Recently, over post-work drinks, one of our gear editors commented on my wristwatch. “It’s so small!” he said, marveling at its diminutive face. Whereas many of my colleagues wear the latest and greatest smartwatches—bulky, ostentatious displays of personal technology—I found myself compelled to defend my bijou timekeeper. It’s basic, and that’s exactly why I adore it. Whether I’m traveling abroad or just playing in my local mountain range in New Mexico, the Sangre de Cristos, it does everything I need it to do: it keeps me on time and in the moment.
The Casio Women’s LQ139 is the epitome of analog. It has a simple black silicone band and a single crown for adjusting the time. I’m not much of a runner, so I don’t mind that I can’t track splits or measure my distance. The 25-millimeter face doesn’t even have numbers—just notches for the hours and minutes. It’s water resistant, and the reliable ticking quartz movement has never failed me.
Though it costs just shy of $12, this watch has held up while rafting an underground river in New Zealand, scaling Mount Shasta, and sailing the South Pacific for five weeks. I’m not afraid to bang it up—not that it seems to show any sign of wear, anyway. I’m on my third Casio at this point, and only because I’ve lost the other two.
There are various options in this bargain-basement price range, like the men’s MQ24-1E, which has a longer and wider strap and a larger face. The women’s versions tend to have smaller dials. For me, though, it’s perfect. The barely there size, minimalist interface, and durability meet my needs without a single superfluous feature. Some might consider me a Luddite, but zero distraction in this age of technological excess is the most valuable thing a piece of gear can provide.