15 Toughest Watches You Can Buy In 2024 (Across ALL Brands)
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Toughest Watches You Can Buy

15 Toughest Watches You Can Buy In 2024 (Across ALL Brands)

Modern timekeeping by virtue of mechanical clocks was first introduced during the 13th century. Since then, innovation has taken its natural course to make timekeeping far more accessible to us. 

With the pursuit of accuracy and reliability, timekeeping devices have consistently evolved into more robust, tougher, and better-built instruments in the modern day. They have become essential tools capable of being used in the harshest and most alien environments known to man.

About Tough Watches

Prior to the 20th century, watches were mainly used by aristocrats and carried in a pocket in the form of pocket watches. They are now considered delicate, simply revealing that technology and modern use cases for timekeeping were not invented back then. 

By 1904, this changed with the launch of the Cartier Santos Dumont, the first wristwatch, pilot’s watch, and, as a result, the first tough tool watch.

Wartime would inspire more tool-oriented innovation across watchmakers to produce watches that could survive the elements. “Trench watches”, as they called them, became essential tools for survival. Water resistance was in its infancy during this era, with watchmakers like Hamilton experimenting with Canteen-styled crowns.

In 1953, we saw the dawning of the first dive watches invented by Blancpain and Rolex. The world’s fascination with underwater exploration proved to be the ultimate test of the toughness of wristwatches. To this day, water resistance is an essential characteristic of a tough watch.

By today’s standards, a tough watch must be built with durable materials, be antimagnetic, accurate, shock-resistant, water-resistant, and have its form follow function. Technology today has made tough watches abundant for us; their purpose, however, may vary based on their use case.

What to Look for When Buying Tough Watches

Aficionados will be familiar with identifying the unique characteristics watches of today make available to us in the form of toughness. Many popular models – like the Submariner, Explorer, Seamaster, SKX, and many more that have now become versatile daily drivers – have a proven tool watch DNA that often inspires and reassures our purchase.

Design & Materials

When considering the design and the materials used for tough watches, both characteristics must go hand in hand with the notion that form follows function. Tough watches are easy to identify for their intended purpose, be it diving, flight, fieldwork, or exploration. 

They are made available with different features such as dive or navigation bezels, crown guards or protectors, legible dials (with lume), protective grills, straps or bracelets, and rugged case shapes or sizes to withstand the elements it was designed for. 

Materials also stretch the imagination with variations in steels, bronzes, plastics, rubber, titanium, ceramics, and carbon composites in order to complement their design, purpose, look, and feel.

Build Quality & Durability

Build quality and durability in the form of case construction, accuracy, anti-magnetism, shock resistance, water resistance, and anti-corrosion are key aspects to consider when buying a tough watch. 

Even some $100 resin G-Shock models have carbon core guards for increased toughness, rigidity, and durability over time. Superior water resistance is usually the most favored characteristic in this segment, as higher water resistance often boasts a higher level of engineering implemented into a watch case design.


Technology has made tough watches far more accessible in terms of price, with many variations of timepieces that can perform a challenging task or live a tough life. 

It may be a manual-wind Panerai or even a digital G-Shock Mudmaster; if your budget is deep or shallow, you can still match the specifications and get equal amounts of toughness with different novelties to be enjoyed by different watchmakers.

15 Toughest Watches in the Market

With that said, let’s have a look at the 15 best tough watches you can buy today:

Timex Ironman Original 30 Shock

The Ironman Original 30 Shock is a digital watch designed with outdoor athletes in mind and inspired by the original 1986 Ironman model offered by Timex. In its heyday, this was the Apple Watch Ultra, but today, it can be considered a timeless essential with its “unimposing” retro design, feature set, and price (of only $70).

It comes equipped with three main functions: a countdown timer, an Indiglo light-up dial (invented by Timex in the 90s), and an alarm function. For many, this will be all they need in terms of functionality. It has a 42mm resin case inspired in design by minimalism, a simple black/grey colorway, and uses pops of yellow text hinting at its outdoor-appropriate sportiness.

It is attached to a resin strap, making it perfect for outdoor activities and contributing to a weightless wearing experience. It is also water-resistant to 200 meters, making it suitable for almost any sports environment.

Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GWG-2000

The GWG-2000 is the ultimate G-Shock, built to endure the harshest field environments. As its name implies, the Mudmaster’s party trick is its Mud-Resist structure push-buttons (now improved) that will never allow any mud, grit, sand, or concrete to enter your watch. 

This is the newest iteration of the Mudmaster, replacing the GWG-1000. In its evolution, it is now 1.9mm slimmer and 13 grams lighter than its predecessor, thanks to the usage of a carbon core guard structure—new to this series—that also improves its overall strength. 

It is the first G-Shock to feature forged carbon components, contributing to its lightness, toughness, and supercar-like aesthetics. Its rugged exterior design is inspired by professional gear, with fine texturing on its resin band, checked surface texture on its crown, and ribbed guards to protect its front buttons, amplifying its toughness.

Not only is it built and looks ready for the battlefield, but it also has an endless toolbox of features that you can count on when you need them most. Other aesthetically tough features include its sapphire glass and a highly legible (analog/digital) fully lumed dial with a “Super Illuminator” double LED light. Being one of Casio’s flagship models, it will cost you $800.

Victorinox I.N.O.X. Professional Diver (ref. 241813.2)

Victorinox is world-famous for its knives and tools. They also make tool watches, and for their 130th anniversary, they decided to make a watch that symbolizes and celebrates the tough tool ethos of the brand.

To achieve this, they devised a series of 130 extreme homologation tests, including a 10-meter drop resistance test, a temperature shock resistance test, and an 8-ton pressure resistance test (driving a 64-ton tank over a watch). The result was the I.N.O.X watch collection, standing for “Impact Neutralizing Object for the Xtremes”.

The 241813 is a Quartz Professional Diver variant, water resistant to 200m, that is ISO-625 certified. It is characterized by a chunky design with bulky dimensions of 45mm x 14mm, made entirely of sandblasted titanium, with crown guards and a 60-minute graduated unidirectional dive bezel with deep beveling reminiscing an octagonal shape for easy manipulation. 

Protected by sapphire crystal, it has a unique blue camouflage dial, fully lumed, with legible round and square numerals. Paying tribute to its nautical roots, it is equipped with a paracord strap that fits securely over a wetsuit. It also comes with a rubber strap. This watch is now discontinued (replaced with a steel variant) and can be found for upwards of $600. 

Citizen Promaster Tough (ref. BN0211-50E)

The Promaster Tough is a field watch from Citizen with a spec sheet that fully lives up to its name. It features a monocoque case made of a 2-piece construction without needing a caseback, offering extreme rigidity, shock resistance, and anti-magnetism.

It also uses a “Super Titanium” coating on its steel case and bracelet, making it 5 times harder than traditional stainless steel. With a 42mm diameter case featuring a flat raised bezel and crown guards, it offers the sportiness and legibility expected of a tough field watch.

Yet, thanks to its slimness of only 10.1mm and its well-made h-link bracelet, it is extremely versatile and can easily slide under a cuff. Protected by a sapphire crystal, its black, fully lumed dial adds to its versatility with an elegant and clean approach to its design.

Housed inside is Citizens own Eco-Drive technology (solar), allowing it to run purely on light. This is a discontinued model with an original retail price of $495.

Luminox Bear Grylls Survival Series 3741

The Bear Grylls Survival Series 3741 is an outdoor timepiece that embodies British adventurer Bear Grylls “survival” lifestyle. Made by Luminox, a brand that is famous for its cutting-edge luminosity and has been a partner of the Navy Seals for over 25 years, its watches have proven to be so tough and capable that they are considered “first-line gear”. 

The 3741 is a quartz-powered watch equipped with a chronograph function, a date, and a removable compass attached to its rubber strap. It sports an all-black aesthetic, with hints of orange and white adding contrast and sportiness. 

It has a 45mm by 14mm case made of Carbonox, a carbon composite that is six times lighter than steel and three times lighter than titanium and is shock and scratch-resistant. Attached is a matching Carbonox notched dive bezel that has 60-minute indications, a tachymeter scale, and a lume pip at zero.

Under its sapphire crystal is an intricate dial with a three-register chronograph layout and a date window at 6 o’clock. What is special about the Luminox lume is that it uses tritium gas tubes, providing a constant glow for up to 25 years. This watch is priced at $995. 

Marathon Official USMC Pilot’s Navigator (ref. WW194013BK)

Since 1941, Marathon has been supplying watches and timing instruments to the allied forces for military use. It operates from Canada, producing its timepieces in Switzerland. The Pilot’s Navigator was created in the 1980s as an answer to the U.S. armed forces, whose pilots needed a legible watch in the cockpit that was able to handle pressure changes and g-forces endured during flight.

This model is fully made with High-Impact Composite Fibreshell, finished in a matte black that gives it a stealth aesthetic. Its case is 41mm by 14mm, attached to a nato-strap, and offers versatility in its sizing due to its block construction, which helps the lugs feel like part of the case.

The case is asymmetrical, rounded off at 3 o’clock, allowing it to act as a crown guard. Its bezel is bi-directional with white contrasting 12-hour markings and a lume pip at 12 o’clock. Under its sapphire crystal is a black dial with white contrasting Arabic numerals in a 12-hour and 24-hour (military) layout.

It also features a date window at 4.30 and a red-tipped (fighter plane-shaped) second hand. It is powered by a quartz movement and is 50m water resistant. This watch is available for civilians to purchase for $480.

Damasko DSub50

Damasko, founded in 1994, has a history of making high-performance materials for the aviation industry; they also supplied watch cases to Sinn. The DSub50 is a heavily engineered serious dive watch from the German watchmaker, featuring a case made of austenitic German submarine steel, which is nearly twice the strength of regular steel, highly corrosion-resistant, and anti-magnetic.

It has a 43mm by 12.6mm case, and it wears smaller due to its short, steep lugs, allowing its rubber strap to contour to smaller wrists. Its case and bezel are coated fully with black DAMEST, and its uni-directional dive bezel has contrasting white 60-minute indications with a lume pip at zero. 

Under its sapphire crystal, it is complemented with a matching black dial (fully lumed), with white contrasting hands and markings, and without unnecessary text beside the brand logo, making it highly legible. There is a date window at 4.30 o’clock in black that also blends in well. It has an overall very clean design and makes for a serious-looking dive watch, perfect on a dark wetsuit.

This model is water-resistant to 300m and has a screw-in crown that can be used underwater. It is powered by the Damasko caliber A26-2 (with a 42-hour power reserve). It comes at a price of approximately $2,700, offering value for its uncompromising engineering and design. It is what we call a no-nonsense tool watch.

Hamilton Khaki BeLOWZERO (ref. H78585333)

Launched in 2008, the now-updated BeLOWZERO has become a mainstay in Hamilton’s Khaki collection. Many would know this watch to feature in two recent blockbuster films, The Martian, its main character, and Tenet, in which it was part of the narrative. They were sci-fi action plots set in the future, a tribute to the tough and futuristic design personality of this timepiece.

Made fully of titanium that is DLC-coated, in a case size of 46mm by 15.7mm, it is a large dive watch offering an incredible 1,000m of water resistance. Its design is submarine inspired, with 4 hex screws dominating the corners of its cushion-shaped case. 

It comes equipped with a rugged yet simple dive bezel. To reduce its visual heft, its crown guards are sunken into the profile of its case, and it also has short lugs. They are double stemmed, offering extra protection to the rubber strap it comes attached to. 

The combination of its lightweight titanium case, short lugs, and rubber strap allows the piece to wear smaller than its dimensions would suggest. It uses an H10 Movement with an 80-hour power reserve. It is priced at $1,845, great value for a super tough dive watch with movie credibility.

Sinn UX EZM 2B (ref. 403.030)

Sinn is a German tool watch brand that does not rely on a lot of marketing, yet they are hugely respected within the watch community for making the most incredible and over-engineered tool watches. The Sinn UX EZM 2B is no exception and is arguably the most hardcore dive watch on the market.

Its case, bezel, and bracelet are made entirely of German U-Boat steel (submarine steel), which is twice the hardness of regular 316L steel, scratch-resistant, and highly anti-corrosive. Its dive-bezel is TEGIMENTED (carbon diffused) and 1,200 Vickers hard, offering even more scratch resistance (nearly three times) than the rest of the watch. 

It is also a captive bezel, which means it is held on by screws rather than snapped on, making it more resilient to hard hits. The watch is completely media blasted, and due to its U-Boat steel, it has a champagne hue. Its dial is matte black, fully lumed, with white and red contrasts. The watch overall is easily recognizable and versatile for even a civilian lifestyle.

It has a case diameter of 44mm, purposefully sized to be legible underwater. With the HYDRO technology, it is one of the only timepieces outside of Ressence that is completely oil-filled, therefore having zero distortion to its dial and making it incredibly resistant to depth pressure.

This allows for a monstrous water resistance of 5,000m with a svelte case thickness of only 13.3mm. It is quartz-powered and has a price of $2,700. It is a watch so good that it has a cult following.

Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster Orbital II (ref. DC3036C-SA-BK)

Ball was founded in the United States in 1891 and made a name for itself by establishing the Railroad Standard, a timekeeping standard that was relied upon for the safe operation of the railroad industry. Today, Ball is a Swiss brand that produces its watches in Switzerland.

The Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster Orbital II is Ball’s expression of the ultimate explorer’s watch. It has a titanium case measures 45mm in diameter and 18.3mm in thickness. It is attached to a well-built titanium bracelet with a folding buckle and extension system, with great articulation and fitment on the wrist.

It is powered by an Automatic-Caliber BALL RR1404, which is essentially an ETA Valjoux 7750, modified to include a GMT function. Under a 3mm thick sapphire crystal, it has a black dial sporting a vertical 3-register chronograph layout with contrasting silver numerals, hands, an additional navigation scale, and an independent 24-hour scale in orange to match its orange GMT hand. 

Additionally, there is a date window at 3 o’clock with a magnifier lens for easy readability. Ball is famous for using tritium gas tubes, 39 of which are used on this model and feature on its hands, hour markers, and even its chronograph pushers.

Besides being antimagnetic and water-resistant to 100m, it features an Amoriser shock system to protect its movement in high-shock environments. This model is now discontinued and had an original retail price of $5,300.

Breitling Aerospace Evo (ref. E79363101B1E1)

Originally launched in 1985, the Aerospace was a super-accurate flight watch. It used an analog and digital display to provide a wide range of information that was impossible to obtain from an analog-only timepiece. This model is a refreshed iteration, and even today, it can be considered one of the few luxury watches that serve as true professional equipment to be used in the cockpit.

It is a titanium offering with a case diameter of 43mm, making it highly legible and sporty in appearance. It has a thickness of only 10.8mm, offering incredible versatility in wearing it even under a cuff. It is attached to Breitling’s Professional 3 bracelet with diagonal links that are iconic to the brand. It comes equipped with a unidirectional diving bezel attached by screws, offering more resistance to hits, which will be useful underwater with its 100m water resistance.

Its analog black dial is lumed, which helps with legibility in low-light conditions. It is complemented by two backlit digital displays that offer a host of information, such as a 1/100th of a second chronograph, perpetual calendar, countdown timer, 2nd timezone, alarm, and minute repeater, that can be operated in a user-friendly manner via its crown. 

Powering its technology is a SuperQuartz movement that is chronometer-certified and thermocompensated. It is currently discontinued and had an original retail price of approximately $4,400.

Tudor Pelagos (ref. M25600TB-0001)

The Pelagos, equipped with a snowflake dial, is the model that champions the legacy of the iconic Snowflake Submariner. It features a 42mm by 14.4mm titanium case equipped with a helium escape valve and pointed crown guards (lending aesthetics to vintage Snowflake Submariners).

It is attached to a titanium bracelet with an extension-equipped clasp. As a result, it is extra lightweight and offers a high-quality wearing experience for daily use or diving. Also included is a diving rubber strap.

This model is available in a phenomenal shade of blue, an updated tone of the color made popular by its Snowflake predecessor. It is equipped with a scratch-resistant matte ceramic dive-bezel that is fully lumed, combined with a fully lumed stepped dial using snowflake indexes, snowflake hands, and a date window at 3 o’clock. 

The benefit of the snowflake layout is that it allows for less negative space on the dial and more surface area for luminosity. As a fully-lumed watch, it offers ultimate legibility in low-light conditions, fitting for a high-performance diver.

It is equipped with an in-house MT-5612 (COSC) calibre with a useful 70-hour power reserve. With a retail price of $5,000, it is an incredibly versatile and well-designed offering that is great value for money, something Tudor has built a reputation for.

Omega Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer (ref. 318.

The first X-33 released in 1998 was a revolution of the iconic Moonwatch. Developed, tested, and qualified by the ESA (European Space Agency), it was more capable for NASA astronauts and cosmonauts to perform onboard activities on the International Space Station.

It was also dubbed the “Mars watch”. The X-33 Marstimer is Omega’s fourth attempt in this series. The difference from its predecessors is that it now tracks Mars time. The Marstimer borrows its design from the original Moonwatch. Like its X-33 predecessors, it sports a 45mm by 14.9mm case in Grade-2 titanium attached to a Grade-2 and 5 titanium five-link bracelet.

It has a new rotatable anodized aluminum bezel in a red hematite color meant to be reminiscent of the dust on Mars. This color can be found on its upper left pusher as well as on its black-to-red second hand. Like all X-33s, its main design cue is its analog and digital display, which allows for a vast number of functions.

New to this model is a Mars Time Coordinated function (accounting for 39 minutes and 35 seconds longer days on Mars than on Earth) and a solar compass, which allows tracking of true north on both Earth and Mars. It is powered by the Omega-5622. With a retail price of $6,400, this is a bold chapter in the space exploration legacy of the Speedmaster.

Rolex Yacht-Master 42 (ref. 226627-0001)

The Yacht-Master is an alternate luxury diver from Rolex, embodying its ties with the sport of sailing. Released in 2023, the Yacht-Master 42 arrives as the brand’s second-only titanium offering, featuring a case and bracelet made fully of its proprietary RLX titanium.

Its 42mm case has a thickness of 11.6mm, with wonderfully integrated crown guards that are among the best seen in the industry. The case returns to chamfered edges, reminiscent of the aesthetics seen on the brand’s vintage models. Its bezel is bi-directional, with a matte black ceramic insert and raised polished numerals. 

This is matched to a matte black dial (fully lumed) that retains the famous and legible Submariner style template, with round plots and a Mercedes hand in white gold. Its markings are maxi-sized, offering more visibility than traditional Submariners due to its larger dial. 

It is fitted to an Oyster bracelet that is fully brushed like its case. Almost anything with an Oyster bracelet can be praised for its articulation and wearability; combined with its slim and proportional case and all-titanium construction (nearly 50% lighter than a regular steel 40mm Yacht-Master), this watch over-delivers. 

It is equipped with an in-house 3235 calibre, which is a Superlative Chronometer with a 70-hour power reserve. With a retail price of $14,000, it stands as a revolutionary model in the Rolex lineup, not shying away from experimentation to deliver us a truly modern luxury tool watch. It is quite a looker, fit for a luxury yacht or a sports yacht.

Panerai Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech™ (ref. PAM02979

Panerai’s inception as a watchmaker was influenced by the needs of tough men. It was in 1936 that the Italian Royal Navy commissioned the company to build a watch for their frogmen, who needed a way of keeping time in the murky depths.

These men rode torpedoes like bicycles as a means of competing with their Allies’ warships during WWII. Fast-forward to today and the Submersible serves as its true professional dive watch. The PAM02979 carries the form factor of the Luminor it was originally based on.

It carries the iconic security lock on the side of its case, which offers more impact protection than a simple shouldered crown. It has a 60-minute dive bezel and 300m of water resistance, two features reserved just for this model.

As a template for advanced engineering, this model is made of forged carbon, which is also used on the dial, giving it a tactical look that suits the hardcore nature of the watch. Its dial is clean and legible, featuring full lume. There is a date window at 3 o’clock and a small second counter at 9 o’clock. 

The watch is 47mm in diameter, a large size that will fit perfectly on a wetsuit or offer heavy wrist presence. It is attached via a quick-release system to a rubber strap with bellows and a pattern molded in to give it flexibility and a rugged look. It comes equipped with an automatic P.9010 calibre with a 3-day power reserve. $20,000 plus tax is the price to pay for the quintessential dive watchmaker’s most advanced piece.


As we venture into the unknown, our timepieces have now become vessels for our memories. Many watchmakers have built legacies on the journeys their creations have endured on pioneers’ wrists.  Innovation, a storied history, and sheer diversity in the application of modern-day timepieces reassure us that they can not only handle the harshest of elements but can even save our lives if needed.

About Exquisite Timepieces

Established in 1998, Exquisite Timepieces is your one-stop shop for all things luxury watches! We are an authorized dealer for 60+ luxury watch brands including Omega, Hublot, Seiko, & Longines! We are proud to showcase one of the world’s largest pre-owned watch collections, including renowned brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe. Check out our brand new watch arrivals here and popular pre-owned listings here.

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