The MDV-106 is a classic, and this Casio “the Duro” is a well known, and well recommended watch for those looking for a classic design on a tight budget. When I first reviewed the watch, it was priced at about $40 — inflation has caught up with it and it’s now priced just under $50 depending on the color you choose.
This is still the same watch I reviewed in 2018, and I summarized it in the original review saying:
Overall, I’m impressed. I’m keeping it too. I really don’t understand why more people aren’t wearing these, it’s perfect in its simplicity and value. To me this watch proves you really don’t need to spend more than $40 to get a really great watch.
I did keep it, but it quickly found its way into my emergency bag, and there it stayed only to be pulled out and have the time/date adjusted occasionally, and one battery replacement. Until recently, when I decided to pull it back out and put it on my wrist.
So, given all the watches I have tried since that time (and it’s been a lot), how do I view the Duro today: even more favorably. It’s good.
Instead of going back over all the smaller things about this watch (you can check my first review) I want to break this down into two categories: what makes it good, and why it’s not great. Hopefully, buy doing this I convince you to use my affiliate link, or at least understand why I think this is such a great watch.
What Makes This Good
This watch is a case of: classic design, with better than you would expect qualities. The case is nicely finished with a solid polishing. The bezel is an inoffensive design and dresses up or down well. The WR rating is 200m. The movement is a tried and true – nearly indestructible quartz.
All of that makes for a watch that looks stellar the moment you toss it on a different strap. A lot of these pictures you are seeing a rubber vintage tropic type strap on it — enough playfulness to keep it from looking out of place, but a little dressier to better fit the polished case.
If you change the strap and keep this on something waterproof, there’s essentially no place you cannot wear this. Diver style watches are some of the most common, and often worn (right or wrong) with suits and tuxedos — and of course diving. The polished case actually is helping with all of this, as it keeps the watch to the dressier end.
But the case sizing is also a huge win on this watch. It’s a large dial, with a well proportioned bezel — all set with short and curved lugs, and a visually thin looking case. It wears smaller than the face looks, and from about 3 feet away, it looks like a pretty fancy watch at first glance. And to add to all that, it is highly legible, a near silent movement, and decent enough lume.
The single thing that make this watch good is the price, but the watch itself is what makes people step back a bit and nod their head in appreciation of the offering.
What Keeps It From Great
The thing is, it’s good but not great. The strap it comes with, is visually ugly. Comfortable and durable, yes, but it detracts from the overall aesthetics. So changing that out will cost extra money, but yields outsized returns.
As I said in my last review, where this watch really gives up the ruse is on the dial. It’s overly flat and lacks the dimension that you typically get with more expensive watches. Because of that, for the wearer, this is something more of a utility time telling item, rather than an enjoyable thing from which you can watch your life tick by.
And there’s other small issues. The lume could be much better, which would really help the watch have personality. On my variant the bezel is slightly out of alignment by maybe half a millimeter. Those small misses are what keeps the watch firmly in the good not great category.
And, my controversial take here, is that despite the polished case being a win for the watch looking dressier, the Duro would look better with a brushed case instead. That would certainly make it more accurately represent where it should, and most likely, will be worn. A brushed case would help the watch be even more versatile with the straps it takes.
After playing with this watch again, and wearing it around, I can’t help but love what this watch is. Adding in a $10 strap to the $50 it costs now, and you are at $60 for a pretty incredible setup at that price or even a higher price. Under $100, it would be hard to find a better and more versatile watch.
Casio even tossed out some new color options recently if you are wanting to avoid black dials. Good stuff, very much recommend this.