Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Other provisions not covered above that may make survival easier if your life is tossed out of the norm. This section is for discussing everything from arc welders to underwear.

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reziztor
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Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by reziztor » Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:19 am

Hi, I've been itching to buy a watch with black friday coming up. The thing is, I'm not a watch guy and know very little. It's pretty daunting spending days on Amazon and watch forums looking for information.

What I would like is a watch that could be a useful companion in a place with no supemarkets or atomic clocks. Something that doesn't need a battery change - be it Solar, Eco-Drive or Automatic. The date is important, followed by tritium or some other night glow system. Then of lesser importance are things like compasses, barometers and such.

Everyone I ask on watch forums points me to G-Shock or Pathfinders/ProTrek. But from what I can tell, they get their time from a satellite or radio signal (I could be wrong about that).

I guess what I'm asking is: What examples of watches are TRULY rugged, independent (don't rely on GPS or radio signals) and won't need battery changes?

Thanks, and sorry if this has been posted before. But searching for "Watch" on this site brings up like 3k posts about 'watch caps' and 'watch this video' or 'watch out for blah blah.'

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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by Hoipoloi » Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:28 am

I use a Timex Expedition.
Superb night time illumination and has a ten year battery life.

http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/timex-m ... /pid-35091

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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by reziztor » Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:49 am

Hoipoloi wrote:I use a Timex Expedition.
Superb night time illumination and has a ten year battery life.

http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/timex-m ... /pid-35091

Image
Hi, thanks for the reply. I have looked into the various Timex Expeditions (and scouts) and from reviews and whatnot it looks like a nice watch for around $30-40. However, I have read many instances of the second-hand warping and sticking to the other hands. Also, the knobs tend to fall off in heavy use. Of course, for the price we are not expecting master workmanship here. It's definitely a good buy and would be a prudent buy. I wonder though if we can find something that can go through different extreme temperatures, hiking, climbing, camping and generally bashing against stuff in a hurry.
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by Unorthodox » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:15 am

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Marathon 'GSAR' ?

Tritium hand and dial makers, Swiss automatic w/ date complication, sapphire crystal, unidirectional ratcheting bezel (for keeping elapsed time submerged...or as a fancy oven timer) water resistant to 300m

All in all its a beast of watch. Commands a decent price tag for non-watch aficionados though: $769 NIB

Too rich for your taste? Is for me, at the moment. More palatable:

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Marathon General Purpose Mechanical

Tritium Hands (minute and hour only) and dial markers, Mechanical handwind, acrylic crystal, no date complication though, 30m water resistance. $140 bucks

This is my beater watch:

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Traser P6500

Quartz movement but: Tritium hands (minute and hour only) and dial, mineral crystal, date complication, 30m water resistance (Survived going to the bottom of a pool and river, no issues) uni-directional bezel with tritium insert, but with such a low dive rating its only really good for making sure your pies don't burn $252 bucks

Decent little watch. Original straps sucked, swapped with CountyComm nylon bands. One springbar ripped out but thankfully the other held so I didn't lose my watch. Replace both bars with Marathon Stainless Steel bars. Now the only way to remove those fuckers is to cut them off.

For everything you're looking for, you'll be dropping not an insignificant amount of coin. Drop a feature or two and you're in the realm of mortals as far as time pieces go
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by JeeperCreeper » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:20 am

When I was in the service, most people were wearing the Luminox "Navy Seal" dive watches... because what is cooler than the same watch the seals use, right? However, these watches were tough and had some great features. They run off battery, but those last forever now-a-days. The also have glowing tritium style paint on the hands and dial. You can find them for under $200 if you have the money to spend.

Only thing, don't buy the metal linked watch band with the snap style clasp (like fancy dress clothes watches). A friend broke his when sprinting and it caught on his shorts and snapped open the clasp and the watch went flying. Didn't break the Luminox watch, but the clasp bent and wouldnt stay shut ever again. He swapped it out for a regular "post and hole" band and never had an issue with it flying away again.


https://www.luminox.com/watches/sea/
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by Unorthodox » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:28 am

JeeperCreeper wrote:When I was in the service, most people were wearing the Luminox "Navy Seal" dive watches...
The Traser watch I have is modeled more directly from the watch the "Luminox Navy Seal" watch is based from: The Stocker & Yale P650.

Since those are no longer in production, I went with (and spent more on) the Traser....mainly because it was a sterile dial missing all the stupid "OMG LEET OPERATOR NAVY SEALZ" branding :awesome:
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by JeeperCreeper » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:40 am

Unorthodox wrote:
JeeperCreeper wrote:When I was in the service, most people were wearing the Luminox "Navy Seal" dive watches...
The Traser watch I have is modeled more directly from the watch the "Luminox Navy Seal" watch is based from: The Stocker & Yale P650.

Since those are no longer in production, I went with (and spent more on) the Traser....mainly because it was a sterile dial missing all the stupid "OMG LEET OPERATOR NAVY SEALZ" branding :awesome:
Yes, thank goodness I never caved and bought a fancy "operator" watch... not that the US Gov't pays enough for me to afford one. I just didn't wanna be "that guy". But they are excellent watches and Luminox makes other models that are more tasteful and less tool-ful. I still want their space watch, though... But I am an astronaut just as much as I am a Navy Seal...
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by reziztor » Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:14 am

@Unorthodox

That is great stuff. I have read even those cheap Marathons are rugged and popular among American servicemen in the rough. Too bad the automatic ones are so damn expensive!

Traser is interesting. They don't seem that popular, and look a bit generic. I wonder if you think it's a watch worth over 200 bucks? One of my problems I think is that it's stuck in my head that a nice watch over $200 should at least be automatic or solar.

(edit) Also, I'm not a fan of Luminox. They are not as rugged as people think (at least those made after 2009). And especially they started using some other way of adding tritium that makes them go dim quickly. Older models though are still going strong.

I was informed that in a survey of British soldiers in Afghanistan, the #1 watches were those cheap Baby G-Shocks. However, I'm not looking for a watch to take into combat (that would be cheap and functional). I want something that I could keep for years upon years in the rough.
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by JeeperCreeper » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:14 am

How about the sun then? Haha I always had good luck with el cheapo Timex watches. Buy a few so you always have spares at their price point...
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by Mikeyboy » Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:29 am

JeeperCreeper wrote:How about the sun then? Haha I always had good luck with el cheapo Timex watches. Buy a few so you always have spares at their price point...
Same here. I usually stick with Casio and Timex and I rarely pay over $100 for a watch. I bought a basic analog Casio watch back in 2002 for $55. I wore it everywhere, even on vacation swimming in pools and the ocean. Its only "water resistant to 100m" and in no way is it a dive watch. Still works fine and looks good with no battery change. My oldest daughter has a Timex digital watch that I bought for her in grade school when she was just learning how to tell time (2nd grade maybe). Its a ladies ironman watch, bright pink, that was around $25. Now she is in high school, just got her learners permit to drive (God help me) and she still uses that watch in school. Kids today use their cell phones to tell time, but cell phones are not allowed in class.

Casio and Timex are the Honda and Toyota of the watch world. Most watches with batteries last almost 10 years, even without solar. Just get something from a decent watch maker that is water resistant/waterproof, and is built a bit rugged and you will be fine. Casio G-shocks and Timex Ironman are good deals for SHTF watches, just avoid ones with the atomic clock feature. Ironically the cheaper models don't have that feature.

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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by raptor » Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:19 pm

A solar powered, perpetual clock that never, ever needs a battery.

http://www.amazon.com/Sundial-Ring-Silv ... ds=sundial

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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:35 pm

Does it have glow in the dark hands?
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by raptor » Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:48 pm

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:Does it have glow in the dark hands?
Only if you dip your hands in luminous paint.


Seriously though a Aquitaine Sundial can be remarkably accurate within it's limitations.

Alternatives include a Rolex or Omega mechanical self winding watch. However these do need to be serviced every decade or so to ensure reliable and accurate time keeping.

Now for more reasonably priced timekeeping a Timex Ironman is tough to beat but mine needs a new battery every 2 to 3 years.

http://www.amazon.com/Timex-T5E901-Iron ... ex+ironman

Still you would need a means of keeping time and a properly aligned sundial will keep very consistent time.

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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by majorhavoc » Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:13 pm

We're 12 replies into this discussion of off the grid timepieces and no one has mentioned the legendary Seiko 5 family of automatic watches? For shame!

http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-SNK805-Auto ... een+fabric

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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by reziztor » Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:11 am

Yep, I'll probably settle on a Seiko Landshark like this one:

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Cheaper Seikos are nice too, I just don't want that glass bottom (seems less rugged) and I'd prefer the compass bezel to help with navigation.

BTW, here is a great little instructional post about using your watch bezel as a compass:

http://forums.watchuseek.com/f365/how-o ... 88537.html
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by Towanda » Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:53 pm

I have this Citizen Eco-Drive:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000EQS1J ... SY165_QL70

I've had it for about three years. I didn't like the original strap, so I replaced it with a nylon military one (three, actually: one black, one OD, and one gray). Every time change, I set the watch according to time.gov, and it has never been more than four seconds off. The bezel is a little scraped up, and there's one noticeable scratch on the mineral glass crystal, but I tend to be tough on watches.

Edited to add: Any analog watch can be used as a compass. You do have to remember to adjust for daylight saving time though.

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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by Coho911 » Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:52 pm

Here's mine,

Casio Pathfinder PAW-1100T

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Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping (US, UK, Germany, Japan)
Receives time calibration radio signals which keep the displayed time accurate
Auto receive function (6 times per day)
Manual receive function
Signal: US WWVB, UK MSF, Germany DCF77, Japan JJY40/JJY60
Frequency: US 60kHz, UK 60kHz, Germany 77.5kHz, Japan 40/60kHz
Tough Solar Power
Digital Compass
16 points of measurement
Measuring range: 0 to 359 degrees
Measuring unit: 1 degree
Altimeter
Measuring range: -700 to 10,000m (-2,300 to 32,800ft)
Measuring unit: 5m (20ft)
Auto memory measurements
Altimeter Memory
Memory capacity: 40 records
Measurement data: altitude, month, date, time
High / Low altitude memory
Cumulative ascent / descent memory
Relative altitude display
Altitude tendency graph
Altitude differential graphic
Altitude alarm
Barometer
Display range: 260 to 1,100 hPa (7.65 to 32.45 inHg)
Display unit: 1 hPa (0.05 inHg)
Atmospheric pressure tendency graph
Atmospheric pressure differential grapic
Thermometer
Display range: -10 to 60 C (14 to 140 F)
Display unit: 0.1 C (0.2 F)
100M Water Resistant
Low Temperature Resistant (-10 C / 14 F)
Full Auto EL Backlight with Afterglow
Duplex LCD
World Time
29 times zones (30 cities), city code display, daylight saving on/off
5 Daily Alarms
Countdown Timer
Measuring unit: 1 second
Countdown range: 1 minute to 60 minutes
Auto-repeat function
1/100 second stopwatch
Measuring capacity: 9:59'59.99"
Measuring modes: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times
Hourly Time Signal
Auto Calendar (pre-programmed until the year 2099)
12/24 Hour Formats
Accuracy: ±15 seconds per month (with no signal calibration)
Storage Battery CTL1616
Battery Power Indicator
Power Saving Function
Approx. battery life: 5 months on full charge (without further exposure to light)
Module 3043
Size of case/total weight
62.3 X 52.2 X 14.2mm / 118g

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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by cricketdave » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:07 pm

The Seiko auto's work well and so do the Citizen eco drives. My only complaint about either is that they don't come with a synthetic sapphire crystal. My personal favorites are the Stowa pro divers, tough as hell and a great watch. Many of the boutique watch companies make superb watches with standard swiss or Japanese movements and last very well.
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by minengr » Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:03 am

I own/owned a bunch of watches. My info is probably dated, but the most rugged watch I ever had was a Swiss Army. I wore it daily while working at an underground coal mine. I beat the crap out of it and it ran like a champ. I don't know what kind of self-winders they make, but I'd put them in the running. Also have a Hamilton automatic that I like a lot. I don't wear it enough to kept it wound, but it's pretty durable. My favorite is my Omega Seamaster, but it's a battery. An automatic Omega would be sweet, they are pretty expensive, but you should be able to pass it along to your kids.
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by grennels » Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:35 pm

reziztor wrote:
Hoipoloi wrote:I use a Timex Expedition.
Superb night time illumination and has a ten year battery life.

http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/timex-m ... /pid-35091

Image
Hi, thanks for the reply. I have looked into the various Timex Expeditions (and scouts) and from reviews and whatnot it looks like a nice watch for around $30-40. However, I have read many instances of the second-hand warping and sticking to the other hands. Also, the knobs tend to fall off in heavy use. Of course, for the price we are not expecting master workmanship here. It's definitely a good buy and would be a prudent buy. I wonder though if we can find something that can go through different extreme temperatures, hiking, climbing, camping and generally bashing against stuff in a hurry.


I've been wearing them hard for years and get about 6 or seven years out of them. But the battery never lasts that long.

I bought a Seiko automatic for shtf.
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by Nick Adams » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:14 pm

I collect and normally wear WWII US military watches , in my experience very dependable and tough and hold up well. Wind up watch of course/. I really like the Black face ones. I have a vintage Rolex Bubble back but don't wear it much....Any of these would be good for long term use I think

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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by alessandro » Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:36 am

reziztor wrote:Everyone I ask on watch forums points me to G-Shock or Pathfinders/ProTrek. But from what I can tell, they get their time from a satellite or radio signal (I could be wrong about that).
For what I understand, it is not so, you can decide whether to make a synchronization or not, if you want to keep a more precise time.

For a similar situation I think a  digital watch as a:
Casio G-Shock Professional: Frogman GF-1000-1
Image
could be the best, despite is big, ugly and I doubt that the strap is comfortable during the summer.
Last edited by alessandro on Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by cricketdave » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:04 am

You should also take a look at Deepblue watches, they make a good tough auto with a sapphire Crystal and solid case for a very good price. They have some great sales going on too.
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Re: Watches for long-term survival off the grid

Post by the_alias » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:33 am

High-end automatic watches designed for rugged use.

Rolex
Omega
Breitling
IWC Schaffhausen

Cost a pretty penny though.
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