Men's Wristwatch: Cheap, rugged, simple, functional, comfortable
May 19, 2011 10:43 AM   Subscribe

I'd like a men's wristwatch that is cheap, rugged, simple, comfortable, functional. Which watches are the best at this?

By "cheap" I mean under $30; by "rugged" I mean one could wear it while working an outdoor construction trade, and that I could wear it in the shower every day; by "simple" i mean reasonably plain, unornamented, unobtrusive, and largely unremarkable; by "comfortable" I mean comfortable to wear -- ideally thin, light, fairly small, and unlikely to snag on things. By "functional" I mean that it does a good job of keeping time and is easy to read.

No preference between analog or digital.

I'd like to be able to read it easily at night, and would prefer a Month/Day function if possible. Other functions are fine but are not requirements.

I've looked through many AskMe questions (01, 02) and one great comment that were helpful, but none that addressed my situation directly (but I'm sure I've missed some and would love to read them). Many thanks for your time and expertise.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj to Technology (27 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Not really under $30 - more like starting at $40 - but you can beat the crap out of a Casio G Shock for years. You'd easily go through multiple cheap watches in the same time. They are not thin, and look bulky, but I find them very comfortable to wear, and I am picky about this because of mild RSI.
posted by carter at 10:47 AM on May 19, 2011

I had this one. Wore it in the shower, pool, wherever.
posted by carter at 10:49 AM on May 19, 2011

I've always been a fan of Timex for the price and durability. Waterproof, shockproof, date, sometimes month, and love the Indiglo feature. I'm hard on watches and these do real well and I don't feel like I'm out a bunch of $$ if something ever does happen.
posted by PJMoore at 10:50 AM on May 19, 2011

Oh and there's the terrorist watch - these are pretty much disposable. The raised case of the DW6900 really protects the face, though.
posted by carter at 10:52 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Timex Expedition Camper, there's also a model with a date window. This has the added benefit of being somewhat en vogue (if you care about that) and it's much slimmer than a G-Shock.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:55 AM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I've had really good luck with cheap, rugged looking watches from Target. The timex one I got for $14.99 survived 5 months of the rainforest and still beeps its alarm loud enough to wake me up 7 months later. I've had both rubber and velcro sleeves, they seem equally durable.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:15 AM on May 19, 2011

I've "graduated" to fancier watches (read: altimeter, HRM, other things I don't need) but I had an Ironman watch that didn't leave my wrist for four, maybe five years in my early 20s. as in, permanent skin discoloration. Showers, swimming, you name it. It had indiglo and a timer. I'd chew up a band, get a new one, keep going. It didn't die, I'm pretty sure I retired it when the scratches on the face were so numerous I couldn't read the damn thing. And that was after five years of abuse. I swear, I think I used it as a hammer a few times.
posted by notsnot at 11:15 AM on May 19, 2011

Agreeing with the above posters: I've had both Timex Expeditions and an Ironman, and either would seem to suit your needs perfectly. The Expeditions are a little less obtrusive, but both come in a variety of shapes and colors, are very durable, and within your price range.

Also seconding Target as a good, cheap place to get one.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:23 AM on May 19, 2011

Timex Ironman.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:39 AM on May 19, 2011

A G-Shock will last you forever. A bit more than $30, tho.
posted by gnutron at 11:45 AM on May 19, 2011

Casio are the most durable, functional watches period. G-shock are over-engineered for everyday life and I have one. the $60 are solar powered and atomic clock syncing and it will outlast you.
posted by radsqd at 12:15 PM on May 19, 2011

Back when I wore watches I was pretty fond of the Swiss Army watches.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:48 PM on May 19, 2011

Casio are the most durable, functional watches period.

I take issue with this due to working through three Casio watches before I started buying Timex.

Timex is the way to go.
posted by InsanePenguin at 12:57 PM on May 19, 2011

The difference between a Timex Expedition and a Casio G-Shock is really huge. I can't imagine you don't really have a preference between them.
posted by smackfu at 1:15 PM on May 19, 2011

Seconding the timex expedition camper. I have only owned one watch that I've worn regularly, and that was it.

Cheap and bulletproof.
posted by Freen at 1:47 PM on May 19, 2011

Swatch Original (GB 743). I've had one since 2001. It's light and durable, water resistant down to 30 Meters/32.8 yd., shows day and date and the hands light up in the dark.

The watch has a plastic case and plastic strap - I've never set off alarms at airport security.
"I’ve found that the fastest way through security is to go plastic. I switched the brass buttons on my blue blazer for plastic ones. I bought a plastic Swatch watch specifically for road trips. I’ve even gotten rid of my belt."
posted by iviken at 2:02 PM on May 19, 2011

Timex Ironman. It survived Marine Corps boot camp. It will survive your construction site. You will probably have it until someone steals it or your tastes change. Buy another Timex with analog face for dressier occasions.
posted by Hylas at 2:11 PM on May 19, 2011

Here's why the $60 solar G-Shock is better: battery replacement. My Timex Ironmans (Ironmen?) kept failing because of water intrusion after battery replacement, even though I was taking them to reputable jewelers. Solar means that will not be an issue until the rechargeable battery stops working, which should be decades rather than years.

That said, I prefer the Timex Ironman feature list, personally, and really liked Indiglo. If my G-Shock ever dies, I might give Timex another chance.
posted by richyoung at 3:06 PM on May 19, 2011

Timex Ironman. $35. They suck. I had three.

Casio. Amazon. $11. Eligible for free shipping. Better fit and finish than Timex.

E'nuff said.
posted by qsysopr at 6:42 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Casio F-91W.
posted by Michael Pemulis at 6:45 PM on May 19, 2011

Nthing Timex watches. I wear the women's model, not the men's, but still, I love my Times Indiglo. And yeah, I got mine at Target too. I think I paid around $30. It's the second one I've owned. I've had it for about 3 or 4 years, and it's still going strong. The previous one also lasted 5 or 6 years. Aside from needing to replace the battery every 18 to 24 months, it's been great. I love the Indiglo feature, the day of the month display, the super easy to read dial and I love that it has a second hand (many women's watches don't).
posted by marsha56 at 8:36 PM on May 19, 2011

I'll lend my support to the $60ish Casio G-Shock if you're looking for something still fairly cheap that you can just beat the absolute crap out of. I have a G5600, and besides the atomic clock and the solar power, it's got a backlight that turns on when you angle your wrist up to read it, month/day display, alarm, stopwatch, a second time zone (mine is on GMT), and timer. It came with an 80 page manual. It is built like a tank. Even Casio's less tank-like watches hold up pretty well - I remember finding one outside in the dirt that had been lost by an older relative for something like a year, and it was still keeping time - and this thing seems completely unfazed by the considerable abuse I've subjected it to so far.

It's not going to win any style points, though. Unless, like me, you wake up one day and say to yourself "I am going to buy the kind of stupidly overfeatured big ugly digital watch that my 14-year-old self would have loved to the bottom of his dorky little soul".

Timex does the simple thing pretty well, and you probably won't regret buying one, but I'd expect it to stop working sooner.
posted by brennen at 10:22 PM on May 19, 2011

(And on re-reading your question, I think 2bucksplus pretty much nails it with the Timex Camper. Cheap, durable, pretty low profile, not all that ugly.)
posted by brennen at 10:27 PM on May 19, 2011

Times Expedition watches. Target has them, so does Amazon. The band is probably junk, but the watch is good.

I paid five bucks to extend the warranty to five years, and if you mail it to them they just send you a new one. *shrug* Works for me.

I want a new, fancy watch, but this Expedition just won't die now. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:27 AM on May 24, 2011

And the Indiglo face makes a surprisingly good substitute for a flashlight!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:28 AM on May 24, 2011

I like the Casio W71-1V. It's digital, slim, lightweight, durable, and pretty basic. It also has the light your looking for. (It's not a full-screen illuminator, it's just a basic micro green light on the left side. It's really all you need to see the time.)
posted by jwmollman at 5:38 PM on July 7, 2011

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