February 25, 2021

Six Wristwatches for Survivalists, by Pat Cascio

I’ve always been a real stickler for being on-time, for everything – and I’ve been wearing a watch since I was a child. I believe I can count on one hand, the number of times I’ve ever been late for work, and at that, there was usually a good reason for being late. At that, my tardiness was only a few minutes being late from my scheduled starting time, with one exception. Back in 1976, I was briefly driving a dump truck for a living. The prior evening, some buddies and I went out drinking – I stopped drinking shortly after this and haven’t touched a drop since then. Anyway, we tied on a good one and I overslept, and it wasn’t until my boss called and woke me up – I was late that morning by more than an hour.

With reference to the above, I became a born again Christian, on August 17, 1977, and I stopped drinking immediately that very day – and never looked back. I didn’t have to go through any rehab programs or anything like that – it was simply the power of the Lord, that gave me the strength to stop drinking. My short testimony, if you will.

I couldn’t tell you the number of different watches I’ve owned over the years. However some were cheap models, and some – some of my current watches – are more expensive versions. Back in the say, I often wore a Timex – the old television commercials would say: “They take a lickin’ and keep on tickin…” And, to be sure, there were and still are decent watches.

If you’ll look at the photo at the top of this article, you will six different watches pictured. They are: Casio (no relation and spelled differently than my family name) a Pro Trek, followed by a Luminox, Seiko, another Casio, Swiss Army and lastly, an old no-name military-style watch. Prices range from $400 down to $10 – depends on what your bank account can handle and your needs.

Casio Pro Trek

Starting with the Pro Trek, this one is made by Casio, and it has all the bells and whistles you’ll ever need and more. Of course, it tells time, however you can have it with a 12-hour civilian time showing or the 24-hour military time. It is “water-resistant” down to 200-feet – no one any longer claims that their watches are “waterproof”. This watch also gives you the day and month – but it can also show the year if you desire that. It also will give you the ambient air temperature – however, you need to remove it from your wrist for a brief period of time, so it doesn’t give you body temperature. It has a digital compass, that works quite well, too. There is a stopwatch, plus a barometric pressure function. And an altimeter to let you know your elevation. You can tell sun-up and sun-down times, for your area. A countdown timer that could be handy on military operations. An alarm – however, it is high pitched and out of my hearing range. I can also call up the time in different time zones around the world. It comes with a military green tough polymer wrist band to keep the watch fastened to your wrist. It also has illumination so when it is dark, you can see the time. Lastly, it is driven by a solar battery.

Casio claims that the Pro Trek’s battery will hold a charge for approximately seven months. But of course that depends on how often you use some of the functions, especially the backlight. What I do is, when I take this watch off, is place it under the lamp on my end table, and it keeps the watch fully charged.

I can’t remember all the functions that this watch has, and I’ve only memorized the ones I’ll use most often – but there are times, when I forget how to access a particular function  — so it is back to the thick owner’s manual. So, this is a bit of a negative in some respects. If I were back in the military, doing different types of operations, this would be my watch of choice. It’s important to know things like direction you are traveling and this watch seems to be dead-on when used next to a military compass. And with the elevation function, it could help determine if you are where you need to be, when compared to a topographical map. The alarm setting – won’t work in my case, however, it will work for most users, if you have to wake-up at a certain time, or use the count down feature, if you have to rendezvous at a certain time or launch an op at a certain time.

This watch cost me close to $400 and worth every penny of it – and as I stated, it does more things than I would really have a use for. Plus, it is a big watch, and its easy to read the face of it without my reading glasses.

Luminox

Next up is the Luminox watch, and this one has been very popular with US Navy SEALs as well as many other SpecOps units, plus many FBI agents and other federal law enforcement personnel love it. My model has a black face, but the numerals are blue, and the numbers on the bezel face are blue. You can have this one with an orange face and numerals. There are small “hash” marks around each number and on the watch hands – yes, it has hands instead of being digital. These hash marks don’t exactly “glow” per se, however, in the lowest light you can see them. They use tiny vials filled with tritium gas. The half-life of tritium is 11.2 years, so these markings are rated to still be useful after 25 years. (Still about one-quarter of their original brightness.) This watch is made in Switzerland – known for high quality timepieces. The watchband is a tough black polymer and should last for many years. Now, there is nothing “fancy” at all about this watch – it only tells time and give you the day of the month – and you have to manually change this with months that have less than 31-days in them. Not a deal-breaker at all. Plus, it is water-resistant down to 200-feet. For everyday wear, in civilian or military life, this would be my first choice to have on my wrist. It is super accurate thus far, and I’ve had it a year. Battery life is about four years.

Seiko

Next up is my Seiko, and this one is made in Japan. I can’t remember which model this one is, because Seiko makes so many different models, but this one cost me $325. It came with a leather watchband, but slick leather on the underside. However, this caused this watch to slide around my wrist even when it was tight on my wrist. Once again, we have a watch that tells time – accurately – as well as giving you the day of the month, that once again, you must manually change on months that have less than 31-days. There is also an alarm feature – that I can’t hear. And, we have a stopwatch timer. This watch is water-resistant down to 200-feet as well. Another outstanding choice in a good watch if you ask me. I keep the large second hand in the “stop” position, so it doesn’t use up valuable battery life – once again, this one is solar-powered, and on a full charge, will last about 6-months. On this particular watch it started losing time – didn’t know what the problem was. It wasn’t getting enough sunlight  darn it! A local jeweler told me to place it under a lamp for 7-days and it would fully charge up again. And, when I’m not wearing this watch it is next to the Pro Trek on my end table under a lamp – getting and staying charged.

Lower-End Casio

Next, we are looking at my older Casio. – the battery is presently running down – and there are no local jewelry stores open tocan replace the battery. So, this watch is losing time – I don’t wear it. It takes a special “press” to replace the back on the watch when you have the battery replaced. There is a rubber seal on the watch, and this is what keeps the watches water-resistant. This watch keeps time and gives you the day and date at a glance. There is also an alarm feature – once again, of no use to me – it is out of my hearing range. I paid $100 for this model, and I’ve had it more than 20 years. The battery life is about 6-7 years, then it needs replacing. I’m waiting for jewelry stores to re-open so I can replace the battery.

Swiss Army

My Swiss Army watch is next – and I’ve had this one for more than 20 years, as well. There are two companies that officially make Swiss Army knives and watches and I don’t know which one made this model.  Nothing fancy here, just tells time and gives you the date – again, change the date if the month has less than 31-days in it. It was water-resistant down to 200-feet. I like the black face – military looking, and the phosphorescent numerals and hands glow at night, if you expose them to a light source. This is my second watch band on it – and this one is Nylon/leather and is strong – just a great everyday watch…this one cost me $140 and was worth it, too. I’m waiting for jewelry stores to open once again, so they can replace the battery – it is stone cold dead.

No Name and Bare Bones

The last pictured is my cheapest watch, and it only tells time – nothing more. I paid $10 for it – and I’ve owned it more than 20 years. If you want a bare-bones timepiece, it’s hard to beat this one. However, it is not water-resistant. Secondly, it takes a very tiny battery – that you can replace yourself – because it is not water-resistant in the least. And, the watchband – is cheap – but the darn thing has been keeping time for a lot of years. The battery only lasts about 5-6 months – so that’s something to think about if you don’t want to replace it frequently. Batteries are about $4 each – and the watch was only ten bucks.

To me, in my senior years, I enjoy fine timepieces, so I can usually be seen with one of my more expensive watches on my wrist and people ask about them all the time – like what do they do and how much did they cost me. It just depends on your budget, and what features you are looking for in a wristwatch. Of course, these days, many people depend on their cell phones to know what time it is, But as for me, I’m old fashioned and just watch to look at my watch to know what time it is. And I usually know the date so I rarely look at my watches for this feature.

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