Top 12 Best Affordable Outdoor Watches [List & Guide]

Best Affordable Outdoor Watches

Top 12 Best Affordable Outdoor Watches [List & Guide]

Every occasion requires a dedicated watch for the purpose. Whether you want to complement your style, track your swimming, or need a functional tool that can help provide key information.

If you are going outdoors on activities like mountain climbing, hiking, exploring, or camping, you need an outdoor watch. There are no real criteria of what defines an outdoor watch, but the most obvious thing is that it is sporty, durable, and robust. It is also practical if the watch offers good legibility.

Now, there are both analog and digital outdoor watches, but naturally, analog watches do not offer the same level of functionality that digital watches offer. Digital outdoor watches can be designed to be far more technically complicated and offer a ton of different useful functions that can be truly useful. 

Different outdoor activities and purposes mean different wants and needs. In this article, we will look at both digital and analog affordable watches.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the best and most popular (affordable) outdoor watches. Further on, we’ll also take a look at everything you need to consider when making your pick.

Best affordable outdoor watches

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Timex Expedition Scout

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Starting off this list of the best and most popular outdoor watches is the Timex Expedition Scout Polar. As the name suggests, this is a watch made for the outdoors and exploration. At the same time, it is an analog watch powered by a solar quartz movement, meaning it does not have a ton of functions built-in.

The watch is designed as a classic military field watch (which is the type of watch that the military soldiers used out in the fields back in the days) and has a 340mm brass case with a black finish. On top of the case, it has a mineral crystal. The watch has a simple and sporty case design and is presented with a black dial with 12-hour and 24-hour markers. Positioned at 3 o’clock, it also has a date window. The dial has luminous hands and markers which helps improve the legibility in low-lit conditions.

As mentioned, it is a solar watch, meaning the movement gets energy from solar and ambient light which is a huge plus as it means you do not have to replace its batteries.

All in all, this is a great outdoor watch for those who want something versatile that can also be used for everyday wear, but also works equally well for outdoor use.

Specifications

  • Water-resistance: 50/165 feet
  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Crystal: Mineral glass
  • Movement: quartz Solar

Casio G8900A-1CR G-Shock Sport

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Casio G-Shock has made a name for itself by making high-quality, tough, and robust watches for the extremes, and the G8900A-1CR is no exception. This watch has a black resin case that offers great durability, shock resistance, and can handle all kinds of harsh conditions. The case measures 52.5mm in diameter and has a mineral crystal on top. The watch is presented with a digital screen divided into different sections to help make it easier to read all the key information. For improved legibility in low-lit conditions, it also has an illuminator LED light.

The watch is powered by a Japanese quartz movement offers a number of different key functions including a countdown timer, 1/1000-second stopwatch, flash alert, world time (48 cities and UTC), multi-home time, and 12/24 hour formats.

Since this watch is built to handle the most demanding conditions, it has water-resistant to 200m/660 feet.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 52.5mm
  • Water-resistance: 200m/660 feet
  • Crystal: Mineral glass
  • Movement: Japanese quartz

Timex Expedition Katmai Combo

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The Timex Expedition Katmai is an affordable yet practical outdoor watch that is as suitable for outdoor activities as it looks. The watch has a robust 40mm resin case with a unidirectional rotating bezel. On top of the case sits an acrylic glass.

What stands out about this watch is that it combines an analog time display with an LCD screen. With that said, you could say that it combines the best of both worlds. Thanks to the display, it is equipped with a chronograph, alarm, and timer functions.

For improved legibility, it also has an Indiglo light-up watch dial.

The water resistance isn’t the best, at 50m, but this is more of a versatile outdoor watch and not built for the toughest adventures.

Specifications

  • Water-resistance: 50m/165 feet
  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Movement: quartz

Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRG-270-1 Tough Solar Triple Sensor Multifunction Digital Sport Watch

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The Casio Pro Trek PRG-270-1 is a watch that is specifically made for the outdoors. In fact, it is the go-to watch for many explorers and outdoor activities thanks to its combination of useful functions and durable construction.

The watch has a robust and durable case that can resist low temperatures and has a water resistance of 100m. The watch is powered by a Solar quartz movement which is automatically charged by ambient and solar light. Without any light, it has a power reserve of 9 months on a full charge.

As you can expect, this watch is packed with useful functions and features. I would even go to say that it has everything you need and much more for an outdoor adventure. In terms of functions, it has a full auto calendar, 5 Daily Alarms, World Time with 31 time zones, city name display, a digital compass, a barometer display, a thermometer, countdown timer, altimeter measuring, and more.

The watch has a Full auto LED with Super Illuminator which lights up the watch and makes it possible to read it even when it is pitch dark.

If you want a watch that is packed with functions that can come in handy for outdoor activities, there really are few watches that are as good as the Pro Trek PRG-270-1.

Specifications

  • Water-resistance: 100m/330 feet
  • Movement: Solar quartz
  • Battery life: 9 months on a full charge

Casio GW-M5610-1BJF G-Shock Solar

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The Casio G-Shock GW-M5610-1BJF is a simple digital watch that offers all of the basic functions that we have come to expect from a G-shock and more, but without the big case design that many of them have.

The watch has a sleek case profile made in black resin which offers good durability and shock resistance. It is powered by a solar quartz movement that has a battery life of approximately 10 months.

When it comes to functions, it has atomic timekeeping, world time with 29 time zones and 48 cities, city code display, five daily alarms, 1/100-second stopwatch, countdown timer, full auto-calendar, and more.

To make it possible to read the time in low-lit conditions, it also has an EL backlight.

If you want a simple yet practical watch for outdoor use with a number of useful functions, this is a great affordable choice,. 

Specifications

  • Movement: Solar Quartz
  • Battery life: 10 months

Seiko 5 SNK805 Automatic Field Watch

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The Seiko 5 SNK805 is a military-inspired timepiece that happens to be probably the most popular affordable automatic watch on the market.

The watch has a sand-blasted case design with a diameter of 37mm and a Hardly crystal on top. Its smaller case size is appropriate as it is closer in size to the original military watches it has taken its inspiration, but it also fits a lot of different wrist sizes.

The watch is powered by the in-house Seiko caliber 7S26B which is known for being robust, long-lasting, and durable. This makes it perfect for outdoor use, but overall, it also makes it a good choice for watch enthusiasts who want a mechanical outdoor watch. Another nice touch that watch enthusiasts will appreciate is that it has a see-through case back.

The watch has a nice military-green dial with minutes and seconds markers on the dial. It has a day and date window at 3 o’clock and sword-shaped hands with luminescence and white metal frames which provide a better contrast against the background but also helps with the legibility in low-lit conditions.

The only downside about this watch is its water resistance of only 30m, but for the price, I really have a hard time complaining about anything as there are few watches on the market, if any, that offer as much value for money as this Seiko 5.

The great thing about this watch, in particular, is that it is so versatile. It can be used for everyday wear, but can also accompany you on your outdoor adventures.

Specifications

  • Water-resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Crystal: Hardlex
  • Diameter: 37mm
  • Movement: Automatic Seiko caliber 7S26B

Casio Pathfinder Multi-Function Sport Watch

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The Casio Pathfinder is exactly as sporty as its design suggests it to be, and it is built for the most extreme and demanding outdoor adventures.

The watch has a robust 51mm stainless steel case with a mineral crystal on top as well as protectors around the case to increase its resistance against shocks. The watch is powered by a quartz solar movement and incorporates a large number of useful functions which it provides details about via its large LCD screen.

It has a water resistance of 100m/330 feet which means it is suitable for swimming.

In terms of functions, it has a lot to offer, including a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, world time for 31 time zones and 48 cities, city code display, five daily alarms, 1/100-second stopwatch, full auto calendar, a countdown timer, and more.

In other words, this outdoor sports watch offers everything you may want in a watch and much more for all of your outdoor adventures. It is also tough and built to handle the extreme conditions that may come with that.

Specifications

  • Water-resistance: 100m/330 feet
  • Battery life: 6 months
  • Crystal: Mineral glass
  • Movement: solar quartz

Timex Expedition Field Chronograph

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The Timex Expedition Field Chronograph is a good choice if you want a sporty outdoor watch that can also work for everyday use.

It has a 43mm brass case with a black coating for a sportier look, but overall a simple case design inspired by classic military field watches. This is also a chronograph which means it has chronograph push-buttons on the side of its case, on each side of the crown. It is a 30-minute chronograph that measures 1/20th second as well as a sub-dial for tracking minutes.

The watch is presented with a matching black dial which has a lot going on. Apart from the three sub-dials positioned on the dial, it has a date window at 4 o’clock, large 60-second Arabic numerals, as well as a tachymeter scale on the rehaut around the dial. The dial also uses Timex’s Indigo function which lights up to provide excellent legibility even in low-lit conditions. The dial has skeletonized hands with white frames which do not cover the features of the dial, whilst also providing pretty good legibility.

The water resistance of this watch is pretty decent as well at 100m/330 feet.

In Timex’s own words: ”From the hiking trail to the top of the mountain, you’re free to explore with this tactical field watch rugged enough to handle whatever life throws your way.”

Specifications

  • Diameter: 43mm
  • Water-resistance: 100m/330 feet
  • Crystal: Mineral glass

Suunto Core Outdoor Sports Watch

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The Suunto Core is the go-to digital watch for outdoor enthusiasts who want more than just a watch with functions, but also a digital tool that can help them track their training.

It is an extremely popular outdoor sports watch that is packed with a bunch of useful features which are useful for outdoor activities, but also other sports activities. It has a storm alarm, an altimeter, a barometer, and a compass, all of which are useful for the outdoors. In addition to this, it provides dual times, a date display, alarm, and predicted times for sunrise and sunset. Conveniently enough, it also offers a depth meter.

Not only is this watch extremely practical, but as you can expect, it is also very durable as well. If you’re looking for a useful outdoor watch the can work as a trusted companion on all your outdoor adventures, this is definitely a great choice.

Specifications

  • Functions:  altimeter, barometer, compass and weather indicator

Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct Outdoor Watch

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Another highly popular digital outdoor and fitness watch is the Garmin Instinct 010-02064-00. This is a tough and robust watch that is built to handle harsh and demanding conditions. It has a built-in GPS and is built according to the U.S. Military standard 810G for thermal, shock, and water resistance, so you can be sure you’re getting a seriously robust watch. The water resistance is quite good at 100m.

In addition to the above, the watch also offers all of the additional functions that you’d expect in an advanced digital watch, such as a digital compass, barometric altimeter, navigation satellite systems, to mention a few. This watch is also a good choice for tracking your exercise with features such as a heart rate monitor, activity and stress tracker, and so on.

The watch can also connect with your smartphone to provide smart notifications from your phone on the watch. It can also upload data to the Garmin Connect online fitness community.

In other words, the ultimate outdoor fitness and sports watch, according to many.

Specifications

  • Battery life: up to 14 days
  • Water-resistance: 100m

Garmin fenix 6S Sapphire Multisport GPS Watch

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The Garmin Fenix 6S is another highly popular and advanced outdoor watch that has a ton of useful functions and features.

It has a rugged design with a stainless steel bezel and a large screen with good legibility. Naturally, it is battery-powered and has a battery life of up to 9 days.

The features of this watch are many, including a heart rate monitor, sleep monitoring, altitude, training and exercise tracking, preloaded TOPO maps, GPS function, built-in sensors for 3-axis compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter, and much more.

Whether you want a useful watch for everyday wear or a robust outdoor watch that can provide you with key information, this is one of the best outdoor smartwatches out there.

Specifications

  • Water-resistance: 100m

G-Shock GG-1000 Mudmaster

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Last but not least, we have the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GG-1000 which may just be the toughest and most durable outdoor watch on the market. Like, really, this watch is insanely tough and can handle virtually anything.

It has a large and robust resin case with crown guards and shock absorbers. It can handle extreme temperatures, is mud resistant, and can handle everything you may subject to in your outdoor activities. The water resistance is really good as well at 200m/660 feet.

The watch is also packed with useful functions such as a twin Sensor which provides information about temperature, alarm, and much more.

It also combines analog timekeeping with LCD screens which is a nice combination that makes it look more like a watch, not just a tool. For improved legibility in low-lit conditions, it has a built-in LED super illuminator.

Specifications

  • Water-resistance: 200m/660 feet
  • Battery life: 2 years

What to look for in an outdoor watch – buyer’s guide

What you should look for in an outdoor watch obviously depends on how you plan to use it and what your needs are.

The first thing you want to ask yourself is whether you want a digital or analog outdoor watch. Analog watches include regular timekeeping but may also include a few other functions such as a date indicator and a chronograph. But if you’re looking for a serious and advanced outdoor watch that can provide key information such as barometric pressure, temperature, and much more. In that sense, a digital watch may be more useful if you’re actually planning on using all of the functions that can be available to you. But if you’re just looking for a robust watch that can help you keep track of the time in the outdoors, you may prefer the (generally) more stylish design and nature of a classic analog watch.

Much of it comes down to your preference but also your actual needs.

Durability

An important aspect of an outdoor watch is durability. When you are outdoors, you will probably subject the watch to harsh conditions, low and high temperatures, dirt, water shocks, and bangs. You want to make sure that the watch is tough and built to last, even in the harshest conditions. But again, depending on how you plan to use it, you may or may not need to toughest watch on the market.

But if you are going to subject it to harsh conditions and a lot of stress, you want to make sure that you have a watch that is tough enough to withstand it. In general, rubberized digital watches like the G-Shock tend to be the toughest.

Water-resistance

Whilst you generally do not go swimming with an outdoor watch, there may be occasions when it comes in contact with water, and it is obviously important that the watch can withstand that.

All watches that we will look closer at below have at least a decent water resistance and are also built to be tough and robust.

A good guideline is that it should ideally be splash-proof, which is generally 50m. This is a watch that can handle easier outdoor activities like hiking.

But if you plan to go out on greater adventures, you should have a water resistance of at least 100m, which means it is suitable for swimming.

Functions

As mentioned, the functions of a watch are also a key aspect that you need to take into consideration. Some watches are built for showing the time and nothing else, whilst others are built to give detailed information and performance stats. Think about what functions may be useful to you, and choose a watch accordingly.

Mechanical or quartz/digital?

As you have seen, there are both mechanical and quartz/digital outdoor watches that you can choose from. In general, mechanical watches have fewer functions than digital alternatives for obvious reasons. The same goes for analog quartz watches. If you are really passionate about mechanical watches and don’t need a large number of functions, then this may be your natural pick. However, if you want an outdoor watch that is packed with functions, a digital watch should be the one you opt for.

If you want an advanced watch with plenty of functions and features, the only reasonable alternative is a digital watch.

With that said, this is why it is important to consider the functions you need and want in a watch as this will ultimately decide which timepiece works best for your needs. Digital watches are available with tons and tons of functions and features that may come in handy in the outdoors like GPS, barometer, altimeter, thermometer, and so on. Mechanical or quartz analog watches usually only display the time, and maybe have a date function.

The functionality you need in a timepiece ultimately depends on how you intend to use it. For example, if you want a watch that can help you keep track of your health and exercise, you want to opt for a watch that is more focused on fitness. On the contrary, if you are going to use it for things like skiing and hiking, it can be very convenient to have things like GPS, altimeter, and mapping so you can keep track of your position and plan where you are going,

Some watches also come with smartwatch functionality, meaning you can stay connected and access app and other functionalities. Again, there is plenty to choose from – it all depends on your own individual needs!

Battery Life

If you choose quartz or digital watch, the battery life is something you need to consider. In general, smartwatches only have a battery life of a few days due to the complexity they offer with their technology. On the contrary, an analog quartz watch can last for years. Some also have solar functionality, meaning that they technically never run out of power as they are constantly charged with solar and ambient light.

Good battery life is mainly important if you are going on long hiking and exploring trips where you won’t have access to charging for a longer period of time. But if you’re just going out over the day, the battery life won’t matter as much. Therefore, always consider the battery life of your timepiece and base your decision on how you are going to use it.

What is an outdoor watch?

An outdoor watch, sometimes referred to as an adventure watch is – just as the name suggests – a timepiece that is built for the extreme and to handle all kinds of harsh conditions and challenges that come with outdoor adventures. An outdoor watch should be tough, durable, and perhaps also functional depending on your needs.

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