Out the box
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.
It seems that in addition to softening the buttons, the 'boiling trick' (see above) is also good for softening the strap. If like me you have small wrists, you'll appreciate the extra flexibility afforded by this treatment, because afterwards the part of the strap closest to the watch will bend around a bit earlier, adding about 5mm less height to the watch face than before (2.5 off the top and the same off the bottom).
It's a pretty long strap, so it's going to poke out and show above the top of the watch unless you have wrists like a mountain gorilla. I cut mine down (my strap not my wrists ), and now it's just fine. Although I did it my own way, I subsequently noticed this guy giving some pretty sound advice HERE to make the strap look OK after shortening it.
Later on I might copy what someone in another forum has done; adding Suunto clips to allow the use of a NATO strap (although I plan to use a Zulu).
You can see what he did here...
This is a light, strong, uber-cool watch which looks even better in the flesh than in the marketing pictures. The rally timer is great for cooking. You have ten different pre-set times to choose from, some of which I've programmed to the duration of my most commonly cooked meals.
I might add some more detail after I've been using the watch for a week or so, but for the time being I'll say that I haven't worn anything else since this arrived (well, except for my Pro-Trek briefly while I was timing how long the Mudman case had been sitting in boiling water, lol).
It's a little bit hard to justify the massive extra cost of getting a stealth model from Japan unless that kind of thing really floats your boat. I had my heart set on it though. From the moment I saw this image on the net, I just knew I HAD to have one...
In terms only of functionality it makes more sense buying one in a UK colour scheme for about 70 quid less (as it's the same watch under the skin). Either way, I would recommend the 9010 Mudman to anyone who wants a robust good-looking urban watch which at least seems to be made to last.