Rugged watch review

10 MUST-have features of durable watches | 2019


A durable watch | Knock it and it will get up

Some of us want a durable watch. 

Some of us need a durable watch.

A durable watch is one that is bought to cope with knocks, scratches and hits.

It needs to take every fall and every bruise and still perform optimally.

Avid explorers, backpackers, and rough-terrain travellers are some of the people who will need a durable watch as an essential part of their kit.

But how do you choose the best durable watch?


What features should your durable watch have?


  • Scratch resistance

It is sure as day that these watches will be dropped and scratched. 

So it I essential they, at the very least, have an scratch resistance coating on the case glass.  This will prevent any scratches appearing on the glass and obscuring vital readings.


  • Scratch proof

This is one step better than scratch resistant coating, which can withstand minor scratches.

Scratch proof coating can withstand the most abrasive of scratches.  Commonly scratch proofing is done by using sapphire coating on the glass.  While a scratch resistant coating is made with a chemical material.

rugged watch review


  • Solar powered

It is very likely you will be using this watch outdoors, often in secluded terrain far away from shops.

So running out of batteries is a real nuisance.  So a durable watch should have the option to be solar powered, preferably alongside battery power.

Off course, this is not an option for people who live in temperate countries with little sunshine.


  • Shock resistance

This is the ability of the watch to suffer mechanical impact, e.g. from a hammer, and still keep very precise time. 

Currently the standard is +/-60secs per day.  Which means the watch must not skew more than 60 seconds from the actual time across a whole day.

The benefit of this is obvious.  You do not want a watch that starts to fail mechanically and give out wrong times when you drop it or hit.


  • Water resistant

Be very careful not to confuse this with waterproof.  Water resistant means that the watch has a special coat that repels water but it is not sealed so that water entry when submerged is totally prevented.

Most watches will have on the spec the depths to which they are water resistant.  This is around 200m for most top-end durable watches.


  • Mud resistance

This is an important feature to have if you plan to use your watch for activities which may involve coming into contact with mud, such as mountain biking or dirt bike riding.

Mud resistance means that the watch buttons and bezel are made in such a way to prevent the tiny mud particles getting in between them.  Often, when this happens most watches are rendered unusable.


  • Atomic time-keeping

This is one of the most accurate and reliable time-keeping technology.  It was pioneered in the early 1990s by Citizen, and they claim it has a margin of error of only one second every 100,000 years.

I don’t think you will be using your durable watch for that long, but it is good to have that kind of reliability and accuracy at your disposal.


  • GPS

Global positioning system.  What a wonderful technology.  It has the ability to pin-point the position of anyone, anywhere on the planet.  The technology is owned by the US Air Force.  Satelites which roam around above earth communicate with capable devices to accurately determine the location of someone or something.


So if your watch has this facility, your chances of getting lost are very slim! And even if you get lost, your chances of being found are very good.

A fantastic technology to have for those planning adventures in remote places.

As a user of these types of watches, you will often be in isolated places with no phone signal, and no idea of headings.  So a compass is an extremely useful tool to have.  Infact, I should’ve put this under the essential feature list!

  • A barometer

You are probably thinking, why would I need this?

A barometer measures atmospheric pressure and displays it as a graph on your watch.  It usually takes a reading every 2 hours on most good durable watches.

The benefit of this is that it allows you to predict the weather.  Generally, low pressure is associated with wet weather and high pressure is associated with dry sunny weather.

Clearly, this is very useful information especially for hikers and outdoor explorers.


  • Temperature

I wouldn’t say this is a vital requirement for watches.  But it is good to have.  Temperature is something the human body can gauge well so if it isn’t featured on the watch, it isn’t a problem.


Do tactical or military watches count as durable?

Yes they do.  But they may be a slight overkill for most buyers.  This is because they are packed with specialist features which only a small number of people will find useful.  But if you go down the specification list and you like what you see, there is no reason why you shouldn’t buy one.


Now let’s have a look at 3 wonderful Affordable example of durable watches.


G-Shock Men’s Tough Solar Black Resin Sport Watch


What an absolute beauty for under $100.

Let me start with the ever reliable time-keeping, which is a feature of this watch.  A remarkably accurate and durable time-keeping technology.

This watch is also solar-powered which is an essential additional power source.  The manufacturers claim that it can last an incredible 9 months on a full charge!

And it has a battery light indicator to tell you the power is on the wane.

It is shock resistant which is a must for a durable watch.  And it is water resistant up to 200m.

Ideally, it would be waterproof but you can’t have everything.  But this watch will comfortably cope with rain, splashes and sprays.  As long as you are not submerged under water for long this watch will keep going.

For the avid traveller, this watch has 31 time zones available, so you don’t have to worry about setting your time every time you land at a new city.  Which is a nice feature to avoid missing important appointments like flights, because you didn’t realize the local time.


Timex Full-Size Ironman Essential 10 Watch



What I like about this watch is its simplicity and elegance

It is aimed at sport people such as ironman enthusiasts or any sport where laps are done.

It has a 10 lap memory, which would be useful in many sports.

It features indigo light up backlighting which ensures the dials have good visibility.  A great feature in low light conditions.  It saves you having to shine a torch on your watch to see the time!

It is water resistant to 100m which makes it suitable for light water activities such as swimming.  But it is not suitable for diving or snorkelling.

It’s a remarkably affordable watch at between $20-$35.  And although it lacks the bells & whistles of more expensive watches, it is a good starting point for sports people – who just want a solid time keeper and lap timer.


INFANTRY Men’s Analogue


Considering you can pick this up for around $30; it is a beast!

The entire case of the watch is made from solid stainless steel; so feel free to smash it accidentally!

The glass is anti-scratch so it will retain a lovely clean look despite daily abuse and knocks.  We love that.

Although this watch isn’t suitable for swimming, it will resist the odd splash from rain or other sources.

The bezel on this watch functions as a tachymeter.  These are the dashed lines and numbers you see on the bezel, which together with the time, can be used to work out speed and/or distance.  A useful feature when there are gadgets to work these out close by.




So I hope this article has given you an overview of what to look for when buying a tough durable watch.

Personally, I think shock resistance, water resistance and solar power are the absolute bare minimum you should expect.  These watches will be battered and bruised through use and they need to cope.  They need to keep ticking.

It is likely you will be using these watches outdoors in remote locations so a long battery life is a must.  You cannot afford to be worrying about running out of juice in the middle of nowhere.

Notice I haven’t mentioned precise time keeping technology here, because these are watches, that is the first thing we expect! Even if they are rubbish at everything else.


Take care








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