Casio MDV-106 Duro Review

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Watch models come and go like customers at the Moonlite BunnyRanch. Very few stick around around long enough to become regulars “classics.” The Casio MDV-106 Duro’s decade of production pales in comparison to the longevity of the 102-year-old Cartier Tank and those who speak haute horologie will turn up their metaphorical nose at the Japanese three-hander. But I believe the Casio MDV-106 Duro is a classic . . .

I know: it’s a bog standard dive watch: water resistant to 200m, unidirectional ratcheting bezel and a screw-down caseback. It’s built like a [non-Cartier] tank. But then so is any G-SHOCK and dozens of dive watches – many of which look pretty much the same. The kicker? Fifty bucks! In fact, I bought the watch in the middle on sale at Amazon for $44.

At 44mm, it’s no shrinking violet. The MDV-106 Duro has presence, but wears small. It currently comes in three colorways: black, blue and gold. Feel free to choose your favorite. I now own all three. I’m not sure if that makes me collector, but it doesn’t ding my cash flow.

At the risk of returning to my opening metaphor, the Duro reveals its quality from the moment you pick it up. At 3.25 ounces (92 grams), it’s reassuringly hefty. Smooth in all the right places and strong where it needs to be. Sure, aficionados won’t mistake it for a Tudor or Rolex. But they’ll recognize a solid beater when they see one. So to speak.

That said, the Casio MDV-106 Duro dial is highly reminiscent of the Rolex Submariner and Yachtmaster. Evocative? Derivative? No matter how you slice it, the 44mm watch is a minimalist monster in the legibility department. The well-framed date window and perfectly-sized and placed text keep the Duro’s design”classic.”

As for the marlin logo, what’s more “dive watch” than a leaping big game fish? Other than any undersea creature in existence. Casio’s dropping the logo (on dial and caseback); the license for the logo is expiring. Casio Duro fans are buying up the last of the Marlin-adorned Duros.

Some of which glow in the dark. While we’re on the subject, the Duro’s lume is better than you’d expect for a $50 watch – assuming you didn’t expect any and don’t expect much.

RF’s recent review of the Waldan Watch Heritage Professional highlighted a defect bedeviling a lot of low-end quartz watches these days: the second hand missed the indices. As the pics above indicate, the Casio Duro’s bezel lines-up perfectly and the second-hand alignment is amazingly consistent in all three of my examples.

As you can see, neither the Duro’s rotating bezel nor its screw-down crown are sharp-edged. There’s a reason why Rolex and other high-end divers cost more than 200 times more than this Casio. The closer you get, the better they look. But the longer you wear the Casio, the less you care.

But if you do care, note that the Duro’s uni-directional 120-click bezel is a pleasure; it turns more precisely than my recently refurbished Rolex Yachtmaster’s bezel (which is not unidirectional). Whether the Duro will continue to out-ratchet the Rolex ten years from now is an open question . . .

Beyond doubt: the Casio MDV-106 Duro rubber strap is horrific in both form and function – a rubber hair shirt if you will. Don’t. I can’t recommend shelling out an additional $20 for a Barton Elite soft silicone strap highly enough (no commission on link). It significantly adds both comfort and perceived watch value.

My black Duro watch has averaged +0.12 seconds per day (using the Atomic Clock & Watch Accuracy Tool app). That translates to +3.6 seconds per month, which is far better than the manufacturer’s claim of +/- 20 seconds per month. Less than a minute per year. The other two average below +0.20 seconds per day. The $50 Duro is my most accurate watch.

It’s easy to customize with any variety of straps or bands. For my black Duro, I went with a black (outside) crimson (inside) Barton Elite silicone strap ($20.00). I added a red, white, and blue Barton NATO strap to my blue Duro for a patriotic theme ($12.50). Salute! The gold Duro got a black Ritche canvas strap with red stitching and a gold buckle ($18.99).

You could say the Casio MDV-106 Duro is a “poor man’s Submariner” – a watch with most of the looks, all of the ruggedness and none of the cachet of a high-end automatic tool watch. Or you could say the Duro’s the “sensible man’s Submariner” – a watch where you don’t have to worry about a catastrophic shock (either physical or service cost) or “losing it” during an assignation.

A classic? Depends on the new logo, but the smart money says yes. As always, time will tell . . .

Model: Casio MDV-106
Price paid: $50

SPECIFICATIONS:
Case / Bezel:
Stainless Steel
Crystal: Mineral Glass (flat).
Strap: Rubber strap with pin buckle.
Lume: Hands and hour indices.
Dimensions
: 48.5 X 44.2 X 12.1-mm / 92 g.
Movement: Casio Quartz Module #2784
Accuracy:  +/- 20 seconds per month.
Battery life: 3 years.
Water resistance: 200 meters.

Functions: Analog Hour / Minute / Seconds, Date.

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Design * * *
Classic/cliché diver style. Nothing new.

Legibility * * * *
The uncomplicated high-contrast three-hand analog dial is easy to read. Lume fades quickly.

Comfort * * * *
Light and right but the stock strap must die.

Overall * * * *
The Casio Duro is a “must have” for any Casio fan: a bargain priced, no-brainer beater.

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13 COMMENTS

      • I’ve discovered the rabbit hole that is homage watches made in China. I still like buying Casio because of watches like the Duro. Submariner style, for a G-Shock price. However, I have noticed that some microbrands are charging $300 or more for what an eBay seller based out of Hong Kong is selling for as little as $80, and I do know what “OEM” means….

  1. I’m glad you mentioned the disappearing marlin logo. I heard that from the Welsh “Hello” guy and it made me want to grab one while I can before they go extinct. If they had a smaller lady’s version, I might have.

    • Yeah… some Casiophiles have expressed wishes for a slightly smaller version of the Duro. So far, no joy.

      I have a 7-inch wrist, and I find it to be comfortable.

      • I like the Duro, but Casio really needs to make an all stainless steel MRW. I’d buy a Duro with stainless steel bracelet and no logo, but that is just me.

        • MRW=???

          You could certainly add a stainless steel bracelet to the Duro. As for no logo… it’s coming soon. They’re dropping the fishy.

          • Sorry, Casio MRW. It looks like one of those Luminox Navy Seal watches but a fraction of the price. Nice analog watch with a day/date complications, plastic bezel that doesn’t move, meh lume, but for $15, who cares?

        • Note that the photo shows that the bezel does rotate. Supposedly it doesn’t click, so it is just friction fit.
          I’d guess that they know that offering a stainless case would cut into sales of higher end offerings. I have the same gripe with the chromed brass cases on the otherwise perfect Timex Easy-Reader. Bump up the price so there are no concerns about flaking or pitting plating. I’ll pay for it, and it would probably still be under a c-note anyway.

  2. Also, my Duro (that snazzy gold one) is a frequent kitchen companion. Highly water resistant and knocking it against our dumb tile countertops won’t cause me to cringe.

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