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The Best Watches

Last updated on July 6, 2022

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Watches

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Timex Expedition Scout Water-Resistant Brass Case Men’s Watch

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval


Expedition Scout Water-Resistant Brass Case Men's Watch

This simple watch comes in 20 styles with different case, band and dial colors. The clear numbers and glowing dial make telling the time and date easy. It can also handle brief water activities.

Overall Take

Many Style ChoicesThis stylish watch can handle rugged use and offers additional functionality to show you the date.

 We Also Like

FIZILI Ultra-Thin Stainless Steel Strap Waterproof Unisex Watch


Ultra-Thin Stainless Steel Strap Waterproof Unisex Watch

Available in 21 color choices, this analog watch keeps things simple with a thin case, uncluttered dial and metal strap. It is waterproof for versatility.

Overall Take

Interesting DesignIf you prefer something minimalistic, this watch features a simple dial and stands out as both unique and stylish.

 Strong Contender

Casio W800H-1AV Classic Sport LED Backlight Men’s Watch


W800H-1AV Classic Sport LED Backlight Men's Watch

Featuring a rugged band and plastic case, this digital watch comes with a long battery life and handy backlight so you can clearly see the date and time. It's resistant to water and thus a good choice for workouts.

Overall Take

Convenient and VersatileThis water-resistant digital watch makes it easy to tell the time and track workouts.

 Also Great

Donerton Smart Fitness Tracker Unisex Watch


Smart Fitness Tracker Unisex Watch

Compatible with Android phones, this waterproof smartwatch comes in 1.4-inch, 1.65-inch and 1.69-inch sizes. It has several fitness tracking and communication features. Choose from pink, black, blue and gray cases and bands.

Overall Take

Multifunctional ChoiceConsider this high-tech if you're seeking much more than telling time with your watch.

Buying Guide

Whether you plan to use it for functionality or fashion, a good watch is a timeless accessory that has a lot to offer. While you can always expect a watch to show you the time, technology has evolved so these accessories can now do so much more. For example, a basic watch might allow you to set an alarm for an upcoming appointment, while a high-tech watch makes it possible to even call your loved ones or pay for groceries at the store. Therefore, knowing what you want from your watch is a good starting point for picking the best one.

The most basic option is an analog watch that features motors and gears so that the hands on the dial can move to show you the time. The dial might show regular numbers or Roman numerals with dots or dashes in between, or it could just use lines of different lengths to represent times. In addition, they can either use a battery or rely on a spring that gets wound to allow for movement. These kinds of watches come in a wide variety of brands, styles and price points and provide a timeless look. However, they offer fewer features than other types of watches and can be less convenient to read.

Alternatively, a digital watch utilizes electronics and an LED or LCD screen so that you can see the time quickly without needing to read the hands on a dial. These watches can have screens that light up and support other features such as alarms and timers. While suitable for daily use, digital watches especially come in handy for workouts. However, these watches can be less durable, especially if you go with a plastic option, and they’re less appealing for formal use. In addition, they can be harder to set up than analog watches.

If you want a watch that does far more, consider a smartwatch that acts as an extension to your phone or a standalone gadget. These watches usually feature a touchscreen so that you can control apps, see the news and weather, text and call people, and even monitor your fitness level. The most common options use operating systems from Google or Apple, though some watches use other platforms. You’ll want to consider the features included, battery life, connectivity options and ease of use if you opt for a smartwatch.

You’ll want to consider the case for any kind of watch you buy. Cases can come in various shapes and sizes, so you’ll want to choose what fits your wrist and looks appealing. Common case materials include aluminum, stainless steel, ceramic and premium materials like gold and titanium. However, some economical watches may have plastic cases. You’ll want to also consider the durability of the watch’s crystal and consider features such as scratch resistance and anti-reflective treatments.

Also, don’t forget about the watch’s band since you can find several styles and materials. For example, you’ll often see rubber or nylon bands on smartwatches, while analog watches often have leather, metal or canvas straps. Leather straps look timeless and suitable for any situation, while metal bands tend to feel less comfortable. Rubber bands, however, are ideal for activities since they’re easy to clean when you sweat.

What to Look For

  • When assessing watches, consider how a particular watch would hold up during your everyday activities. For example, if you’re someone who always gets their hands wet, you’d want a waterproof or water-resistant watch to avoid damage. On the other hand, if you’ll wear the watch to do rough work with your hands, look for something resistant to scratches and made of materials that can stand up to rugged use.
  • Take some steps to protect your watch and keep it looking better for longer. If you’re not wearing your watch, put it in a case or jewelry box. Remove your watch if possible when you’re doing activities that get your hands dirty or put you at risk of bumping something and scratching or denting it. In addition, beware that magnets and sunlight can harm some watches and that contact with chemicals can cause damage.
  • If your watch says it’s water-resistant or waterproof, read the manufacturer’s instructions for details on limitations such as depth limits.
  • The complexity of setting up your watch will depend on the type. If it’s a smartwatch, you’ll usually use a smartphone app for the process or follow steps on the watch’s touchscreen. You’ll use the crown on an analog watch to set the hands, while digital watches feature multiple buttons that require a more involved process to set the time.
  • Check your watch maker’s instructions to learn about the appropriate cleaning method. You’ll usually start with a soft dry cloth and then scrub with a gentle water and soap solution. An alcohol wipe might be another option to consider if it’s safe for your watch.
  • If your watch has a replaceable battery, you’ll want to verify the size with the manufacturer or have a jeweler check. You could do the replacement process yourself for simple watches, but it’s often a good idea to have a professional do it if you have an expensive or complex watch.

More to Explore

Check out these interesting facts about watches:

  • The watch’s origin dates back to the 1400s when explorers looked for a suitable way to tell the time for navigation. It was during the 1500s when Peter Henlein’s portable clock called the Nuremberg egg appeared, but wristwatches wouldn’t get invented until the late 1800s.
  • Watches first served as a fashion accessory for women before men would begin using watches in the 20th century.
  • A study showed that frequent watch wearers tended to possess certain personality traits. The most prominent was conscientiousness, which could relate to how a watch makes it easier to organize one’s time.
  • While basic watches still remain popular, an estimated 21 percent of U.S. adults – including 18 percent of men and 25 percent of women – own some kind of fitness tracker or smartwatch. The fitness and health tracking features have increased the appeal.

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