A month or so ago I posted a video by Wranglerstar that discussed finding north using a wristwatch. For some reason I recently watched the video again and began to take note of what he said about the important characteristics that a watch should exhibit, including:
- Analog (not digital) – It’s impossible to use a digital wristwatch to find your direction so that made sense.
- Automatic (not quartz) – Meaning the watch winds itself with movement rather than needing a battery to keep correct time. Since every watch I’ve ever owned has needed a battery–and special watch batteries at that–I figured a watch that doesn’t need a battery sounded like solid logic, especially for long term SHTF preps.
- Zulu style band – Basically this is a better way to secure the band to the watch to ensure you don’t lose the watch part accidentally. Ok, I like not losing my preps.
- Sapphire glass – This is supposedly more durable than plastic or glass. Sounds good.
So, I went looking through the video description and comments trying to figure out what make and model of watch it was that he was using. I was able to gather that it’s made by Marathon but couldn’t nail down an exact model. I figured, no problem, just search Amazon and I’ll find it. Well, my search stopped rather abruptly when I began to look at the prices of Marathon watches… OMG! I almost had a heart attack on the spot; apparently Marathon watches are VERY good or they’re just really proud of them since most cost at least a few hundred to several hundred dollars and up. Heck I don’t like spending more than $20 on a new wristwatch. Either way, I wasn’t spending that kind of money on a watch. Go ahead, search Amazon for “Marathon Watch,” I dare you!
Anyway, I wanted a better wristwatch but not that badly. After all, I did have a digital watch I occasionally used but it met none of the above criteria. What was I going to do?
Well, I settled on ensuring that the watch is analog and automatic for sure. A sapphire front would have been nice but that feature seems to drive up the cost way too much so I’ll just have to take my chances with something less durable. The only other major criteria was the zulu style strap which doesn’t seem to be too cost-prohibitive. Additionally, I would have preferred the watch be relatively water resistant and not really a dress watch… something more sporty. Last, I didn’t want to spend more than $100 if I could avoid it.
As you might suspect there were a plethora of options with respect to digital watches, opting for analog narrowed it down a bit. Likewise, an automatic watch was a bit more difficult to find and narrowed the search more. Even then there were too many choices. I finally searched for watches under $100 with a high reviewer rating and still had plenty to choose from.
I settled on the Seiko Men’s SNK809 “Seiko 5” Automatic Watch with Black Canvas Strap because the price was right (at about $60 shipped) and offered everything I wanted in an analog wristwatch.
The only two drawbacks I noticed from reviews was that a few people didn’t like the smaller width of the wristband (which doesn’t bother me but it may not be right for you) and the water resistance rating to 30 meters (99 feet) is apparently akin to the distance ratings for two-way radios. In other words, don’t bet your watch on that rating and don’t wear it swimming. This, in fact, was the only major concern I had with the watch as I wanted something that could survive a downpour–of which I have yet to experience with the watch–so only time will tell there.
Like I said above, there were a ton of choices. And, if you’re willing to spend more you could certainly find a better watch that might have been more rugged and likely more waterproof, but for the price I would say this one is hard to beat. Perhaps you watch afficionados have a better suggestion? I would appreciate any input here. Remember, however, that only an analog watch can be used for orienting your direction and only an automatic watch winds by your movement and doesn’t require a battery. Of course, they do also make watches that you can wind manually too.
Now, scroll back up and watch the video on finding north with a wristwatch so you didn’t just waste $60. 😉