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Best Luxury GADA Watches

GADA – Go anywhere, do anything. These are easily the best watches you can lay your hands on – if off-the-chart versatility and style are your specs. And luxury GADA watches don’t have to break the bank. You can find a spectacular piece within your budget using our list and top picks as a template. The only thing you’ll miss as you do down the budget line is big-name brands.

As watch faithful, though, you’ll be impressed by the level of craftsmanship and finish on even the “cheapest” GADA luxury watch on this list. What matters more? Well, if it’s luxury and pizzazz, you’ll find them in this review.  Let’s dive into GADA watches. 

About Luxury GADA Watches 

It’s hard to put a date on when GADA watches began since it’s essentially a concept for comfortable and functional timepieces. But it’s only right to trace its history to the origin of sports watches. 

More specifically, when Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary set out to climb Mount Everest, along with woolen suits and ice axes, these explorers carried Rolex Explorers on their trip. The rugged timepieces reached the summit and back intact. 

This is a watch that feels at home at high altitudes and is more than welcome at a fashion show or a five-star restaurant. The Omega Seamaster is another iconic GADA at this point – as it also made a trailblazing journey into space.

Soon, around two decades later, classic dressy luxury watch brands like AP and Patek Philippe embraced the GADA culture. They released the Royal Oak and Nautilus as their official launches into the world of sports watches.  

These watches, as far as horological history goes, are the frontrunners for the advent of GADA watches in pop culture today. 

How To Spot The Perfect GADA Luxury Watch

What’s a watch review without a guide on how the editors made our top picks? That’s a dictatorship. Or garbage at worst because you don’t have a map that can show you how to make your own informed decision about your top pick. 


The whole point of a GADA watch is to be so comfortable that you want to wear it everywhere you go.  We pay attention to the little details that make them so wearable, regardless of brand or model. This will help you pick a GADA timepiece outside of the models on our list if they’re outside your price range or not to your taste. 

Case-Bracelet Symmetry: A GADA watch should have a bracelet at least half the width of the case, preferably more. It gives the watch a sturdy and reinforced feel and contours well to the wrist. 

Bezel: GADA watches may have the durability of an instrument watch, but they’re primarily bezel-less and without the crown or pushers protruding. That’ll be considered too sporty and inconvenient to go anywhere. 

Case size: a prime candidate for a GADA watch should be around 40mm. Thomas Stover calls it the “Goldilocks zone” because it’s large enough for readability and portable enough to dress up.

Build Quality & Durability

Can’t settle for less when it comes to durability in a GADA watch. So, how do you spot a timepiece durable enough to be a tool watch and stay classy?  

It’s all about the material component, as GADA watches consist of a solid case build, a secure clasp system, and a legible and luminous dial.  


The style and engineering of a GADA watch should be suitable for casual and formal wear. It’s not enough for a watch model to be water-resistant and strong. It should also be a good contender for formal wear.

Consequently,  a predominantly classy and dressy GADA should be capably built for active or sporty wear to be considered GADA. 

12 Best Luxury GADA Watches

This is a list of the best luxury everyday wear watches, with prices ranging from two thousand dollars to about fifty thousand dollars. 

1. Ball Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer (ref. NM9026C-S6CJ-BK)

Starts from approximately $2,200

The Ball Engineer Marvelight is the lesser-known GADA watch for hardcore enthusiasts and new watch lovers. This watch is so good it’ll pass for a Rolex Datejust alternative with flying colors. With a 40mm stainless steel case that’s only 13.6mm thick and weighs 180g, you can go anywhere and do anything with the Marvelight. 

Unlike a Datejust, though, you aren’t getting the trademark steel. But you get a 904L stainless steel shield that’s reinforced with a mu-metal shield, which means you can wear it underwater or in magnetic fields. It’s water resistant to 100 meters and has a 1000-gauss anti-magnetic protection. 

It has a captivating black dial that contrasts perfectly with the silver hour markers. What’s more attractive is the architecture of its case. This dial is not just about aesthetics; it’s also about functionality. Ball’s signature H3 gas tubes adorn the hour markers, offering luminescence that outshines traditional SuperLuminova, ensuring optimal visibility in low-light conditions.

Inside the Marvelight is Ball’s RR1103-C caliber, a COSC-certified automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve. While this may come up short for collectors, it’s perfect for anyone who wants luxury daily wear. 

Its chunky bracelet and large crown give it a substantial feel on the wrist, yet its dimensions make it versatile enough to double as a dress watch.

 2. Tudor Ranger (ref. M79950-0001)

Starts from approximately $3190

The Tudor Ranger (ref. M79950-0001) is a testament to Tudor’s commitment to precision, functionality, and timeless design. Drawing inspiration from its rich heritage, the Ranger is a modern reimagining of the classic field watch. 

It’s encased in a 39mm steel frame with a brushed satin finish and rounded case reminiscent of the Ball. They have a similar case design but a different finish. The Ball is more versatile for formal wear, while the Ranger has a casual appeal. I only mean this theoretically; practically, though, both timepieces are to die for in a dress. 

The Tudor Ranger’s enigmatic dial exudes “GADA.” It has a dull vintage matte black dial with clearly illuminated hour markers characteristic of a tool watch while maintaining a dressy appeal. Admittedly, the polished bezel edges play a part in this. Moreover, the mixed styling of the hour markers and hands, using Roman numerals, a red pointed seconds hand, and an arrow hour hand, are rare Tudor features.  

Only 12mm thick with a 47mm lug-to-lug dimension, you can’t miss out on the comfort plane. And it uses a powerful 70-hour power reserve in-house MT-5402 automatic caliber. If style, readability, and comfort from a fairly popular brand interest you, this Tudor Ranger is your GADA. 

3. Longines Spirit Zulu Time 39mm (ref. L3.802.4.63.6)

Starts from approximately $3,400 

The Spirit Zulu might be Longines’ best-kept secret. Because for a brand that’s almost purely a dress watchmaker, they knocked this GADA out of the park. Although we agree a GADA watch should be bezel-less, the Spirit Zulu remains wearable with its 39mm steel case.

It’s refreshingly different. While the case is round, the lugs have a distinctive angular shape that gives it a robust look, although they are still under 47mm. The bezel is bi-directional and can function as a second 24-hour time zone. An extra hand on the dial reads minutes.

The Spirit Zulu is powered by an in-house L888-4 caliber with 65 hours of power reserve. While I love the durability and versatility of its stainless steel build and sapphire glass face, I appreciate the wide range of strap options. It’s available in blue and white leather straps with a blue dial. 

That’s right. It’s dressy, robust, functional, and comfortable. We just couldn’t pass up the Longines Spirit Zulu on a list of “go anywhere, do anything” watches.

4. Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400 (ref. 01 400 7778 7155-07 7 20 01TLC)

Starts from approximately $4,000

The Oris ProPilot X is astoundingly reminiscent of the F-35 fighter jet. A streamlined, sleek, yet powerful modern (released in 2022) luxury GADA watch. The Calibre 400 is ruggedly built with titanium all around, from the case to the bracelet.

It has a thoughtful and utilitarian aesthetic that pays homage to its aviation roots. The jagged bezel is inspired by the turbine of an airplane, which is beautiful and functional for pilots wearing gloves in the field.

Aside from an all-titanium build and 100-meter water resistance to do anything, it can be styled to go anywhere. This ProPilot X Calibre 400 has a painted blue dial and pointy, luminous hands and markers that complement its bezel.

Furthermore, the case is only 39mm wide and about 12mm thick. With that, you can dress it up or take it for a swim easily. Its wearability is compared to the Omega Seamaster 300M and the Seiko Turtle. 

Not to mention, it uses an Oris 400 caliber with 120 hours of power reserve. And is on display in its open caseback with similar turbine-inspired edges like the bezel. Finally, you have three dial options in pink and gray. 

5. IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX (ref. IW328201)

IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX (ref. IW328201)

Starts from approximately $5,500

Another pilot watches to make this list, but this time, a simpler model that traces back to World War II. The Mark XX is a symbol of history and modernity contained in a 40mm stainless steel case with a slim 10.8mm profile. 

Its matte black dial with Roman numeral hour markers and logo at 12 o’clock set a vintage vibe. So do the other color options, like sunburst blue and sunburst green. The black-and-white contrast of the dial, markers, hands, date window, and slim case is astonishing. 

Don’t let the cool and portable profile fool you. The IWC Pilot Watch Mark X is a powerhouse. Its 32111 caliber has a power reserve that can last up to 5 days. It’s also water-resistant up to 100 meters. 

Whether you rock this vintage timepiece on a stainless steel or leather strap, it’s the epitome of a luxury GADA watch. Its sheer doggedness and wearability are all you need to get there.

6. Grand Seiko Heritage SBGA211

Starts from approximately $6,200 

The Grand Seiko SBGA211, AKA Snowflake, is one of Grand Seiko’s most sought-after models. It’s a symphony of careful design and engineering prowess. What stands out in the Grand Seiko SBGA211 is its trademark Snowflake dial. It draws inspiration from the snow peaks of the Jonen Mountains just outside the Grand Seiko workshop. 

A brass plate goes through a multi-stage process to bring out the snow-white color without painting. Despite its size, it’s a testament to world-class craftsmanship and makes the SBGA211 a capable dress watch. 

And durability isn’t in doubt, either. It’s crafted in a 41mm high-intensity titanium case and is 12.5mm thick. It’s about thirty percent lighter than stainless steel watches, making it extra comfortable and actually “a pleasure to wear.” 

The SBGA also uses a game-changing spring drive of 9R65 caliber. It boasts a three-hour power reserve, and a power reserve indicator is at the bottom left of the dial. All in all, the SBGA211 “Snowflake” is the perfect GADA watch to enjoy a bulky yet lightweight and dressy timepiece.  

7. Hublot Classic Fusion Racing Grey Titanium 42mm (ref. 542.NX.7071.RX)

Starts from at approximately $7,900

This is the first rubber strap entry on this list and probably the last. But you’ll see soon why it’s a worthy model on the list.  The 42mm titanium case is easily its standout feature. There’s a perfect symmetry to the case etchings, pins, markers, and hands that’s simply eye candy for either enthusiasts or the uninitiated. 

Hublot Classic Fusion runs on a Hublot 1110 caliber with a Sellita base. It features only 42 hours of power reserve and 25 jewels. This may be the only downside to what’s otherwise a sublime piece of art. 

As expected from titanium, it’s lightweight. This, coupled with the gray rubber strap, makes it the ultimate luxury GADA watch. The washed gray dial is the perfect companion to a dinner date and will equally accompany you for laps in the pool. 

8. Omega Constellation Globemaster (ref.

Omega Constellation Globemaster (ref.

Starts from approximately $8,500

This is one of Omega’s more reliable and accurate timepieces and is also a paragon of elegance. However, it’s an unconventional design and engineering for those who dare to be different while still upholding GADA standards.  

You don’t have to worry about comfort and durability with this masterpiece from Omega. It hits the sweet spot with its 39mm case and 12mm thickness. 

It embodies a fusion of different eras in Omega chronometer designs. The unique “pie pan” dial with edges that appear like it’s a 12-pointed star or 3D work of art. It was the favorite feature of 50’s and 60’s constellation models. Even in “Globemaster,” the name was borrowed from the first Constellation. 

Also, this dial has impeccable readability, like stars on a clear winter night. The blue dial contrasts with the silver stick hour markers, while the dotted minute markers look like bright stars. And they match with the carbide bezel, case, and bracelet, which is spectacular. 

What’s more, only the crown protrudes from the case. It may be a small adjustment, but it makes the difference for a stylish dress watch. 

Moreso, the Constellation Globemaster is a master time teller carrying Omega’s 8900 caliber. It carries the “Master Chronometer” label, indicating that it underwent the rigorous testing and certification process with METAS. 

9. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Green Dial (ref. 124300-0005)

Starts from approximately $10,000

An epic luxury watch list is almost incomplete without a member of the Rolex family. And the Oyster Perpetual made the cut not because of some nefarious nepotic scheme but for its brilliant excellence as a GADA. 

It was love at first sight; however, as the saying goes, love simply isn’t enough. But its basic yet classy features will justify the price tag. 

Let’s be honest. The first thing you notice about this watch is its green dial. Aside from its beauty, this is a rare feature in Rolex collections and increases its resale value. But that’s beside the point. It makes it a perfect fit to style your evening wear or a casual outfit.

Durability is not a debate with a Rolex timepiece. The Oystersteel case and bracelet are tested and trusted to withstand rough or extreme use. This watch is water-resistant up to 100 meters and has a dependable Rolex caliber 3230 that’ll stay accurate in extreme conditions for up to 45 hours. 

Without any initial doubts, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual is a top-notch luxury GADA watch for folks who want to make a statement in the process.  

10. Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A

Starts from approximately $25,000

When it comes to making statements, you can’t go wrong with Patek Philippe. Or the next two watch models on this list. We are talking about the “Holy Trinity” of horology. And the Aquanaut is one piece you can wear anywhere. 

It’s the epitome of luxury and simplicity. Its simple yet sophisticated craftsmanship design is what makes it irresistible. The black dial, sweeping hands, Arabic numeral, front-and-back sapphire cover, and insane durability and water resistance 

I’ll start with the dial. It’s carefully embossed with a checkered grid design that looks like a spherical representation of the globe in black. And the gold-applied hands and hour markers have a harmonious connection that tells the time extravagantly. 

The 41mm stainless steel case turns what would’ve otherwise been too sporty into an ultimate GADA piece. It has a bold cushion shape that transforms the Aquanaut into what you want to be underwater in a wetsuit, tuxedo, or plain tee. Coupled with its composite black strap and its only 8.9mm thickness, the Patek Philippe is the best sporty luxury GADA watch. 

The case is also water-resistant to 120 meters. Flipping it on its back, you can peep the Caliber 324 SC with a gold rotor. The only downside is that I expected more than a 70-hour power reserve from such a powerhouse. One thing’s for certain, though: it will last the lifetime of several generations.   

11. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self-Winding (ref. 4500V/110A-B483)

Starts from approximately $21,000

“Perfectly suitable for active lifestyles,” is the first thing VC says about this model on their sales page. So, if you don’t take my word for it, Vacheron Constantin should change your mind. 

This Overseas model is pure luxury and fully customizable for an epic GADA experience. It features an easily interchangeable strap system with steel, leather, and rubber options available, plus a secure clasp system. In essence, you enjoy the best of every occasion, like the Apple Watch, depending on your straps. 

It has a 41mm Maltese cross-shaped case with a black dial that will turn heads in any setting. This stainless steel encasing has a pronounced polish finish that reflects beautifully. And the dial is finished in gloss, so it appears darker against the stick and dot hour markers and hands, especially when they come alive in the dark. 

The outer case and bracelet portray meticulous craftsmanship with their brushed finish. An open case back with a sapphire crystal cover displays the VC 5100 caliber with a 22k gold rotor. It features 60 hours of power reserve, 37 jewels, and a date function.

12. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-Winding (ref. 15510ST.OO.1320ST.08)

Starts from approximately $45,000

In the grand scheme of things, the AP Royal Oak will go down as the ultimate luxury GADA watch. Luxury, comfort, and style. The Royal Oak is touted as Audemars Piguet’s latest ergonomic design evolution. 

With an integrated bracelet, you enjoy the best of both worlds – aesthetics and comfort. The harmonious flow of the lug into the bracelet reinforced durability, and extra conformity to the wrists. But that’s just a warmup. Its octagonal 41mm stainless steel case casts the watch under the spotlight.

The expert-made Grand Tapisserie dial provides substance when you look closely at the guilloche patterns. Furthermore, the hour markers and hand appliances can work, and they have an impressive finish that appears like titanium or white gold. Inside the case, is a caliber 4302 with 70 hours of power reserve.


Luxury GADA watches accompany you anywhere you want to go and are suitable for any purpose. Essentially, these timepieces become a dress, sport, or tool watch as you desire. If your aim is to pick the absolute cream of the crop, then this guide has all the models that can make that a reality.

You’ll find entry-level luxury for as little as two thousand bucks and can gradually transcend into the “Holy Trinity” of watches for as much as forty thousand. Alternatively, you can guide yourself to pick a non-luxury GADA watch based on our guide and top picks. For now, enjoy the top 12 luxury GADA watches in the horological scene.

Best Monthly Watch Subscriptions

In the ever-evolving realm of horology, a trend has been ticking its way into the spotlight – the monthly watch subscription. Is this the path to horological nirvana or just a cleverly designed wristwear carousel? In this exposé, I’ll unravel the mysteries surrounding this new trend.

Imagine a world where, every month, a box arrives at your doorstep, harboring a new and (sometimes) exciting watch. These subscription programs promise not just timekeeping but an ongoing affair with novel timekeepers.

But are they worth the investment? Are these subscriptions the horological equivalent of a treasure chest or merely a glitzy gimmick? Read on as I unveil the five best contenders in the watch subscription sector today.

Delivering Time To Your Door – About Monthly Watch Subscriptions

The allure of monthly watch subscriptions has emerged as a captivating and convenient way to satiate one’s passion for timepieces. This contemporary phenomenon took its first tentative steps into the watch world not too long ago, but it has since gained traction among enthusiasts and collectors alike.

The notion of receiving a fresh watch every month, like clockwork, began to pique the interest of watch aficionados around the early 2010s. The idea spread like wildfire, gaining momentum through social media, watch forums, and word-of-mouth recommendations. Watch enthusiasts, both seasoned and newcomers, were captivated by the prospect of expanding their collections without an arduous hunt or hefty price tags.

But how do these monthly watch subscriptions actually work? Allow me to demystify the mechanism behind it all. Typically, a variety of tiers or packages, each tailored to different preferences and budgets, are offered by each service. Once you’ve chosen your subscription level, you enter the horological arena, ready to embrace the element of surprise.

Every month, a meticulously selected timepiece, often curated by experts, makes its way to your doorstep. The anticipation is part of the thrill – you might receive a vintage-inspired piece one month, a rugged diver’s watch the next, or perhaps an elegant dress watch. The element of surprise and the diversity in styles help keep your collection fresh and exciting, which is part of the appeal for many subscribers.

Most subscriptions also allow you to wear the watch for the month, experiencing its nuances and appreciating its craftsmanship. At the end of the month, you can choose to keep the watch (usually at a discounted price), return it, or swap it for another. In other words, you’ve got the joy of wearing interesting watches without any of the hassle or commitment associated with buying them.

In a world where time is of the essence and horological exploration knows no bounds, monthly watch subscriptions offer an alluring blend of convenience, variety, and adventure. Whether you’re wearing a Patek or a Swatch, the concept alone should get your senses tingling.

5 Best Monthly Watch Subscriptions

Although there are now many more watch subscription services than there were even just 5 years ago, the cream rises to the top, and as such, there are only a few worth mentioning. Here are the top 5, by my estimations!

1. Watch Gang: Horological Equity

Company History: Founded in 2016 by Matthew Gallagher, Billy Harvill, and Robert Taylor, Watch Gang set out to democratize the world of watch collecting. With a mission to provide affordable access to an ever-growing collection of timepieces, they’ve made quite a splash in the horological community.

How It Operates: Watch Gang offers three subscription tiers: Original, Black, and Platinum. Each tier promises a monthly watch delivery, but the excitement lies in the element of surprise. Subscribers could receive anything from micro-brand pieces to well-known names like Seiko and Citizen. The thrill? The value of the watch received often exceeds the subscription cost.

What Watches You Can Get: The selection varies widely, from divers to dress watches, with a penchant for emphasizing both classic and contemporary styles. Watch Gang even features their exclusive ‘Wheel of Watches’, where subscribers can spin to win luxury watches or other enticing prizes.

Cost: The Original tier starts at $49 per month, the Black tier at $99, and the Platinum tier at $299.

2. Eleven James: The Luxury Collection

Company History: Eleven James was born in 2013 and founded by Randy Brandoff. It caters to the horologically inclined who seek to elevate their watch game with a touch of luxury.

How It Operates: Eleven James offers four membership plans: Enthusiast, Aficionado, Connoisseur, and Virtuoso. Each plan provides access to an exclusive collection of luxury watches for a set duration. Subscribers can swap their timepieces periodically, ensuring they always have one that suits the occasion.

What Watches You Can Get: Eleven James focuses on high-end luxury watches, including brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. Expect a curated selection of iconic timepieces.

Cost: Membership fees range from $149 to $1,999 per month, depending on the plan and the watches you desire.

3. Wrist Mafia: The Newcomers

Company History: Wrist Mafia is a relative newcomer, founded in 2019. However, its founder, Brandon Ladd, is no stranger to the world of horology, having a rich background in luxury watches.

How It Operates: Wrist Mafia stands out for its dedication to delivering high-quality, handpicked watches. Subscribers can choose from three tiers: Standard, Premium, and Platinum. Each tier provides a monthly delivery of carefully curated timepieces that are sure to please.

What Watches You Can Get: Wrist Mafia prides itself on offering watches from renowned brands like Rolex, Omega, and TAG Heuer, along with other luxury and micro-brand selections.

Cost: Subscription plans range from $129 to $299 per month, depending on the tier you select.

4. Breitling Select: On-Brand Brilliance

Company History: Breitling Select is a premium subscription service introduced by the iconic Swiss watchmaker Breitling. With a history dating back to 1884, Breitling is renowned for its aviation-inspired timepieces.

How It Operates: Breitling Select offers a unique opportunity to experience the brand’s exceptional watches. Subscribers receive a different Breitling watch each month. It’s a chance to explore the brand’s extensive range and discover which Breitling model best suits your style.

What Watches You Can Get: With Breitling Select, you can expect to receive a variety of Breitling watches, from their iconic Navitimer to the Aviator 8 and more.

Cost: Membership fees start at $129 per month, making it an attractive option for those looking to dive into the world of luxury Swiss watches without making a massive financial commitment.

5. Monthly Watch Box: The Horological Curator

Company History: Monthly Watch Box has been serving the watch community since 2014. Founded by Ben Adams, this service aims to provide both watch novices and connoisseurs with a curated monthly dose of horological excitement.

How It Operates: Monthly Watch Box offers three subscription tiers: Standard, Pro, and Platinum. Subscribers receive a watch each month, and the best part is that they get to choose from a selection of options, ensuring a personalized experience.

What Watches You Can Get: The selection includes a mix of styles and brands, ranging from classic dress watches to rugged divers and even some micro-brand surprises.

Cost: Subscription plans start at $39.95 per month, making it an accessible option for those on a budget who still want to enjoy a regular dose of wristwatch variety.

These five monthly watch subscription services cater to a diverse range of tastes and preferences, from affordable variety to high-end luxury. Whether you’re looking to expand your collection, try out luxury timepieces, or simply enjoy the thrill of a monthly surprise, there’s a subscription that suits your horological journey. So, which one will adorn your wrist next? The choice is yours, and the adventure awaits.

Are Monthly Watch Subscriptions Worth It?

Monthly watch subscriptions come with their own set of pros and cons, making them a worthwhile endeavor for some while leaving others with a raised eyebrow.

The Pros

Variety, Variety, Variety: One of the most significant advantages is the sheer variety you get to experience. From tool watches to timeless classics and everything in between, these subscriptions offer a diverse range of timepieces that can keep your collection fresh and exciting.

Affordable Access to Luxury: Services like Breitling Select and Eleven James allow you to enjoy luxury watches without the eye-watering price tags. It’s a fantastic way to explore high-end brands without committing to a significant purchase.

Curated Selections: Many subscriptions are curated by horological experts who handpick watches for their subscribers. This means you’re likely to discover hidden gems and under-the-radar brands you might not have encountered otherwise.

The Cons

Lack of Ownership: Perhaps the most significant drawback is that you don’t actually own the watches you receive in most cases. This can be a deal-breaker for collectors who want to build a lasting, physical collection. However, many of the services offer a buy-out option, so you don’t necessarily have to send the watch back every time!

Subscription Costs: While some subscriptions are budget-friendly, others can be quite pricey. For some, the monthly cost might add up to more than they’d typically spend on a watch.

Limited Control: You might receive watches that don’t align with your taste or style. If you’re someone who prefers to carefully curate your collection, the element of surprise might not be appealing. In short, it really sucks having your bubble of anticipation burst by a watch you dislike.

Condition and Authenticity: There’s always a slight risk when it comes to the state and authenticity of the watches received. While reputable services take great care in this regard, others are less pragmatic.

In essence, whether a monthly watch subscription is worth it depends on your individual preferences and goals as a collector. If you crave variety and enjoy the thrill of trying out different watches without the commitment of ownership, these subscriptions can be a delightful journey. 

However, if you’re a die-hard collector who values ownership, control over your acquisitions, and the long-term investment potential of a timepiece, you might find these services less appealing.

Ultimately, it’s all about striking a balance between your passion for horology and your personal collecting philosophy. So, are monthly watch subscriptions worth it? The answer lies in the ticking heart of your own horological desires.


As we draw the final seconds of this guide, it’s abundantly clear that the question of whether monthly watch subscriptions are worth it hinges on the individual collector’s heartbeat. 

For those who savor the excitement of an ever-changing wrist companion and the opportunity to sample an array of styles and brands, these subscriptions offer a tantalizing experience. It’s a journey through time and style, a monthly adventure that keeps the wrist-wear flame burning bright.

However, for the steadfast collectors who cherish ownership, control, and long-term investment potential, the allure of these subscriptions may pale in comparison to the satisfaction of building a personal collection.

Whether you find your horological haven in a monthly surprise or a carefully curated collection, remember that in the world of watches, time is truly on your side. So, my fellow watch aficionados, the choice is yours, and your wrist remains the canvas of your horological journey.

Automatic vs chronograph watches

Wristwatches are more than just functional timekeeping devices; they are also symbols of personal style, luxury, and craftsmanship. Among the various types of watches available, two prominent categories stand out for the modern collector, enthusiast, and all prospective buyers: automatic and chronograph watches. Each of these categories has a unique history, design, and functionality, which intersect and overlap in many ways. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of automatic and chronograph watches, exploring their origins, how they operate, and this fascinating overlap between the two in the form of automatic chronograph watches. Buckle up, and let’s dive in!

About Automatic Watches 

The roots of automatic watches can be traced back to the late 18th century when Abraham-Louis Perrelet, a Swiss watchmaker, invented the self-winding movement. His invention laid the foundation for automatic watches, which are often referred to as “self-winding”, “mechanical”, or “mechanized” watches.

The key innovation behind automatic watches is their ability to wind themselves through the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist. This ingenious mechanism eliminated the need for manual winding, the default function of watchmaking of the day, making automatic watches a practical choice for those who appreciate the beauty of traditional watchmaking without the need for frequent manual intervention by the user.

How Automatic Watches Operate

Automatic watches function through a complex system of gears, springs, and rotors. Here’s a simplified explanation of how they work:

  • Rotor Movement: Inside an automatic watch, there’s a small semi-circular weight called the rotor. As the wearer moves their wrist, the rotor pivots on its axis.
  • Energy Transfer: The motion of the rotor winds the mainspring, which is the coiled spring responsible for storing energy.
  • Power Reserve: The mainspring stores the energy generated by the rotor’s movement. This energy is used to power the watch and keep it ticking.
  • Regulation: The watch’s movement is regulated by an escapement mechanism, which controls the release of energy from the mainspring at a consistent rate.
  • Timekeeping: The regulated release of energy drives the hands of the watch, allowing it to keep accurate time.

Automatic watches are known for their smooth, sweeping second hands, which move continuously rather than ticking in one-second intervals, commonly found in quartz watchmaking technology. This feature adds to the elegance and charm of automatic watches with its reliance on mechanical energy alone, without the intervention of batteries and electronic-based tech.

About Chronograph Watches 

Chronograph watches have a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. The word “chronograph” itself is derived from the Greek words “chronos” (time) and “grapho” (to write). These watches were initially designed for specialized applications such as measuring astronomical events and conducting scientific experiments.

One of the most notable figures in the development of the chronograph watch is Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec, a French watchmaker who invented the first practical chronograph in 1821. Rieussec’s design involved an ink-tipped stylus that marked elapsed time on a rotating dial as it moved across it.

How Chronograph Watches Operate

Chronograph watches are renowned for their ability to measure elapsed time with precision. Here’s how they operate:

  • Chronograph Movement: A chronograph watch features an additional set of sub-dials and pusher buttons on the case. These components are used to activate and control the chronograph function.
  • Start, Stop, and Reset: To measure elapsed time, you start the chronograph by pressing a designated pusher. The central second hand begins to move. To stop timing, you press the same pusher again, and to reset, you use a separate pusher.
  • Sub-Dials: The sub-dials on the watch face display elapsed time in various increments, such as seconds, minutes, and hours.
  • Return to Zero: After recording elapsed time, the chronograph hand can be reset to its original position, ready for the next measurement.

As mentioned, chronograph watches are often associated with precision timing and are favored by athletes, pilots, and professionals who require accurate timekeeping for various activities in sports and applications where accuracy is of the utmost importance and a literal split second counts.

Automatic vs Chronograph Watches: Which Is Best For You?: 

With some history and definitions under our belt, it’s now time to ask: Which is the best watch for you? Ultimately, the choice between an automatic and a chronograph watch boils down to your personal preferences and needs.

Choose an Automatic Watch If:

  • You appreciate the variety of styles and aesthetics within the automatic watch category. From everyday three-handed sports watches to dive or GMT watches with functional bezels, there’s likely an automatic watch to fit your needs.
  • You prefer a timepiece that doesn’t require frequent adjustments or battery replacements.
  • You’re a watch collector with multiple watches in rotation and value the ability to grab and go without the need to wind your watch daily.

Choose a Chronograph Watch If:

  • You require precise timing for activities like sports, racing, or aviation.
  • You want a versatile watch that can function as a stopwatch when needed.
  • You prefer a sportier and more rugged design. Many chronographs are larger in size and robust for larger wrists.
  • You value practical features that enhance your everyday life.

Whether you opt for an automatic watch or a chronograph watch, remember that the perfect timepiece is one that suits your lifestyle, complements your style, and aligns with your priorities. Both types offer their unique charm, and the right choice is the one that resonates with you the most. So, take your time, explore your options, and select the watch that will not only tell time but also tell your story.

What About Automatic Chronograph Watches? 

All that said, if you still can’t decide between the two and wonder if it’s possible to have the best of both worlds (ie: an automatic chronograph), have no fear. While automatic and chronograph watches are distinct categories, there is an intriguing overlap in the world of watchmaking – the automatic chronograph watch. 

These timepieces combine the self-winding mechanism of automatic watches with the stopwatch functionality of chronograph watches. The result is a versatile and stylish watch that caters to both horological enthusiasts and those who value precise timing.

Features of Automatic Chronograph Watches

  • Automatic Movement: Like traditional automatic watches, automatic chronograph watches use the wearer’s wrist motion to wind the mainspring and provide power to the watch.
  • Chronograph Functionality: In addition to telling the time, automatic chronograph watches offer the ability to measure elapsed time with the push of a button.
  • Elegance and Style: Automatic chronograph watches often boast exquisite designs, making them suitable for both formal and casual occasions.
  • Smooth Second Hand: These watches typically feature the characteristic smooth, sweeping second hand associated with automatic movements.
  • Complications: Some automatic chronograph watches may include additional complications, such as date displays or moon phase indicators, enhancing their functionality and aesthetics.

Popular automatic chronograph movements include the Valjoux 7750 and the ETA 2894, both known for their reliability and accuracy. These movements are widely used by renowned watchmakers to create exceptional timepieces.

Notable Automatic Watches 

In the market, there are a number of directions one could go when looking for an automatic watch. Indeed, a majority of mechanical watches in the market today will likely be automatic, given the practicality and standardization of automatic movements overall. 

Everything from your basic three-hand watches with dressier leanings to more rugged sports-type watches like divers and GMTs, there’s plenty to choose from. The following are three notable pieces to look into that range the gamut.

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time SRPD37

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time SRPD37

The Seiko SRPD37 is a sleek and stylish dressy timepiece that combines classic design with modern functionality as part of Seiko’s Presage line. Its stainless steel case and calf-skin leather band give it a premium feel, while the “Cocktail Time” olive and black sunray dial with date window add a touch of sophistication.

The watch features Seiko’s reliable 4R35 automatic movement, ensuring accurate timekeeping without the need for a battery. The dauphine hands and diamond-shaped indices make it easy to read the time in various lighting conditions, and the Hardlex crystal protects the dial from scratches.

With a water resistance of 50 meters, the SRPD37 is suitable for everyday wear and can handle light water activities. Its 40.5mm case size (11.8mm thick, 47.5mm lug-to-lug) strikes a balance between elegance and versatility, making it suitable for both formal occasions and casual wear when paired with different strap combinations.

Overall, the Seiko SRPD37 is a fantastic choice for those seeking a well-built, stylish, and dependable dress adjacent automatic watch at an affordable price point.

Retail Price: $425.00

Oris Big Crown Pointer Date (ref. 01 754 7741 4065-07 8 20 22)

Oris Big Crown Pointer Date (ref. 01 754 7741 4065-07 8 20 22)

The Oris Big Crown Pointer Date (reference 01 754 7741 4065-07 8 20 22) is a timepiece that seamlessly blends vintage charm with modern craftsmanship. Its 40mm stainless steel case exudes a robust yet refined aesthetic, while the oversized crown pays homage to Oris’ aviation heritage.

The standout feature of this watch is its iconic pointer date complication, which adds a unique touch to the classic dial design with a striking pointer date hand tracking the date along the outside edge of the dial. 

The cathedral-style hands and track markers create a striking and sophisticated look, accented by the hour numerals marking 1 through 12 o’clock. The automatic movement inside (Oris 7544, base Sellita SW 200-1) ensures precise timekeeping with a 38-hour power reserve.

With a water resistance of 50 meters, it’s suitable for daily wear but not recommended for extensive water activities. The watch can be purchased on a steel bracelet or leather strap, with both options complementing the overall design, providing comfort and style.

In summary, the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date is a timeless and elegant watch that captures the spirit of aviation history while offering modern reliability and style. It’s a true classic in the world of horology.

Retail Price: $2,150.00

Tudor Black Bay 41mm (ref. M7941A1A0RU-0001)

Perhaps no other brand epitomizes the success of vintage design in the past decade than the Black Bay line of watches from Tudor. Particularly, the Tudor Black Bay 41mm (ref. M7941A1A0RU-0001) is a prime example of the brand’s dedication to blending heritage design with modern functionality. 

Its 41mm stainless steel case (13.6mm height, 50.1mm lug-to-lug) exudes rugged elegance, and the bold black dial with gold-tone accents exudes a timeless appeal in the all-familiar dive watch template from the house of Rolex (and Tudor by extension).

The watch boasts the reliability of the Kenissi MT5602-U automatic movement, ensuring precise timekeeping in daily use. Its signature snowflake hands and luminescent markers pay homage to Tudor’s iconic design elements and dive watch tradition (calling back to the Tudor Submariners of yore). 

Its 200-meter water resistance makes it suitable for various activities, from daily wear to recreational swimming and diving, along with its now iconic burgundy dive bezel with its practical elapsed timing capability.

Newly available on a traditional oyster inspired bracelet, 5-link bracelet, or rubber strap. Overall, the Tudor Black Bay 41mm effortlessly balances vintage aesthetics with contemporary performance, making it a worthy choice for those seeking a versatile and stylish timepiece that’s built to last; A perfect daily driver.

Retail Price: Starting at $4,225.00

Notable Chronograph Watches

And while automatic watches can offer a wide variety of styling and aesthetics, chronograph watches are a bit more particular in their execution due to the form factor required. Still, there are chronograph watches available at varying price points for a new or seasoned buyer, and the following are a few notable choices should you choose to dip your hand into the category.

Seagull 1963 Chronograph

The Seagull 1963 Chronograph is a charming homage to mid-20th-century aviation timepieces utilized by the Chinese Air Force. While larger variants exist, of primary note is a more faithful smaller version, measuring in with a 38mm stainless steel case (47.3mm lug-to-lug, 13.22mm thick), acrylic crystal, and vintage-inspired design, it exudes a sense of nostalgia and authenticity.

The standout feature of this watch is its manual-wind mechanical movement, which not only harks back to a bygone era but also offers a unique connection to the art of watchmaking. The chronograph function, complete with two subdials and a central sweeping seconds hand, adds a touch of functionality to its retro charm.

The cream-colored dial, bold Arabic numerals, and blued steel hands create a legible and attractive face. Although it lacks modern conveniences like automatic winding or a date complication, the Seagull 1963 Chronograph excels in capturing the essence of classic watch design.

This watch is a true gem for vintage watch enthusiasts and offers an authentic experience at an affordable price.

Retail Price: $325.00

Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph (ref. L2.830.4.93.0)

The Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph (ref. L2.830.4.93.0) is a stunning timepiece that effortlessly marries timeless elegance with modern precision in a striking tuxedo dial. Its 40mm stainless steel case (13.6mm thick, 49.2mm lug to lug) embodies a vintage aesthetic, while the meticulously crafted details on the dial and bezel pay homage to Longines’ rich heritage and storied ties to aviation history.

This watch boasts a sophisticated caliber L895 automatic movement (28800 vibrations per hour, 54 hours of power reserve) that ensures accurate timekeeping and a reliable chronograph function for precise time measurements.

The cream-colored dial, silvered polished hands, blue chronograph hands, and painted Arabic numerals add a touch of sophistication, while the tachymeter scale on the outer edge of the dial provides a nod to its historical roots. With a black leather strap, it exudes classic charm and comfort.

The Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph is a beautiful example of how tradition and innovation can come together in a harmonious and stylish timepiece, making it a remarkable choice for watch enthusiasts who appreciate both history and craftsmanship.

Retail Price: $3,425.00

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch (ref. 310.

The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch (ref. 310. is an iconic timepiece that has solidified its place in horological history. As the watch that accompanied NASA astronauts to the moon, it represents a pinnacle of precision and reliability.

Its 42mm stainless steel case (13.2mm thick, 47.5mm lug to lug) houses the legendary manual-wind Omega Caliber 3861 movement, renowned for its durability and accuracy (and now METAS-approved). The black dial features the iconic tri-compax subdials, luminous hour markers, and bold hands, ensuring superb legibility.

Overall, the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is not just a watch; it’s a symbol of human exploration and achievement. Its timeless design, historical significance, and exceptional craftsmanship make it a must-have for any watch aficionado or space enthusiast.

Retail Price: $8,000.00


In the world of horology, the choice between automatic and chronograph watches often comes down to personal preference and intended use. Automatic watches are enchanted with their intricate self-winding mechanisms and variety in style and execution, while chronograph watches excel in precision timekeeping and sports-related applications.

Ultimately, whether you opt for an automatic watch, a chronograph watch, or an automatic chronograph watch, your choice should reflect your individual style, interests, and the role you want your wristwatch to play in your daily life. Regardless of your preference, one thing remains certain: the world of watchmaking continues to evolve, offering a vast array of options to cater to every taste and need. Godspeed!

Best survival watches

When I think of survival watches, a few images come to mind, notably G-Shock watches and the iconic image of Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing his Seiko H558 in the movies “Commando” and “Predator”. However, as technology within timepieces has advanced, so too has the ever-growing list of multifunctional and rugged watches.

Survival watches are tool-based timepieces that contain unique complications, making them invaluable in potentially life-threatening situations. Below, we will review the best survival watches currently available on the market and explore who these watches are tailored for.

About Survival Watches

Historically, one could argue that diver watches were the earliest form of survival watches. Typically, countries commission timepieces for their military. In the past, these included the iconic Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, Rolex Submariner, and Zodiac Sea Wolf.

However, with the advancement of modern technology, brands beyond the traditional watchmaking industry have entered the survival watch market. These brands now include G-Shock, Garmin, Suunto, and more. This shift can be attributed to the increased popularity of outdoor exploration, particularly following the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions globally.

Survival watches should boast key features that enable the wearer to use them in emergency or life-threatening situations. Examples of such cases include being stranded, navigating underwater environments, or even dealing with health-related emergencies.

What To Look For in Survival Watches?

Survival watches should ideally incorporate the key features mentioned below, making them genuine tools for the wearer. Let’s move forward and explore these features.

Build Quality

This is one of the most crucial aspects of a survival watch. The build quality must meet high standards because these watches are intended for practical, rugged use. You can typically expect the main case material to be 316L stainless steel or titanium. Additionally, having a sapphire crystal is preferred, but mineral crystal or Gorilla Glass (smartwatches) is also acceptable.

Water Resistance

This is crucial for anyone using their timepiece as utility equipment, as a watch with a higher water resistance rating can withstand harsh environments. Ideally, a survival watch should have a water resistance rating of at least 100 meters, allowing the wearer to swim with their timepiece without concern. You never know when an explorer might encounter the sea, and as the saying goes, “prepare for the worst”.

Survival & Safety Features

A diverse range of features is essential for a survival watch because you never know when you may find yourself in an emergency situation. These features may include compasses, GPS capabilities, a pulse oximeter, comprehensive health tracking functions, safety and tracking features, as well as enhanced mapping functions, to name just a few.


I firmly believe that every tool watch should feature lume on the dial or, alternatively, a backlight. This enables the wearer to read and operate their timepiece in low-light conditions. I wore my Omega SMP Bond while ascending Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia in 2017. 

During the early hours of the morning, when I and my fellow climbers began the second leg of the ascent, I could easily check the time on my Omega SMP Bond due to its strong lume. Therefore, I highly value watches with excellent lume, not to mention they look cool in the dark!

15 Best Survival Watches You Can Buy Today

Now, let’s review the list of 15 survival-type watches.

Timex Expedition North Tide-Temp-Compass (ref. TW2V03900QY)

The first timepiece is from Timex, which I will refer to as the Tide-Temp-Compass. This variant features a gunmetal gray case crafted from 316L stainless steel. With a case size of 43mm, it strikes a balance between being large enough for practicality and fitting the tool nature of the watch.

Survival-oriented features of this watch include an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, luminescent hands, and hour markers, as well as 100m water resistance. One of its more unique attributes is what Timex calls the “Tide-Temp-Compass movement’s bidirectional center hand”.

This function serves to indicate local tide and temperature conditions, ensuring the wearer is headed in the correct direction. The Tide-Temp-Compass feature is especially valuable for mountaineering or hiking enthusiasts. The Timex Tide-Temp-Compass sells for between $249 and $269, depending on the strap/bracelet configuration.

Suunto Core All Black (ref. SS014279010)

Suunto’s fitness tracking devices have surged in popularity over the past decade, earning their place alongside Garmin in terms of quality and demand. The Core All Black case is crafted from composite material, featuring an aluminum bezel and mineral crystal glass.

With a 49mm case size, a true round shape, and a thickness of 14.5mm, it’s akin to having a sleek electronic compass on your wrist, making it both stylish and well-suited for outdoor adventures.

This rugged timepiece boasts survival-oriented features, including an altimeter, barometer, compass, temperature sensor, storm alarm, sunrise/sunset data, and a depth meter for snorkeling. These functions fulfill essential needs for anyone exploring the great outdoors.

The Core All-Black sells for $219.

Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400-1

G-Shock is renowned as a pioneer in survival watches, owing to its rich heritage and enduring popularity for being extremely tough. The Rangeman is a solar-powered timepiece equipped with a multi-band 6 function.

This means it utilizes radio waves to receive time signals from atomic clocks worldwide, including in Japan, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and China. Once the time is accurately set, the watch automatically synchronizes with the atomic clock daily.

As a proud owner of a G-Shock GWM5610 with solar and band 6 functionality, I can personally vouch for its exceptional timekeeping accuracy and convenience. With dimensions measuring 53.5mm in case size and 18mm in case thickness, the Rangeman is undeniably substantial on the wrist, but this ensures you’re always aware of its presence.

The Rangeman boasts an array of survival features, including ultimate shock resistance, 20-bar water resistance, an altimeter, barometer, world timer, stopwatch, LED backlight, and more. Having experienced a variety of G-Shock timepieces, I wholeheartedly recommend the Rangeman as the ultimate survival watch, given its unparalleled durability, reliability, and advanced technology.

The Rangeman costs $330.

Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar Tactical Edition

The Instinct Crossover Solar stands out as one of Garmin’s highly regarded smartwatches. Garmin boldly claims that this timepiece is “Built to military standards” and boasts an “Infinite Battery Life”. Let’s explore below to see why these claims hold true.

Garmin substantiates its claim of infinite battery life by incorporating solar power charging into this watch. Additionally, this Garmin model features a dual-layered bezel and 100m water resistance, designed to withstand the rigors of challenging environments.

This makes it not only thermal and shock-resistant but also aligns with the military standards claim. With a case size measuring 45mm in diameter and a thickness of 16mm, it strikes a balance on the wrist thanks to its short lug-to-lug length.

Alongside these attributes, it offers an array of valuable survival features, including dual-format GPS, stealth mode, a kill switch (not as sinister as it sounds), tactical activity tracking, safety and tracking functions, ABC sensors, weather reports, and more.

Furthermore, the Instinct Crossover Solar received the prestigious Red Dot Award in 2023, a globally recognized mark of excellence in product design.

The Instinct Crossover Solar Tactical Edition sells for $499, but it’s commonly discounted.

Alpina AlpinerX Sports Watch (ref. AL-283LBB5AQ6B)

The AlpinerX represents one of the more traditional Swiss watchmaking brands featured here. Inside the AlpinerX, you’ll find a smart quartz movement, ensuring precise timekeeping. This choice is apt, considering that automatic movements are more susceptible to damage or displacement if subjected to impact.

With a substantial 45mm case size, the AlpinerX offers a dual analog and digital display on the dial, justifying its larger dimensions. The watch boasts an array of features, including a screw-down crown that provides it with 100m water resistance, orange hands for enhanced readability, a rotating compass bezel, and sensors on both the dial and case for tracking altitude.

These, alongside the rest of the watch’s features, should suffice for most outdoor enthusiasts. The AlpinerX Sports is discontinued, but the secondary market indicates prices of less than $800.

Coros Vertix 2 Adventure Watch

Coros is a relatively new player in the smartwatch industry, founded in China in 2014. The Vertix 2 boasts a substantial case measuring 50mm in diameter and 15mm in thickness, aligning with the larger size commonly found in survival watches. 

It features a sapphire crystal, a titanium alloy case and bezel, an impressive battery life of up to 140 hours when using GPS, and up to 60 days of regular use. Additionally, it comes equipped with a compass, altitude sensor, barometer, heart rate monitor, and various mapping functions.

The Vertix 2 costs $699.

Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GWG2000-1A1

The Mudmaster, the second G-Shock mentioned on this list, stands as a higher-end offering compared to the Rangemaster. One of the key distinctions is its use of forged carbon in the bezel and a carbon fiber-reinforced composite case, elevating its quality.

Much like the Rangemaster, the Mudmaster also boasts a solar-powered timekeeping mechanism coupled with the multi-band 6 function. These features, which I wish every G-Shock had, prove invaluable for maintaining precise time without the need for manual adjustments during daylight savings.

Measuring 54mm in diameter, 61mm lug-to-lug, and 16mm in thickness, the Mudmaster is designed to withstand dust and mud, showcasing its ruggedness. 

In addition to ultimate shock resistance and 20-bar water resistance, it offers a comprehensive set of survival features, including an altimeter, barometer, world timer, stopwatch, digital compass, high-brightness double LED backlight, and a rarely seen sapphire crystal in G-Shocks.

This Mudmaster is undeniably one of G-Shock’s top tool watches, packed with a plethora of useful features. As a more premium G-Shock, this Mudmaster is priced at $800.

Luminox Bear Grylls Survival Master Series (ref. 3740)

The Bear Grylls Survival Ref 3740 stands as the second Swiss-made quartz watch featured here. Luminox proudly declares that this timepiece is “designed to be your trusty companion in any outdoor adventure”.

One of the standout features of this watch is its association with Bear Grylls, the former member of the British Special Forces. Knowing that it meets Bear Grylls’ seal of approval adds to its credibility and appeal.

The Bear Grylls Survival is meticulously crafted from carbon, with dimensions measuring 45mm in diameter and 14mm in thickness, ensuring a lightweight and comfortable wearing experience. 

What sets it apart is the luminescence achieved through a self-powered illumination system employing tiny micro gas light sources—a unique Swiss technology that guarantees luminosity for up to 25 years. These micro gas lights are strategically placed on the hands, dial, and even the 12 o’clock marker on the bezel.

This Luminox Bear Grylls Survival is listed at $995 directly from Luminox, and savvy shoppers can enjoy a 10% discount by applying a coupon code, making it an even more attractive purchase.

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro Sapphire Solar Edition

Garmin touts the Fenix 7 Pro Sapphire Solar as a watch designed for those who dare. This Garmin timepiece is available in three sizes: 42mm, 47mm, and 51mm, with the 47mm case version (with a thickness of 14.5mm) taking center stage.

This Garmin watch is loaded with a multitude of survival features, such as solar charging, Garmin’s exclusive Power Sapphire lens, an LED flashlight, multiple maps, weather reports, a pulse oximeter, ABC sensors, and much more. It seems Garmin is giving you everything but the kitchen sink.

Garmin’s reputation precedes it, but what sets this model apart is the premium materials used, likely enhancing its durability. While I may not have extensive experience with smartwatches in general, I’m inclined to consider Garmin for its versatile smartwatches, given its positive reputation and brand heritage.

Garmin places a premium price tag of $899 on the Fenix 7 Pro.

Marathon Pilot’s Navigator With Clip-On Wrist Compass (ref. WW194001BK)

The Pilot Navigator was born from a collaboration with Kelly Air Force Base in 1986, giving it a rich military heritage and genuine battlefield experience.

With a case size of 41mm and a thickness of 13mm, the Pilot Navigator is the smallest and most wearable watch on this list. Its high-impact composite fiber shell case ensures resilience against impacts while maintaining its pristine appearance. 

Tritium tubes on the dial, a great alternative to standard lume, provide excellent visibility in low light, and a sapphire crystal shields it from scratches. One drawback is its 6 ATM water resistance, which allows for wear in the shower but isn’t suitable for swimming.

However, considering its identity as an aviation timepiece, a pilot’s concerns would likely extend far beyond a water-damaged watch. The Pilot Navigator timepiece is priced at $450, and the additional clip-on wrist compass can be acquired for an additional $25.

Luminox Recon Nav SPC (ref. 8831.KM)

The Recon Nav SPC belongs to Luminox’s Recon series, designed for Navigation Specialists tasked with maintaining a vigilant patrol along designated routes until reaching their objective.

The Recon NAV SPC 8831 dial incorporates a user-friendly walking speed tachymeter, which can be read in kilometers or miles per hour. These timepieces are equipped with a movement featuring a GMT complication, enabling the wearer to track a second timezone.

With a case size of 46mm and a case thickness of 13.5mm, this Luminox watch offers practicality. Additionally, the watch strap includes three common map scales and an inch/cm measurement and comparison chart. It also houses a removable compass for added functionality.

Like the previously mentioned Luminox model, the Recon Nav SPC also boasts Luminox’s self-powered illumination system, utilizing tiny micro gas light sources that guarantee luminosity for up to 25 years. The watch features a sapphire crystal, ensuring durability. With a water resistance rating of 200m, it’s suitable for diving or snorkeling.

The Recon Nav SPC has been discontinued but can still be found in the secondary market for approximately $500.

MTM Black Status (ref. STATBBL2DBKR2MTM)

MTM is an American company with over 30 years of history, founded by Joe Casis, a former member of the Israeli Special Forces. The Black Status is a smartwatch with a sleek military aesthetic, thanks to its black-coated titanium case. Measuring 45mm in diameter and 16mm in thickness, it’s a robust choice.

The hands and hour markers are equipped with Super LumiNova for excellent visibility in low-light conditions. A layer of Sapphire Crystal protects the dial, and it offers a commendable water resistance rating of 100m, making it suitable for swimming.

This timepiece also packs several important features, including Multiple Timezones, Navigation, a Compass, Weather updates, an Alarm, a Chronograph, and a Countdown Timer. The primary focus of the MTM Black Status is its stealthy military appearance, combined with the brand’s strong ties to armed forces.

The MTM Black Status is priced at $750.

Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar Black

The Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar Black watch offers an impressive array of features, encompassing maps, an altimeter, a barometer, a compass, a storm alarm, weather forecasting, solar charging, heart rate tracking, and a diverse range of workout tracking capabilities. 

What’s particularly intriguing is that Suunto manufactures this watch in Finland, utilizing renewable energy sources. For individuals passionate about promoting green energy and who aspire to minimize their carbon footprint, choosing this Suunto timepiece is a meaningful step in the right direction!

The watch case comes in at 49mm by 13.6mm thick. It weighs only 74g and incorporates Glass Fiber Reinforced Polyamide in its case, Titanium Grade 5 for the bezel, and a sapphire crystal for the display. The strap is made of a comfortable silicone material. 

One area where this Suunto model stands out compared to its competitors is in battery life. It can last up to an impressive 60 days in daily mode, a significant advantage for extended outdoor adventures when charging opportunities may be limited. This makes it an incredibly valuable feature to have.

The Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar sells for  $839.

Casio Pro Trek Pathfinder PAG240-1

The Pro Trek Pathfinder features a double-layer liquid crystal display with a register ring equipped with triple sensors. It comes equipped with Tough Solar technology, offering directional, barometric pressure, altitude, and temperature measurement functions.

With dimensions measuring 51mm in diameter, 57mm lug-to-lug, and a thickness of 15.3mm, this Casio timepiece won’t easily slip under a cuff. One notable convenience is its large buttons, allowing users to operate it even while wearing gloves. 

The buttons are also well-protected from knocks and unintended bumps by guards on each side. The resin strap is securely fixed to the lugs of the case using screws.

While the Casio Pro Trek Pathfinder is a versatile watch, excelling in no particular area, it provides ample functionality for the average hiker or outdoor enthusiast.

The Pro Trek Pathfinder is available for $280, making it one of the best value propositions on this list.

Garmin Tactix 7 Pro Edition

Garmin proudly labels the Tactix 7 Pro as “Built for the field,” positioning it as Garmin’s ultimate smartwatch.

Survival features abound in this remarkable Garmin watch, encompassing GPS functionality, a Power Sapphire lens, an integrated flashlight, night vision capability, safety and tracking features, ABC sensors, weather reports, a multitude of workout-related trackers, an aviation mode that empowers wearers to navigate aircraft to precise locations, and much more.

What sets this Garmin watch apart is the fusion of tactical GPS with solar power. Garmin goes the extra mile by encouraging owners to share images of themselves wearing the Tactix 7 Pro in various environments, whether it’s in the gym or atop a mountain summit.

This timepiece is a “beast” of a Garmin watch, ready to handle anything thrown its way. The Tactix 7 Pro represents the pinnacle of Garmin’s survival watches, and its premium status is evident in its price tag of $1,299.99.


In essence, survival watches live up to their name—they are timepieces you’d want to have by your side during times of danger or an emergency. The watches featured above are more than capable of enduring rugged conditions while offering multifunctionality.

They empower wearers with a wide array of tools, from navigating in the right direction to withstanding water exposure and much more. Therefore, if you’re frequently outdoors or have a spirit of adventure, it’s worth considering some of the watches mentioned above as your reliable companions.

casio vs seiko

Casio, God Tier, the cheapest way to get a watch that’ll get the respect of billionaires. Seiko, value above all else, the best way to get a watch that’ll last you a lifetime without using your life savings.  Pick your poison. Bit tricky, eh? Allow me to help.

About Casio Watches 

Casio Computer Co., Ltd. is a Japanese company originally formed in 1946 (as Kashio Seisakujo) that began with electronics production, such as calculators. Casio was remarkably good at making calculators and is still a prevalent figure in this area – just ask your cousin making their way through college mathematics. 

Their first wristwatch only saw daylight in 1974, called the CASIOTRON. However, the brand found its ‘bread and butter’ with the release of the retro-futuristic F100 – not to be confused with the very retro Ford F100. The F100 was released in 1977 and was one of the first wristwatches to be constructed (mostly) in lightweight resin. 

Casio has stuck to this ‘style’ for the most part but has still taken the bold approach to making other options, some that even resemble famous Swiss offerings like the Cartier Tank. Casio has also become known for making use of quartz movements throughout all its models, and you’ll probably (never) see a mechanical Casio. 

Lastly, Casio has become famous for two other things. First, for their immensely influential G-Shock range, which, as the name suggests, is a range of immensely robust and utilitarian watches that’ll withstand… Well, just about anything. 

Worn by Marines and teens alike, the G-Shock transcends far more than any other watch does on the planet. Lastly, Casio has also caught fame thanks to YouTube sensation Nico Leonard, praising Casio as being ‘God Tier’, indicating that you cannot buy a better watch than a Casio. 

(I bought two Casio’s because they’re exceptional value. So, that’s something to take into account). 

About Seiko Watches 

Seiko was founded in 1881 and soon became one of the largest Japanese horology conglomerates. Initially, the brand garnered fame for its ability to create some exceptionally high-valued divers that are a steal for the money. 

What’s more, they are also known for the ‘quartz crisis’, a time in the 70s when the first quartz watches were released – by Seiko. Seiko’s ability to create exceptionally accurate timepieces at a fraction of the cost the Swiss were charging threw the entire watch market on its head! 

Today, Seiko is still one of the leading brands when it comes to value for money, especially when looking at divers – that said, the Presage dress watch range is growing as we speak, and my oh my, are there a few beauties in there. 

Casio vs Seiko: Which Is The Right One For You?

And now the big one! The one I’ve been dreading to answer because, well, both these brands have fan bases that are willing to throw down if you dare say something bad about either. Cautiously, let’s answer the question about which is best for you – a person with no affinity for either. 

I believe there is a clear difference between the two brands that can simply be defined as what you value more. If you prefer ease of mind with a dash of value, then Casio is the best place to be. If you prefer value over ease of mind, then Seiko is your best bet – here’s why.

Brand Recognition

Let’s not beat around the bush – both of these brands are immensely popular, with several decades of history to back them up. You could wear a Casio and impress both a 7-year-old and get a nod from a millionaire as you bought something that grants exceptional ease of mind while also offering a ton of value. 

Buying a Casio is like buying a Honda. For most, it looks cheap and cheerful, but only a few know that Honda has an extremely rich racing history and has made some of the most impressive sports cars in history – even Ferrari felt the heat from the original NSX. 

Seiko, on the other hand, takes this and dials it up to 11. Seiko is known for creating watches that are either loved or hated by people – and the only people who hate on Seiko aren’t really good people, to be honest. 

Seiko is a brand that underpromises and over-delivers, granting them brand recognition to the likes of the Swiss. Seiko also has way more influential models that have stood the test of time, and that’ll make all watch enthusiasts go, “Oh, that’s nice”! 

Round one: Seiko 

Model Variety

This is an area that Casio used to struggle with, seeing as their entire range was based around digital watches, but this has now changed. Whether you’re looking for a limited edition Coke G-Shock or a Tiffany-blue three-hander, Casio has a bunch of brilliant options. What’s more, they’re all relatively cost-effective as well. 

Seiko would beat Casio on this one if you compare them side to side, simply because Seiko does produce more variants of their models and has done so with greater success for far longer. Their dress range also has more to offer, not to mention the diving range! 

That said, I think this has to be a draw. Both of these are massive companies, and when you tally up all that either has to offer, the ranges are somewhat similar. I will mention that I do have to give a slight edge to Seiko simply because there is more. A more extensive collection list, more versions, and more movement offerings as well. 

Casio seems to appeal more to the general public. There is no “Monster” in their range, but there are plenty of monstrous Seiko models. Seiko seems to appeal to the enthusiast more but still makes plenty of watches your mom will like. 

For that reason, Seiko will edge out this round. You can wear ‘em while doing a real diving trip or while popping to the shops. Unless you specifically buy a G-Shock made for either, it’s going to be hard to pull that off in a Casio. 

Round Two: Draw (Seiko edges it slightly) 

Build Quality & Durability

This is going to be a doozy. Both of these brands are offered as cost-effective alternatives to some Swiss and German counterparts, so which edges the other when it comes to build quality? Firstly, it is clear that Casio focuses on production numbers and chases sales as best as it can.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in fact, the Casio G-Shock is renowned for having some of the best quality and durability on the market! Therefore, the build quality and durability are exceptional, albeit a bit bland at times.

Everything seems mechanically made, which isn’t wrong, but the designs suffer. The durability, as a result, is almost unmatched. Compared to Seiko, who certainly has a thing for going after a new funky design. Seiko is still known for staying true to what works, as is displayed by the wide variety of exploratory and traditional divers. 

This combination of trying new things and sticking to what works does sometimes mean that build quality suffers, unfortunately. Many complain that chapter markers do not match up or that bezels are not what they are supposed to be for the price. 

In terms of durability, Seiko is still up there hanging with the best of ‘em. Everything taken into account, I think this round has to go to Casio. They do fewer things wrong than Seiko. Seiko has improved in recent years, however, but some of their entry-level divers still suffer from production flaws that really shouldn’t be happening. 

Round Three: Casio


This is perhaps where the one brand will not only have a comfortable win but surpass the other completely. For reasons unknown, watch enthusiasts all prefer mechanical movements – either self-winding or manually-wound.

The only real argument is that this is a romantic gesture between you and your watch, a connection that surpasses the electronic world we live in. Well, Casio doesn’t have a single mechanical watch on sale anymore. It did once have them but has since switched to either quartz or solar-powered movements only. 

Seiko, on the other hand, has quartz, solar-powered, self-winding, and manually wound offerings. Done. There’s no competition. 

Round Four: Seiko, handsomely

Price & Availability

Firstly, on the topic of availability, these are evenly matched. You can get both of these online, in shops, and even on the second-hand market. 

When it comes to price, things start to differ once again. Casio will always be slightly cheaper due to the fact that their watches are typically ‘more’ in regards to finish, movement quality, and materials used. 

Seiko makes watches you could potentially use in the setting they were designed for. G-Shocks are as durable as can be, but the rest of the lineup seems more focused on aesthetics. In the end, Seiko will be more expensive, but for good reason. 

Round Five: Draw, you get what you pay for 

Resale Value

Let’s cut to the chase on this one. In recent years, the watch market hasn’t just boomed; it has completely exploded! Watches fetching 200% of stock price was not an uncommon sighting; that said, it probably won’t happen with a Casio. The number of Casio’s being produced is simply too high to create lust among collectors. 

The same cannot be said for Seiko. Sure, they create a massive number of watches, and you’re very likely to get them all over the net, but they are a tiny bit more exclusive compared to other watches produced by Casio. They’re harder to produce, they cost more, and some of them even have a history and come with nicknames! This makes them far more likely to sell for sticker prince compared to Casio. 

Round Six: Seiko 

Casio vs Seiko: Top Models Comparison

Before we reach a full conclusion, it’s probably best we compare some of the most famous of best-selling models from each of these horological giants. 

Casio G-Shock GA-2140RE-1A vs Seiko 5 Sports SRPD79

When you read the name G-Shock, you’re immediately taken to a tough environment filled with rugged people, hospitable factors, and just about anything else you might find in the forest. Or desert. So, finding a suitable comparison is going to be hard, but Seiko will not back down as is proposing the humble Seiko 5 Sports. 

The Seiko 5 has become incredibly famous in recent years, especially with the discontinuation of the SKX007. You get various colors and even a GMT option as well. It’s not that expensive, it has a reliable movement within, and the finishing (while not perfect) is definitely suitable for a watch many consider as their first or even their beater. 

G-Shock, on the other hand, is worldwide famous. Worn by some of the most popular figures in the world, including Justin Bieber, you have to pay respect where it is due. I think it’s very hard for a watch to beat the G-Shock, and very few do. 

It makes zero apologies for being large, colorful, and packed with more features than you might need. It’s impossible for G-Shock to lose this battle; hell, G-Shock would win against some Swiss giants.

Casio GA-2140RE-1ASeiko SRPD79
Case Size45.4mm42.5mm
MaterialsResinCoated Stainless Steel 
Water Resistance200m100m
MovementQuartz 4R36
Additional FeaturesStopwatch and Perpetual CalendarRotating dive bezel and day-date function
MSRP$99 – $150$360

Casio AQ-230GA-9DMQ vs Seiko SUP880

Ah yes, the Casio AQ-230GA-9DMQ, reminiscent of those retro watches the brand has become extremely well known for. This particular option is finished with a gold tint and offers a unique champagne dial displaying both analog and digital time! This is rather intriguing and has only really been used by a few brands.

I actually own a cousin of this watch, and it’s exceptional for the price. Slips under every shirt I own – JLC Master Thin, who? Remember I mentioned that these brands do create some watches reminiscent of their Swiss counterparts? Well, the SUP880 is precisely that, looking eerily similar to a Cartier Tank.

What’s unique about this one is the fact that it’s a solar option, and it looks exceptional! It’s relatively inexpensive, and in my opinion, it takes the cake between these two. It just looks so much more intriguing and attractive, not trying quite as hard as the Casio. That said, the Casio is one-quarter of the price – something to consider. 

Casio AQ-230GA-9DMQSeiko SUP880
Case Size38.8mm × 29.8mm38.4mm x 28.6mm
MaterialsResin (Gold Tone)Stainless Steel 
Water Resistance30m30m
MovementQuartz Solar V115
StrapResinStainless Steel (Gold Tone)
Additional FeaturesDual TimeSolar Charge Function

Casio Edifice EFR-526L-7AV vs Seiko Speedtimer SSC813

The last comparison is certainly one of the specified models. The Edifice range of Casio is perhaps not the range the brand is most known for, but it remains an integral part of the brand to this day. The ref. EFR-526L-7AV is a rather handsome offering, combining sporting features in an elegant package. 

A panda dial with a thin black tachymeter bezel secured with a leather strap, and you might even fool some people into thinking it’s an expensive mechanical offering – but in reality, it’s a cost-effective quartz model. The Speedtimer is a model with way more history and ‘oomph’ behind its name.

Originally released in the ’60s and recently re-released, the Speedtimer range is inspired by retro designs combined with modern mechanical prowess. Similarly to the Casio, a panda dial, but a robust case design and this time offered with a polished three-link bracelet. This is certainly more on the sportier side. 

Casio Edifice EFR-526L-7AVSeiko Speedtimer SSC813
Case Size43.8mm39mm
MaterialsStainless SteelStainless Steel
Water Resistance100m100m
MovementQuartzSolar V192
StrapLeather strapThree-link steel bracelet
Additional FeaturesChronograph and date functions24-hour hand, small seconds hand
MSRP$125$700 – $730


And the winner is… Neither. These two companies market watches and make them differently. Casio happens to make some of the most loved models on the market and rarely misses the mark. Seiko, on the other hand, experiments more but also has way more heritage to go off of and does have a cult-like following that dwarfs that of Casio.

In the end, buy what you like at a price point you can afford. One final thing to note: Seiko seems to make watches that appear mostly to enthusiasts, whereas Casio makes watches that appeal to almost anyone and everyone! So, if you want to fit in with your local enthusiast, get your hands on a Seiko SKX007… 

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