In each of your esteemed opinions, the most horologically significant among outdoor watches or all-weather watches shall always differ from one another. Still, certain names seem to be perennial; the first one coming to the mind in this context is definitely the Casio G-Shock, followed by Garmin, Seiko and Citizen. Best outdoor watches they might be, but none of them are Swiss!
There comes in Hamilton, Victorinox, Edox, Oris and other stalwarts of Swiss toughness, each with their own tales to tell and their own legacies to share.
- 10 best rugged watches to take you places in 2022
- Individual Model/Series descriptions: hiking watches, dive watches & more…
- F.A.Q: EVERYTHING ELSE THAT YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE OUTDOOR WATCHES
10 best rugged watches to take you places in 2022
|S. No.||Watch Model||Watch Type||Movement Details||Product Page link|
|1.||Casio G-Shock||Extremely Shock-resistant, Digital/Ana-digi adventure watches.||Solar-powered quartz movements with gel and urethane sealing against water and dirt intrusion.||Shop Now!|
|2.||Casio Pro Trek||Digital/Ana-digi sports/hiking watches for high altitudes and terrains.||Solar Powered, 3 Sensor-fitted, 6-band radio-controlled quartz.||Shop Now!|
|3.||Garmin Instinct||Solar-powered, GPS-enabled, AMOLED, smart multisports watches.||Solar-powered, GPS-enabled quartz movement.||Shop Now!|
|4.||Garmin Fenix||Solar-powered, multisport, GPS watches.||Solar-powered, GPS-enabled quartz movement||Shop Now!|
|5.||Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical||Classic army/military-style watches||Hand-wound Cal. H-50 movement with power reserve of 80 hours. Based on either ETA 2802-2 (no-date) or 2804-1 (date).||Shop Now!|
|6.||Seiko Prospex||Classic Diver-style watches for land, air and sea||Seiko Cal. 4R35/36 mechanical; Caliber H851/V195/192/147/157/175 Solar||Shop Now!|
|7.||Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X||Sports/Dress||Caliber: ETA 2824-2 (mechanical)||Shop Now!|
|8.||Edox Skydiver Neptunian||Sports/Diver||Caliber: 80A (based on Sellita SW 200) mechanical||Shop Now!|
|9.||Citizen Promaster||Diver/Pilot||Eco-Drive. Caliber: E784/660 (RC); U680; C660; B612/740/877; E168/784; J250/280; H145; Mechanical Cal. 8203/8210||Shop Now!|
|10.||Oris Aquis||Dress/Diver||Mechanical Cal. 733 (Base: Sellita 200-1)||Shop Now!|
INDIVIDUAL MODEL/SERIES DESCRIPTIONS: HIKING WATCHES, DIVE WATCHES & MORE…
1. Casio G-Shock: What to say about the G-Shock? It’s the Michael Jackson of outdoor wrist-wears; everybody knows about them. The Casio G-Shock is available both as mens outdoor watches and women’s outdoor watches, albeit the latter is more famous as Baby G.
G-Shock watches are held standards in toughness. G-Shock models can take extreme abuses without yielding the least; the kind that will render other watches as useless ruins. G-Shock has been recorded (in 2017) to survive under the wheels of a 24.97 ton (24,970 kilograms) truck; even the crystal didn’t crack. It was recorded by none other than the Guinness Book of World Records.
The excellent impact protection of the G-Shock owes both to its materials and the hollow case construction. The watches are built upon special frameworks; these help to absorb and distribute and thereby, eliminate shocks resulting from sudden impacts. The watch-core remains suspended within the case mounted on the frameworks and supported at specific points. Additionally, cushioning components pad the crystal oscillators and other parts within the movement, preventing contact failures and incorrect operational readings. On the outside, the case constructions offer directional covering to stop buttons from being pressed accidentally, other than protecting essential external parts from damage. All these make the G-Shock extremely resistant to extreme environments.
Now, G-Shock has many variants and many faces, each with its own unique advantages. All that advanced electronics tend to get confusing if you’re not sure about your selection. That it’ resistant to G-Force – knowing just this much might not help you to get the most suitable one. Especially, if you are looking for the best outdoor watches under 100!
G-Shock watches surpass many times the required specifications for special operations and procedures; withstand extreme temperature variations and strong magnetic fluxes and offers a large range of useful features, from self-power generation, mobile connectivity and sensor-based weather fluctuations to GPS-based positional findings and radio-controlled time corrections (including World Time across multiple time-zones), to name afew. Additionally, they are immune to both electrical currents and static electricity.
Though not dive watches per se, even the flying-related GRAVITYMASTER Twin Sensor G-Shock provides a 200-meter water resistance, making them just perfect for SCUBA diving and other water-related activities.
- G-Shock G-Squad Heart-Rate Monitor Digital
- G-Shock Full Metal Tough Solar Bluetooth Radio Controlled Digital
- G-Shock G-STEEL Analog Digital Tough Solar Diver’s
- G-Shock G-Steel Mobile Link Analog Digital Tough Solar
- G-Shock Classic ‘89 Black Revival Analog Digital
2. Casio Pro Trek: The Pro Trek is a high-tech hiking watch and it looks like one, too! Pro Treks are comparatively smaller and flatter than G-Shocks and are also more wearable socially, as a part of street fashion. They are also lighter than the G-Shocks; their functions (altimeter, compass, and barometer) easier reached than that of G-Shock (thanks to the dedicated, direct-access buttons). Are they as tough? Well, there’s really no doubt about it but it’s always better to avoid the Pro-Trek when you go amidst flying bullets. The Pro Trek is built keeping the adventurers in mind and not the soldiers; the dedicated buttons and the maximum readability is for ensuring that you do not slip off the cliff trying to find out the altitude (or the temperature or another feature).
The size and design of the display is by far the biggest visual difference between the Pro Trek and the G-Shock, the latter being bigger, rounder and with fairly higher visibility than the G-Shock, making it easier to operate. Pro Treks also come with more features than G-Shocks and their Triple Sensor mechanism drive the Digital Compass, the Altimeter / Barometer and the Thermometer.
The Pro Trek is your best choice if you are not worried about spending a little extra money for added trekking/hiking functionalities like Global Navigation and Trek Log Value Updating (w/ cumulative Ascent/Descent values) to keep auto-altitude readings. No other G-Shock than the Rangeman would give you that.
- Casio Protrek Bluetooth Smart Quad Sensor
- Casio Protrek Triple Sensor Digital Compass Solar Powered
- Casio Protrek Digital World Time Solar
- Casio Protrek Solar Analog Digital
- Pro Trek Triple Sensor MULTIBAND 6 Tough Solar
3. Garmin Instinct: Watches built for those big, long adventures, the Garmin uses 3 different Navigation Systems at a time using either GLONASS or Galileo in combination with GPS. The Garmin Instinct is fun to use, light and comfortable to wear; its sports/performance tracking abilities and built in navigational support are musts if you lead anything more than a sedentary life. The Instinct, however; doesn’t offer full mapping features or payment support; neither the Connect IQ app support, but this lack of features translate into a longer battery life i.e. it can run longer than other smart outdoor watches on a single charge. The Instinct has every basic (and basic+) options an outdoor watch must have and it offers those without hurting your bank balance. The Instinct delivers where it matters. Are they better than G-Shock? Find out here!
- Garmin Instinct Solar Tactical Edition
- Garmin Instinct E-Sport Edition
- Garmin Instinct Solar Surf Edition
4. Garmin Fenix:This is your first step towards serious fitness smart-watches since it offers all the important specs and features one might need after his/her initial stages of outdoor adventures are accomplished. This Garmin line-up is as robust as ever, geared towards the intermediate and experienced alike. Thanks to its advanced features and premium perks that reveal as a wide array of options, tailored for adventures and outdoor activities.
Each of the Garmin Fēnix models offers slightly different functionalities though centring upon the standard ones. Among these, special emphasis goes upon the Garmin Forerunner Fenix 5 Outdoor Fitness GPS outdoor watch, which proves to be a great mid-range option with an excellent feature set. Meant for those who don’t need the more advanced perks found on higher Garmin models and is an ideal option that saves you a lot of money. It’s not overwhelmingly huge unlike other outdoor watches; its use of high-quality materials and intelligent design is outstanding! Above all, it helps you to find your phone and lets you know its location when it’s off your wrist!
·Garmin Forerunner Fenix 5 Outdoor Fitness GPS w/ Sapphire glass.
5. Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical: A quintessential field watch, the Khaki Field mechanical is a direct reissue of the military specs design approved by the US government during the Vietnam Conflict. The Khaki Field Mechanical is all about rock-steady durability and simplicity, devoid of any other complication. However, with this watch, there comes the daily ritual of manual winding.
An ideal watch for the traditionalist and for those with hots for the military styles, it give you a taste of the old world without risking your money for a vintage from that era. A faithful reissue that’s rugged yet refined, it’s the kind of watch that goes as much with your casual, weekend clothing as with your semi-formal office-wear.
Despite its smaller-than-average size, it appears larger on the wrist due to its long lugs, resulting in a significant gap between the spring bars and the case. Why is that? Since it makes changing the straps – especially NATO straps – a breeze!
·Hamilton Khaki Field Power Reserve Mechanical
·Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Stealth
·Hamilton Khaki Field Brown Dial Mechanical
6. Seiko Prospex:These sports watches – despite Seiko written on their dials – have almost become a brand on their own! Top-end functionality addressing the needs for every kind of outdoor/marine activities (sports and adventures), the Prospex range serves divers, trekkers, hikers, travellers and aviators alike. Their excellent build and performance made Seiko rethink about releasing again some of their most popular watch models, including the Monster, the Tuna and the Turtle. This time, the difference is: They have been built according to higher professional specifications, which defines the honorary PROSPEX (Pro+Specs; pronounced ProSpex) preceding those names.
The crown of the Seiko Prospex line is the LX Spring Drive Professional. These are built to handle the intensity of just any kind of sport; on land, under the sea or in the sky! There’s also a stealth version released in the spirit of this classic sports watch. LX is the symbol for Lux; the SI-derived unit of luminosity; the word Latin in its origin. The way the Prospex LX reflects light, it can be said that it earned its name. Their broad, flat surfaces responsible; you may read more about them here. To read just about Spring Drive, click here.
The Seiko Prospex line was hidden within the Japanese mainland until they decided to turn it global. This broad range of very high-end sports watches come with quartz, Kinetic, Solar, meca-quartz and purely mechanical movements. There are Special Edition Prospex watches too, along with many others; but not necessarily in Titanium or with the Kinetic movement.
They are watches for the hardcore circles. Enormous and supremely sturdy, they are most reliable at your most testing times. A Seiko Prospex Marinemaster or a Scuba Diver (there’s a Solar-powered compact version to it) is your next 10 years or worry-free watch wearing, applying especially to the diver range.
·Seiko Prospex Automatic Scuba Diver
·Seiko Prospex Samurai Automatic Diver
·Seiko Prospex Automatic Diver’s King Turtle
·Seiko Prospex Solar World Time Chronograph Power Reserve
·Seiko Prospex Street Series Solar Diver
·Seiko Prospex Automatic Alpinist Field Compass
·Seiko Prospex LX Spring Drive Professional
7. Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X:Victorinox needs no introduction. The same, however; can’t always be said about INOX, which is an acronym for Impact Neutralizing Object for the X-tremes. It also matches the last four letters of Victorinox. The four-ounce stainless steel blocks and triple-coated sapphires pack the ETA mechanical and Ronda quartz movements between, creating solid timepieces that survive deep trips; into the Nature, under the ground levels or under water. The INOX has an excellent distribution of weight, which doesn’t let the weight centre at some specific point on the wrist. The thickness, richness and width of the bands/bracelets also contribute to the overall feel.
INOX are excellent travel watches, whether you are on a business trip or off to a much-earned vacation. Whatever you do throughout the tenure – swim, right, fly, run, play – or just roll around the city, INOX will be your technical, ruggedized wrist-top companion that’s neither expensive, nor gaudy.
·Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. Mechanical
·Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. Professional Diver Anti-Magnetic
·Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. Quart
8. Edox Skydiver: These are ultra-robust deep diving watches, fully-equipped and well-executed automatics. Their classic styles are given a twist to transform them into smart, casual wears.
The Neptunian is a prominent member of the Edox SkyDiver collection. It comes in the classic proportions of Edox, which is bit unusual for a deep-diving watch. It has a lot of presence and weight, but its well-conceived case brings in a good balance. Its combination of polished and brushed surfaces and bevelled edges bring a dynamic style while the screw-in, solid steel case backs with a pleasant engraving of Neptune (Roman God of the Sea) and 3mm-thick sapphire crystals ensure no moisture passes in. The calibre 80 mechanical movement is based on the tried-and-tested Sellita SW 200-1 architecture.
·Edox Skydiver 70s Date Automatic Diver
·Edox Skydiver Neptunian Automatic Diver
9. Citizen Promaster: With technology as their prime essence, it won’t be an exaggeration if we call the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster watches an agent of indefinite autonomy in the realm and while the Promaster is in no way a watch that’s going to last forever (in this case, 100 years and more), it comes much, much closer to that threshold than any other timepiece meant for the same purpose, at the same price. The Promaster presents itself in many a shapes and forms, the only common factors – technology apart – bridging them is a great deal of toughness and their ursine heft.
Promasters’ basic philosophy has always been the same as that of any other analog watch, only offering more out of it. They are mostly powered by light; got very sturdy cases, clasps and bracelets, which are designed and engineered to tolerate abuses and fatal impacts alike. It’s however; tough to tell whether a Promaster will win or a G-Shock; but the Eco-Drive Promaster is a completely solid-state timepiece (actuating and setting buttons/crowns apart) that leaves nothing left to be desired from the reliability standpoint. The Citizen Promaster line of professional-grade wearable instruments shall fit your stylistic interests along with your needs for the go.
The Promaster captures imaginations with its wide-ranging utility options. From adventures on the snowy peaks to the murky depths of oceans and high above the skies, the rugged Promaster is always ready for the journeys.
- Air: Aviation-inspired and greatly technical, sleek line of watches targeted towards airmen; professional flyers and hobbyists alike. Common features: Eco-Drive movement, stainless steel screw-back case, chronograph, tachymeter, alarms and rotating bezel with EB6 slide rule. Notable models: Promaster Nighthawk, Promaster Blue Angels RC World Time Chronograph, Promaster Skyhawk, Promaster Sky., Promaster Sky Radio-Controlled.
- Land: Perfectly suited to every kind of high-speed and high altitude adventuring on the toughest land environments, the Promaster Land is for the motorists-by-heart. Unique in their design elements, their stainless steel construction and fly-back chronographs get you the right timings. Common features: Eco-Drive movement, stainless steel screw-back case, chronograph, alarms and power reserve. Notable models: Citizen Promaster Altichron, Promaster Land Chronograph Radio-Controlled, PCAT.
- .Sea: For underwater explorers who are also careful about their stylistic intent. What could be better than an instrument that looks like a high-end watch? Built to go up to 1000M deep, they let you dive, swim, surf and sail to further amazing sea adventures. Common features: Eco-Drive movement, stainless steel screw-back case, chronograph, alarms, high depth ratings and power reserve. . Notable models: Promaster Marine Yacht Timer, Promaster Aqualand, Promaster Diver, Promaster Marine, Promaster Marine Super Titanium Automatic.
10. Oris Aquis:Mechanical Swiss watch. Oris is a considerable value-to-cost return, albeit not inexpensive per se. But the price makes up with the execution!
Still, their costs are significantly lower than most others in the Swiss luxury mechanical watch industry. Their most expensive pieces, too, rarely touch the $5000 mark (the Oris Force Recon GMT, for example).
Oris’ brings a more vintage look to the everyday, go-to diver that you don’t mind getting a little dirty on the way. The brand’s reputation is impeccable in innovating in response to their needs. Paradoxical harmony, if you really want to put a label upon Oris.
The Aquis uses a Cal. 733 – a reworked version of a Sellita SW200-1. However, for the ultimate diving watch experience, Oris recommends their Calibre 400 Aquispro.
Notable models: Oris Aquis Date Automatic Diver, Oris Aquis Date Automatic Diver’s Titanium
Based on what we’ve gleaned from the above accounts about the best outdoor watches, any newcomer to the world of outdoor watches shall be eager to try out one or the other of the specific pieces mentioned above. These have changed the adventure watches landscape and concepts vastly in the recent years, making it always interesting and entertaining to own such rugged watches.
Irrespective of whether you are going for dive watches, hiking watches or pilot’s watches, you are definitely going to find the best outdoor watches under $100 and we are definite that you’ll choose a substantial one this time following our top 10 list above. You’ll have the advantage of discriminating one from the other more logically this time; being further selective when one might otherwise not be; for having to leave something out means you have to think carefully what it is that you do not want the men’s outdoor watches or the women’s outdoor watches to be.
In short, these are a few key features which, by their presence, make a watch durable enough to be taken to places where other watches simply won’t stand a chance for survival. Water/dust-proofing, a high visibility and cases hardened against extreme and brutal forces come foremost; these shoot the reliability of watches like the Casio Pro Trek outdoor GPS sports watch or the Garmin Instinct higher.
There are also a plethora of other features (timers, alarms, GPS, compass, altimeters, thermometers etc.) that add on to their accurate time-telling and reliable data collection that takes you beyond any specific design features and help you to decide what kind of outdoor watch you want.
An outdoor watch may have a fully analog, a fully digital or an ana-digi display. It depends upon the functions your watch will offer. Each display type has its own benefits and purpose, which will be clear as we take a closer look at each of them.
Outdoor watches must exhibit a good battery life. For the outdoor smart watches, a fully charged battery should exist for a few days at least with all the functions turned on; for Solar-powered and Kinetic watches, that stretches from a few months to a few years (with power-saving mode on) and mechanicals – though not battery-powered – must be able to run for at least a couple of days before the next winding. A plain battery-driven quartz outdoor watch is good as long as you remember the battery-changing intervals.
An outdoor watch is more than and vastly different than your typical, standard analog/digital sports watch albeit it might not reflect in its looks. They feature specific designs and technology for added robustness and to execute accurate data. They are capable of offering even the slightest variations in temperature, depth or altitude, heart rate or direction; calculate your step count, biorhythm and a lot more. They are also immune to greater temperature fluctuations and can survive well under scorching heat and freezing cold. Alongside, they must come with a power source that must not get over all in a sudden.
An outdoor watch must score very, very high on durability – not just with its case, bracelet/strap and the glass top but also with its movement, so that accuracy of data is no way jeopardized. Always remember: Once the accuracy is lost, the watch is pretty much useless! So waterproofing is crucial and it must ensure that the watch is going to keep water out for at least 200m, but then again, you must be into professional outdoor activities to utilise that depth rating fully.
An outdoor watch is most of the time larger than your standard watch. Wearing oversized watches might seem cumbersome on a social/urban context, but when lights are dim and time is short, all that you care for is you don’t miss out on any of the vital stats. This is, however; not to say that outdoor watches must always be overly massive, it applies only to those that are specifically meant for wearing in the mountains or inside the submersible. Today, watch manufacturers also keep an eye about their greater usage and keep the sizes within socially-permissible limits. And lastly, ideal outdoor watches should be lightweight (hence, a preference for titanium and high-density polymer composites), so that it doesn’t restrict the natural movements of your hand.
First and foremost, irrespective about how many functions your outdoor watch exhibits, they should be easily accessible. Outdoors do not give you either time or luxury of accomplishing data collection through long, labyrinthine procedures; what you need instead is a single button access to all the modes and functions. That’s why, it is important for outdoor watches to have one dedicated button for each of the functions.
GPS capabilities have now become an essential part of outdoor watches meant for the land and skies; also for the water provided you don’t travel under the surface. Other capabilities your outdoor watch should have are: