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Battle of the $5 Watches: Digital Edition

Walter Shillington is an avid collector of mechanical watches. His reviews focus on inexpensive but often intriguing Chinese timepieces.

Check out this selection of four inexpensive, digital watches.

Check out this selection of four inexpensive, digital watches.

Cheap Digital Watches

Occasionally, I browse and purchase an assortment of their cheapest watches. These timepieces, when shipping is included, generally range up to $5 apiece.

As you might guess, watches priced this low are often of poor quality. Some of these timepieces, however, are quite intriguing and worthy of a close look.

1. Men’s Luxury Date Digital Sport LED Watch

The first digital watch I ever owned came equipped with a LED readout. Because light emitting diodes consume a great deal of power, a button must be pushed to temporarily activate the display. With the invention of the liquid crystal display, LED watches all but disappeared.

Retro devices are popular these days, and this particular watch was designed with this in mind.


  • This watch weighs in at 58 grams (2 ounces). Its diameter, including crown, is 39mm and it is 14mm thick.
  • The included strap is made either from rubber or polyurethane resin. In either case, it appears quite sturdy. The belt’s width equals that of the watch at the point where it attaches and then tapers to 24mm.
  • Four plastic buttons protrude from a bulky, square stainless-steel case. The LED readout is fairly large and formed from sizable—if primitive appearing—red segments.
  • This timepiece’s crystal is composed of glass and curves attractively over a black colored dial. The time, day, and month can be displayed.
  • This device is an attractive timepiece that fits comfortably around the wrist. While I am an impatient man, unwilling to push a button in order to display the time, those who like its retro design will find value in this watch.

2. Men’s Modish Digital LCD Chronograph Watch


  • The LCD chronograph features an analog-style clock face, using liquid crystal display technology to present what appears to be normal hands.
  • Below that, the day of the week and time are presented in digital format. This would be useful for those who wish to keep track of two different time zones.
  • The LCD chronograph is equipped with a bright green backlight that can be activated by the touch of a button.
  • Instructions provided by the vendor demonstrate how to set the time, date, month, timer, and alarm. I could not access the date and month but this is probably a result of my unfamiliarity with digital watches.
  • This timepiece is equipped with a silicon strap which measures 26mm across. It is sturdy but rather plain.
  • This is a large watch, measuring 43mm across. It is 14.75mm thick and weighs 65 grams (2.3 ounces).

3. HONHX S-Sport Watch

This little sports watch is an obvious rip-off of a Skmei S-Shock. Fair enough, Skmei’s S-Shock models are uncomfortably close in design to Casio’s G-Shock line. The manufacturing quality of the HONHX, while not up to Skmei’s standard, is very good for a timepiece in this price range.


  • The case of this HONHX watch is composed of plastic. It is 44mm in diameter and 17mm thick. T
  • his timepiece weighs 33 grams (1.2 ounces), is available in a variety of colors, and features a backlight which provides a pleasingly blue glow. The main display provides the time and the day of the week. Month and date are also accessible, along with stopwatch and alarm functions.
  • The HONHX S-Sport is equipped with a polyurethane resin strap which was designed to match the color scheme of its associated timepiece. While not as sturdy as the watch straps attached to the two previously reviewed watches, this band is reasonably durable.
  • Like the other timepieces featured in this article, the S-Sport is rated splash-proof only.

4. Multi-Functional Digital F-91W Clone

Casio’s F-91W was introduced in 1991 and, because this model has proved to be extremely successful, remains in production. The F-91W’s commendable quality control and low price point account for this timepiece’s longevity.

I owned one once. After the strap busted, I stored the watch in my bathroom, using its alarm to ensure I wouldn’t spend all day soaking in the tub. Impressively, the original battery lasted six years.


  • This clone is equipped with a backlight which will sometimes flash red and blue before settling down to its normal green hue. Also, it lacks the Casio brand name. Aside from these discrepancies, this watch is a faithful reproduction.
  • The clone F-91W is a lightweight, weighing in at 21 grams (0.73 ounces). It’s diameter, if you include the pushbuttons, reaches 35.6mm. It is 9.4mm thick.
  • This watch’s screen displays the time, day of the week, and day of the month. It includes both timer and alarm functions.
  • The band appears to be composed of polyurethane resin. Its width ranges from 22mm, where it attaches to the timepiece, to 16mm.
  • While the clone F-91W is not to my taste, it might be of interest to those who like the Casio F91W but are too cheap to buy one.

Overall Impression

Usually, when I review a set of five-dollar watches, at least one of them falls apart during my tests. This group—when you consider their purchase price—has proved to be remarkably sturdy. Which of these watches is the best? If you prefer a luxury style timepiece, I recommend the Men’s Modish Digital LCD Chronograph Watch. Those the like sports watches should take a close look at the HONHX.

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© 2017 Walter Shillington