The Beater Watch

The Purpose

There are in general four different watches that every guy should own: a dive watch, a beater watch, and a dress watch.

The purpose of a beater watch is to have a watch that will hold up to anything you throw at it – and is at a price point where you don’t care if it ends up succumbing at some point to that abuse.  This will be your go to watch for travel, sports, swimming, and around the house wear.  It will double as your survival watch.

The Path

The first thing to decide when picking a beater watch is to decide which time keeping mechanism is going to suit the purpose the best – in general mechanisms can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Automatic: The timing mechanism is driven based on a mechanism that stores energy  based off of the movement of the wearer (or manual winding) in a spring or similar contraption and then slowly releases that energy via a regulating mechanism to track time.
  • Manual: Very similar to the Automatic mechanism – but there is no ability to generate energy based off of the movement of the wearer – the watch needs to be periodically wound in order to continue operating.
  • Quartz: The timing mechanism is based on passing an electrical current through a quartz crystal that oscillates at a specific frequency to keep time.

While I generally prefer mechanical watches (Automatic/Manual) from an aesthetic perspective – mechanical watches have a few key downsides: they are generally expensive, they shouldn’t be subjected to significant force, they are generally less accurate than quartz watches, and if they stop running they need to be reset based on information from a secondary time keeping source.

The biggest downside of a Quartz watch (besides aesthetics) – they require a battery – and cease to function if that battery dies.  Additionally – while they keep more accurate time than their mechanical counterparts – over long periods of time they will diverge.

This is wear Casio’s Solar/Atomic G-Shock watches come into play – by combining these two technologies they eliminate these two shortfalls (leaving only the aesthetics to debate).

I personally hated and made fun of them for years – and then I tried one on – specifically the G-Shock Frogman – and I realized I had been wrong.  These are capable watches that deserve a place in your collection.  G-Shocks get a bad reputation for a number of reasons (not limited to the Baby G line) but there is a reason why they are the top choice of the elite military units including the Navy Seals.

The Pick


The G-Shock GW6900-1 is the latest version of the DW-6600 watch (one of the go to watches for the Navy Seals between 1994 and 2010).  More on the history of the DW-6600 here.

The GW6900-1 improves on the features that made the DW-6600 such a great watch: the G-Shock durability, the EL backlight, the large front facing EL button, and the 200M water resistance – by adding Atomic timekeeping and Solar power.  It does all that for only setting you back ~$80.00.

Even if you break it – it only sets you back 80 bucks – but your not going to.

If you absolutely can’t get on board with a G-Shock and are okay with an automatic watch for this purpose – any of these Seiko’s will do just fine.

The Specifics

Casio G-Shock GW6900-1 Specifications
Timekeeping: Atomic
Energy Source: Solar
WR: 200M

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