The Best Digital Watches: What You NEED To Know.
G’day gents! Today we’ll be discussing the best digital watches around. Day in and day out, we’re constantly used to checking our watches for the time.
Oh, sure, you can certainly do the same thing with a cell phone, but this can be more time-consuming (depending on the type of phone you have and your personal settings)—and somehow, it’s just not as cool as whipping out your wrist, casually checking the time, and announcing to your coworkers in a deadpan monotone, “It is three fifty-seven.”
Okay, so maybe not everyone does that (it might just be me.) But whatever the case (or our individual brands of humor), many of us wear digital watches; some consider them more convenient than their analog counterparts, and they’re quite easy to get access to.
But the whole fact of using digital watches begs the question of what they are, exactly—they’re not simply just watches that feature numbers rather than hands, surely?
Well, to get to the bottom of that question (and many other questions related to digital watches), we’ve put this article together.
So, without further ado, let’s start with the first item on our list—the question of what a “digital” watch entails, as opposed to an analog version.
What are digital watches?
We all know what a digital watch is, but a good refresher might be helpful. Digital watches are watches that display the time digitally (that is, with numbers), rather than by using hands.
Although it’s possible to achieve such a result mechanically (and mechanical wristwatches billing themselves as having digital displays have been around since the twenties), usually, when people use this term, they’re referring to an electronic watch. Such watches aren’t powered by you turning a crank, as might be the case with an analog watch.
They typically run on batteries, meaning that you’ll have to replace them every so often. How long exactly depends on what brand of watch you purchase, and what brand of battery.
Some will last several months, while others might last a year or two before they need to be replaced. This is something you’ll have to watch out for if you’re in the market for a digital watch; an otherwise good watch might not be worth the money it costs to keep constantly buying new batteries.
Other “digital watches” may include what are actually digital devices in themselves. We’re talking about smartwatches like the ones from Apple, Samsung & Huawei.
Samsung Gear S2
Smart watches feature a number of complications, thanks to the apps they employ, and they’re connected to the Internet. These watches will allow you to listen to music or talk to your friends (via Bluetooth or wireless headphones), text your family members, and even use apps.
Some of the apps that are compatible with smart watches are fitness apps—such as Fitocracy, which turns running and doing mundane exercise into a kind of role-playing game—they’re a great choice for men who are more athletically minded.
Digital Watches: How did they come about?
Portable clocks—that is, big pocket watches—began being carried around in the 1700s, when people preferred to carry the time with them, rather than always having to look up at the village clock tower.
As technology improved, eventually these watches started having new, more secure features added—things like chains and straps—and being used as investable items.
In the mid-19th century, technological innovations (including the ability to now build watches with machines) ensured that watch demand increased globally. However, in the time before World War I, wristwatches were considered as a fad, delegated to the likes of vaudeville artists and movie actors.
They were a part of female fashion during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but not seriously considered as being a useful part of a man’s attire.
However, it was also during the war—and in the Boer War before it, at the turn of the century—that European men started wearing these “bracelet watches” en masse. It didn’t take long for such watches to take off in North America, either, thanks to the proliferation of telephones and the signal system.
These had a major role to play in warfare, with the result that soldiers had to wear watches—and preferably wristwatches—to coordinate their movements and strategies.
When they were down in the trenches, going through your pockets to look for a pocket watch was simply not an option.
These watches were also fitted with tough, durable glass, and radium, which would make their displays light up during the night-time. With their wristwatches, these military personnel were building off an older technique of rigging pocket witches to one’s wrist.
Wristwatches remained popular after the war. But it wasn’t until 1972 that the first digital watch appeared on the market.
Made by Hamilton, the Hamilton Pulsar P1 cost a few thousand dollars. It was set in 18-karat gold (how’s that for an interesting fact?), which at least partially explains the high price tag. It featured LEDs to display the time, and was so lacking in power that you had to click a button on the front of the watch to show the time.
With 400 units made, today the P1 is known as a collector’s item.
Digital Watches are the best: Advantages of the digital watch
Today, although both analog and digital watches remain popular, digital versions are known to have several advantages over their analog counterparts. For example, whereas analog watches feature a face with two to three arrows (for hours, minutes and seconds), a digital watch will only typically feature the time.
Depending on how you prefer your watch, you can often set a digital model to display the time in either a 12-hour system or a 24-hour system. Some digital watches might also show the time in seconds.
It’s true that analog watches are likely to be slightly more accurate, thanks to the high-precision movement of their gears and springs.
However, these days, accurate time readings don’t make much of a difference from one watch to the next; most watches, whether analog or digital, are quite accurate, with less than a few seconds of difference between them.
Another reason (according to some) that digital watches rule over their analog counterparts is because of the complications available. Of course, analog watches have a lot of complications in their own right—but, for the most part, they’re not generally connected to the Internet. How many analog watches do you know of that can get you online in three seconds flat? Probably none.
And of those which are connected to the Internet, the hands-filled dial of your typical analog watch doesn’t really allow you to use GPS to find out where you’re going. There are too many dials (and, not to mention, time from other time zones).
Digital watches can (sometimes) be easier to read than their digital counterparts. With analog watches, often you’ll have to sit and think for a second so that you understand what time it is, especially if you haven’t checked the time in a while (since your mind will have to flick through your memories, remembering that “40 degrees” = “2 o’clock).
If your watch has Roman numerals (as opposed to the standard Arabic numerals), this can add even more thinking to being able to decipher the time.
With digital watches, the time comes to you right away. This doesn’t seem like that big of a deal—but then think about those people who work in high-pressure industries where they simply can’t spend much time looking at their timepieces, since if they look down for even a second, everything can change quickly.
This includes those who drive for a living, such as taxi drivers, truckers and delivery agents; air traffic controllers; and people who work behind the scenes during live broadcasts.
Digital watches are also well-suited to work in specific fields; that is to say, they’re more versatile.
As we mentioned before, digital watches are excellent if you dive or swim as part of your career (such as if you’re a diver, swimmer, or travel photographer). Because they tend to be more robust and less delicate, they’re also better adapted for work in tough environments, such as factories, construction sites, warehouses, and mines.
The best digital watches: Different types of digital watches.
Digital watches have been in continuous production since the early 1970s, and many major companies make them (as well as a lot of minor ones).
They come in a range of prices, styles, and colors, just like their analog counterparts. The sports watch is perhaps the most important type of digital watch. Such watches feature a rugged design, and are usually water-resistant. They also have a number of complications, like alarms, timers, heart rate meters, and thermometers.
Another type of digital watch is the diving watch. As you might infer from the name, this is best suited for divers and swimmers, as it can withstand watery depths.
Casio Dive Watch
Dress watches tend to be more fancy. They have relatively thin straps—made out of leather or metal—and simple designs. Their dials are uncluttered and easy to read.
Although, when you think of dress watches, you think of analog watches, the reality is that many dress watches are digital—and they look 100% great, so you don’t need to worry.
Finally, field watches have bands made out of canvas or leather; these straps complement their black dials and white lettering. The display is illuminated as well, and the casing is made of stainless steel or titanium, or the casing may be coated in PVD.
These watches were developed so that military personnel would be able to see in the dark (hence the high-contrast interface).
So…What makes the best digital watches “the best?”
There are several criteria that ensure that a given brand of digital watch will be of high quality. For example, a good digital watch should work efficiently.
It’s a pretty common scenario to find yourself the perfect watch, to happily buy it, excited because of your new purchase—only to discover the following day that it’s already stopped working.
A good digital watch must not stop working after a day, a month, or even a year (although running out of batteries every so often is perfectly understandable).
On the contrary, a good digital watch should be able to last at least three years (if not more) before you finally have no choice but to throw it away.
Any digital watch that lasts less than three years is not worth your time; you’d just be wasting your money by buying one.
Another necessary aspect of a given watch model is that it must be able to handle strains and pressure. That’s not to say that you should just be able to take it out in the water, keep knocking it into things, or drop it too frequently (or, for that matter, stab into it with a sledgehammer).
Obviously, you can’t realistically expect any model of watch to be able to work properly if it’s been massacred in this way.
But, ideally, a good digital watch should be able to withstand some pressure.
It’s natural that, at some point or another, you’re going to drop your watch; a good watch will be able to take this in stride.
And, while you shouldn’t go bringing your watch into the shower with you, it’s still reasonable to expect that—if you splash a little water on it by mistake, such as when you’re brushing your teeth, for example—it won’t immediately stop working.
Moreover, a good-quality digital watch will keep working even if you travel a lot and move around a lot on any given day (for example, from college to work to badminton practice).
Another criterion of an excellent digital watch is how it fits. Different watches will fit different people; for example, if you have a larger wrist, you’ll want to get one that has enough holes so that you can wear it comfortably, without injuring yourself.
Similarly, if your wrist is exceptionally thin, you’ll want to make sure that your watch has the proper hole size to accommodate you.
But finding (and wearing) a comfortable watch is about more than just wrist size.
You’ll also want to watch out for texture (so that the watch doesn’t leave any painful marks on your skin while you’re wearing it), fit (so that it doesn’t feel too constraining or too loose, even if it is the perfect size), and feel (so that you can forget you’re wearing it, and that it’s not constantly chafing up against you while you have it on).
A further criterion to consider when out shopping for a digital watch is that it looks good. Unusual styles are one thing; it’s perfectly fine to prefer, say, a watch that’s vivid pink or bright emerald green, or which maybe has a groovy pattern on the strap.
Along the same lines, there’s also nothing wrong with a watch whose face has a cool design, or whose dial is shaped like a triangle, rather than a square or a circle.
But some watches simply don’t look good, regardless of the style they employ. Perhaps the numbers are too close together, so that they can’t easily be read.
Maybe there’s not enough contrast in between the color of the numbers and the color of the face, with the result that you can’t actually tell the time.
Another possibility is that the face doesn’t match the strap, and so that the whole timepiece just sits kind of uncomfortably on your wrist. Whatever the situation, these watches don’t simply look bad—they could also impact the overall look you might be trying to create.
Although it’s not exactly necessary, another hallmark of a good digital watch is that it’s waterproof. Waterproof watches are ideal for a number of reasons. Not only can you swim while you’re wearing them (and go to the water park), but you can also work out with them.
You won’t have to worry about getting it splashed with water from your water bottle, or about sweating too much on your wrist, to the point where the watch falls off.
Also, these watches are a great choice if you’re a diver or if you enjoy travelling. Water-resistant watches are a good buy as well, although they’re not as tough as their waterproof counterparts.
A further benefit of the perfect digital watch is that its batteries last a long time. While the batteries themselves are inexpensive, it’s annoying to have to open the watch every few months (and doubly annoying if doing so is impossible without a screwdriver), take out the battery, and replace it with a new one.
For this reason, watches with batteries that only need to be replaced once or twice a year are preferable.
The perfect digital watch should ideally also have several complications. “Complications” is the industry term for what we might call functionalities—a watch’s capacity, in other words, to do various, non-watch-related functions.
Such complications include a timer function, a stopwatch function, and a calendar function.
Since the perfect watch would ideally be well-suited to many different environments (such as home, work, college, and the gym), the perfect watch would feature fitness-related complications as well: a heart rate counter function and a pedometer function, for example.
It’s functionalities like these which will allow you to be the best possible athlete you can.
Finally, a last feature that the perfect digital watch will have is the ability to fit great with your different outfits. No matter what you’re wearing, the perfect watch—not simply a good watch, but the perfect watch—should be able to jive along with it, making your outfit look excellent all the while.
Whether you’re wearing dark colours or bright colours, patterns or plain, casual Friday or business casual, the perfect watch should be able to match any potential outfit you might pull together.
As a result, the perfect watch will be in a colour that matches well with other colours you might have on (usually black, navy, dark brown, or some shade of gray), and it will not feature any outrageous patterns, only more subdued ones.
Such watches will also have a relatively plain style, and the face will be either rectangular or circular. Of course, your own style choices are up to you, but your watch isn’t perfect unless it matches with your clothing and other accessories.
18 of the best digital watches and brands on the market
Here are some watch brands and models you definitely need to know about if you’re looking for the best digital watches around. We’ve also included clickable buttons and images where applicable to make it easy for you to find out more about the watches being mentioned. 🙂
- Ziiro Eclipse Watch
This model of watch—which was created by Eclipse, a relatively new brand based in Germany and China—hearkens to the stars and skies above us.
Its single blue circle, which moves around the all-black surface of the rest of the face, is reminiscent of the moon moving across the sky (think Apollo’s carriage wheel in reverse).
Although you might not realize it at first, you can also see the notches that represent the hours and minutes moving in tandem with the “moon” icon, rotating like the Earth does during its own orbit.
- Garmin Unisex Vivoactive
This watch is worth it if you like fancy complications in your watch. It features Bluetooth in addition to GPS, and it’s even compatible with several apps. Thanks to these apps, you can get access to weather information, as well as access other functionalities.
Its interface is simple to follow and easy to understand.
- Casio A159WGEA-1EF Gold Digital
Casio is simply one of the best companies when it comes to making the best digital watches; they were one of the first ones to get in on the business, after all. It’s hardly surprising, then, that a Casio watch should find its way onto this list.
This particular watch, which is gold-toned in color, offers a retro/vintage style which still manages to remain timeless and contemporary, even though the world has changed so much since the time its design is derived from.
- Timex Expedition
This is a great watch that nicely shows off the strengths of one of the best digital watches vis-à-vis analog watches.
With its oversized screen, not only will you be able to easily read the time, but you’ll find other functions as well—a temperature function, an altimeter, a stopwatch, and a compass feature.
It’s with this watch that you’ll be fully grounded and always know where you are—in time, in space, and in terms of the environment. The perfect watch for adventurers and travelers.
- Nooka K Digital Display Watch
This watch is ideal because (in addition to being a simply great watch) it also makes a great conversation starter.
It’s incredibly light, weighing in at only 1.5 ounces, and the “K” name reflects this fact, since “kei” means “light” in Japanese.
Moreover, it will capture the attention of your coworkers and friends because of its interesting face, which displays time in bars rather than hands or a simple numbers display.
- Braun Prestige Digital Watch
This watch features a perpetual calendar that lasts a hundred years (okay, so maybe it isn’t exactly “perpetual” per se). More to the point, the calendar can be seen on the front face of the watch, making it immediately apparent to anyone who happens to glance down at your timepiece.
Its rectangular face is combined with a band and a case that are made out of stainless steel; altogether, this adds up into one fancy, fascinating timepiece that you can wear whenever you go to work or a fancy party.
- Casio F-91W
Tallying in at quite a low cost, this watch is an excellent choice, thanks to its lengthy battery life and durable body structure.
It also features some of the same features as smart watches, though it isn’t a smart watch in its own right.
- Black Dice Gamer
This watch is easy to read even when you’re in the dark, on account of its high-visibility numerals. Its broad leather strap resembles a cuff, which ensures that you can easily match it to a many different outfits, both formal and fancy-free.
This digital watch is the perfect choice for those who enjoy looking cool while they’re tinkering around with computers, game systems, and other electronic devices.
- Nixon The Unit SS
Nixon is known for making high-quality audio accessories, and their watches are no different. In the case of this model, this watch features a display that can easily be switched from 12 hours to 24, a calendar function, and a timer function that counts down.
Its fixed bezel enables it to look like an analog watch, as does its custom casing, which is made of stainless steel. But (as we well know) this is, in truth, simply a (admittedly high-quality) digital watch.
Suunto, a company based in Finland, began making electronic gadgets during the thirties. Among these gadgets, some of the earliest ones were compasses, which were used by military personnel as well as civilians.
It has kept on making tough, durable electronic goods up to the present day, with a line-up that features dive computers and precision instruments alongside the long-standing watches and compasses.
It was initially founded in 1936, and is owned by Amer Sports. Amer also owns Arc’teryx, Sports Tracker, Atomic, and Wilson.
- Citizen Holdings
This Japan-based company is one of the largest producers of watches in the whole world, so you know they make some good stuff.
It was found in 1924, and it sells handheld TVs, electronic organizers, and printers alongside its digital watches.
- TAG Heuer
This brand was founded in 1860, so they’ve been around for quite a while.
It acquired its current title when the company that founded it, Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer TAG (with “TAG” being an acronym for “‘Techniques d’Avant Garde”), was acquired by TAG Group Holdings S.A. (Heuer, in case you’re curious, refers to founder Edouard Heuer).
In 1999, Louis Vuitton bought the company, adding the TAG Heuer timepieces to their range of luxury accessories and clothes. They also produce many models of sports watches and chronographs.
We’ve mentioned this brand so many times by now, but let’s face it—mentioning Casio is absolutely necessary.
Who among us hasn’t owned a Casio watch at some point? And even if you haven’t, you most likely know several (or even dozens) of people who have owned a Casio.
This Japan-based company was founded in 1946, and, since then, it has never stopped cranking out amazing watches for the whole family—everyday watches as well as sports watches.
Before it started making the earliest (and best) digital watches in the seventies, it also made calculators, electronic musical instruments, and computer products.
Nowadays, it makes cameras, PCs, cell phones, PDAs, and many other products as well as watches.
Nixon has made some of the best digital watches during its time, and it continues to do so in the present day.
Founded in California in 1997, this brand is responsible not just for watches, but for audio accessories as well.
It markets its goods toward its primary audience of young people, although naturally everyone is pulled in by their promises of premium-quality timepieces.
Today, their watches are stocked at a variety of retailers, including Barneys New York, Fred Segal, and 10 Corso Como in addition to shops focused on surfing, skating, and winter activities.
Nixon has retail stores in the US, Australia, and Bali, and their products are sold in eighty countries around the world.
Nowadays we think of Adidas mostly (slash completely) as being a company that sells sporting goods, so perhaps it’s not a surprise that they actually make some pretty decent sports watches.
Founded in 1924 under the name of Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik, this German-origin company (now headquartered in Bavaria) is one of the largest sportswear manufacturers in the whole world.
Seriously: someone tells you, “biggest sportswear company,” and what do you think: Reebok? Nope, it’s definitely the “all day I dream about sports” brand. Besides, Reebok is a subsidiary of Adidas (who knew!)
Anyway, Adidas went under its old name until the late 1940s, at which point the brothers who had founded it split the company, with Rudolf going off to found Puma.
As for his brother, Adolf “Adi” Dassler, the company gained its current name. Since then, it has gone on to become this huge sporting goods manufacturer (and excellent watch maker, natch).
Timex is known for both the best analog and the best digital watches. In terms of its digital watches, it offers models that are both standard and those which are designed for running and other physical activities.
The company we think of as being “Timex,” however, is actually a holding company (a Dutch holding company, to be precise) that owns several watch-making companies, including Timex USA. Its watch models are associated with companies like Versace, Nautica, Guess, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Versus.
To phrase it differently, Timex is a well-known watch company, with an international reputation.
Pulsar is not a company, but a brand. This brand actually belongs to Seiko, a Japanese company that’s known for their home, consumer, and industrial electronics (clocks, semiconductors, and optical equipment, for example) in addition to their watches.
Pulsar watches first emerged on the market in the 1970s. They make mostly analog watches, but their digital watches are of great quality, and fitting for many varying kinds of consumers.
The first Pulsar prototype was developed together by Electro-Data and the Hamilton Watch Company, and this model (dated 1972) is actually the first digital watch in history.
As mentioned earlier, it wanted for power so much that it wouldn’t even show you the time unless you touched a specific button designed for this end.
While we’re on the subject of Seiko, this company is also well-known for its many digital watch models.
This company is also the official timekeeper at many sporting events, including the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, and the IAAF World Championship. That’s how you know that their watches are of good quality: they’re so accurate that the Olympics themselves use their timepieces as a frame of reference. Neat, eh?
The best digital watches: a great choice for every man
At the end of the day, a digital watch is a great choice for every man, whether he needs something he can wear to work every day or something that he can use while he goes on adventures.
Although it can be difficult to find the perfect digital watch, once you’ve found it, you’re good for a nice long time; no longer will you have to worry about matching your outfits to an amazing timepiece.
So, with all this being said, are you ready at long last, to find the best digital watch to suit your lifestyle?