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Casio MDV106-1AV Hands-On Review

The Casio MDV106-1AV is The Best Demonstration of a High-Quality Affordable Dive Watch Available Today.

A few weeks back a viewer on our YouTube channel commented about the Casio MDV106-1AV. This “little” Casio meets every requirement I have for an “affordable” diver: it has a bargain basement price of under $75 (under $50 as of the time of this writing), is made of the right stuff (save “expensive” materials, such as sapphire), and has a 200m water resistance rating (that makes it water-ready but not necessary dive-ready- more on that below).

The MDV106-1AV is handsome for a diver, and it’s absolutely as capable as its deep-water aesthetic suggests. I had to do a double-take on it, actually, as I’d have no idea this wasn’t a $200+ watch if I hadn’t bought it myself on Amazon and paid $45 for it.

With that in mind, let’s make some waves with the Casio’s most affordable and ubiquitous diver.

Casio MDV106-1AV Affordable Dive Watch

Casio MDV106-1A Technical Specifications

  • Model Number: MDV106-1AV
  • MSRP: $70
  • Case Diameter: 44mm
  • Alternate Models: Plenty of options and styles.
  • Movement: Quartz
  • Complications: Date display
  • Battery Life: Estimated 3-5 years
  • Water Resistance: 200m / 660ft
  • Crystal Material: Mineral

Casio MDV106-1AV Affordable Dive Watch

About Casio Watches

Brand Information

Established in 1946, Casio was one of the first manufacturers to spearhead the quartz revolution. In 1974 they released the Casiotron, the first of many that they would release that would redefine segments of the watch market.

Over the years they have released numerous monumental watches, including the F-91W, the G-Shock lineup, and the databank series of calculator watches. Learn more about Casio and their history here.

Comparison

Other options you might consider with similar complications and grey-market affordability:

Other Affordable Dive Watches

With similar price points and water resistance ratings:

Note: the watches listed above have not been reviewed; the above listings are not “recommendations” based on hands-on experience.

200M Water Resistance

Other watches in a similar price range offering 200m of water resistance:

Casio MDV106-1AV Affordable Dive Watch

WYCA Recommends Amazon

If you like what we do and want to support us, consider grabbing a watch from Amazon. Usually, Amazon offers a two-year warranty on watches bought from them. They also offer fair prices and fast shipping.

You should know that if you click on ads that WYCA receives an approximate 4% commission on the sale of the watch you buy. This does not change the price that you pay…

… but it does allow us to purchase camera gear ($5,000+ since 2013), software licenses (Adobe Photoshop, etc.), web hosting, and so on. Oh, and it lets us buy more watches, too.

The Enamel Dial is Quite the Looker

The first impression I had of this Casio diver was very positive indeed. The enamel dial – which I tried to showcase in some of the photos – is a real visual win. It refracts light in an eye-pleasing way, and it’s not at all overbearing. It adds a bit of a diffused sunburst effect to the dial, and I’m a big fan of that.

Of particular note is the lume, which I have found to be quite excellent. It also seems to charge quite quickly: even an hour or two in the sun is enough to give the lume meaningful charge and duration.

All hour markers and all three hands are given ample lume, as-is the dot on the uni-directional rotating bezel. Other reviews have noted the lack of lume on other areas of the bezel, which may be a consideration of yours if you’re looking for a fully-loaded diver.

Casio MDV106-1AV Screw-Down Crown

The MDV106-1AV Has Some Dive Chops

The 200m dive rating is somewhat misleading (at least, to the novice watch enthusiast). There are several types of water resistance/dive ratings, and their naming is also confusing. A watch labelled with 50m of water resistance is suitable to wear while swimming or fishing, but it is not capable of diving 50m below the water. Make sense? Yea, it doesn’t to me either.

In this case, the MDV106-1A is rated for 200m of water resistance and is equipped with a screw-down crown. That means that you can absolutely wear it swimming, in the pool, in the hot tub, and even during relatively shallow dives… but don’t take it down deep. It’s not rated for that.

That said, it has fared well in several aquatic environments: a swimming pool (I dove down 5-8 meters and it held up fine), a hot tub (nemesis of any watch), and long-term submersion in a running ultrasonic cleaner (which taught me my first painful lesson about water resistance when I subjected my Jazzmaster Day/Date to an ultrasonic clean… and subsequent service).

While researching for this review, I noticed a distinct lack of quality dive watches available for under $75 that offer 200m or more of water resistance. This Casio was one of the only few options from a brand with a name I recognized. It really is the segment leader.

Casio MDV106-1AV Affordable Dive Watch

How Does the MDV106-1AV Compare to Other Divers I’ve Reviewed?

Admittedly, my exposure to dive watches is somewhat limited. I’ve reviewed the Audaz Scuba MasterCadence Buccaneer (discontinued), Orient Mako, and the Tissot Seastar Powermatic 80Auke also reviewed the Steinhart Ocean 1.

None of the watches listed above compete in the lower-end of the affordability spectrum, and both the Scuba Master and Seastar are serious dive watches.

The Mako is an excellent watch (as noted in my review), but the only reason to get it over the Casio (aside from the awesome Pepsi styling) is the automatic movement. If that doesn’t matter to you, the MDV106-1A is an equally as good a choice… and one fifth the price.

Among the divers I’ve tested, this Casio stands alone in its price relative to its performance. It’s probably the best value out there in terms of simple, no-nonsense divers, and it’s still widely available to purchase.

Operation

  • To set the time, pull the crown to its furthest position (position 3). Turn the crown clockwise to adjust the time. Note that the date display will automatically roll over at midnight.
  • To adjust the date, pull the crown to its middle position (position 2). Turn the crown counter-clockwise to change the date.

Casio MDV106-1AV Screw-Down Crown

Casio’s Built the MDV106-1AV Quite Well

The bezel rotates each position with a tactile click, and once you’ve got it where you want it, it remains securely in place. Some bezels feel wobbly; this one is quite solid.

I also quite like how smooth the screw-down crown is to operate. On numerous watches I’ve tested with screw-downs, the motion is clunky and sometimes sticky. Most I’ve tested have a tendency to misthread during closing, requiring you to open it up and go for it again. I did not encounter this issue with this Casio.

It’s not just the case that impresses on this Casio; also impressive is the quality of the build on the dial.

The hour markers are applied with no faults visible, and the lume is evenly applied on each. I don’t see any workmanship or machining problems, even under significant magnification. If this watch is made poorly, they’ve done an excellent job obfuscating that fact.

Casio MDV106-1AV Wrist Shot

How’s Casio’s Affordable Diver on the Wrist?

This affordable diver fits right in on the wrist. It’s a dominating presence – 44mm, and dive styling will do that – but also a welcome one. It genuinely looks good, and moreover, feels very much the same level of quality as it looks. It doesn’t look or feel like an inexpensive watch.

The one major caveat here is, of course, the mineral crystal. Mineral just lacks the robustness needed to stand the test of time. In other words, you can expect to have to replace the mineral crystal at some point in the future. When that will be depends entirely on when you wear the watch and how you care for it. Baby it, and the mineral crystal may well last forever. But who buys a dive watch to baby it?

Surprisingly, it’s not an obnoxious watch to wear.

I think this is due mostly to how simple Casio kept the styling, and the fact that the MDV106-1AV doesn’t tower off of your wrist. As shown in the photos here, it’s tall but perhaps not as tall as you’d expect a 200m-rated diver to be…

Casio MDV106-1AV Wrist Shot

A New Dive Favorite & Recommended Buy

I’ve been a fan of Casio watches for a while (repping with a F-91W, A158W, and Ca-53 Databank). The MDV106-1AV is also going to be a permanent addition to my 44-piece strong collection (Melissa says I have a problem, but I think I’m doing just fine ;)).

What Casio has shown here in this affordable diver is that you don’t need to break a $50 bill if you’re wanting a capable and decent quality diver. Sure, you can’t take it super deep down, but for 99% of people looking for something to accompany them in the ocean or during shallow dives, the MDV106-1AV is a perfectly suitable companion.

Fans of dive-style will appreciate how well done this Casio is – and the enamel dial in particular – and those needing a diver to be a dive watch will appreciate that this Casio is very much able to cash that check.

Strongly recommended for affordable dive enthusiasts everywhere.

Disclaimer: I purchased this watch for the purposes of this review thanks to people like you that purchase their watches on Amazon via our affiliate links. Your support allows us to remain unbiased and high-quality, thank you!

Photo Gallery

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Casio MDV106-1AV
Rating
51star1star1star1star1star
About Cameron Martel

If it ticks or tocks, I want it on my wrist. I'm a fan of all things that keep good time, and I can't resist a great looking watch. WYCA is my way of appreciating the engineering and artistry that goes into affordable watches. My favorite watch is my Jazzmaster Auto Chrono, and the watch I wear the most is my Weekender Chronograph. I currently have 33 watches in my collection.

15 thoughts on “Casio MDV106-1AV Hands-On Review”

  1. Got mine the same day you published this review. Really impressed with the watch and I totally agree that the dial is a looker. It’s my first dive watch and I couldn’t be happier with it! Great watch especially considering the price.

    Reply
  2. The MDV106-1AV certainly is a bargain for all it offers. Not a bag looker either, but I put a metal president bracelet on mine. I haven’t yet taken the case back off to see which quartz caliber Casio used, but I’m guessing I’ll soon find out. The battery is approaching the end of it’s 3 year life span. This is a watch most definitely meant to take to the water. But when it comes to dive watch bargains, but my first love is the Vostok Amphibia, which is very difficult to beat as a true deep sea 200M diver. I have 24 Vostok Amphibias in my total collection of 56 watches.

    Reply
  3. Nice review! I’ve just decided to add it to my “collection” because dive watch at this price point with Casio’s impressive performance (life long G-Shock fan here) can’t be beaten, your good photos helped, thanks!

    Just a clarification: a 200m dive watch is MORE than enough for any SCUBA diving operation. Recreational diving tops at 50m depth, technical diving is about 100m down. So, please don’t perpetrate the myth that you need more than 20bar for “serious diving”.
    This watch can handle all your sea related activities.

    Reply
  4. I don’t think it’s an enamel dial. The sunray finish is quite striking though—and well done at this price (or even at a higher price point).

    Reply
      • It’s 100% not enamel. Enamel has a large fail rate in manufacturing and isn’t tough enough for a watch like this meant to be a beater. It’s most likely a thin layer of plastic. And underneath that will be either brass or another cheap metal.

        Reply
    • I think it depends on how you define “enamel.”

      What you find on most commercial dials these days is enamel paint that’s briefly heated to make it flow and create a smooth finish. Traditional, old-school porcelain enamel dials are done with an entirely different and much more involved process which includes firing in a kiln.

      Reply
  5. In my opinion (and mine alone), I don’t consider a watch as a diver’s (or dive) watch unless it has an ISO 6425 certification, even if it has a 200 meter WR rating. My Citizen AT8124 has a 200 meter WR rating, but I don’t consider it as a dive watch. The Casio Duro is a diver-type watch, just like the many Chinese knock-offs that are designed after the Omega sea masters and the Rolex submariners. If you want the most affordable ISO-certified diver’s watch, check out the Citizen BN0151 series for less than USD 200.

    Reply
    • That’s all well and good, but testing of dive watches for ISO 6425 compliance is voluntary and involves costs, so not every manufacturer presents their watches for certification according to this standard. Do you think Casio is going spend money for a sub-$50 watch? This Casio is just as good as your Citizen or Seiko divers under $300.00.

      Reply
    • Most people who need a dive watch don’t need things like magnetic resistance. And if you look about on forums, a lot of people who are commercial divers (I’m taking them at their word that they are) wear the Casio on the job because it’s easy to replace if you lose it or it gets damaged while tearing down or building something underwater. The Promaster is without doubt the better dive watch, but you have to get into some specialized situations before you’ve left the Duro’s capability range.

      Reply
    • I kind of agree with you but you also have to use some common sense. For example the Seiko Turtle is ISO certified but there’s no way in hell I would take that to more than 100m and rely on it solely. Seiko have shown in the past 10 or so years they don’t care about quality control. This Casio and many other non ISO certified watches I would trust. It’s not hard to match ISO certification quality by just designing a good tough watch with good tolerances and quality control.

      Reply
  6. Great review. And it prompted me to buy one this evening. As I pressed the buy button at circa £60 GBP including postage of £18, from the US, I noticed another selling on eBay (.co.uk) for £70 (and it had a scratch on the glass!). So any fellow Brits thinking of buying this watch, either go through the WYCA link or the US – it works out about 25% cheaper. I’m looking forward to seeing on the wrist

    Reply
  7. I’m on my third MDV-106, commonly called the Duro. Casio has made a few other watches in the Duro line, but these days the 106 is THE Duro. Almost everything in your review is spot on and I agree that this watch is an incredible value. Here are a few things I’ve learned through three purchases of this timepiece.

    First, the watch can take a beating. It’s virtually impossible to damage the stainless steel case. The mineral crystal will scratch and chip if you abuse it enough but a blow hard enough to compromise the seal would likely break your wrist. The 200-meter depth rating puts it firmly in the snorkeling/shallow scuba range. The lume isn’t the best, but it’s certainly better than I’ve seen on watches that sell for three times the price.

    In terms of wearability, the Duro is a good-looking watch. I wear one as my EDC beater on a Bond-style NATO strap and regularly get compliments. The dial has a very nice starburst effect, noticeable in black but even more so in blue. On the practical side, the Duro doesn’t wear like a 44mm watch. It has a heavy case, but the quartz movement is considerably lighter than the average 11.5 or 12 ligne automatic. The average battery life on all three of my Duros averages almost exactly three years.

    That brings me to the internals. My first Duro became an experimental testbed after enduring a chipped crystal, scratched bezel, and an eventual dead battery. It was cheaper to replace it than repair the damage. Upon opening it up I discovered that the indices are not actually applied. The dial is struck in a die to create the raised indices, likely after it’s brushed to create the starburst but before the enamel is applied. Does that really matter? Not really, except that it helps reduce the cost of building the watch and cuts the retail price for the consumer. The Casio Module 2784, AKA the Miyota 2115, is a proven, reliable workhorse movement that, again, saves production cost over the in-house movements Casio puts in its higher-end watches.

    Another facet of the Duro is that it’s becoming a reasonably popular watch for the modding community. While not nearly as popular in the community as Seiko sport watches, the Duro is easily modified. You can really make it your own if you care to take the time to find compatible parts. The 45mm Omega Planet Ocean bezel insert is a direct replacement. Domed sapphire crystals are readily available from numerous vendors at reasonable prices. The hardest component to find is a replacement dial. The stock Duro dial is 33mm but with the 32mm chapter ring you can get away with one as small as 31.5mm. It takes some digging to find suitable dials, and even then the choices are limited. That may change as more modders become interested in the Duro as a platform.

    Reply

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