If you’ve ever heard of Skmei, you probably noticed the low price tag and wondered “what is Skmei” and “are these just cheap watches?” For many people, watches like Skmei are their first (and sometimes last) foray into wearing time-telling tools; all things considered, it’s a decent watch for the money. Specifically, these watches are exceptionally cheaply-priced and perfectly functional. Some of their models do imitate established brands, but for a watch worth a few bucks that you never have to worry about damaging, it’s hard to do better.
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The Skmei Company
Skmei was established in China in 2010 as an affordable watch brand that does the job of telling the time. Like many emerging watch companies, Skmei borrows designs from existing popular watch brands and offers them at the fraction of the price, but usually also at a fraction of the quality. They had their beginnings selling homages of Casio G-Shocks, but have expanded to take on a unique identity and offer a truly affordable product.
Below you will find a list of the best Skmei watches on the market:
Skmei Digital Sports Watch
Skmei’s bread and butter is the affordable rugged-looking digital sports watch. This includes an easily-legible dial and comes in multiple colorways including black, dark blue camo, denim, and light blue/green camo. Additionally there is a large (56mm) and small (50mm) versions so pick accordingly. For most people, the “small” is quite big enough. The leather band is a wide double-holed beast that has a proper military look and feel.
The Skmei has all the functions you would expect on a modern digital sports watch, including:
- 1/100 second stopwatch
- Countdown timer
- Waterproof to 50m (WR50m)
- Blue or Green light LED (depending on color version)
- Dual time zone
Skmei Minimalist Watch on Leather
The Skmei Minimalist is the quintessential classic watch design, and is enjoying the heyday of its popularity. Engineered by fashion brands like Daniel Wellington and MVMT, Skmei offers nearly the exact same quality for almost nothing. This watch lacks a seconds hand or any other kind of markings besides the two hands and logo, making a true testament to “minimalist watch design.”
- Classic minimalist look
- Extremely low price
- Leather strap for aesthetic
- Convincing design found in hundred-dollar watches
- Very thin (7mm)
- No seconds hand for accurate timekeeping
- No other Cons for the price
Skmei Military Digital-Analog Watch
Borrowing heavily from the designs of the Casio G-Shock, Skmei used to produce a line of “S-Shock” Watches that were nearly identical to the famous Japanese brand. However, as the company grew and took on a unique identity, they’ve eliminated the “imitation” aspect and now make fully-fledged independent homages; watches that have the same military and tactical appeal at a fraction of the price.
This Skmei military watch is similar to the other sports model, but offers both a digital display and a three-handed analog display. This is quite useful for telling the time while simultaneously timing something with the chronograph function – such as during physical training or timing a bombing run. Like the S Shocks before it, it’s got a distinct military appeal and comes packed full of similar functionalities to the Skmei Sports watch from before. There are many different variations and colorways that are simultaneously unique and militaristic.
Skmei LED Square Triple-Time Zone Watch
From out of left field, Skmei produces a rather unique retro-modern watch. It comes in a square case (which is unusual enough), and features three time zones that can be read at the same time. Not only that, but they’re all in different formats – LED, circular subdial, and main clock ruled-dial at the top. You’re actually most likely to set all three to your local time zone, and just enjoy appreciating the time in three different formats. This is because we’re so used to one singular way of measuring time that changing it up in any way helps you appreciate time and “time as such” in a multiplicity of ways.
Philosophy aside, this Skmei is very eye-catching and will get you loads of compliments, mainly from people wondering if you’re a secret agent. The dial actually has some pretty circular texturing in the bottom half, which is relatively unseen at this price-point. Like most other Skmei watches, it comes jam-packed with useful features, including:
- Triple-time display
- Leather strap
For a more familiar Casio-type world-time watch, Skmei also has the following variation:
Skmei 9058 – Dress Watch for Men
With the 9058, Skmei has crafted an elegant classic dress watch for men on a leather strap worthy of a business interview or a wedding. It’s made in the style of a homage to a very famous watch – the Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80, which sells for 20 times the price. Featuring a quartz movement and a date window, this three-handed watch ticks all the boxes for a classic dress watch.
The roman numerals accentuate the dress origins with a guilloche (textured) pattern at the center of the dial. This would make a great gift for someone who needs a dress watch but can’t make up their mind – the aesthetic is timeless.
The chronograph is one of the latest additions to the Skmei line, and features an easy-to-read triple-subdial display in multiple color options. The bezel is marked for aesthetic purposes in ten minute increments, and the inner chapter ring has second-ticks for accurate timekeeping.
Overall, this is one of the cheapest-priced quartz chronographs you can buy, and comes on a decent leather strap for the money. It has a robust sports watch appearance, with a hint of motocross to it. The framed date window is a nice detail, and the hands are unique sharp arrows.
Skmei Ladies’ Watch
While mostly marketed at men, Skmei also offers several quality options for women who would wear a watch. More than just a fashion accessory, this Skmei has the markings of elegance and ladylike glamor with the humility of simplicity. The white dial on white leather is sure to stand out on a girl’s wrist, although other louder color choices are available. This minimalistic design is very legible, and the red seconds hand gracefully matches the 12 at the top of the dial.
If you’re looking for a gift for a lady friend, or a new watch for yourself, this is a Skmei that doesn’t break the bank. It’s hard to find a better-looking watch for the price. It’s extremely wearable, and has a Japanese quartz movement for accurate timekeeping.
Classic German Bauhaus design, complete with small seconds subdial and black leather strap. Great his-and-hers pair with the women’s watch from above.
Skmei Sports Dress Watch
Mixing business with pleasure, this quartz Skmei comes in a slim 38mm case and has some sporty elements to it: lumed hour and minute hands, sharp aggressive hour indices, but tempered with a XII roman numeral at the top. Furthermore, the date window is a circular porthole, and the bracelet is a sporty steel.
Skmei Rotating Disc
One of Skmei’s more unique offerings, the Rotating Disc is a new way of telling the time. This watch works with the numerals rotating, and therefore has no hands. Most of the real estate is dedicated to making a statement, and thus it’s a fashion watch with a sporty aesthetic.
Conclusion on Skmei
Skmei is still a new company with a lot of room to grow. In just 10 short years they’ve gone from manufacturing S-Shocks (imitation G-Shocks) to coming up with hundreds of unique designs at the lowest price points anywhere in the watch market while still maintaining a degree of quality. They are not garbage or junk watches. If your budget is barely creeping above the single digits, the choices in this article will serve you well.