Shock is radically different from models made just a few years ago. New features, such as Casio’s use of carbon material, as well as the new case construction, mean that the look and feel of the GG-B100 are worth experiencing even if the model isn’t right for you. Casio did an excellent job, and I find myself liking the GG-B100 as a product as much as I did the G-Shock GW9400 Rangeman.
Casio has put more focus on entirely analog or analog-digital watch dials for its fancier watches over the last few years. There are a number of reasons for it, but when it comes down to it, I think Casio is just particularly interested in how it can combine the functionality and durability of a G-Shock with the aesthetic appeal of “real” analog dial (as opposed to an all digital watch face). Hybrid dials, such as on the GG-B100 which have both analog and digital elements, are a great compromise that Japanese watchmakers have been making since the 1970s and that really hit their stride in the 1980s.
I’m picky when it comes to the ana-digi watch dials I like, and I think Casio did an excellent job here. The “negative-colored” LCD screen is large with clear pixels and offers snappy performance. The analog hands help when needed but are mostly there for performing an ancillary function while allowing you to still know the current time. Casio’s state of the art screen and ultra-lightweight carbon hands means that you never feel as though there is a compromise between functionality and style.
When you hold the Mudmaster GG-B100 in your hand, you immediately want to start playing with it. That might have something to do with the six large, knurled-surface pushers around the case. The Mudmaster series is all about water/dust/mud protection, and the pushers have all been designed with that in mind. I really like having more versus fewer pushers on the case, as it means you can generally get to functionality faster. Note that you can connect a “Connected” G-Shock watch to your phone, and using the G-Shock app, you can adjust settings on the watch if you don’t feel like playing case pusher ballet.
The step-counter functionality is the latest sensor to be integrated into a G-Shock watch. While you don’t ever need to use it, those who want their G-Shock to now also serve as a pedometer have a solution in a non-smartwatch. For this reason, the watch is now called “Quad Sensor.” This adds to the existing compass, temperature, and barometer/altimeter sensors the watch also has. Other useful functions include sunrise/sunset times and the normal host of useful G-Shock features.
My one regret about the watch is that Casio was not able to integrate solar charging. That means you’ll need to change the battery (a CRR2025 cell) every two years in the module 5594 in-house made Casio movement. Why no solar charging? First of all, the Bluetooth connectivity changes the power drain dynamic of a watch, and it can’t always be reliably recharged via light. That is also true given the limited space available for light to enter a subdial photovoltaic cell that would recharge a light-powered watch. I’m pretty sure that, in the future, Casio will find an interesting engineering solution for this, but for now the one obvious wishlist feature for the G-Shock Mudmaster GG-B100 is solar power generation — if anything because it speaks to Casio’s goal of having watches you never need to power or set.
I love the dedicated pushers for things such as the compass. It helps bring functionality to the forefront. While a lot of digital watches like to boast tons of features, none of those features really matter unless the timepiece’s user interface makes using those tools accessible. Casio is getting better and better about this, and it honestly makes wearing the latest technically interesting G-Shock watches all the more satisfying.
Using glass fibers and other carbon materials, the Mudmaster GG-B100 is surprisingly lightweight (92 grams for a 55mm-wide watch) and very solidly built. It’s damn comfortable, too. Casio refers to this new concept as its “Carbon Core Guard” case structure. Over the dial is a mineral crystal, and the case is water resistant to 200 meters. Aesthetically, the look of black carbon fiber on most of the case (thanks to the bezel) is gorgeous. Casio doesn’t flat-out call it carbon fiber, rather the bezel is referred to as “fine resin structure with embedded glass fibers.” Casio is getting more and more comfortable with patterns and textures, which help its products look even better. Traditionally, I don’t think most people would have called a G-Shock “beautiful,” even though they were “cool.” Today, that’s changing, and I find myself appreciating the advances in design that allow for many G-Shock watches to be legitimately pretty to look at.
No 55.4mm-wide, 53.1mm-long, and 19.3mm-thick watch will be as comfortable as the Mudmaster GG-B100. Going back to the dial, legibility is excellent for an analog Casio watch. Casio’s work on contrast as a concept on analog dials is getting better and better each year, and the brand is still producing designs that are visually engaging and detailed. I do, however, want to see Casio work with better luminant in the future. They probably don’t put too much stock in it since this and all other G-Shock watches have a bright white LED backlight for the dial.
Casio always gives itself room to improve, but the 2019 generation G-Shock Mudmaster GG-B100 collection feels like the Japanese brand hit a sweet spot of design, price, and features that will offer them years of decent sales across various color palettes. The final compliment I can give the GGB100-1A is that it serves just as well being a “cool-looking watch” as it does offering useful functionality and sensors for those who need them. Few products look as good both on and off road, and this is one of them. Price for the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GGB100-1A is $350 USD. Learn more at the Casio G-Shock website here.
>Model: G-Shock Mudmaster GG-B100 (reference GGB100-1A as tested)
>Price: $350 USD
>Size: 55.4 mm-wide, 19.3mm-thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: Daily-wear Casio G-Shock for indestructible reliability and good macho looks.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone who likes the idea of being able to enjoy an attractive, practical, yet full-featured G-Shock that represents some of Casio’s latest technology.
>Best characteristic of watch: Excellent mix of form and function. New case construction and materials are clear upgrade. Legible, attractive dial. Enjoyable to use interface and functions. Step counter adds way for consumer to engage with the watch.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Large-size works well but isn’t for all wrists. Lack of solar power generation leaves obvious areas for future improvement though it doesn’t hamper the appeal of this product.