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.

The Truth About Watches is a fully independent website No commercial consideration provided by the manufacturer. No payment for links.

28 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….

    • Love the duro, and I have a few, as well as about 10 g shocks, but it’s biggest lack right now is a sapphire crystal face and a magnifier over the date.

      That date window is so small any one would find it hard to read it with out reading glasses..

      Considering a sapphire face can be bought new for around 11usd and extend its life and quality I feel it should have been an upgrade when they dropped the MARLIN at least they could have countered their huge mistake in dropping the logo with some enhancement in quality.

  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.

  3. great review for a great watch.

    i do NOT wear quartz watches. i’m not a diver, but am a milsub fan and only purchase mechanical divers, usually Swiss. i’ve had a new Rolex sub.

    i’ve purchased many quartz watches only not to wear them. this is one of a couple i will actually wear. and truly enjoy!

    probably the most fascinating thing for me, aside from the beautiful styling that actually challenges rather than homages Rolex subs, is the accuracy of the quartz movement at hitting the markers. the only other movement i’ve found to do this is the Swiss quartz powering the military issue Marathon Navigator…also square on.

    for those that don’t know, that’s an omnipresent fail point even for Swiss quartz divers et al costing thousand$…such as the quartz version of the Omega Seamaster diver.

    yup…this is quite an amazing watch. and an xlnt review of it, thanks.

  4. i have the black dial and the blue dial, i am anxiously waiting for a red dial and bezel or orange dial and bezel duro. i have sent emails and messages in messenger and facebook, tweets on twitter to casio u.s.a. but never receive any replies i wish they would hurry up with them because i have been quite patient i think

  5. Being a massive Casio and G Shock fan a black MDV-106 had to be part of my collection. Easy to read, comfortable, good lume for the price and a good quartz movement. The second hand falls true on the second markers and keeps good overall accuracy. ( I have seen £700+ Swiss divers with less than reputable build quality ) This said, there isn’t another analogue ( non g shock ) watch that comes close for the money, and that is the thing to remember, this beautiful watch can be bought for less than £50 and will be a future classic. What’s not to love. Happy New Year!

  6. I have two of these, the black and the blue one. I wanted a blue/black colourway and, rather than change the bezels over, I swapped the modules over as well as purchased black and navy rally style silicone straps.

    The end result is astonishingly eye-popping; watch one has a black strap, black bezel with blue dial whilst the other has a navy strap, navy bezel and black dial. Further enhanced by the sunburst.

  7. Testament to Casio. Couldn’t have said it better myself. I also have two of these. Always loved Casio, came across these years ago when they went half price. Even bought one for a friend. I do have more expensive watches but this is still my fave.

  8. I finally got one of these after waiting too long. I got the black dial, green bezel version. I’m amazed at the quality, and a “for the price” disclaimer isn’t even needed.

    I find the strap comfortable too; much better than the super-stiff Seiko ones. Silicone straps are just lint magnets for me; I don’t like them. NATO are certainly an option and I will no-doubt fit this one on a NATO or ten at some point.

    I think the bezel tightness is a bit much for its traction level, but maybe it’ll break in.

    Thinking back, this is actually my FIRST quartz diver. Maybe my last, too.

    Time to go put another battery in my AMW-320.

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