I've recently bought my third survival watch and I can tell you first-hand that there's a ton of great options out there. But, to make it easier for first-time buyers, I've put together this comprehensive list of the top survival watches.
So, if you're looking for something rugged and reliable, then you've come to the right place. From waterproofing to fool-proof lume, these watches come packed with all the features you'll need out on the trail or the apocalypse. Plus, they're stylish too if doomsday doesn't come!
But don't just take some guy on the Internet's word for it. Each watch has its own unique set of pros and cons. For example, one might be really lightweight but lack durability, while another might have all the bells and whistles but be too bulky. In this guide, we will try to cover all bases.
Top 8 Watches for Survival On the Market Today
Hey there, gear-heads! Looking for the best rugged watches around? I've got you covered!
I've rounded up the toughest, baddest, and most reliable timepieces out there. Each has its own special features and perks, but beware: some have their drawbacks.
Don't worry though, I'm breaking down the good, the bad, and the ugly. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
Time's a-wastin', let's get to it!
Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW-3000-1ACR: A Choice for Outdoor Travelers
This Pro Trek Solar-Powered from Casio brand is one of today’s best options. Aside from the fact that the brand is quite popular, this survival watch is very functional and easy to use.
Apparently, this watch offers numerous features, aside from being solar-powered, that are very beneficial to users and travelers. Along with the technology used and its attributes given above, it also has a digital compass, world time, 1/10-second stopwatch, five daily alarms, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and a countdown timer.
This can be the best for you too, especially if you are looking for a battery that can last up to 7 months after charging it. But, make sure that you don’t expose it too much in light since it can highly affect the battery. Nevertheless, it is still a solar-powered type, so a little sunlight would not hurt.
As for its durability, I can say that it is pretty durable and solid. And this is all because of its 46-mm stainless steel core and well-constructed bezel. In addition, it has good water resistance for up to 100 meters or 330 feet. Moreover, the structure uses a resin-band which is pretty much a factor to the overall durability of this survival watch.
You can have this for an amount that falls below $200. Furthermore, this one comes with a full 2-year warranty.
- Elegant, classic design
- Analog movement
- Real compass
- Casio’s repair facility is not very accessible
- The time needs updating every now and then
- There is an apparent issue with the date and time
Timex Men’s Expedition For Entry Level Users: The Under $100 Survival Tool
If cost is the biggest factor you consider before making a purchase, then the Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin might be the best adventure watch for tough situations!
The materials used in its construction are mainly rugged resin and double layer nylon. Personally, I find this survival watch quite durable but not really meant for heavy-duty purposes. And in terms of its appearance, Timex is offering four variations of colors. So, you are free to choose from the black, green, black and blue, and green and blue editions.
As for the specifics, the survival watch mainly markets its water resistance feature. Apparently, many people who love indulging into several bodies of waters utilize this watch. Also, it is an analog watch, so it can be pretty accurate when it comes to time and date provisions.
However, other than those mentioned above, there are no other sets of inclusions. And this is only fitting since the cost is quite far down below $100.
- Elegant, classic design
- Analog movement
- Real compass
- It's missing some basic features
- It is water resistant up to 50 meters or 165 feet only
- Too basic for an advanced level user
Casio Men’s GG-1000-1A3CR G-Shock Casual Watch: The All-Arounder
Are you looking for the best choice that you can use every day? If you are, then this Men’s GG-1000-1A3CR Mudmaster Casio G-Shock Quartz Casual from Casio brand might be the one you are looking for.
Apparently, this one is very easy and convenient to use. Also, the appearance is quite simple and casual allowing every user to use it on a daily basis.
If you ask me, this timepiece is very durable! It is equipped with a shock-resistant feature, a mud-resistant application, and a water-resistant function that is applicable up to 200 meters or 660 feet of depth. In fact, most professional water sports athletes use this model even during their training sessions and competitions.
I’ve seen it a couple of times and I am really impressed with all the features and functionalities that I was able to review. Aside from the functionalities that I have listed above, Casio G-Shock also provides a lot of great smart features that anyone could find very beneficial and useful.
These include a digital display compass, hourly time signal, world time, button operation tone, and the Japanese quartz movement. In addition, the battery can last up to 2 years!
For a cost that falls below $200, you might already end up with a great choice.
- Elegant, classic design
- Analog movement
- Real compass
- The manual instruction is hard to understand
- It has apparent issues with its thermometer
Suunto Core Wrist Top Computer Watch: The Wrist Watch for Survival
The Suunto Core Wrist is one of the most expensive models. The price of Suunto Core falls below $350 which is pretty high in comparison to most high-end types. Nevertheless, you will get what you will pay for when you buy this survival watch.
Personally, I am not a fan of Suunto watches but I find this Suunto model really impressive. The features of the watch alone are exactly the ones that you will need when you look for the overall embodiment of a survival watch.
Aside from the features listed above, you will also get to experience these: altimeter, barometer, calendar clock, weather memory, sea-level pressure reader, water resistance, bearing tracker, cardinal directions, log graph, guided calibration, GPS and multi-language translator. From the features alone, you will see that this is an all-inclusive watch.
In case you get lost, you’ll easily find your way back through its incredible survival features.
As for the durability, the survival watch is largely designed for heavy-duty purposes. In fact, this model is marketed as a real outdoor accessory.
However, the biggest drawback of this one is its battery capacity. As per the brand, it can last for 6 months, maximum. But, as per actual users, it can only last for 1 to 2 months.
But even so, it could still be the leading durable timekeeper for you as the company has fixed these issues in the recent years. Also, the battery replacements are made very affordable.
- A fully-functional watch
- Special features like altimeter, barometer, pressure reader, GPS, etc.
- It has a 2-year warranty
- Sleek and elegant appearance
- Easy to Read with its digital display
- Water resistant up to 330 ft
- It has issues with the batteries
- Poor customer service
Fanmis S-Shock Multi Function Electronic Watch: A Stylish Choice
If you want a survival watch that can really match your style and appearance, then you may want to check Fanmis S-Shock Multi Function Digital LED Quartz Watch.
Apparently, this features 8 backlight colors ranging from black, white, green, and all the way to the vibrant colors of pink, yellow, and purple. Also, buyers are free to choose from the color variations of the core. There are actually 6 different colors and I recommend the one that comes in golden tones.
Aside from its stylish appearance, the thing that I like about this one is its functionality considering the overall price of the package. You can purchase this survival watch for a price that falls below $25! And because of this, you can really consider this as a steal. Moreover, it uses a black stainless steel in its core and structure.
The features that you may experience in this watch, aside from the ones listed above, include the shock resistance and water resistance functions that are applicable up to 50 meters or 164 feet.
But while it may lack the ones that are usually found in an average outdoors watch, the equipped features in this are quite impressive because they are pretty accurate. And considering the pricing of it, you can say it's cheap!
- Elegant, classic design
- Analog movement
- Real compass
- It is not a compass watch
- Short battery lifespan
- The sizes are too big
- Water resistant up to 164 ft only
Infantry Men’s Military Multifunction Waterproof Sports Watch: The Analog-Digital Choice
If you are looking for an analog-digital watch, then the Infantry Men’s Military Analog Display Multifunctional Sports Watch might be an elite outdoor watches for you.
Similar to the Fanmis watches, the Infantry models are reasonably priced. Although these military watches are a bit higher in price, you can already have an excellent multi-function watch. Also, its all-black color from strap to watch face, makes it ideal for any occasion.
As for the features and functionality, the ones that you will get to experience with this watch are quite the basic types but with few special features you need. But while it lacks the extra features that a watch must have for survival, the equipped functions in this watch are quite functional and accurate.
Hence, it's reliable whenever you use it for outdoors or for military purposes. However, if you are looking for a watch that can support your survival skills and needs, this may not be a great choice for you.
But even so, it is still designed for providing enough stability. In fact, it is also equipped with waterproofing and shock-proofing applications. In addition, you can enjoy its luminous dials and chronograph function.
As for the size, it looks larger and fits most adult men. It's not ideal for people with a tiny frame, and this is apparently one of the drawbacks of the Infantry Men’s Military digital and analog display watch. Make sure to check the dimension of the watch before you buy it. Nevertheless, with its premium feel and proven shock-proof capabilities, it is still perfect to use outdoors.
- Japanese Quartz movement
- It has a lot of color choices
- Perfect for adventure lovers
- Waterproof (water-resistance function)
- Short battery lifespan
- The instruction manual has misleading information
- Not durable
Timex Men’s Expedition Classic Digital Chrono Alarm Timer Watch: A Casual Outdoor Watch
The Timex Men’s Expedition Classic Digital Chrono Alarm Timer Watch is most of the time the go-to watch of every active people today. Aside from its affordability, it has basic survival watch features which makes it ideal when traveling outdoors.
Aside from the basic features that are listed above, this one also comes with a mini compass in its resin band. This function is largely the reason why I included it in this list. Accordingly, I find the mini compass of this timepiece very accurate and keeps you on the right track on your destination.
For a price that falls below $50, this sure is already a pretty decent deal. Also, the appearance of this watch is pretty casual and yet it is sleek and elegant as well. Its digital dial shows the time large enough, making it easy to read. I don’t actually have enough knowledge as to how Timex can do this in their watches. And for that, I really commend this watch for its overall looks.
- It has a mini compass
- Perfect for basic outdoor uses
- Digits are easy to read
- Short battery lifespan
- Not very durable
- It is marketed as having water resistance but it cannot really hold any liquid
Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Solar Powered Tough Triple Sensor Watch: A Watch With No Battery
The Men’s Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Solar Powered Tough Triple Sensor Digital Sports Watch from Casio might be the best choice of gear for you if you want a survival watch that does not need battery at all.
Apparently, this survival watch is largely solar powered just like the Casio G-Shock Rangeman series. Also, the solar panels that are equipped in this watch are very efficient and reliable in absorbing solar waves. So, you can really rely on this gear, anytime and anywhere in terms of its power.
As for the survival watch features, this solar powered watch is actually one of the most fully-functional types if you compare it to Casio G-Shock Rangeman which is often used as a military watch. Aside from the ones listed above, it also features a world time teller, altimeter, barometer, a mineral dial window, for daily alarm modes, power saving functions, low-temperature resistance, and an effective water resistance application that is applicable up to 200 meters or 660 ft.
- Very functional
- Very durable
- Similar to Rangeman series
- Stainless steel rotating bezel with durable strap
- It features a defense mechanism against power surges and triple sensors
- Very expensive
- Poor customer service
- The size is too thick and huge
Worst Survival Watch - Casio G Shock Mudmaster
The Casio G Shock Mudmaster, while renowned for its ruggedness and durability in extreme conditions, has several aspects that have drawn criticism from users:
- Size and Bulkiness: The watch is notably large and bulky, which can be a problem for those with smaller wrists. Its size can make it stand out awkwardly and may not comfortably fit under sleeves.
- Nighttime Visibility: Users have noted that the watch's low-light visibility is not as good as advertised, posing challenges in dark environments.
- Compass and Thermometer Accuracy: The compass requires frequent calibration to maintain accuracy, which some find cumbersome. The thermometer is also prone to inaccuracies as it can pick up body heat from the wrist, requiring the watch to be removed for a period to obtain correct readings.
- Battery Life: The quartz battery in the GG-1000 model lasts for only about two years, which is less than expected for a watch of its type and price.
- Mineral Glass vs. Sapphire Crystal: There is disappointment that the watch uses mineral glass instead of the more durable sapphire crystal, especially considering its cost. This choice may affect the watch's resistance to scratches in the long term.
- Complexity and User Interface: The watch has numerous features and functions, making its interface somewhat challenging to navigate. Users have reported accidentally cycling through menus or needing multiple button presses to reach the desired function.
- Bluetooth Functionality: The watch's reliance on Bluetooth and a smartphone for some functions is seen as counterintuitive for a device designed for extreme outdoor conditions, as this could be problematic in areas with limited phone connectivity.
Factors to Consider
Your survival watch will be one of the most useful tools that you can utilize in case you got lost in a forest or you are in a survival situation. Hence, it is only fitting that you choose one that will work great for you to survive.
But since the variation of this kind of military watches for men is quite wide today, it can get a little challenging, and possibly daunting for some. Also, keep in mind that there can be a lot of factors that will play in the scene as you choose the most appropriate one for you.
Accordingly, I have also included in this survival watch review the things that may affect your overall buying decisions. And if you really want to get the greatest among all the good survival watch models of today, you will want to regard these factors.
By and large, there are actually three kinds of rugged timepieces. And learning these three types will help you know and understand how these function and work.
A navigation watch is the most common type of all these three variations. Any modern and basic survival watch will have navigational features in its overall functionality and built. But, a compass watch focus mainly on, well, navigation. Even so, there are still other brands who offer navigation types that can provide additional features and functions you might need.
Some of the common features of a navigation watch include an altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. Also, you could see good features like date teller, moon phasing, sunset times, tide graph, time equation, and a GMT indicator.
So, if you are choosing a timepiece mainly to navigate, you must consider these attributes.
As we all know, G-Shock series is actually a product line of Casio. And this range is mainly made for outdoor activites.
So, what makes a Casio G-Shock series different from other average survival watches is that aside from giving you accurate time, it provides additional and yet effective features. Moreover, among these three types, they appear more rugged which can really go side by side with your survival skills.
Hence, you could pretty much say that it's similar to a normal navigation watch. But, it comes with a lot more helpful and beneficial features.
Today, many people are considering this brand the finest due to is versatility and functionality. Also, G-Shock watches have unique appearances, like the G-Shock Rangeman watch series.
Survival Kit Watches
The survival kit watch is also known as the paracord watch. Apparently, the main feature of this watch is that is comes with the parachute cord in its resin-band. Essentially, a paracord is a very useful tool for various tasks. And this has become one of the general-purpose utility cord of this day.
Aside from the cord, this kind of survival watch offers a mini survival kit [R]. And this kit normally include tools like analog compass, a whistle, and a fire starter. Accordingly, you may find this one as a very functional watch.
It is true but it is also found that a survival kit watch has many downsides. And these drawbacks are the things that you would not want in a survival situation. But even so, there are still a few brands who offer this kind of watch that has resolved these apparent issues.
2. Durability and Structure
Some of the most critical factors that you need to consider is the durability and quality of the best tough watches. And in this specific factor, it would largely include the overall built and structure of it.
Keep in mind that an outdoor watch is made to help you survive in the wilderness. Accordingly, your chosen watch must provide you with the finest quality of reliable materials and most durable systems. For that specific area, you may want to check one that uses stainless steel in its core.
Even so, your survival watch must help you withstand any mishap along the way on your journey.
In addition to the materials being used, you must consider as well the specifics that can improve the overall watch durability. Personally, I would include the water resistant and shock resistant applications of good survival watches in my considerations.
The GPS will help you find your location. This is very useful if in case you got lost in the middle of somewhere and nowhere. So, the best survival watch for you to find your way is the one that can provide the most accurate coordinates of your location. You can find more GPS survival watches in our triathlon GPS watch review.
It must possess a quality kind of compass. Whether it is a digital compass or not, it’s basically up to you. But even so, a compass is one of the essentials. An example of a watch with compass is the Casio Rangeman watch.
A thermometer is important as well, especially if you are the kind of traveler or outdoor enthusiast who goes to places with extreme temperatures. This will help you measure the temperature in your surroundings.
However, it is important for you to note that the thermometer is very close to your body when the wristwatch is worn. So, this may affect the temperature ratings in totality.
An altimeter is very helpful when you are traveling in mountains and high areas. And this is because altimeter measures your altitude in a certain place. And if you are in a location where the altitude is needed when you want to find your way back, your chosen piece that has an altimeter is quite beneficial.
The same is true for the barometer. But, barometer largely measures the factors that affect the wind and weather. Hence, it is safe to say that when you are traveling outdoors, a feature like a barometer can be very helpful.
Sunrise & Sunset Times
It is very common for a survival watch to have a sunrise and sunset time. And this is quite helpful, especially if you travel to places with high altitude. Keep in mind that the sunset period is much earlier if you are in a much higher ground.
Accordingly, if you know the sunset periods of that certain day, you will get to prevent the darkness of the evening in your journey.
When you get stuck in a situation where you need to survive and last long, certainly, you will need a survival tool that can give accurate measurements and data. In this case, you need to make sure that your chosen survival watch must possess enough accuracy that will help you in your journey.
Apparently, this specific characteristic must be applied to most of the features of it. These features largely include the time, GPS, digital compass or analog compass, sunset and sunrise times, and the tools for measurements.
It is believed by many experts and enthusiasts in the industry that an analog display provides much more accuracy (in comparison to digital display types) in terms of measurements and location settings.
5. Battery Life
Another factor that you have to consider when seeking for a survival watch is the battery life. It is important for you to note that the best feature and functionalities of your pick would only work if the battery is still charged.
Hence, the watch can be pretty pointless and useless in a survival situation if the battery life is quite short. But while the life of the battery is important, there are actually sets that do not require batteries to work. Normally, these are the tough solar powered types of watches or mechanical watches under 500. Solar-powered types are cost-effective in the long run since it does not require battery replacements.
And the last factor that I find very much important as well, but not certainly the least, is the cost of the survival watch.
Apparently, the range of costs and prices for survival watches is quite wide too. And this is because there are brands today that made and offer a budget-friendly model. But even so, it is always wise for you to set a budget before making a purchase.
Moreover, keep in mind that for this specific timepiece, the phrase - “you get what you pay for” largely applies. Most of the time, expensive survival watches provide much more efficient and effective feature. However, it does not necessarily mean the cheap survival watches cannot be considered.
Yes, it is quite tricky, especially that we are talking about cost and money here. So, it is really wise that you take these matters seriously in order for you to get the most out of your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Your questions about survival watches answered.
What is the Best for Outdoorsmen?
The best option for outdoorsmen when we talk about quality, feature and great value for money is the Casio Men’s GG-1000-1A3CR G-Shock Watch. G-Shock is well-known for its amazing durability and this watch is just one of their masterpieces. It's fully functional as an outdoor watch, has a long battery life, shock resistant and water resistant up to 660 ft.
Do G-Shock Watches Have a Compass?
G-Shock Watches have a compass but only on specific models. Currently, 8 G-Shock models have a compass sensor in them. These are the G-9300 Mudman, G-Shock GA-1000 Aviation Series, G-Shock GA-1100, Casio G-Shock Rangeman, etc.
Are G-Shock Scratch Resistant?
G-Shocks are technically scratch resistant not because of the mineral crystal used to cover the dial, but because of how the bezel is designed. As you might have observed, the bezel is slightly raised which in turn, protects the glass material from sustaining accidental scratches from day-to-day use.
The Best Among All The Best
The 8 best tough watches that I have included here are the ones that I find great and fitting for anyone who is looking for a functional watch. But the one that really stands out from the rest is the Suunto-Core Wrist-Top Computer Watch.
And personally, this is the best survival watch for my needs and wants.
Primarily, the features that are equipped in this Suunto timepiece are very accurate and on point. Also, these properties are exactly the things that I may need in times of emergency and survival like the gps, altimeter and barometer.
Secondly, it's very durable and fits snugly on your wrist. The overall structure and build of this piece of art are largely designed for heavy-duty purposes which I find very appropriate for a survival watch.
And thirdly, it has efficient warranty terms along with the company’s effective customer service support. And these aspects are very essential to me because I would want a product and service that I can really rely on even after purchasing the product.
Although the Suunto Core Wrist-Top Computer Survival Watch is quite expensive, I find the price just fitting considering the overall functionality of the watch.
Now, I hope this survival watch list review would help you in your search. Also, keep in mind that you don’t actually need to rush in making your buying decisions. But if you really need to make a decision now, I highly suggest that you spend time on researching and inspecting every watch that is on your list.