Casio Men’s MDV106-1AV 200M Dive Watch – $50ish
This thing is so good it’s unfair. It’s the G.O.A.T. cheap diver. And the way it looks, feels, and wears is a testament to just how close the margins can be (not always but can be) between the feel and function of a basic consumer good, and the feel and function of a high end luxury product. No it’s not a Rolex or Omega. But when you compare what you get vs the price points? And the vast, almost galactic distance between those two ends of the spectrum? C’mon.
Look at cars. A Porsche Panamera runs about $100k. A Kia Stinger goes for around $45k. No the Kia isn’t the Porsche and vice versa. And the Casio isn’t a Rolex either. But if you want to compare ratios, then if the Casio costs less than 1% of the Rolex, then the Kia “should” cost… a grand. A thousand dollars. Or, actually, even less. ($45 / $7900 = .0057. | $100k x .0057 = $570)
Terrible economic comparison? Absolutely. But still, nothing about watches makes any sense.
Classic dive looks, while the price remains in the shallow end.
The Casio’s 44mm stainless steel case is solid and wears a bit smaller. Not small, but smaller than 44mm. It’s not flimsy or rickety feeling like other cheap quartz watches at this price point. This is a real watch. You can put it through some paces if you so choose. A combination of brushed and polished surfaces on the case make it look anything but cheap. It’s not garish, but the design isn’t forgotten either.
The 200m water resistance is welcome, and the screw down crown is easy to manipulate. No catching or having to back the crown out due to a missed thread. The mineral crystal is just fine. It’s flat, but there’s a slight upward slope to the bezel that gives it a bit of elevation and visual interest.
Lugs are brushed on the top and polished on the sides.
Terrific bezel. Doesn’t feel cheap in the least.
And speaking of the Bezel… this thing is, frankly, spectacular. I mean, it’s just your run of the mill 60 minute dive bezel, but the feel, snap, and “action” of the thing as you spin it betrays the dirt-cheap price point. There’s zero wonky-wobble-wiggle here. It has a job to do, and it does the business. The coin edge style grip also makes it easy to grip, but the edges aren’t sharp or jagged.
The lume is not great. It’s there, but that’s about it. Not super bright. Not something to depend on in the pitch black hours of the night. But unlike many a Timex, at least it won’t keep you up. The Japanese quartz movement is quiet. Very, very quiet. It shouldn’t keep you awake like the shudder and crunch of the dreaded “Timex Tick”.
200m water resistance = plenty.
The stock rubber strap is fine, but it really excels in the looks department if you swap that out for a NATO strap. Shown in this post would be a Moose Strap Co. “vintag Bond” premium. Twenty bucks for the strap, fifty for the watch, and you’re kitted out with something to make Jimmy Bond nod in approval for around seventy
44mm case feels and wears weirdly… great. But yes, it will feel too big for some.
Shown here on a 22mm aftermarket NATO strap.
The 44mm case and 22mm lugs will be a little big for some wrists. But c’mon. When you need a tough, inexpensive timepiece, shelve the shiny “timelessly sized” dress watch and don’t be afraid to wear something closer to a “tool” than fashion. And don’t be afraid to wear the hell out of it either. Because if something goes wrong and it ends up at the bottom of a lake (or down a sewer grate), it’s not like you lost a Rolex. Even though, at a glance, it looks like one.