A sports watch is so much more than just a simple time-telling device. It’s like saying that a smartphone is just a phone-call-making device. In reality, there’s so much more to these little wrist devices.
There is no one defining feature that makes a watch a sports watch. A classic sports watch tends to be a heavy-duty but normal-looking watch. It’s usually waterproof and can survive the elements and some manhandling.
But today, many sports watches are little computers on your wrist. It’s basically like having a laptop – except it’s a “wrist-top.”
The best sports watches for men come in such a huge variety that it’s quite hard to tell what’s the best. It’s important to consider what features and functions would be best for the wearer.
Let’s have a deeper look at the best sports watches for men on the market today.
Classic Analog Sports Watch
The original sports watch, these analog watches feature a classic, rugged design that looks just as good outdoors as it does in the office. This style emerged from early diving watches. They are waterproof and durable. Because they are analog, battery life is not a consideration, and they tend to be more robust.
Most have a rotating bezel that helps track short periods of time. Many also track the day, month, and year. They lack features found in more current sport watches, but have such a classic style they can be worn in any setting.
1. Fossil Machine Chronograph Black Silicone Watch
The Fossil Machine Chronograph Watch is an affordable product with some decent functionality for the cost. The chronograph bit means that it acts as a stopwatch. It has three sub-dials for measuring hours, minutes and seconds.
It’s a stylish piece with a waterproof silicone strap. The watch itself is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a good option for recreational swimmers. Its depth rating is only 5 ATM, so you shouldn’t wear it while scuba diving. It has an old-school analog display with a textured bezel.
The watch is a great addition to the Fossil line. The technology is its most outstanding feature. It’s not the cheapest of comparable products, but it will last for the long haul. It comes with a two-year limited manufacturer warranty.
- You can swap out the silicone band for any 24mm strap
- It’s well-made without feeling heavy despite its larger size
- It’s an attractive timepiece that you’ll want to wear all the time
- Some may find the 45mm watch face too large for their wrist
- Some may have trouble reading the time in certain lighting situations because of the lack of a sharper contrast between the hands and the face
2. Luminox Navy SEAL Magnifying Glass – 3603
The Swiss make amazing watches, and this is one of them.
It’s a rugged piece of machinery and is part of the Navy Seal series, so it’s highly durable and made to withstand the elements. That’s especially useful if you’re planning on doing a lot of diving.
The 3603 is constructed from Carbonox, which is heavy-duty and resistant to chemicals, temperature, and expansion, as well as being weatherproof. The watch is waterproof up to 200 meters, and this is where its real value lies.
The watch face is a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, so you can view your watch in any lighting, at any angle. It has a date window with a magnifying effect, so you can check it easily at a glance, even if you are underwater.
Their Luminox Light Technology lighting system means that your watch hands will stay bright constantly, so you can check your watch at any time of day and night. The lighting system is self-powered, so there’s no need for charging or solar. Luminox states that the glow will remain for 25 years, which is quite impressive.
This watch is built to take abuse. There is a hardcore Carbonox shell, the dial on the side is protected by a double gasket, and the rubber strap should be resistant to abrasion and breaking. You can also change the band easily if yours does break or if you’d prefer a different color. This is one of the most durable sports watches.
- Luminox Light Technology lighting system
- Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
- Water-resistant up to 200 meters
- Rubber strap with safety mechanism
- There are not many extra features on this watch for its price
- May not be worth it if you won’t be diving with it
3. Seiko Prospex Diver’s SRPB53K1
Seiko is a well-made Japanese watch brand. The Prospex Diver’s watch has some functions that make it particularly easy to use both underwater and on land, so it never has to leave your wrist.
It is water-resistant up to 200 meters so you can dive without worrying about your watch at all. There is about 42 hours of power in reserve, so you never have to worry about this watch losing power.
It has a durable rubber strap that can withstand the elements, and the watch hands light up in the darkness using Lumibrite technology. So you always know what time it is, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
One of the most interesting features of the Seiko Prospex is that you can wind it manually but it has an automatic winding function that “charges” itself with your arm movement. This is useful, as you can wind your watch just by wearing it.
- Lumibrite on hands and indexes
- Water-resistant up to 200 meters
- Unidirectional rotating bezel
- Automatic power with manual winding capacity
- The watch is slightly expensive considering it has no other sport features
Digital Chrono Sports Watch
Emerging in the seventies, digital watches allowed for precise timing down to the hundredths of a second. Today’s digital sports watches feature a rugged, water-proof design, along with timers, lap counters, and a variety of alarms.
Higher-end digital watches sometimes have a compass for navigation and a barometer to measure elevation and track changing weather conditions.
4. Timex Ironman Classic
The Timex Ironman packs a lot of functionality in a watch, yet the case is only 38mm. It’s the type of product that the serious athlete will appreciate, with a 30-lap memory, 100-hour chronograph and a 24-hour countdown timer. You can even set it in three time zones.
The watch is water-resistant to 330 feet. It features both a night mode and a night light. The case is made of resin with a stationary bezel. It has a quartz movement and runs on a single lithium battery.
The selling point for this watch is evident in its name. It’s a product that is meant for the serious athlete who needs real-time activity tracking for running, bicycling and swimming.
- The face includes descriptions of the different buttons
- You can set up to 15 reminders
- The display is easy to read
- The overall look of the watch is a bit over-the-top for some users
5. Casio G-Shock
The Casio G-Shock is a hardcore-looking watch. Some men might find that it feels a little bulky on their wrist, with a case size of 48.5 millimeters.
It displays time in both analog and digital format, although the analog is more prominent. Features include 12/24 hour mode, a calendar, an hourly chime, daylight saving function, and a stopwatch.
This watch is budget-friendly in comparison to others and still offers 200-meter water resistance so you can take it with you when diving. The case is made from resin and the bezel from carbon, so it’s tough and durable.
It has an interchangeable band system so you can switch it out easily if you need to or want to. The strap also has a quick-release mechanism, which is useful so you don’t have to fight with it to get it off.
This watch is also known for having an excellent battery. It does have a double LED light for when you need to check the time in the dark, although some users report being unable to see the screen even with the LED light on.
- Interchangeable band structure
- Double LED light
- Daylight Savings option
- Water-resistant up to 200 meters
- Some may find that they have difficulty seeing the digital screen
6. Casio Pathfinder
The Casio Pathfinder stands out as a solar-powered watch. It is also a large device, at 51mm. It comes with a lot of extra functionality including a barometer, altimeter, temperature sensor, and compass. Some are over-the-top, such as the 31 world time zones and city code display.
However, it has some other handy functions, such as its daylight savings time on/off switch, battery power indicator and hourly chimes. For the athlete, there is a countdown timer and stopwatch. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet.
Surprisingly, this watch is affordable for all it includes. The solar power charging is a unique touch. However, buyers in northern latitudes might have issues recharging it during the winter months where the sun angle is lower.
- It includes sunrise/sunset time, useful for hunting and other light-dependent activities
- Its light sensor allows it to switch on illumination automatically
- It has a titanium band with a much-appreciated safety catch
- The band seems cheap for the price
- This watch is more expensive than others of this type
- Electronics can interfere with the operation of the watch’s sensors
GPS Sports Watch
A GPS sports watch builds off digital sports watches by adding GPS to accurately track speed and distance for a variety of activities. These watches usually need to be recharged after several uses. They can often be used as a fitness tracker to count steps and monitor sleep. Current GPS watches also sync to your phone to upload activities and provide phone notifications directly on the watch.
The best GPS sports watches are stylish enough to be worn in the office as well as during a variety of activities. Cost rises steeply in this category. The number of features can sometimes feel endless – and the more features a watch has, the more it costs.
7. Garmin fenix 7
Garmin is a big name in sports watches, and for good reason. The Garmin fenix 7 is their latest offering and it’s packed to the top with incredible sporting features.
You can buy the regular version, which needs charging, or you can choose the Solar version which will extend battery life. This is useful if you spend a lot of time outdoors.
The fenix 7 is considered to be a multisports watch. If watersports are something you enjoy, you can dive to 100 meters comfortably with this watch, and you can track your performance using the watersports-specific settings.
If you prefer to be on dry land, you can track almost every aspect of your running, hiking, or walking. It uses GPS to provide you with accurate maps when you’re out and about, as well as tracking your running route accurately.
It has some basic features like a heart rate monitor and pulse oximeter, but also offers some advanced training features.
PacePro is useful for tracking your pace and figuring out if you need to adjust it to meet your goal. You will also get updates on your training load and status, as well as information on your VO2 max.
A nice feature on this watch is the Body Battery energy monitor. This useful feature analyzes statistics like your heart rate, sleep quality, daily activity, and stress levels to give you an indication of your overall energy level.
- Body Battery energy monitor
- Solar power models to extend battery life
- Waterproof up to 100 meters
- This watch is very expensive, even though it has some great features
8. Suunto 9
This titanium sports watch is made to last. The outer shell is tough and resistant to knocks, and it’s water-resistant up to 100 meters. You can use this watch for up to 120 hours in full GPS and exercise mode.
It is also compatible with many different sports apps, so you can sync to your phone and won’t lose any data you might already have. You get access to the Suunto Movescount app, where you can find extra guidance, training advice and analysis, and a community of like-minded people.
No matter what sport you play or what workouts you do, the Suunto 9 has you covered, with over 80 specific sport settings built-in. The combination of GPS and FusedTrack technology (motion sensors) gives you the most accurate distance, time and pace stats possible.
Other features include sleep tracking, a variety of weather-related functions, and easy Bluetooth connectivity.
- Water-resistant up to 100 meters
- Digital touchscreen
- Route navigation
- Some report glitchy software updates
9. Garmin vivoactive 4
The Garmin vivoactive 4 is a new Garmin model and has some features that make it a great buy. It’s also slightly more affordable than some other Garmin models, so it has plenty of value packed into a decent price tag.
You can get the vivoactive 4 in regular size (45mm), the smaller 4S, and the larger 4X. There are some different features across each one, but the regular 4 has some highly useful features.
20 preloaded GPS sports settings mean you can track your stats in a variety of disciplines. You can also create your own workouts, and Garmin Coach will help you analyze your data and create better, more effective workouts.
It also has Body Battery energy monitoring, incident reporting for safety, Garmin Pay, women’s health and wellness tracking, animated on-screen workout displays, and the ability to store up to 2000 songs so you don’t have to carry your phone anywhere with you.
- Color touchscreen display
- 20 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps
- Safety and Tracking Features
- Garmin Coach
- The battery will deplete quickly when you use music and GPS together
10. Polar Vantage M
The Polar Vantage M is another budget-friendly sports watch. It has built-in settings for over 130 different sports, so no matter what your exercise of choice, you will be able to track and monitor your statistics and progress.
Polar is known for its accurate wrist-based heart rate sensor and uses Precision Prime technology to make sure they’re bringing you the most accurate information possible.
Training Load Pro is the perfect training companion for runners working towards a goal. It separates cardio load, muscle load and perceived load to give you the most accurate idea of how your training is going and the effect it’s having on your body.
This watch is great for triathletes. It’s water-resistant and has tracking for both biking and running, as well as capturing metrics like swimming pace and stroke. You will also have access to the FitSpark daily training guide, which will help you make the most of your daily workouts.
- Precision Prime HR sensor
- Choose from over 130 sports
- Budget-friendly for its features
- FitSpark daily training guide
- You won’t be able to get phone notifications on your watch
The latest iteration of a sports watch is a smartwatch – a watch that seamlessly integrates your phone functions on the watch. This includes specialized apps, answering messages by voice without taking your phone out of your pocket, and fitness tracking, often with GPS for accurate activity tracking.
The newest Apple Watch can even function independently without a phone – other watches require that your phone be nearby. And like the classic sports watch, smartwatches are durable while looking sharp. Watch faces can be changed for a variety of styles and looks.
11. Apple Watch Series 7
If you’re an Apple user, the Apple Watch Series 7 is a great offering from the tech giant. It immediately stands out with its square display, setting it apart from most of the other big names out there.
In terms of features, you’ll find an ECG app for monitoring your heart rate and rhythm, as well as blood oxygen measuring app. You can track various exercise activities and monitor your body as you’re going. It is also waterproof up to 50 meters, so it’s suitable for swimming (but not for diving).
You don’t need to be too close to your phone, as you can answer messages and calls right on the watch. Sync it to your phone to have access to music and audiobooks to inspire you while you exercise.
The always-on display is useful, but it can drain the battery. If you use a lot of functions, the battery life could deplete quite quickly.
- ECG app
- Measure blood oxygen level
- Measure workouts like running, walking, cycling
- Water-resistant up to 50 meters
- Some may find that the battery only lasts for a day
12. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a smooth-looking watch. You can choose if you would prefer the version that comes in stainless steel or aluminum.
It’s easy to interchange bands and select a new watch face, so if you want a customizable sports watch, this is a good choice.
It is compatible with Android devices, but you will get the best results if you pair it with a Samsung phone. iPhone users won’t be able to use this watch. It also has Bixby voice functionality, which is useful for when you can’t quite reach your phone.
The watch will track your workouts automatically, so you don’t need to worry about forgetting to push a button when you start. It also has built-in coaching to help you keep pace, and the ability to play music means you’ll be extra motivated to work toward your goals.
You will get access to the Samsung Health app, where you can get notifications if your watch detects an abnormally high or low heart rate, and track your sleep patterns, amongst other things.
Although it does have tracking for swimming, some users report that the watch freezes after being submerged in water.
- Compatible with Android
- Automatic workout tracking
- Bixby voice functionality
- Samsung health app
- The watch may not respond when submerged in water and will need to be rebooted
13. Fitbit Versa 3
FitBit is another well-known name in fitness watches. The Versa stands out because of its unusual shape.
It has settings for running, biking, and hiking and you can do them all phone-free when you have this watch on your wrist.
It is water-resistant up to 50 meters, so it’s great for swimming but not diving. The built-in GPS keeps track of your distance and time, you can measure your heart rate and blood oxygen levels, and the Active Zone Minutes function will buzz when you’ve been sitting for too long.
You can check the news, check your messages or use Alexa to control your compatible home devices. The Fitbit app will track your trends so you can pick up on patterns and spot changes quickly.
The Fitbit Versa 3 would be a good fitness tracker to wear for daily use.
- Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) Monitoring
- Water-resistant up to 50 meters
- Active Zone minutes
- Workout intensity map – in-app only
- There’s no option for you to store music on the device