Casio Solar Atomic Mudman GW-9010

First appearance is reassuring, with the finish looking just as I had wanted it to (proper matte black) and the display looking really crisp. It shows hours, minutes, and seconds, as well as the day, the month, and the day of the month. You get an at-a-glance indication of whether you have an alarm, hourly signal, and/or snooze alarm set. Additionally, you are shown the DST setting, whether power saving is on or off, and whether the auto light function is enabled. There are ten segments along the top of the display which have context-sensitive information in other modes, but which in timekeeping mode scroll across the screen in a 'snake' (so the head of the snake enters from the left every 20 seconds).

The last item of information shown is the G symbol, which is used to indicate that the watch was successful in obtaining an update from an atomic time signal station on its last attempt. Remarkably, all this is perfectly legible in the fairly small display area - a real achievement of careful design I'd say.

Also worth noting is the depth of black in the negative display. It's gorgeous!!! It's also helped along nicely by a crystal which seems to be much less reflective or prone to glare than that of my Pro-Trek PRW1300Y. Side by side in the same light, you can turn the watches around in your hands and the Mudman seems to remain glare-free at pretty much any angle, in contrast to the Pro-Trek which reveals a range of 'sweet spots' and 'dazzle spots' as you turn it slowly in the light.

Having a fiddle

The first thing that you'll notice when you start to press buttons is just how stiff they are. ...They're really stiff!!! This turns out not to be such a bad thing though, as A: The stiffness can be lessened using "the boiling trick" (google for examples of people boiling their bezels to soften them!!!), and B: It ensures you'll never press a button in error.

Next to leap out at you will probably be the rally timer (I hadn't seen one before anyway). Don't worry if you appear to 'freeze' the screen in that mode by pressing the wrong button. Just go and read the manual, and everything will be OK. ...And don't panic if the special stages" section is a bit much: It all sinks in eventually, even the stuff about recording various time-points, which gets its own screen with the next press of the mode button.

I won't dwell on the other functions such as the timer, stopwatch, world time, alarms etc, as they're going to be familiar to anyone who's used almost any modern digital watch. I will say though that it's nice how Casio have made each new mode 'wipe' in from the right, so you get a smooth transition between screens rather than a jump. I think it's supposed to imitate the Frogman 'scroll', although connoisseurs will spot the difference (I imagine the chip required to process a scroll is a bit more expensive than one which is able to do a wipe).

Besides making sure your home city is set correctly, the only thing you'll want to consider changing right off the bat is the back-light duration. The default setting is the same as on Pro-Treks (1.5 seconds) although unlike on Pro-Treks, you can adjust it. I find the longer (3 second) option is much better. The auto-light feature will impress your friends as before, but then they won't say "oh it's gone out again!" like when you showed them the Pro-Trek.

 Casio Solar Atomic Mudman GW-9010

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