CASIO MEN’S PAW1100-1V PATHFINDER ATOMIC SOLAR WATCH ($225 @ Amazon.com
If you’re more apt to find yourself off in the backcountry than riding a train through the country, the Casio Men’s PAW1100-1V Pathfinder Atomic Solar Watch is a likely contender. This big resin-encased watch packs just about any sensor you could need (temperature, compass, altimeter, barometer), giving you just about any piece of information you could need in the outdoors. If that wasn’t enough, the watch is also solar powered (meaning no battery changes) and atomic-syncing, meaning you’ll always have the accurate time — even when out in the middle of nowhere.
SEIKO SKX781 ($200 @ Amazon.com)
Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got what has almost become the de facto recommendation for a solid automatic watch for under $300 — the Seiko SKX781, aka the Orange Monster.
Now, why is this watch so popular? At this point, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s become an iconic diver, one that stands out in its simplicity from its generally larger brethren. Aside from being robustly built (owing to its long lineage), it’s also got some of the brightest (and longest-lasting) lume you’re likely to run across. In short, a solid combination of features that have stood the test of time.