Best bargain watches?

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White bear (Admin)
Apr 16, 2003
I've not been wearing a watch for a couple of years now, I need to get my Hawk serviced but that's like £50 so I was wondering what watches are out there that are not too much are good in the outdoors. I know it's easier to get a decent watch if it's over £50 but what under £50 bargains are there to be had? What's your experience with them?


Full Member
I gave up on expensive watches years ago because of the cost of servicing them. I had and automatic Tissot divers' watch which lost about 3 minutes a week and had the potentially dangerous habit of stopping and then restarting itself thus losing u to an hour before I had realised. This caused me to be embarrassing late for appointments on occasion. Annual servicing was prohibitively expensive and involved being sent to Switzerland leaving me without a watch for weeks. The temporary replacement, bought on a Cambridge market stall for £5 was more accurate and reliable. ("I don't sell cheap watches, sir, only inexpensive ones!" said the stall keeper caustically). This was replaced by a solar powered job whose brand escapes me, but was very expensive, probably to cover the cost of using prominent sports celebrities to advertise it. It was accurate, but the winder fell out and it was thereafter impossible to adjust. The makers refused to replace it as being out of guarantee after two years and I was quoted about £150 for repair.

I replaced it with a Casio quartz divers' watch bought on line as a temporary stopgap over ten years ago for about £35, I think. It has had the battery replaced about three times by a guy who knows how to reseal it properly for about £12 a time and I had replaced the original strap with a NATO one at a cost of £10 pounds. So, around £60 in all so far.It is accurate to about a second a month, has only been off my wrist if I remember to take it off before showering, which I seldom do (remember, not shower). I swim, snorkel, canoe and generally expect it to perform anywhere I can. It has never let me down and I think it may well outlast me. Not that it matters to me, but the only possible downside is that, like me, it is a bit bulky and not very beautiful..
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Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
Mid Wales
I bought a Smith & Wesson Military Style Watch from Mean and Green a couple of years ago to protect my 'good' watches when in the woods and fishing etc. It's stood up to everything I've done with it so far and I quite like the simple old fashioned watch face. The only complaint I have is the luminance only last an hour or so in the dark :(

I think they're about £40.


Jan 17, 2018
Round the back skivving
I've been wearing one of these for ten years or more, various new straps and a battery change (£6.00) every three years. It's never skipped a beat, keeps very good time and weighs nothing, also looks a lot better than in the pictures. Lorus are the non-posh arm of Seiko, good reliable made in Japan time piece.
A second vote for the above. On about my third one over the last 20 years or so, I've got a 'pussers' watch strap on it as the one it came with got worn out (the holes that fitted my wrist anyway). Expensive watches are wasted on me as I've been a bit heavy on them in the past, happy to go with cheap and cheerful and these Lorus ones do the job.


Jan 21, 2005
S. Lanarkshire
Casio. It's my go to working watch. I usually wear one of my little gold Rotary ones, and they've been proven bombproof, but the Casio ones are inexpensive, well made, are comfortable to wear, take a hell of a beating and still work reliably. Cheap to have batteries fitted too. Son 1 wears a hand made watch (artisan in Glasgow) but the rest of the menfolks use Casios of one ilk or another.
Mine is now nearly twenty years old. It's scuffed, scratched, it's had a really hard life, and it's still works perfectly. Cost me something like 15 quid all those years ago, owes me nothing now, and if it did die, I'd buy another.

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Dec 2, 2011
South East Kent.
I normally go for a G shock, I picked a nice one up at a boot fair for £20, been on site with me and only had to replace strap which cost £3 from ebay.


Full Member
Casio F91-W. Retrotastic, tells the time (in my experience very accurately), wakes you up in the morning (if you really want it to) and at about £10 -£15 a pop wont make you cry when you lose or break it. Light as a feather so you hardly notice its there what more could you ask of a watch?
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Full Member
Jun 14, 2016
I bought a very 'inexpensive' Timex weekender last Summer.
I put a leather strap on it as I found the nylon one a little sweaty.
The Indiglo works really well and it hasn't lost/gained any time AFAIK.
I managed to snag it at £25 ish and would buy another if needed.


Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
Lorus Lumibrite are cheap, waterproof, glow all night long, and made in the Seiko factory to a good standard. Add a NATO strap and they look pretty good too.
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John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
I wore Casios from the bottom of the range when I was expeditioning - now I wear Aldis offerings.
All keep excellent time and I do not care if they get lost or stolen (there is a laugh!) and I keep a spare in working order in the draw for if the battery dies.I make my own comfortable straps from scrap leather.
You will get 8 or 9 for the price of your servicing alone....
The Mora of the watch world.
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Full Member
Feb 13, 2016
Casio Wave ceptor wva-430U, Solar powered(no batteries replaced yet, after 15years of use), Atomic Radio Timed daily, world time, day, date, waterproof to 100metres, rubber strap, cost me £30 when I bought it new, Excellent bit of kit. cant fault it at all.


Full Member
Apr 20, 2005
Coventry (and up trees)
i have a lovely Steinhart watch for nice wear, but, being a tree surgeon, i was terrified about damaging it, so i bought a Timex camper for £27 6 years ago. its been perfect, withstood all the batterings of tree climbing, standard Uk weather, vibrations, grease and oil. I replaced it last month with a new one as it got ripped off my arm last month with taking down a snapped out tree over the A45 at 1am and in the dark i couldn't find it again. Does everything my Steinhart does (tells the time) and i don't have to worry about it.
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Full Member
Nov 10, 2003
Casio F91-W. Retrotastic, tells the time (in my experience very accurately), wakes you up in the morning (if you really want it to) and at about £10 -£15 a pop wont make you cry when you lose or break it. Light as a feather so you hardly notice its there what more could you ask of a watch?
They come in all sorts of colour options too and work well with NATO style straps. There's also a couple of metal cased versions with bracelet style straps if that's more your thing. Awesome watches, highly recommended.

Just don't wear it if you're visiting Guantanamo.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
The waveceptor watch is now £100+.

IMHO there's not much nice below £50 but functional a lot Whether durable is another question. However even the £15 classic digital casio will be accurate. Once the latest thing now old fashioned. As a kid you wanted these casio watches but ended up with wind up analogue watch. I've still got that watch somewhere. A 1980 Sekonda! Last time I looked it worked. Bought for me in my last year at primary. More than could be said for better watch brands. My one and only Tissot only lasted 9 months. Lifetime guarantee my...