The Best Tough Watches To See You Through The End Days
In 1981 an engineer working at Casio in Japan called Kikuo Ibe dropped his pocket watch on the floor, smashing it. Ibe was distraught—the watch had been a gift from his father. So he resolved to make the world’s toughest watch. A model that construction workers in Japan could happily wear without fear of them breaking. Assembling a trio of engineers who became known as ‘team tough’, Ibe set out his stall. The new watch would have ‘triple 10 resistance’—meaning it would have a battery life of 10 years, be water-resistant to 10 meters, and could survive a fall of 10 meters.
Having developed 200 unsatisfactory prototypes, the breakthrough came when Ibe visited a playground. There he saw children playing with a rubber ball, and noticed that the center of the ball did not suffer the effects of shock when it was bounced on a hard surface. He decided to incorporate the idea into a watch. In 1993 the first G-Shock was launched, the DW-5000C. At least 100 million G-Shock watches have been sold since, in various iterations. Adverts promoting their toughness have ranged from showing them strapped them to a team of U.S. hockey players to showing them being run over with a tank.
Of course, there were tough watches before, as there have been since. Developments in materials and technology now give us models that can call up the emergency services and pinpoint our location with GPS. Whose dials will glow for 25 years. And whose straps will unravel to give us an emergency length of parachute cord.
Whatever drama you might be facing, these are the hardiest watches on the planet.
Breitling Emergency Black Titanium
Designed for those whose jobs take them to the world’s most remote spots, the Breitling Emergency contains a satellite alert and distress beacon, meaning you can signal for help wherever you get into trouble—whether on land, air, or sea. The satin-brushed bezel and titanium case conceals a thermocompressed quartz movement, while time is shown in both analog and 12/24 hour digital display. breitling.com
Casio G-Shock British Army Mudmaster
The British Army x G-Shock Mudmaster is the newest model in G-Shock’s Master of G family, and was designed in conjunction with the British Army (as its name suggests). The limited-edition watch features a camouflage design inspired by the armed force’s own multi-terrain pattern. Features include a quad sensor (altimeter-barometer, thermometer, compass, and step counter), Bluetooth mobile link and calorie counter. It is mud- and shock-resistant, although not quite bulletproof. g-shock.co.uk
Victorinox I.N.O.X 43mm Carbon Composite
Get into a scrape in the wilderness and this watch’s paracord strap can unravel to become a versatile survival tool. Paracord (or parachute cord) is tough enough to be used to make a fishing net, a tourniquet, or to secure shelter in place. The watch’s hardened mineral crystal display is triple-coated, anti-reflective and scratch-resistant, all of which could be handy if civilization collapses. Tests involve it being driven over by a tank and, arguably more usefully, surviving the spin cycle in a washing machine. victorinox.com
Timex Gallatin Solar Outdoor Watch
A tough watch that won’t punch a hole in your wallet. Water-resistant up to 50 meters, rugged with scratch-proof glass it can be charged from any light source (including indoor lighting) and stay powered up for two months. Its hardy credentials are underlined by its durable nylon double-layer strap, strong resin case and tactical top ring and dial. timex.com
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech
Created for commandos serving in the Italian Navy in 1950, Panerai’s Luminor is a professional dive watch you can wear anywhere. Its cushion-shaped case and crown-protecting bridge have become iconic and its functionality is hard to beat. Its robust 47mm black ceramic case is water resistant to 300m, with luminous numerals and dots on the dial, and it'' has a power reserve of three days. panerai.com
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional
Not every watch is tough enough to have been blasted into space: Omega’s Speedmaster Professional has done it more than once. Having been part of all six lunar missions and endorsed by Nasa as the first watch on the moon, it has earned its place in horology’s hall of fame. Noted for its high performance, it comes with a chronograph function (the “small seconds” at 9 o’clock), tachymeter and the iconic Speedmaster bracelet with push-button release. watches-of-switzerland.co.uk
Luminox Master Carbon Seal 3803
Luminox has been making watches for America’s Navy Seals for years, and the Master Carbon Seal series takes this to new heights. The case is made from 40 percent carbon in bar form – a bar of hot rolled carbon with an additional process of cold finishing – making it especially strong and light. It is also hypoallergenic, heat-resistant and scratch-resistant. The ‘always on’ luminous display will glow for 25 years. luminox.co.uk
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.