Best Watch For Professional Mariners

I college I purchased a Seiko Yacht Timer which was a great watch, durable, waterproof and was able to set reoccurring countdown timers (great for making sure you hit those 6 minute intervals). It was so good in fact that rolex stole the design (so did Timex but their version is expensive, ugly and difficult to read). That one lasted about 10 years of abuse then died on me. I think I went to an old school timex ironman after that, then a Pebble Smart Watch and now I wear (and love) my Apple Watch.

We have had a few requests for watches on the store and Mariner Watches and they are great watches but I was hoping to get something that’s more useful or interesting to professional mariners.

So what watch do you wear (or wish you owned) on the bridge?

How about engineers? Is there a watch you guys prefer?

At home my go to is my Tag.

After years of trying various cheap to expensive watches for standing ER Watches, I settled for fairly cheaper plastic / rubber coated watches. They were much safer to have on when reaching into an Electrical Cabinet. The way I looked at it, they were cheap enough that if I wrecked them it was no great loss. Also, the cheaper watches seemed to hold up better then their more expensive counter parts.

You mentioned the Ironman, that was my onboard watch for many years.

I was hard on watches, I broke more than one crystal and routinely had strap pins pop. I found almost everything to have acceptable accuracy. So I had 4 critera:

  1. Cheap
  2. Low-profile (thin)
  3. Analog
  4. Cheap

I usually added a new strap that would keep the watch on my wrist if one of the pins broke. Cheap vs. thin was the usual trade-off.


G Shock 5600, m5610R, 6900 etc, honestly any ‘tough solar’ G Shock

Seiko SKX007
Squale 1521

@jdcavo, good point on the type of strap. That’s something that I used to replace first thing. Nothing worse that having a watch fall off and into somewhere hard to get it out of.

TIMEX Expedition with single piece strap.

Me too, I liked the Chums velcro bands but they were so strong I got worried about degloving my hand… so I swapped to a cheap reflective NATO band… I figured the reflective would help me find it if I dropped it in a void tank.

Any of the Casio twin time watches.

One display for ship time, one for GMT/UTC when taking sights & azimuths.

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I’m more old school and it even has a place to hold a pic of the famn damily.


Get what you pay for.

Casino rangeman including barometer graph stormalarm, its also very heavyduty for jobs on deck.

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I’ve got an old Timex Marathon digital watch that was a gift my freshman year at the academy. It was $15 from Target. The strap and decorative trim on the front are long gone. I’m on my second set of pins and fourth or fifth battery. I made a small strap to replace the broken one that allows me to put it on my belt. It sits upside down on my belt so that it reads right when I look down at it. My t-shirt usually keeps it covered up and helps to protect the face. It was cheap, rugged, and, best of all, allows you to change the time in increments of hours, ten minutes (handy for 20 minute time changes), single minutes, or seconds. It does a 24 hour clock and has built in countdown timers for 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and 1, 5, 10, 15, 30, 60 minute intervals, along with the stop watch stuff. It’s just a simple, inexpensive and rugged watch that is going on 14 years old.

I talked with a buddy who designs phone apps about a mariner’s clock app for time changes, time zones, etc, but realized that I probably wouldn’t really use it at all and I don’t know enough about what the Mate’s need to make it truly useful. I never really followed through with it due to other projects and a quick glance through the app store showed that it’s already been done.

I’ve been using a cheap Timex Ironman Triathlon for the last 8 years. It fits great and is a good medium size. It has 3 alarms so I can set it for my morning wake up call and one before my night watch. Only down side is the band tends to wear out after a year to year and a half. I pick them up new on eBay for $20-$25 bucks and occasionally buy them at Kohls when I get enough coupons in the mail to get them for half off. I think I’ve almost got enough stocked up to last me the next 10 years.


That’s what I use too, there’s no need for anything more pricey.

I would consider an analog watch but I need one I can see in the dark and the paint on glow shit is worthless and I can’t find a marine analog watch with tritium.

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I don’t think they use tritium but from what I’ve researched Luminox has the brightest markings by a factor of three.

Can anyone confirm this?

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Most of those are tritium. I’ve owned Luminox watches, I hate their straps but otherwise they’re ok.

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Timex uses a compound of zinc sulphide and copper to form an electroluminescent backlight. Works great, has for years.


If you spend anywhere around 150-200, the glow of the lume is not worthless at all. The problem with automatic watches is they’re not as accurate as digital Quartz watches. And analog quartz is kind of a weird idea to me, as popular as they are (sorry john, I see you have quite a few ana digital watches in store)

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Yes, but the new Luminox watches are not that reliable at all, especially the straps as you mentioned

It glows brightly after 12 hours in pure darkness? It doesn’t need to charge in light to glow like normal glow paint?