Recent Comments

Wristwatch buying guide

The wristwatch was invented in the 1600’s when a French mathematician used a piece of string to tie a watch to his wrist.

Timekeeping has come a long way since then. These days, watches are like mini-computers that can forecast the weather, help you find your way in the woods or even get you to class on time.

For professional adventure racer Travis Macy, 23, his watch helps with navigation and keeps his team on track during grueling multi-day races.

“If we’re doing a trekking section and we’re falling asleep on our feet, we’ll stop and sleep for half an hour,” says Macy, a former Cub Scout. “And then the whole race is hanging on my watch to wake us up!”

Dealing with that kind of pressure and the race on the line, Macy knows watches. He can teach you a lot about how to pick the best one for your time-keeping needs.

FEATURES

“Before you go to buy a watch, think about the features you’re looking for,” Macy says.

If hiking and camping is your thing, consider a watch with a compass and perhaps an altimeter and barometer. If you’re into jogging, find a heart-rate-monitor watch. Remember: Just because a watch is packed with features and functions doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to use. Try it before you buy to make sure it’s user-friendly.

ANALOG VS. DIGITAL

Most modern watches use tiny quartz minerals to keep the time. When electrified, the quartz crystal vibrates a reliable 32,768 times per second; those vibrations are translated to seconds, minutes and hours. Analog watches have a standard clock-like face with two or three (or more) hands that point at numbers, which is more classic yet can be tougher to read than digital watches. Digitals continuously highlight the exact time in numerals. Some watches have dual faces with both analog and digital readouts.

DURABILITY

If you spend much time outdoors, durability is a key factor in a watch. “Make sure it’s rugged,” Macy says. “If it has a compass swivel on top, try turning that to see if that feels like it’ll hold up. Play with the buttons. Are they easy to push? Take a look at the band and the buckle to make sure they’re flexible and will hold up to the elements.”

SIZE

You want the face of the watch and the numbers to be big enough so you can see them while you’re riding a bike or running. But in general, the bigger the watch the heavier and bulkier it will be. Try to find a size that’s comfortable.

“If you’ll have only one watch, think about whether you’ll want to wear a big watch to school,” he says. “I wear the same big watch for everything, but I’ve gotten used to it. Some guys will feel more comfortable with something smaller.”

THE WATCHBAND

The way your watch is strapped to your wrist is important. If you’re outdoors a lot, choose a polyurethane band. These bands are waterproof, won’t hold odors and are very durable, but they can also be sticky in hot climates. Another good choice is a canvas and Velcro band, which is more breathable.

“Velcro bands keep your watch snug against your wrist and you can wash it when it’s dirty,” Macy says.

Leather bands don’t perform well in wet environments, but they look cool. Meanwhile, metal bands can sometimes pinch your skin, though they are usually super durable.

WHERE TO SHOP

There’s nothing more helpful than going to a store and trying a watch on to see how it feels on your wrist. Of course, you’ll probably pay more at a store versus buying it on the Internet.

“Take a look online and see if you can find a better price,” Macy says. “There are search engines where you can type in the product name and a whole list of prices will come up so you can find out what’s a good price.”

If you buy online, make sure the store is reputable and beware of counterfeit or fake watches.

50 Comments on Wristwatch buying guide

  1. g-shock fan // May 18, 2013 at 11:34 am // Reply

    i have the awgm100-a and dw9052 and they are great

  2. I prefer my Skyhawk ATF from Citizen. It is metal has a calendar, alarm, chronograph, timer, and can change it’s timezone. It is also waterproof

  3. i use My Timex Expedition indiglo (which is water resistant) more than my lego R2-D2 watch

  4. Ripcurl Tide watches are the best and they are waterproof

  5. had a Quintel 4 long time still works worn it everwhere xept in water

  6. What time is it? If you can answer the question your watch works fine.

    • Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // December 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm // Reply

      ummm…no not exactly. if your watch is an hour or even five minutes off… it is technically not the real time. My point is you could answer that question and it could be totally wrong. For instance, say some one asks you “what time is it?” and you answer by saying, “oh is 5:30… in Russia” then your watch does not work properly. Just because you can answer someone who asks “what time is it?” doesn’t mean your watch is working right.

    • Uh, yes it does

  7. Young Marine // November 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm // Reply

    Have had the timex 1440 since last Christmas, so far so good.

  8. bowflex rs-i

  9. I got a new Expedition last month , man it’s cool. It has an address / phone memory in it. I had been using my dad’s older Timex the past year after wrecking mine while playing waterpolo at camp last summer. Thanks for the suggestion Sly Fox.

  10. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // October 21, 2012 at 9:47 am // Reply

    Got my new G-Shock about a month ago. So far so good.

  11. I got a new Expedition today, man it’s cool. It has a address / phone memory in it. I had been using my dad’s older Timex the past year after wrecking mine while swimming at camp last summer. Thanks for the suggestion Sly Fox.

  12. I got a timex expedition Christmas 2010 and it’s still working awesome. Everyone at school is always asking me the time and every time I look at my timex, its still working fine.

    • Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // September 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm // Reply

      For someone who isnt hard on their watches timeX works great! I know lots of guys that have had Timexs for years and they still work great… But that because they are not hard on their equipment. G-shock is a watch built for tough people that are tough on their watches.

  13. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // August 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm // Reply

    I am the real Knife Xpert! Look at my previous comments and you will see I have always loved G-shock!

  14. I NEED G-SHOCK

  15. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // July 28, 2012 at 10:38 am // Reply

    Timex all the way … now.

  16. Y’all keep saying G-Shock, but which one? There’s like a gazillion.

    • Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // July 2, 2012 at 10:54 am // Reply

      Either a DW9052-1V Classic G-Shock watch (only $50 on Amazon) or a GW500A-1V Solar atomic G-Shock. It is about $60 to $70 on Amazon (The regular price is $120)

  17. The timex Expedition is a great watch. I have had it for year now and it is still runing strong. I got it at target for $30. The band is geting to stink but fix that by rubin baking soda on it. It has indiglo, stopwatch, three alarms, timer, and of coarse a clock.

  18. G-Shocks are teerible go with expedition g-shocks are a scam and they rip you off

    • ARCTIC COMMANDO // June 5, 2012 at 9:56 am // Reply

      Have you even tried a G-Shock? my dad had it for 8 years while he was in the Marines and he gave it to me 5 years ago. a total of 13 years that this G-shock has been in my family. G-shock is a tough watch for tough people. Timex is good if you want an every day watch. but if you want somthing that can withstand what my dad does, G-shock is the best choice.

    • Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // June 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm // Reply

      G-Shock did not rip me off. I was just to hard on it and I was being stupid. have you even had a G-Shock before??? I will always trust Casio

  19. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // May 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm // Reply

    My G-Shock broke today:( I hit it REALLY hard on a piece of steel and i guess I hit it in just the right place because the inside screen broke. it still works I just cant read the screen. I think the Analog watches are a little more tougher then the digital (mine was digital) But I am going to get another because it was such a nice watch and the are still SUPER tough I guess I just did to much to mine.

  20. $11 watch at wal-mart. Works Great, waterproof to 250ish feet

    • ARCTIC COMMANDO // May 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm // Reply

      Whatever dude! as soon as you pass 5 feet of water the thing is going to leak! $15 wal-mart watches are not worth it. get a watch that is going to last!

      • I’ve had it for a few years, and on every camp out, been swimming with it, this watch holds up

    • I got a $20 watch at kmart…………..3 years ago and it has lasted forever

  21. Take a peek at “Expedition” series; inexspencive, tough, water proof and has a nice band. I take mine swimming and it hasn’t failed me yet in 5 years. The alarm is a bonus too. I have the programable version that stores phone numbers in it. Great as a back up.

    • Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // April 9, 2012 at 10:11 am // Reply

      My mom has to buy a new Expedition watch every several months because they break so much!

  22. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // April 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm // Reply

    Casio G-shock is unarguably the best watch ever.

    • Off-Trail Monkey // April 24, 2012 at 10:48 pm // Reply

      My mom has to buy a new Casio G-shock watch every several months because it breaks so much.

      • ARCTIC COMMANDO // May 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm //

        Ok please dont copy my comment and please tell the truth. if your mom really broke a G shock every month she would have to be a millionar! they cost at least $100 dollars a watch. I got mine on sale for $60. plus go to the g shock website and look at the destruction tests they do. I dont think your mom could break a g shock.

      • Delta Force // May 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm //

        (chuckling) Yeah whatever you say kid. look Ive had my G-shock for 20 years and I had it while in Iraq and Afghanistan. I doubt you mom could break a G-shock if I couldn’t.

  23. I love kj-52 songs // March 31, 2012 at 7:53 pm // Reply

    I do not like G-shock.

    • ARCTIC COMMANDO // April 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm // Reply

      Why? are they to manly for you! if you don’t like G-Shocks because of their size then get a Baby G its a smaller version of the bigger ones. And if you don’t like them for their hefty price look online at amazon or ebay. they may be expensive but its worth it, it will never break!

  24. ARCTIC COMMANDO // March 8, 2012 at 12:13 am // Reply

    Dudes… G-shock cannot be beat! have had mine for 5 years now! an that was after my dad used it for 15 years!

  25. troop 43 mazter // February 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm // Reply

    armitron is a great company to buy a high quality watch. i take mine camping and its lasted me 3 years.

Leave a Reply

Please do not use your real name.