Despite dire predictions that the rise of smart phones would eliminate the desire for watches, the current market is still rich with great, modern options. Digital watches have come a long way since their first introduction decades ago, and many are taking cues from the smartphone market to pack in a range of modern features that increase their value exponential. But the huge number of models available can be both an advantage and a liability.
Sorting through the options can quickly become a herculean task. That’s why we’re here. We’ve meticulously scoured the world of watches and boiled down the options to construct a list of the twelve best digital watches available today.
Quick Look: 12 Best Digital Watches
- Casio Men’s G-SHOCK GA 100-1A1
- Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire
- Casio F91W-1 Classic Digital Watch
- Tissot Men’s ‘T-Touch Expert
- SUUNTO Core Outdoor Sports Watch
- Samsung Galaxy Rose Gold Watch
- Nixon Regulus Digital Watch
- Casio Men’s Vintage CA53W-1 Calculator Watch
- G-Shock Mens GG-1000-1A5
- Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch
- Armitron Sport Women’s Chronograph Watch
- Movado 2.0 Connect Smartwatch
1. Casio Men’s G-SHOCK GA 100-1A1
Casio has long been one of the leaders in the digital watch market, and no Casio watches have the reputation that G-Shock does. This tactical digital watch is rough and rugged, and you can count on it to serve you well whether you're wearing it out in the wild or at the office. The GA 100-1A1 is built like a tank, and it packs both digital and analog faces into its chunky frame. 24 hour and 12 hour formats are supported, and the stop watch function on this cool digital watch is accurate down to 1/1000 of a second.
It includes lap time, elapsed time, and split time features. There's also a timer that can be set in both minute and hour increments. The G-Shock technology is unmatched in durability when exposed to shock or trauma, and this particular watch is waterproof at a depth of 200 meters.
2. Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire
Garmin's most well known for their lines of GPS devices, but their experiences in the world of consumer electronics make them a very natural fit for the contemporary smart watch market. The Fenix 5X Sapphire doesn't include a fancy virtual assistant, but it packs in all the features you'd want from a GPS watch and sports an incredibly stylish look to boot.
The GPS functionality is as good as you might expect from a Garmin device, and it includes some smart modes like a TracBack that can lead you back to your car or home. The bright and reflective screen is easy to read and navigate while outdoors, and the Sapphire model we're highlighting here comes with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal lens and Wi-Fi connectivity.
3. Casio F91W-1 Classic Digital Watch
The Casio F91W-1 is sure to evoke pangs of nostalgia in customers of a certain age. The retro look lovingly recreates the design of a classic watch that was everywhere in the St90s, and it continues to be a reliable and multi-functional digital watch despite its incredibly affordable price tag. A daily alarm, auto calendar, and hourly time signal can assure that you're never late to an appointment again. The battery life here is strong as well.
This Casio watch can keep going reliably for a full decade, and it remains accurate within a discrepancy of six minutes a year. That's pretty impressive for a watch that costs roughly ten bucks, and it's part of what ensured that this is the most popular model of Casio digital watches in the company's history.
4. Tissot Men’s ‘T-Touch Expert
When evaluating the entries to this list, we place a lot of importance on value. And the T-Touch Expert - with a price approaching a thousand dollars - had to do a lot to justify its value. That it made the cut is a testament to what a great watch it is. This is an exceptional tool watch that's been rightly praised by outdoorsmen for years, and while it's not packed with hyper-modern functions, it doesn't need to be.
It sells itself on the ruggedness of its manufacturing, the reliability of its design, and a couple of lynchpin features. The first is the fact that this hiking watch runs completely on solar power, providing it with a level of reliability you simply won't get with lesser watches. Then there's the fact that it's controlled by a sapphire crystal with touch sensor.
5. SUUNTO Core Outdoor Sports Watch
The SUUNTO Core isn't trying to be an alternative to the latest smartphones. That doesn't mean it's lacking in technical prowess. This is a digital watch for men who love the great outdoors and want a veritable Swiss army knife of tools on their wrist at all times. You don't need to worry about getting lost on the trail with the combination of features. This isn't just a digital watch with compass. It also includes an altimeter for tracking your vertical movement and a barometer for evaluating air pressure.
Adding to that incredible versatility is a storm alarm and a weather trend graph along with preset sunrise and sunset times pre-programmed for over four hundred different locations. Despite the huge number of metrics this LED digital watch tracks, it's notably compact and manages to offer all the information you need without crowding out the face.
6. Samsung Galaxy Rose Gold Watch
You might not know that Samsung's Galaxy timepiece is a smartwatch by just looking at it. In place of the slim and futuristic designs of its contemporaries, the rose version of the Galaxy looks like any number of pretty, slightly feminine timepieces on the market. But there's a lot of power built into this slim model. Everything you'd expect from a smartwatch can be found in the Galaxy: from taking calls and sending texts to tracking a wide variety of health and fitness information to running a variety of different apps that were until recently reserved for phones.
Despite being based off the Android operating system, it's also compatible with iOS devices, and the inclusion of Samsung's proprietary Bixby virtual assistant makes it even easier to operate. A particularly smart quality of life feature is the fact that the bezel itself serves as a navigation aid for the interface.
7. Nixon Regulus Digital Watch
Nixon built a name for themselves creating products for skate, snow, and surf shops, and the Regulus fits comfortably within their lifestyle portfolio. The Regulus is tough enough to keep running even when you crash and burn, while its dual chronographs are a great addition for when you're trying to track your best times.
The screen is incredibly bright and easy to read whether it's the middle of the day or the dead of night, and despite the practicality of this model, it's still one of the most stylish digital watches to make our list. Despite its durable structure, the band is flexible, and the smart lock device will keep the strap from flapping around if you take it with you for extreme sports.
8. Casio Men’s Vintage CA53W-1 Calculator Watch
Can the CA53W-1 run calculations that your cell phone can't? No, but there aren't a lot of watch features that your smartphone can't accomplish. A watch offers style and convenience, and Casio's calculator provides both in spades. Its chunky retro design is like hopping in a time machine set for 1992, and it's undoubtedly a conversation piece. The buttons, meanwhile, are responsive and ideally sized whether you're looking to just run some quick numbers in your head or figure out the tip for your restaurant bill.
The calculator is just scratching the surface of features built in here. That same great button interface allows you to easily program the calendar - which is pre-programmed to 2079 - or to make use of the precise 1/100 second stopwatch. Measuring modes include split time, elapsed time, and first and second placement.
9. G-Shock Mens GG-1000-1A5
Casio's G-Shock technology is so good that it deserves two spots on this list. The GG-1000-1A5CR is marketed as part of the "Master of Mudmaster" collection, and that tells you most of what you need to know. Its rugged construction employs multiple gaskets to keep it running smoothly even when exposed to high quantities of mud or dirt and protect the buttons from impact.
The twin sensors allow you accurate access to temperature and directional information at all times, and the Super Illuminator offers one of the brightest LEDs in a digital watch. In addition to the mud resistance, this watch comes with the high level of shock and water resistance for which G-Shock watches are so well known.
10. Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch
Timex has long promised that they make watches that "take a licking and keep on ticking", and that maxim certainly holds true for the Grid Shock. The design screams tactical digital watch, and it follows through with that in practice as well. The Grid Shock utilizes a big screen practically overflowing with metrics, and the result is a watch that feels like a GPS device strapped to your wrist. The stainless steel top plate ensures that it will last even the most rugged conditions, as it's shock resistant to all I.S.O. standards.
The chronograph function is great for tracking your best times hiking or out on the track, and it also comes with a versatile chronometer and both timers and alarms that provide a vibration function so you can be alerted even when you have headphones in. The indigo backlight provides a respectable amount of visibility in dark conditions.
11. Armitron Sport Women’s Chronograph Watch
There are a lot of unisex digital watches out there, but digital watches for women can be harder to find, especially if you're looking for a durable choice that's rich with features. Fully featured choices that are as cheap as the Armitron are pretty much non-existent. This isn't a modern marvel like the Movado Connect, but it's a perfectly capable sports watch with a tantalizingly low entry fee. The design is feminine but understated, and this watch is otherwise all business.
The digital face is clean and easy to read and includes a date feature on the main face. A chronograph is also built in so you can better track your performance in the gym or out in the wild. Dual timing allows this to work as a decent travel watch, while the backlight function means you can easily check the time even in the dead of night.
12. Movado 2.0 Connect Smartwatch
When you're shopping for digital watches, you'll find a lot of models that lean hard into the nostalgia factor. Others rely on tried and true features that have stood the test of time. The Movado Connect takes an opposite tact by stuffing as many cutting edge features as possible into a tight and attractive package. A complete and modern virtual assistant is built into the watch in the form of Google Assistant, and that gives you easy access to prolific services like Google Maps, Google Voice, and (of course) the world's most powerful search engine.
This smart watch can even control Google-enabled apps and devices remotely. Connectivity is available in the form of both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and it has a respectable storage space of four GB. But what's most impressive is how all the functions are accessed through a single, intuitive button.
Best Digital Watches Buyer’s Guide
Finding Your Perfect Watch
Picking the right watch for you is going to be contingent on a number of different factors, but the most important question to ask is what you plan on using your watch before. We’ve broken down the options available into a number of different categories to help you narrow down your shopping experience.
For the Outdoors
Whether you’re a professional hiker or a weekend warrior, durability is a practical necessity for any real outdoor watch. In terms of sheer durability, the undoubted leader is Casio’s G-Shock line. Fortunately, you can get a good outdoor watch for less than a hundred dollars, but the more you’re willing to spend, the more you’re willing to get.
While the T-Touch Expert is the leading option here in terms of sheer features, Garmin’s smartwatches offer some of the most accurate GPS tracking around as well as some really clever smart watch features that coordinate well with your smartphone and other connected devices.
If you plan to be out on the trail for a long period of time, you may want to consider looking at a solar powered alternative to more traditional batteries.
For the Gym
A number of watches on this list come with a variety of health tracking information, and you don’t need to invest in the highest end luxury smart watch to get them. As with outdoor watches, durability can be a great selling point here. Despite the main selling point of the Fenix 5S, its fitness tracking options are surprisingly stellar, but the SUUNTO Core and Nixon Regulus are some great choices for a more modest price.
For the Tech Junkie
The hottest new trend for people who insist on being at the cutting edge of technology is the smartwatch. Just know that you can expect to pay a premium for the privilege. Practically any smart watch you’ll find today has a virtual assistant built-in, and while the Google Assistant functionality offered by the Movado Connect is the hands down winner in terms of sheer versatility and compatibility.
Samsung’s Bixby can hold its own as well. Both are aesthetically pleasing in their own right, but they take two very different approaches in design.
For the Penny Pincher
If you’re shopping on a budget, there’s one name that stands head and shoulders above the rest. No one beats Casio’s ability to churn out quality phones that are utterly stripped down in pricing. And while Casio’s most classic watch can be picked up for barely ten dollars, the G-Shock line is still eminently affordable (and offers quite a bit for the slight price increase).
Armitron also deserves a close look. They’ve been making budget-conscious watches for decades, and they hold up well in the gym.
Putting together a list of the best digital watches wasn’t easy. It’s a broad category suitable for a vast swath of different consumers, but you can count on the watches here to provide you with a comprehensive selection of options. Whether you’ve got ten bucks or a grand to drop on your next watch, you can depend on any of these watches to provide you with great value for your dollar.