Having a timepiece that does its job in extreme environments is about making sure you have a watch that is made right so that it works when you need it. If your looking for a survival watch chances are that you will be needing it to perform under variable weather conditions and rough circumstances.
When looking for the best survival watches we scoured the internet, spent dozens of hours researching, spoke with a few guys who know who are watch fiends and also we had some experience with a few of them ourselves. We put together this list to represent what we find is a diverse collection of watches with different features and different environments – all of them reliable.
Best Survival Watches You Can Find
Prior to spending money on a survival watch, it might be good to do a little research to see what makes up a good survival watch – just so that you can avoid needlessly wasting your money on a piece of junk.
We put together this guide so that you end up with something that works. Here is a list of some of the best survival watches we have found on the market for under 200 bucks.
- 1. Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW2500R Solar Watch –Best Overall Watch Choice
- 2. Casio Men’s G-Shock G300-3AV –Best Watch Under 100
- 3. Casio Men’s G-shock GW6900-1 SolarWatch –Best Solar Rechargeable Watch
- 4. Suunto Core All-Black Military Watch –Best Watch For Wilderness
- 5. Casio Men’s G-Shock G9000-1 Watch –Best Budget Option
- 6. Casio Women’s BG169R-7A ‘Baby-G’ Sport WatchBest Survival Watch For Women
- 7. Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch –Best Expedition Watch
- 8. Seiko PROSPEX Marinemaster Quatz Watch –Best Premium Survival Watch With All the Bells and Whistles
- 9. Casio G-Shock Rangeman –Best Bluetooth GPS Watch
- 10. Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Navihawk Watch –Best Survival Watch Under 500
1. Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW2500R Solar Watch
Best Overall Watch Choice
Dimensions: 3” L x 3” W x 4” H
Material: Aluminum, Titanium, Steel, Mineral, Quartz
Pros: Functional for any outing, Durable, Solar-powered, Affordable
Cons: Not much
Description: This watch is on our list as it’s got some handy dandy features. The Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW2500T Tough Solar Digital Sport Watch is a rugged watch with fully instrumented measurements that cover everything from temperature and altitude to a tide graph. This watch also has five daily alarms, automatic self-calibration, low-temperature resistance of -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit), a countdown timer, multiple display lighting modes and up to 200 meters of water resistance.
The battery is quick and easy to charge as it has a solar rechargeable battery that lasts up to 5 months on a full charge. The watch automatically recharges so you won’t have to worry of it quitting on you when you need it. Casio is one of the most famous brands out there and have been making watches from Tokyo, Japan since the 1940s producing all sorts of electrical gear.
This watch was made for extreme athletes and outdoor junkies in mind who need precision, performance and rugged environments. With five different dials, you have preloaded worldwide time zones. It comes with a Pro Trek triple sensor which includes an altimeter, barometer and thermometer, with the air pressure sensor updates pressure values every 10 minutes.
The digital CPU automatically switches measurement units from hPa to ftHg, and back again at regular intervals while displaying current values of atmospheric pressure. And the altimeter works from below sea level at -2300ft to the top of Everest. This thing does pretty much everything you can think of for a watch and then some. It’s just a touch over our original price limit of 200, but this thing is so good we couldn’t help it.
2. Casio Men’s G-Shock G300-3AV
Best Watch Under 100
Dimensions: 4.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 inches
Material: Resin, Plastic, Steel
Pros: Not bulky, Affordable, Shock resistant
Cons: Its a bit small (some say) but we like smaller watches
Description: Give it up for the tough guy. The Casio Men’s G-Shock G300-3AV Shock Resistant Black is packed with everything you need, but doesn’t overcomplicate things. Sometimes too many functions can be a bit overwhelming, and this one feels just right.
The G-shock, as the name implies has shock-resistant tech as well as a 200 m depth water resistance, which means you can get it wet without a problem.
This watch features a 46 mm resin case with a mineral dial window that protects against shock from bumps and drops. Some of the other features are a super-strong EL backlight, 29 time zones, 4 alarms, and a countdown timer.
This is a simple watch but it comes with a simple price. This guy is good for any outdoor running around though it doesn’t have all the functionality as the PROTREK, but it’s 1/5 the price.
3. Casio Men’s G-shock GW6900-1 Solar Watch
Best Solar Rechargeable Watch
Dimensions: 53.2 x 50.0 x 17.7mm
Weight: 63 grams
Pros: Great backlight, Water-resistant, Not expensive
Cons: Not many color options
Description: Casio is trusted by so many which is why we bring you another product from their G-shock series. This features a solar-powered battery and it can even use light from a fluorescent lamp as a viable source of energy.
This watch is built with shock-resistant material and is water-resistant (to a degree). More notable features are the EL backlight, stainless steel case, and a treated dial window.
You do not have to worry about the battery dying on you as the battery is even rechargeable in dim light. This watch also has the signature EL backlight so you can even see when it’s super dark. These watches are often used by military personnel because of their durability, so if it can survive basic training, then we are pretty sure it can take whatever you throw at it.
It’s a bit smaller than the other G-shocks which we like. In terms of functionality, it’s in the middle between a super minimal Casio watch and a I have a full on science experiment on my arm type of watch. What stood out for this one, was its ratings, nearly 5 stars across the board.
4. Suunto Core All-Black Military Watch
Best Watch For Wilderness
Dimensions: 1.93 x 1.93 x 0.57
Weight: 2.06 Ounces
Material: Aluminum, Mineral Crystal, Elastomer, Composite
Pros: Tons of functionality extras, Can handle lots of abuse
Cons: It is a little bulky
Description: The Suunto Core has some pretty impressive features if that’s what you’re looking for. Suunto has been at it since 1936, making watches from their factories in Scandanavia. We have tried to keep this list under 200 just so that it makes things more affordable, which this watch is. But if you have a look at some other Suunto watches on the market there, they are super fancy. But they are pricey, so, I won’t say any more. Moving on.
It has a barometer, altimeter, compass, and even has a weather trend, sunrise and sunset times, and a weather alert if a storm is headed your way. The storm alert and weather tracking system is kind of a new thing that we think is pretty nifty especially if you are going to be running around in the mountains, this will inform you ahead of time about incoming storms so that you can get to a safe place in time before it strikes.
Since we are suckers for minimal-looking pieces of gear, we are going to sing this beauty its due praises. The storm feature is what we fall for here as we are always in the mountains and reckon a good storm watcher would be handy in a jam.
5. Casio Men’s G-Shock G9000-1 Watch
Best Budget Option
Dimensions:46 mm case 8.5 in-band length
Pros: Lightweight, Backlight, Water and mud resistant
Cons: Lacks the same build as more premium versions
Description: The Casio G-Shock™ comes from another of Casios popular G-SHOCK models. The watch is a trimmed-down version of the more expensive and geared up higher range versions, so you are going to be a bit disappointed if you expect this too comes with all the extra bells and whistles. But at this price point, it still comes with a few extras.
The G9000-1 can handle low-temperature resistance to -4 degrees F and also has access to 29 time zones together with Casios afterglow backlight. It also features a countdown timer as well your standard alarms.
We like the price point and for what it offers you can’t go wrong. Sure you could spend 3x and get our #1 pick but then you would have to spend just that much more. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative that will survive the strain you are gonna put on it then you got it.
6. Casio Women’s BG169R-7A ‘Baby-G’ Sport Watch
Best Survival Watch For Women
Dimensions: 42.6 mm case diameter and 15.4 mm thickness
Weight: 3.1 Ounces
Material: Mineral, Resin, Plastic
Pros: Great price point, Pocket-friendly, Quality build
Cons: Some women may not like the build
Description: The Casio Women’s BG169R-7A is a rugged outdoor watch that is a bit more dainty than some of the others that we have mentioned. That isn’t to say it’s not for men, unless you like white watches with the words “Baby G” etched on your watch, which isn’t exactly empowering.
So you are probably asking why it’s on our list?…and the reason is well, because it’s under 200, is made from Casio, has a crystal dial window, is both water and shock-resistant and also comes with an alarm, stopwatch, and 12/24 hour time formats.
You may think this all sounds pretty basic, and it is in some respects it’s true, but it’s still a great offer if you are a woman, are looking for something that can survive being thrown around and are a Baby G.
7. Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch
Best Expedition Watch
Dimensions: 43 mm x 12.5mm
Weight: 3 Ounces
Material: Brass, Mineral, Quartz, Fabric
Pros: Sleak design, nice band, 6 variations
Cons: No bells and whistles
Description: The Timex Expedition Field Watch is a minimalistic watch that has a slight military feel too it. It has a vintage design that gives it a timeless look.
The specs of this thing do not quite measure up to some of our previous watches. As it only comes with a chronograph but it still does have a water resistance of up to 300ft, but that’s about it.
Its made by the company Timex, which needs no introduction as they have been making classic watches for over 150 years. While this watch may not have all the functionality of the other watches on this list, this one has a touch of class, so even if you are in an emergency, you going to look good while your in it.
Best Premium Survival Watches
We felt like we had to add a few other high spec watches to this list. Unfortunately when it comes to functionality survival watches that are under 200 just don’t have the same level of tech as some of the upper-end models. We added a few here that are more expensive, but they are worth it as they really do have the traditional specs you would want in a survival watch.
8. Seiko PROSPEX Marinemaster Quatz Watch
Best Premium Survival Watch With All the Bells and Whistles
Dimensions: 47.7 mm x 14.7 mm Band Width 22mm
Weight: 14.4 Ounces
Material: Steel, Rubber, Hardlex
Pros: Has everything you could want in a survival watch
Description: Here we have the Seiko Marinemaster Watch, if you haven’t already guessed it, it’s a divers watch, which means it can handle some serious pressure. This guy is nicknamed the “Tuna Can” coming with 7-jewel, luminous display even in low light conditions.
This comes with a rubber dive strap ad is good to up to 300meters below sea level. Which means that it can go wherever you go.
9. Casio G-Shock Rangeman
Best Bluetooth GPS Watch
Dimensions: 20.2 mm x 5.8mm
Weight: 5.01 Ounces
Material: Steel, Rubber, Hardlex
Pros: GPS, Bluetooth, tracks data points, creates maps and routes
Cons: Nothing really
Description: The GPR-B1000 is a solar-assisted GPS watch that enables real-time navigation. The RANGEMAN features a Triple Sensor, which measures direction (compass bearing), altitude/pressure, and temperature; it is a digital compass with bearing memory function; and an altimeter with barometric pressure measurement.
In addition to these functions, the GPR-B1000 also boasts GPS navigation capability—a first for a G-SHOCK watch. By connecting to GPS satellites, it is possible to display your current location on a route or bearing to your destination in real-time.
The new G-SHOCK RANGEMAN series also features a solar charging system, Bluetooth connectivity and an altimeter/barometer sensor that can measure altitude from -700 to 10,000 m (-2,300 to 32,800 ft.), with a display range of -700 to +10,000 m (-2,300 to +32,800 ft.). In addition to the timekeeping functions of the watch itself (1/100th second stopwatch and countdown timer).
The downside of course is the cost, but if you want the functionality, it costs.
10. Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Navihawk Watch
Best Survival Watch Under 500
Dimensions: 4.33 x 3.94 x 8.27 inches
Weight: 4 Ounces
Pros: GPS, Bluetooth, tracks data points, creates maps and routes
Cons: Bit expensive
Description: The Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Navihawk A-T Quartz Mens Watch is a modern pilot’s watch with some premium tech. The easy-to-read analog display features a rotating slide rule bezel ring for quickly calculating flight times, fuel consumption, wind speed and distance traveled.
The 43 world city time zones are synchronized to the atomic clock for superior accuracy. This Citizen Eco Drive watch also features two alarms, 1/100 second chronograph that measures up to 24 hours, a calendar and power reserve indicator. Additional features includeDescr
The Navihawk is made from Stainless Steel has a Black Dial Chronograph Display and Brown Leather Strap. It is water-resistant but no surprises there. This guy is nearly perfect across the board and even more so if you are the flying type
Best Survival Watches Buying Guide
What is a Survival Watch?
A survival watch is built with function in mind. This is what makes them different from a watch that is worn for fashion. Survival watches are built with extra added features, together with ruggedness and durability so that you can be sure they will be reliable when you need it most.
If you are rock climbing, hiking or out on a backpacking trip there might be situations when knowing how high you are, whether a storm is approaching, or knowing which way North is can be a lifesaver.
What good are all of those fancy survival features if the watch stops working when you need it most?
Survival watches are built with ruggedness in mind, which means they are durable and able to withstand drops and bangs without much of an issue. They are commonly tested and used by the military, police, and extreme adventure sports in varied conditions and environments from extreme hot and cold to water and mountains.
Most survival watch models on the upper end of the price spectrum have a timepiece, altimeter, and barometer, with the luxury models geared with a thermometer, compass, and GPS. The most common features found in a survival watch are:
- Altimeter – which can measure altitude with many watches able to measure from -3000 to 9000 feet (which they often measure based on atmospheric pressure).
- Barometers – are used to measure atmospheric pressure which can be used in knowing weather patterns. If a barometer shows low pressure it indicates the impending arrival of a low-pressure system
- Thermometers – are also present in some watches with a range from -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40°C) up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60°C).
- GPS and Compass – can be found in more expensive survival watches but they usually only offer basic features like bearing or coordinates on the display.
- Solar Panels – are also found in some watches and offer automatic recharge capabilities that often last 5+ months on a full charge which ensures your watch wont run out of batteries in a tight spot.
What Are The Advantages Of Using A Survival Watch?
The most notable feature of a survival watch is its durability. Regular fashion watches are designed as delicate pieces to decorate your wrist whereas survival watches are built from durable materials that can withstand the elements.
Some of these brands have actually paired up with the military and endurance athletes so as to ensure that they will work in the rain, snow, and other extreme conditions. Survival watches can also be used for everyday carry and not only in emergency situations as emergencies often happen when we least expect them to.
Either way, whether they are worn for EDC or for special occasions they are a great addition to your wilderness survival kit, or your bug-out bag list.
What To Look For In a Survival Watch?
There is a lot of fluff out there. And you want something that’s real. Here are a few things that you should look out for when picking out a watch.
This sounds like a no-brainer but you want a watch that tells the correct time. We aren’t going to be militant on this one and say it has to be 100% accurate as no watches are, due to the small deviations that occur in the mechanics of the watch, which can add up to seconds over time. Most watches will give you readings that are 99.994% accurate, which is good enough for us.
The watch should be water-resistant. If the watch is not water-resistant then moisture will accumulate and seep into the workings of your timepiece, corroding components that make it function smoothly.
There’s really no need in getting one with 100% waterproofing, as most are not “waterproof”, but are seen called “water-resistant” as most watches that are water-resistant are still good to 200 meters underwater.
Multiple Time Zones
Having a timepiece that has multiple locales is a nice luxury though may not be a necessity. If you’re traveling through different time zones during global expeditions or visiting relatives over state lines, then it may become more important. We see this more of an added bonus though whether you need it or not will depend on the type of adventures your plan on going on.
If you’re an adventurous type then you’ll want to make sure your watch has a certain amount of shock resistance so when it takes a tumble or two it’s not going to break.
You don’t have to worry about this if there’s nothing in contact with the face, but some watches are simply less durable than others whereas some can withstand the direct impact that could leave other timepieces shattered on the ground.
Shock resistance doesn’t come just from direct impact but also from wear and tear that comes from many rugged outdoor activities (for instance, while skiing or going downhill mountain biking). If you ever have gone down a single track or down a steep downhill track you know how bumpy and gnarly the trails can get. A watch is going to get thrown around, and you are going to want something that can withstand a beating.
One of the biggest factors in purchasing anything is obviously cost. If you want a survival watch with all the features you are going to have to spend more; there really is no alternative as functionality has a higher price point simply because a compass, altimeter, solar battery etc. all costs more to manufacture, which obviously makes the price of the watch more expensive.
However, that being said there can be a middle ground where you are able to find something that has reasonable functionality at a price point that will not burn a hole in your pocket.
At the end of the day, size and design are all about personal preference. Choose a watch that works for you and your wrist. Cost is an important factor to consider when choosing a survival watch; luckily they’re not as expensive as some other gear on the market today.
The best thing you can do? Research online and find something that matches what you need in terms of features, materials—and most of all durability.
We hope this guide has been helpful in trying to figure out what survival watch is best for you. Good luck!