A Buying Guide For The Most Durable Timex Watches
Updated: We originally only had six Time on the list but after spending time with the MK1, it made the cut for a durable and rugged Timex watch.
If you’re reading this, then most likely you’re on the hunt for a durable watch and, more specifically, the most durable and reliable Timex watches on the market. I’ve been an avid fan of Timex for a number of years and have owned at least 50 different models, so I am greatly experienced with the brand.
I can definitely offer you some solid, watch-buying advice. Even better, the following list was compiled from real world experience and I own each of the watches listed here. Not only that, I have rigorously worn all of them in a variety of activities: hiking, fishing, working in the shop, doing yard work, home improvement projects, and the list goes on.
I’ve gotten all these watches dirty, wet, banged up on door knobs: I’ve worn them just like you will….in the real world! This is not a list of watches that some goofball just picked while he was looking through Amazon bored on a Friday night!
I own all the watches on this list and can give you reliable opinions on each one!
In the world of Timex watches, as most brands, not all models are created equal and price isn’t always a good indicator of what you’re getting. Cost is a factor, but Timex produces some amazing watches for less than $50.
The old adage of “you get what you pay for” still applies here, but we have to make sure we’re comparing apples to apples and no watch on this list costs more than $75. Who would’ve thought you could get such a tough watch for just a few bucks.
My criteria for a Timex to make this particular list is as follows: the watch must have at least 50m of water resistance, be able to handle a drop on the floor, a case that can handle bumps and knocks, a crown that sits flush to the case, a light, and (the big one) a screw down caseback. That last one is important.
Have you ever dropped a watch on the floor or in the bathroom sink only to have the caseback pop off? I have, and it’s happened with several Casio and Timex ones that had the casebacks which were pressed-fit onto the watch.
So, keeping those requirements and a fair price in mind, here is my list of the five most durable, analog Timex watches you can buy. To reiterate, this list focuses on analog dials or an analog with a small digi window.
Timex Rugged Field
This, by far, is my favorite watch on the list. In my experience, it’s the toughest competitor out there. With a resin case, raised bezel, big lugs, and a 100m water resistance, this guy will serve you well.
It’s definitely served me well, and I have both the black dial and white dial versions. I actually have two white dial ones so I don’t have to switch from a strap to a nato! There just that good of a watch.
It’s the first watch I grab if I have to do any type of serious work. It’s lasted through chopping countless trees, loading tons of lumber, and has always been my go to ‘in the shop’ watch. A nice spec on this watch, that really makes a difference to me, is that it has 22mm lugs! This is, of course, a personal preference, but I like a slightly wide watch strap.
You cannot go wrong with this watch!
This is a surprising watch from Timex that comes in several dial colors, has a screwdown caseback, solid case, and good looks to top it all off. The new Arcadia even has a nicer shade of the Indiglo.
This is a very light watch and you hardly know you’re wearing it. The crystal is domed on this one which is a nice look, but it makes it a little prone to scratches compared to some others.
I have read many complaints online about people scratching the glass on these watches but I really think they must be extremely clumsy or unlucky.
After all these years, I have only scratched the glass on a Timex one time and that was when it fell face down and was stepped on. As a note, the glass is not actually glass on any of these, Timex uses a mineral crystal on most of their watches.
Timex Combo Shock
Another awesome Timex to make the list is the digital analog Timex Shock. This is a lesser-known watch, but definitely checks all the boxes. I’ve had this watch for well over a year and it’s super durable, can take a beating and, of course, has the Indiglo backlight. one thing that really is a standout on this watch is the Indiglo backlight.
Most Timex watches have it, but this one has the delayed feature so when you touch the button to turn the light on it actually stays illuminated for another three seconds. This is a great feature if you’re out and about at night a lot. It’s a perfect watch for camping, backpacking, fishing, and anytime that you’re going to be out in the dark.
Of course, like most of these, the Timex Combo Shock just looks cool too. It comes on a decent strap but I did swap out my strap for a quick-release, silicone band.
Timex Expedition Shock
The next watch on the list is starting to get a little harder to find, but you can definitely score one on Amazon and, of course, there’s periodically some of them on eBay.
The Timex Expedition Shock is a watch that checks all the boxes for me as far as it goes with a Timex. It’s a little bit bigger in size, has a great look to it, and an inset dial.
It has a really nice layout with some layering of the numbers and the date and the doll markings are definitely a nice touch. I don’t often like to compare Timex with Casio watches because I think they are truly inherently different. However, in this case, think of a traditional G-Shock (just in an analog version) and that’s what you have with the Expedition Shock.
This is a watch that’s worth hunting around for. You can score it for $30 to $40 on Amazon and then all of a sudden one day the price might go back up to $99.
Definitely look around before you pull the trigger on this watch. We talked a lot about the Indiglo on these Timex watches and this one has a little bit of a different shade of blue. It’s much deeper and easily visible at night. If you like Timex, or you have a bunch of them, you know sometimes the Indiglo is a little dark or almost a minty green and can be very hard to see in dim light conditions.
The Indiglo on the Expedition shock is awesome and stands head and shoulders above some others. This is another one that comes on a fantastic strap and, even better, it has 22 mm lugs. Just like the rest of the watches on this list, it’s got a screw down caseback with four screws.
No list of rugged Timex watches would be complete without talking about the Timex Gallatin. I think one of the reasons these watches are so popular is that it’s one that you can pick up at Walmart. The price tag is less than fifty bucks most of the time and it actually comes on a really nice NATO strap.
This is another 22 mm lug watch which really opens up the possibilities for the straps you can put on it. I know lots of straps come in 20 mm, but with the face of this watch, the wider strap gives it a tough and robust look. The Gallatin comes in a few different colors and most of the time you’ll see it in all black with an orange second hand.
I’ve had my Gallatin for about 4 to 5 years and it’s still on the original battery. I know a lot of people can knock quartz watches (and, in some cases, Timex in general) but I just think they either get a bad watch or are just overly abusive.
Honestly, what are you expecting with a $30, $40 or $50 watch? Surely not a Rolex. In my opinion, it’s actually amazing how durable and well-made these watches are for the price point.
If you’ve never owned a Timex before and you’re looking for a great rugged watch that’s pretty versatile, I would definitely check out the Timex Gallatin.
Timex MK1 Field Watch
Inspired by government issued watches worn by U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War, the Timex MK1 Chronograph is an updated version of a classic design. It’s available in black and grey, and has a handsome aluminum case, stainless steel back and (like most Timex watches) acrylic crystal.
The MK1 Chronograph is an analog watch, and it’s a little less conspicuously tactical-looking than most of the watches on this list. But that also makes it versatile. When you get off the trail, you can wear this watch out to dinner and no one will be any the wiser.
But make no mistake, this is one tough watch. I’ve read some complaints about the acrylic crystal being easy to scratch, but I’ve never found that to be the case. It’s also water resistant to 30 meters and handles rain like a champ.
With a 40mm case and 20mm lugs, the MK1 is a little trimmer than the other watches on this list, and it’s also surprisingly light. When you’re out hiking or working outdoors, you can forget you’re even wearing it.
The MK1 has crisp blue Indiglo, and the hour and minute hands are independently adjustable. As a Chronograph watch, you can also use it as a stopwatch and to measure time, distance and speed.
The band that comes with a MK1 is a basic fabric strap. Personally I don’t mind that, but it’s very easy to remove if you’re inclined to upgrade.
Read The Review of the Timex MK1 Chronograph Here
Timex Ironman Endure Shock
I know what I said above, but think of this one as a bonus!
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a digital watch guy anymore. Years ago, the only thing I ever wore (even when I got dressed up) was a Timex Ironman. Now, most of the time, I don’t even wear a watch when I run. I am adding this Ironman to the list because it’s one of the better versions out there.
Like the rest, it’s got all the checks that I’m looking for: screw-down crown, sealed buttons, a shock rating. An additional nice feature of this watch is that the crystal is inset to the bezel.
Hence, there’s a lot less chance of scratching it. It also has an integrated strap (like most Timex watches do) and it wears extremely well.
One of the reasons I’m putting this watch on the list is that if you’re looking at a traditional G-Shock, this, in my opinion, is a better alternative.
One reason that this is a better alternative is that if you choose one of the blackout models, the watch can look more subtle and you can wear it for different occasions, even dressier ones, and it doesn’t look like you have a huge hunk of plastic on your wrist.
There you have it. If you’re looking for some rugged watches and something that can take some abuse, this list of six watches should give you some to consider. As I stated above, this list was compiled out of watches from my own personal collection that I’ve actually used and I think that gives an ideal perspective.
Scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or some message boards can show that people are quick to point the finger and try to discredit Timex. However, like most of my watch reviews, the first thing you have to look at is the overall value and what you’re getting for your money. That being said, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than a Timex from that perspective.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his clients websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.