• Comments (14)

    • 5

      I am surprised the aforementioned Rolexes didn’t make the list: they are bombproof and will work for decades without a service. They are, of course, very expensive.  Putting durability first and going on a budget, two more obvious choices are the Seiko 5 SNK series (stainless steel, automatic, starting under $80) and the Citizen Promaster Tough (titanium, solar, $360). At the other end of the scale in the “tool watch” category, I’d go for a Breitling Emergency (titanium, quartz, only second hand for under $4,000 with the 121.5 MHz built-in emergency transmitter) if emergency services are still running, or the Porsche Design P’3511 (titanium, mechanical, built-in removable compass, one of the most cleverly designed watches in history, second hand for around $5,000) if you can only count on yourself to get out of trouble. 

      • 6

        Those are some very nice watches that you are recommending.  I especially like that Breitling Emergency. Having a emergency transmitter in your watch is something straight out of James Bond. If I was a pilot, I would wear that if my plane ever went down and I needed rescue. Sure I could carry a satellite phone, but this would be strapped to you and be a good secondary option.

      • 8

        There is a new version of the Breitling Emergency with a 406MHZ transmitter that can reach satellites directly but it is huge, needs to be recharged regularly and costs $15,000. The good thing about the old 121.5MHz version is that you can wear and forget it and it will be there if you need it. Airliners still monitor 121.5MHz so your signal is likely to be picked up in most of the World. A satphone or pocket ELT work fine (I use both) but you are not likely to wear them 24/7. As the classic Emergency watches are no longer made, I am tempted to get another one, second hand, as a backup. That said, the one that is my everyday wear is now 20 years old, has been banged up all around the World, and is still doing well although it does get sent to Switzerland every two years for a month long service. Its only weakness, as far as I am concerned, is that you cannot scuba dive with it. There was a stainless steel version (the “Mission”) with the proper depth rating but much too heavy to be comfortable. Having said all that, If I was looking for a TEOTWAWKI watch, I’d get something completely infallible that would just tell the time for ever, like a Rolex submariner. 

      • 8

        Your watch makes my G-shock look like a something out of a vending machine for 25 cents. That is really cool. 

        My G-Shock lasted me about 5 years and finally gave up the ghost this month. I took it all apart, cleaned it out, but think there is something wrong with the electronics of it. 

      • 7

        I was in Hong Kong when the first G-Shock came out. It was then quite a revolution in affordable durability and I believe it still holds a few records. After almost 40 years and 200+ different models, it comes with all sorts of useful built-in features. I was collecting gadget watches at the time but I skipped the G-Shock, opting instead for the Citizen ProMaster Tough with its solar cell, titanium body and kevlar wristband. I somehow misplaced my first copy in the 90s but was able to buy a new one last year; it comes and goes from the catalog.

    • 6

      I bought the Casio SGW100 that was recommended in this article and have absolutely loved it! I love the large display, compass and thermometer feature, and just the interface has little things that make it really great.

      Thanks for the great article!

    • 5

      Hi. What do you think about Garmin Fenix 6x Pro Solar as a survival watch? It has GPS with TOPO maps as well as solar charging(not sure if you can actually charge the watch with the sunlight or it just a marketing move)  I would like to know your opinion in comparison Fenix 6x PRO Solar with Casio Rangeman GPR-B1000 for a long term survival

      • 8

        Hi Alex, 

        Both look like awesome watches but I would lean towards the Fenix.  Because they are both “smart” watches I would still carry a $50 dollar Casio with extra batteries and tools just in case.  I personally wouldn’t trust a smart watch yet for long term survival, and I would still carry paper maps of my area of operations. Consolidating technology is convenient but when it goes down you have lost capabilities. I run around the West all of time hunting and living off the land. I set a timer to let me know when I have 30 minutes of light. Other then that, I don’t really need smart watch features and usually carry a pair of small Garmin gps units along with a map. Those watches are both pricey. If you have money to burn, awesome, but I think the money could better be used on other survival gear. 

      • 6

        Thomas, after your comment I am now thinking towards to buying Garmin eTrex® 32x (instead of a smart watch) which potentially could last for years in long terms survival in wildness if turning it on only when need to see the current location on the map and having some AA batteries as a backup. By the way, there is so many info about how good compass with a paper map are but there is no info where to get good TOPO waterproof maps… Can you direct me to the right place for that? Thank you.

      • 5

        Garmin eTrex 32x is a fantastic unit. For my survival gear I try to use lithium batteries. I can keep them in my electronics without worrying about corrosion. They are a little on the pricey side, but if I want to keep my gear in a ready state, I always use lithium batteries. 

        For maps I purchase them from Mytopo.com or Ruggedmaps.com. We will be doing an article about maps in the next few weeks! 

    • 3

      Personal Opinion – I like Citizen watches.  For me, they cover both the every day use, and would work as a survival watch.  The main reason I’d also use them as a survival watch is the battery, as Citizen watches are powered by light (not just sunlight, but ANY light).  To me this is huge.  I have never had to replace a battery in a Citizen watch.  If the world goes to hell, I bet I’ll have a hard time finding a watch battery a few years from now, but if you don’t ever need one, problem solved.  Basic Citizen watches don’t do much other than tell time, date, day of the week.  But honestly, for me, that’s all I need it to do.  All the rest of the things that these watches do is neat, but not necessary.  I can live without the features.  Plus I don’t have to remember to get my special survival watch out in an emergency, when I’m probably thinking about anything but doing that, as I’m already wearing it.  Lastly, the price isn’t obscene.   A basic low tier Citizen watch can be had for $150-200.  More expensive than the basic recommended watch in this article, but to me the forever battery is worth it.

      • 1

        I had a G-Shock watch that was powered by ambient light like your Citizen watch and I loved it. I knew that I never had to replace the battery and it felt like a great prepper watch. 

        Then randomly it just died. Took it apart and cleaned out the lint and dead skin that had built up, and couldn’t figure out what went wrong. It was a $60 watch so I wasn’t too heart broken and understood that it was it’s time. 

        I got a new watch that is now powered by a battery. It works great, but I just don’t have that same level of comfort knowing that at any time I may look down at it and it might be dead. I need to buy a spare battery and learn how to replace it myself in order to be prepared now.

    • 2

      All of these are nice, but if the emergency/survival situation is caused by an EMP, they will probably be useless.  A wind up, or auto wind watch is best.  I currently wear an old Breitling Chronomat Automatic that is about 25 years old and due for service.  Of course a non-digital compass and barometer should be in your bag.  

      • 1

        A non-digital compass is good thinking because it doesn’t have small components that would be overloaded and damaged, but do you think that an EMP Electric Magnetic Pulse would throw compass accuracy off? Is an EMP’s pulse too short of a time to affect a compass or is it powerful enough to do so?

        Not expecting you have the answers but just things I thought about from your comment. Hopefully analog compasses won’t be affected at all.