Best Men's Sport Watches

Updated October 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
24 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
124 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best men’s sports watches

Wearing a fancy watch while running on the treadmill doesn’t quite make sense. A sports watch, however, is the perfect accessory for the occasion. If you work out and want a watch that looks great at the gym as well as with your casual outfits, a sports watch is an apt choice. Sports fitness wear is trendy right now, too, whether you’re at the gym or out socially. Once upon a time, you only saw fitness gear at the gym. Now, sports watches and other forms of athleisure are everywhere.

Sports watches made specifically for men come in an array of options. Do you want an analog sports watch or a digital sports watch? What band material do you prefer? What type of display would work best for you?

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Watches can be indicative of certain levels of wealth or of certain lifestyles. Rather than match your life to a watch, match a watch to your current lifestyle.

Key considerations

Analog vs. digital

The first question to consider is whether you’d prefer an analog sports watch or a digital sports watch. An analog watch displays the time in the traditional way with hour and minute hands and markers denoting the 12-hour cycle. While most sports watches are digital by default, there are some analog sports watches. Your choice comes down to personal preference: which is easiest to read? With a digital watch, you can quickly glance down to check the time or the duration of your workout so far. Analog watches may require just a few more seconds of brain time.

Notably, there are sports watches that are primarily analog in nature but also include a small digital display. With this type of watch, you have the best of both worlds: you can tell time traditionally if you want to, but you can also check the time quickly if that suits your needs.

Watchband materials

  • Resin: Resin is perhaps the most common type of material for a sports watchband. Resin is a durable, high-impact plastic with a stylish and sporty look. The band is easy to clean; with proper care, it can last for several years’ worth of sweat-soaked workouts.

  • Polyurethane: Polyurethane is a synthetic version of resin. It’s usually used in manufacturing tough, resistant coatings and adhesives. For this reason, it also works for a watchband. The material is durable and won’t break down if exposed to the elements.

  • Silicone: Another synthetic material, silicone, is used in various rubbers, plastics, and lubricants. Because of the hardiness of silicone, a watchband created from it can withstand extreme temperatures. It’s easy to clean because of its slick, non-absorbent surface.

Watchband properties

  • Water resistance: You may desire a water-resistant watch because you’re an avid swimmer. Or, you may prefer something that resists water because you end up running outside in the rain a lot. Whichever watery predicament you find yourself in, a waterproof watch is a smart idea.

    It’s important to realize when selecting a water-resistant sports watch that it won’t retain its water resistance forever. When the watch is manufactured, it is sealed with gaskets to prevent water from interrupting the inner workings of the watch. After heavy use, the gaskets can break or become compromised, which counteracts the water-resistant property. To ensure your watch remains water-resistant, have the gaskets changed every one to two years.

In the meantime, you can do some small things to help keep your watch water-free:

    • Wipe off moisture, sweat, and dirt with a dry cloth after intense use.

    • If used in the ocean, rinse in fresh water and dry.

    • Don’t wash the watch if the crown is pulled out.

    • Don’t wash the watch directly under running water.

  • Width: The width of the watchband determines how thick it looks on your wrist. Because people have varying wrist sizes, there are various band widths available. They range from 0.6 inches to 1.20 inches, or about 16 millimeters to 28 millimeters.

    The width of your sports watchband is an entirely subjective choice. Some people prefer thinner watches that taper toward the end of the band. Others prefer thicker watches because they seem more hardy and dependable.

Size of clock face

When a sports watch description mentions a case diameter, it’s referring to the clock face and the casing that covers the face. The average case diameter ranges between 1.2 inches and 2.2 inches. The larger the clock face, the more garish and out-of-place the watch may look on your wrist. Select a clock face that is proportionate to your wrist.


Additional information displays

Sports watches often come with additional information displays. These can include temperature readings, a compass, world times, and a calendar. With these additional options, the watch wearer can have access to information while hiking outdoors or swimming in a body of water. No smartphone connection or internet connection is required.

Additional functions

Besides telling time, sports watches also have other clock features, including alarms, stopwatches, and timers. The wearer can set an alarm for a workout and then time the length of the workout. Sports watches with these functions are great for runners and swimmers because often, lap lengths and lap times are needed.


Sports watches often offer some type of backlight, so you can light up the time or see the watch in the dark if you need to. The most common form of backlight is electroluminescence, or EL. These types of lighting use colored phosphors rather than heat to generate light.

The other option is LED backlighting or light-emitting diodes. LED lighting operates using semiconductors. Electrons pass through the semiconductors and produce light. LED lighting is an efficient way to produce light with little energy.

Adjustable band

Most sports watches come with adjustable bands that buckle at the ends. Depending on how many buckle holes there are, they can be buckled tightly or loosely. Otherwise, there are sports watches that have bands with elasticity. The band is one piece that slips over the hand onto the wrist. There’s a little give in the band to ensure it will make it over your hand. These are useful when swimming because the watch can’t fall off.

Men’s sports watch prices

The most affordable bracket of sports watches ranges from $12 to $25. These watches will tell you the time, but most likely they will last for only a year or two before needing to be replaced.

Next comes the modestly priced tier of watches for $30 to $45. While there are some additional features included in these watches, they aren’t the most expensive options by far. They will be made from a medium-quality material and last for about five years.

The most expensive sports watches cost $60 to $200. These will have quality bands, clock faces, and cases. The manufacturer may include other features, and water resistance is likely.


  • Rather than get several different sports watches, consider choosing one that has interchangeable bands. That way, you can change up the look of your watch whenever you choose.

  • Keep your sports watch in your gym bag. That way, you will always have it with you when you’re ready for your next workout.

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For a perfectly proportioned watch, look for one that has a case diameter that’s about double that of the band width.


Q. Are most watches one size fits all?

A. No, there are usually sizing options available based on your wrist size. If your wrist circumference is six to seven inches, you will likely be a small or medium. If your wrist circumference is 7.5 to 8 inches, you likely need a large watchband.

Q. How is water resistance measured in a sports watch?

A. Water resistance is measured in atmosphere (ATM) or “bar.” Basically, this specification defines how much pressure the watch can endure. One atmosphere measure is equal to about 30 feet. (“Feet” refers to the amount of pressure the watch can withstand, not the depth it can be worn to.)

A 3 ATM rating refers to 100 feet of water resistance, which is suitable for everyday use. A 5 ATM rating refers to 165 feet of water resistance, which is suitable for short periods of swimming. A 10 ATM rating refers to 330 feet of water resistance, which is suitable for swimming and snorkeling. A 20 ATM rating refers to 660 feet of water resistance, which is suitable for high-impact water sports and some diving.

A “diver” rating refers to 500 to 660 feet of water resistance, which is suitable for scuba diving.

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