Last Updated:  November 23rd, 2020

Smael Watches - Are They Just Junk?

smael watch review

Anything that costs under twenty bucks but calls itself a watch has to be junk right?

Well, since the Chinese entered the watch making industry in force, that is not necessarily the case. They have made brands like Skmei and other low cost brands that compete with some of the best in the world in producing affordable, durable and functional watches.

But, I am not here to review all the watch brands on the market, I am looking to write a Smael watch review to see how they stack up and the kinds of watches they produce.

Are Smael any good? Will their watches last more than a month, or a year even? And do they even work when you take them out of the box? Or, do you need your own watch repair kit to look after them?

Let’s take a closer look…

Any Smael Any Good?

To figure out if these watches are any good, I did a survey of all the Amazon reviews to see in general:

  1. What complaints people had
  2. If there were defects (not working when delivered etc)
  3. If it was easy to use

Because this is a very cheap watch, I would be amazed if there were not any problems. The only question is how many and whether you can live with them.

Looking at the most popular (most reviewed) watch on Amazon with over 430 reviews, the biggest problems were as follows:

  • Small amount of defects early in the life of the watch
  • Some functions hard to figure out from the instructions
  • The watch was very large overall (which might be fine for you – I have small wrists, so not great for me)

However, the overall review was 4.3 out of 5 with most people being very happy and understanding that this is not a Rolex, but a watch costing under 20 bucks.

In general, people seem to say:

  • They work as expected
  • They last a long time
  • They look very cool and sporty

Sure, they are not perfect by any means. But, you are getting what you pay for and way more. If you consider some of the reviewers said they were as good as a Casio G-Shock, which costs significantly more, then it’s a great buy. You can more or less buy one – hate it, then still buy a G-shock and not really notice the money you lost. They are that cheap.

What Do You Get For Your Money?

In general you get a reasonable amount for your money with Smael:

  • Chinese made Quartz movement 
  • Hard scratch resistant mineral glass
  • 50 (165ft) meters waterproof – so no diving but should be ok to swim with
  • Stainless steel and PU plastic case
  • Silicon band
  • Nice backlight for night reading
  • In most models:  Dual Timezone, Calendar Day and Date, Alarm, Water Resistant, LED Display, Back Light, Shock Resistant, Stop Watch.

So, when you think that most models go for between ten and twenty dollars, this is pretty crazy. Sure, some people might expect the sun and the earth for nothing, but you will get a decent, functioning watch that should last you a while.

Here are a few of the models they produce:

Outdoor Waterproof Military Watch

KXAITO Men's Watches Sports Outdoor Waterproof Military Watch Date Multi Function Military LED Alarm Stopwatch (Orange)
KXAITO Men's Watches Sports Outdoor Waterproof Military Watch Date Multi Function Tactics LED Alarm Stopwatch (05_Turquoise)
KXAITO Men's Watches Sports Outdoor Waterproof Military Watch Date Multi Function Tactics LED Alarm Stopwatch (05_Green2)

This shock-proof, waterproof outdoor Smael military watch has all the functions you could possibly want on a basic digital watch. With a stopwatch, alarm, day/date and 24 hour time. It also has the analog display for those that want both. The strong steel and PU plastic case with the rubber strap are also perfect for outdoor use. See which one you like the most on Amazon via the button below.

Men's Dual Time Sports Watch

Men's Sport Watch, Dual Quartz Movement with Analog-Digital Display and EL Backlight Watch for Men
Men's Digital Sports Waterproof Watch Multi-Function Military Electronic Watch LED Backlight
Men's Digital Sports Waterproof Watch Multi-Function Military Electronic Watch LED Backlight

Another very similar watch to the outdoor watch above is this dual time sports watch.

It has most of the same specs and functions with a 24 hour time available, calendar, day/date and also dual time, so you can keep track of two time zones 

The reminders of the time differences on the dial are also helpful if you know the airport and city codes around the world.

Men's Military S-Shock Watch

Following the lead of the G-Shock from Casio this “S-Shock” version of the Smael military watch is a decent buy as well. It has a few more fucntions the sports lover might enjoy like:  Daily Alarm, Lap Timer, Second Stopwatch, Auto Calendar, and Pedometer. It of course has a backlight and automatic calendar which is handy if you hate resetting after a 30 day month instead of a 31 day. 

All in all these are great watches for the price, but of course, they won’t be winning a watch of the year award. Keep your expectations in check and realise that you are getting  decent watch for the money, but it’s a Chinese “no name” kind of watch. Then I am sure you will be more than happy with the results.

22 thoughts on “A Review of Smael Watches – Are They Just Junk?”

  1. I was given a SMAEL watch from a friend who thought it was too big after he received it in the mail. I like it. I like having top of the line gear and also great value gear that I can use and not care if it gets lost, broken, or stolen.
    I’d bet I’ll lose this watch before it breaks though.

    1. Similarly from other commenters, on my 1545 the analog hands have stopped working. Have owned for less than a year. Found a video on YouTube for changing the battery … it was easy … but hands still not working. Will stick with a GShock for the larger military look … this Smael going in the trash.

  2. No matter SMAEL or SKMEI, i would considered it as an original watch from the manufacturer as compared to other watch maker by making a 1:1 copy (counterfeit) and label it as if they are selling the original watch.

  3. This is a great watch for the price. I have been very happy with it and have received numerous complaints on it. My only beef with it is the analog portion of the watch will burn out before the digital portion. That being said, I have taken these watches to several watch repair places and all advised there’s no way to change the batteries. Given the price of these watches, I can live with this issue as it usually cost about the same to change the battery.

    1. I have a smael watch . had for three years, battery change is easy if you find a proper watch repairer, had battery changed for under £6. Many of these kiosk watch sellers, have,not got a clue, only want to sale you new watch.

  4. I had a Skmei watch that quit working after one bath. After all these positive reviews, I have high hopes for the Smael to be an improvement. It’s nice to have a cool watch with all these features for $16.

  5. Just got mine in the mail today and i have to say for the money there’s nothing close to it! Mine is a copy of the GShock military version

  6. I bought Model 1545 and I’m over the moon !! It looks fantastic and it keeps perfect time. Do I expect it to work under water at 500 feet ?
    No !! How about at work in a nuclear facility ? No !! I know what I paid for it and so far it has more than repaid me for the chance I took. Some of the so called ‘Reviews’ I’ve read on line are laughable. Some people seem to think they paid for a Rolex – others might as well have been talking about a stale cake. I’m not bothered about a multitude of functions on the watch – which by the way all seem to work correctly. I just want a watch that tells me the time – nothing more, nothing less.
    I’ve heard people complaining about the size of the watch. Really ?? Did someone stand over you with a machine gun, forcing you to hand over your money ?? Others complain that the numerals are hard to read. Surely they meant to say the numerals WERE hard to read – surely they sent the watch back ?? It seems that everyone wants to complain about something and everything. No-one wants to be seen as a sucker. As far as I’m concerned, the suckers are the people who think they’re so clever wasting loads of money on a fancy watch. When their watch reads the time as, say, 10.00 a.m., my watch will give EXACTLY the same time !!

  7. Allan Van Reijsen

    I wear mine in usmc,watch is holding up excellent!I also use it in the harsh Pacific Ocean where I’m stationed in Hawaii, no issue. Dont hesitate to purchase one,its a great low cost watch,a van reijsen,usmc.

  8. It’s cheap. Worth it! Value for money. I got two Smael watches already and both are working well, basic functions. And I love it.

  9. I loved mine at first. 8 months and the the quarts movement stopped working .
    Is it like a citizen watch, in that I need to set it in the sun to charge it? I found the controls hard to use and hard to see functions on the watch, but my eyes aren’t the best… I was really hoping for a good buy, as I live on a tight and limited budget and can not afford anything more costly. I should have known better.

  10. Had my Smael watch 2 months now ,great looking ,does everything you need very clear display. But I think the battery is going as the clock hands on the dial keep stopping..

  11. I am on my third Smael watch and all the of them the clock hands stopped working. It either get stuck and looses time. The rest of the watch keeps working just fine.

    1. Same happened here, turns out there are 2 batteries operating the watch. The large one powers the digital display, then underneath the white plastic back plate under said battery is a smaller 377 battery that powers the analog. Simply remove the 6 screws surrounding the white back plate, remove and the battery will be exposed.

  12. I liked mine, had it two years. Then it stopped so I replaced the battery and couldn’t get the digital time set correctly and the analog was sticking and then quit working altogether. Going back to my Timex.

  13. Don’t buy this watch, I bought 2 and they have the same problem, seconds pointer is loosed, contact the small, they want to replace it, but the cost of sending it is more than the price of the watch

  14. if i compare smael watches with other ones, the only thing which i like in these watches is that they are pretty much strong 😉 so i dont have to care much…moreover the prices are also pretty low so i really like to give them in gifts too 🙂

  15. Model 1350 several years old, never had to reset the time (except across time zones)
    Bit bulky, not heavy though, accurate within a couple of seconds over a year!
    Summary : cheap, bit “clunky” BUT excellent value. Tough and definitely waterproof for swimming and a few metres underwater. And if you lose it, so what? Just buy another one.

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