We test the robust G-Shock Mudmaster on a canyoning adventure in the Alps

Read about how much punishment the G-Shock Mudmaster with sapphire crystal and forged carbon case can endure
Running up a mountainside while wearing a wetsuit and a helmet is quite a challenge, especially in the summer. But if we want to descend the course of the Stuiben Falls in Tyrol, Austria, we first have to hike uphill. That’s no problem for our guide, who has a military background. And we’re glad our test watch, the G-Shock Mudmaster GWG-2000-1A3, has an altimeter among its many functions. 

We begin hiking up to the starting point for our descent, which is 120 vertical metres above our heads. After cooling off in a lower spot, we scramble up to the first waterfall, which plunges 20 metres straight down. It takes a bit of self-persuasion to lean back and start rappelling at a 90-degree angle to the wet and slippery rock face. It’s impossible to avoid some hard knocks when the watch smacks against the rock wall. The cliff recedes a few metres further below, and the rest of the way down is without contact with the wall, hanging on a rope in midair.

We drift for a moment in the stream, but we don’t stay under water long enough for the Mudmaster’s thermometer to indicate the correct water temperature. Worn over the wetsuit and only sometimes submerged, its display shows several different temperatures. We don’t need the G-Shock’s digital compass because we simply follow the mountain stream down to the next waterfall. This time we have to rappel 30 metres downward, but after the first descent, this second one doesn’t seem so bad, and we even pose for a photo. When we reach the bottom, there’s time to take a closer look at the watch. 

G-Shock Mudmaster

The Mudmaster is easy to read thanks to large numerals, prominent hands, ample luminous material, and a stately size: The bezel is 45mm in diameter. An additional hand points to a tiny printed scale to show which mode the watch is in. The digital display in the lower half of the dial can be triggered to display the date, the time in a second timezone, the altitude, a stopwatch function, a timer, an alarm, and more. In the dark, an LED lamp illuminates the digital display at the touch of a button. 

A High Dive into Shallow Water 

But it’s time to move on. We climb a short way along the edge of the canyon to reach the next waterfall, which drops about eight metres. The plunge pool beneath it should be deep enough for us to jump in, but our guide advises us to start with a big step so we don’t get too close to the rock. He also reminds us to stretch our legs forward to lose enough speed on the water’s surface so we won’t sink in too deeply. Here again, self-persuasion is needed, because evolution has endowed us humans with an innate fear of jumping from great heights. I tell myself to just switch off my mind and get on with it: The quicker I do it, the easier it’ll be. I hurtle through the air, splash into the water, and it feels like an eternity before I resurface. In the process, I hit my head against an overhanging rock. Wearing the helmet was certainly worth it. 

The Mudmaster is also well protected. The resin case with a metal bezel and attached reinforcements of forged carbon fibre has a military look and thoroughly protects the watch. In addition, a silicone casing that absorbs impacts safeguards the movement. The sapphire crystal is scratch-resistant, and with water resistance to 200 metres, the watch is built to cope with high pressure. The Mudmaster comes with an Rs. 66,000 price tag, which makes it one of the high-end G-Shocks, and its workmanship is correspondingly meticulous.

Backward Through the Rapids

A calmer period of swimming comes next. We slide down slick stony passages together with the rushing water, sometimes lying on our backs with our heads downstream. With a little help, a backward somersault sends us down the next rapids. Our time window is gradually closing because another group of canyoning novices is waiting for our guide and our photo stops have lengthened this trip.

Punctuality is no problem for the Mudmaster, which automatically synchronises itself with time signals it receives via long-wave radio, so it always shows the current time with extreme accuracy. It doesn’t need manual resetting and it even changes for daylight saving time. Solar cells in the dial are one of the nearly invisible advantages of our test watch, which generates its own energy from sunshine, so it never runs out of power.

Now our guide insists that we make up for lost time by speeding up to a brisk jog for the last stretch, where the water is very shallow. We feel almost like frogmen on a recon mission. This mood goes well with the military look of the Mudmaster, which has an olive-coloured synthetic resin strap textured in the style of heavy-duty non-slip rubber grips and yellow lettering. As far as endurance is concerned, it turns out there is more room for improvement for me than for my G-Shock.

G-Shock Mudmaster test

But in the end, we both survived all the challenges, although only the Mudmaster came through without suffering any injuries. This watch is excellent not only for canyoning, but also for all other outdoor adventures. It’s extremely robust, it automatically charges its battery via integrated solar cells, and it offers basic navigation functions with its built-in compass and altimeter.

We made it through the adventure safely, and the Mudmaster came through completely unharmed.

Images: Courtesy Marcus Krüger


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