2018 Gift Guides

15 Durable Watches that Make Great Gifts


December 17, 2018 Buying Guides By Photo by Chandler Bondurant

There’s always one in every family — the person who beats the living crap out of his or her gear, whether on purpose or by accident. If you’re shopping for a timepiece for one of those people this holiday season, it’s best to look for a watch that can really take a beating. But this doesn’t mean that you should buy a cheap, throwaway item — while this is certainly one course of action, investing in a serious, durable watch that will last for years is the best way to get true value for your money. Here are 15 durable watches that run the gamut with respect to aesthetics, feature set and price.

Casio DW5600E

Probably the best $40 you can spend in the watch world. The DW5600E is a classic “beater” watch — it’s nearly impossible to destroy, and if you do manage to destroy it, you’re probably not going to worry too much about it. With its built-in alarm and stopwatch, this is a watch that’s meant to be put through its paces.


Timex X Todd Snyder Military

Based on a Timex design from the 1970s and updated with modern case proportions, a hardened mineral glass crystal and a quartz movement, the 40mm Timex X Todd Snyder Military watch is perfect for the field. And with its nylon slip-through strap and its 24-hour dial, you wouldn’t be remiss for mistaking it for an issued military watch.


Citizen Promaster Tough

The Promaster Tough is powered by Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology, which charges via ambient light and never requires a battery or a service. Pair this with an ultra-tough, monocoque case that’s 5x harder than regular steel, Super Lumi-Nova-lined hands and markers and extreme resistance to shock and magnetism, and you’ve got a watch that can should last just about forever.



Seiko SKX007

The Seiko SKX007 has proven to be one of the most popular, robust dive watches of the last 20 years, and though technically no longer in production, so many were made that they can easily be found online. With its automatic movement and legible day-date dial, the 007 looks perfect on a rubber strap or the optional Jubilee-style bracelet.


Marathon Pilot’s Navigator with Tritium

Developed at the request of Kelley Air Force Base for use by pilots and paratroopers, the Navigator is a tough-as-nails military watch. Featuring an asymmetric case, 12-hour bezel, quartz movement and tritium tubes for illumination in low-light conditions, this mil-spec timepiece arrives ready for anything.


Orient Mako USA II

It’s tough to argue with a dive watch that has an in-house automatic movement, unidirectional 120-click bezel, day-date function and sapphire crystal for only $315. Available with a white, black or blue dial, this is a watch that punches way above its weight class, and looks great both in just about any environment.


Suunto Traverse Alpha

The Traverse Alpha is a serious outdoors watch for the serious outdoorsman. If its robust GPS feature set wasn’t enough, you get hunting and fishing features such as a moon phase calendar, shot detection, sunrise alert, weather trends and more. It’s also water-resistant to 100m and features a sapphire crystal, so there’s no nead to baby it.


Luminox Master Carbon SEAL 3801

Luminox has been making watches for the U.S. Navy SEALs for years now, and the Carbon SEAL 3801 encapsulates much of what a special operator might look for in a watch. The 3801 features a Carbonox case, 300m of water resistance, black rubber strap, tritium tube illumination and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal.


Alsta Nautoscaph II

While perhaps most famous as the watch Richard Dreyfuss wore in “Jaws,” the Alsta Nautoscaph stands on its own as a robust skin diver, perfect for the water regardless of whether or not a shark attack is imminent. With an automatic Seiko NH35 movement and a case that’s waterproof down to 300m, the Nautoscaph II is pure 1960s looks with a 2018 feature set.


Mkii Paradive Gen. 3

Based on the famed Benrus Type I and II divers issued to U.S. special operations and paramilitary personnel, the Paradive is a modern cult classic amongst tool watch aficionados. Multiple bezel options, an asymmetric steel case, the robust NE15 automatic movement and a lack of branding on the dial make this the ultimate mil-spec-style watch update.


Damasko DA 36

Damasko has been quietly making some of the best affordable tool watches out there, and their DA 36 in particular is an excellent modern take on the classic tool watch. Featuring a 40mm hardened steel case, day-date movement and ultra-legible dial, the DA 36 is the perfect everyday watch for the adventurer.


Sinn 556 A

With their long history of producing utilitarian timepieces, Sinn has just about perfected the modern tool watch. The 556 A features a 38.5mm case, an automatic movement with date, a stainless steel bracelet, a screw-down crown and case back and water resistance down to 20 bar, meaning it’s ready for whatever life has to throw at it.


Mido Ocean Star Diver 600

While Mido may not be the first brand to come to mind when considering dive watches, their new Ocean Star Diver 600 is proof that the brand can compete when it comes to timepieces meant for the water (which, incidentally, make great everyday watches). Featuring a COSC-certified movement, Super LumiNova-lumed bezel and helium escape valve, this 43.5mm diver is water-resistant down to 600 feet.


Martin Baker MBII

Originally designed in conjunction with English ejection seat manufacturer Martin Baker, the MBII is clearly meant to withstand shocks that would cripple a typical watch movement. With its 43mm Trip-Tick case, BE-36AE automatic chronometer movement with 38-hour power reserve, anti-magnetic Faraday cage and anti-shock movement mount, the MBII is one of the toughest watches available.


Rolex Submariner 114060

The prototypical dive watch, the Submariner was developed as a serious tool for professionals who made their living at sea (or at least spent lots of time scuba diving). The modern Sub may be a luxury product in the mind of the watch-buying public, but its robust construction and accuracy haven’t suffered at all since the model’s introduction back in 1953.

Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Don’t know what to get the people on your list? We’ve got you covered with our holiday gift guide.

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