There are different types of wristwatches to consider – each with its respective features and functions. One common and confusing decision to make is choosing between digital, analog, and smart wristwatches.
Whether you’re buying the wristwatch for yourself, your significant other, or your friends, picking a wristwatch is usually not an easy task.
In this piece, we look at the different kinds of wristwatches along this category to establish which one is best for you.
What are analog watches?
An analog wristwatch tells the time using hands of both hours of minutes. Some analog wrist watches also have a sweeping second hand, usually sweeping with that familiar tick-tock sound that we have come to associate with timepieces.
Three hands are functioning in an analog clock. The shortest hand indicates the hours, while the longer one indicates the minutes. The third hand, usually the thinnest, is the seconds hand.
With an analog clock, you have to look through the numbers to tell the time. These numbers can be designed as roman numerals, diamond markers, or Arabic numerals, among other options.
A watch crown is fitted with analog watches to set the time. If the watch comes with extra complications, they could be handled together by the watch crown alone, or in addition to extra buttons on the side of the watch frame.
Finally, analog watches are powered by either quartz or mechanical movement. The quartz mechanism works through a battery power source and ensures more accuracy than the mechanical movements which depend on winding.
Which watches are digital watches?
A digital wristwatch tells the time through bold numbers on a screen. Since analog wristwatches have existed long before digital watches, it’s safe to say digital watches are a product of watch tech.
The primary design purpose of a digital watch is to help a user tell the time without any silent calculations as would have come on analog watches. Asides from the ease of checking the time, digital watches pack several features too.
For example, digital watches can even go as far as specifying the time on display (AM or PM). Some of these watches also pack calculators, calendars, GPS, to mention a few.
A digital watch will work only with the quartz movement which uses a battery source. Luckily, the battery power stands the test of time in most cases – as long as you got a good watch.
What watches are smartwatches?
Ushering in the newest wave of watches is the smartwatch movement.
Smartwatches evolved from wearable technology, packing the features of a smart device into something that could be worn around the wrists. This design and tech element combined to give smartwatches a huge edge as they have in the market today, representing a laudable technology jump.
These smartwatches can do just about anything, and the list of features is growing. From managing calls and notifications to sending messages, these watches are even equipped enough to keep an eye on aspects of your health and life.
Today, when you think of smartwatches, the Apple Watch series instantly come to mind. They have made a name for themselves in this niche and continue to dominate, so that’s not a coincidence.
Both digital and analog wristwatches have distinctive properties, designs, features, and functions. Likewise, your personal preference also comes to play when choosing here.
What I can help you do is compare both wristwatches in terms of features, design, accuracy, and other factors.
The main goal of an analog watch is to tell time. Thus, the other features of a regular analog watch may include only a calendar to show the days of the month. Sometimes, you could have a chronograph in there to improve the watch functionality.
Digital wristwatches, on the other hand, have many other complications directly unrelated to time-telling. From GPS tracking on hiking watches to depth gauge on dive watches, among other things, a digital watch is better for extracurricular activities.
Both digital watches and analog watches feature good designs. Left to me, the analog watches would win on design any day.
The design process of an analog wristwatch takes a thought process and a longer time. As a result, the end product of an analog wristwatch shows craftsmanship and hard work.
The digital wristwatch, on the other hand, has beautiful designs but simple designs. Again, choosing the best design option for digital and analog wristwatches depends on your preference.
Digital wristwatches depend solely on the quartz movement to operate. Some analog wristwatches also use the quartz movement. However, most reputable brands take their time to create a mechanically operated analog wristwatch.
Across the globe, analog and digital wristwatches are well-recognized types of wristwatches. However, the recognition for each type differs from the other.
For digital wristwatches, the recognition is due to the added features and technology. For analog wristwatches, the recognition is because of the history of wristwatches globally.
There’s a common myth that digital wristwatches are more accurate than their analog counterpart. However, I’m afraid I have to disagree with this myth. Instead, it depends on the working mechanism and the person.
A digital watch shows you the time directly, so you can’t make a mistake. For an analog watch, you may need to take some guesses of the minutes based on the position of the hands.
Because of this, you may make mistakes and give an incorrect account of the time.
Likewise, a digital and analog wristwatch that works on the quartz mechanism would both give accurate answers. When the analog watch has a mechanical working system, it won’t tell time as accurately as the digital watch.
That said, some watches will lose time when they’ve been in operation for a while. This is not due to the nature of the watch, analog or digital, but boils down to the quality and accuracy of movement put inside the watch.
To prevent such from occurring, make sure to only put your money on well-made watches from reputable brands.
A smartwatch is a continuation of the technology developed brought in by the digital wristwatch. This time, it’s almost like you have a smartphone seated in your hand.
In my opinion, there are no cons to buying an analog or a smart wristwatch. However, both smartwatches and analog watches have advantages over each other.
The main advantage of a smartwatch over an analog wristwatch is in the extra features. With a smartwatch, users can make calls, check calendars, GPS, amongst others.
Likewise, smartwatches usually come in extremely simple designs, alongside their excellent functions. Smartwatches, in some cases, can also be cheaper than an analog wristwatch.
The reputation and beautiful aesthetics of the analog wristwatch give it a huge edge over smartwatches. Some analog wrist watches may be expensive, but the time spent to produce the quality, as well as all the impressive watch history behind that design, is what users are paying for.
With a smartwatch, a user will need to change the watch as technology scales up. However, the design and function of an analog wristwatch stay over time.
Well, we can as well assume that digital watches paved the way for smartwatches. Thus, any smartwatch is a digital watch with more features.
A major advantage a smartwatch has over a digital watch is the added features and technology. On the other hand, the advantage that digital watches sometimes hold is how they are priced lower than smartwatches. Looking at what smartwatches bring to the table for the money, though, they are a better value for money.
That said, digital watches are also limited by the functions which they come with. Get a smartwatch and you can extend the functions via software updates and app downloads. That is such a huge leap in features that you didn’t need to pay anything extra for.
However, digital watches are more rugged than their smartwatch counterparts. This is why I would always readily take a digital watch hiking than I would do with a smartwatch.
I don’t think there is one kind of wristwatch technology that is infinitely better than the other.
While I don’t currently own a smartwatch (mostly because I’m not convinced yet), I have used one before and I do own both a digital watch and some analog watches.
These watches come out on different days and they play their parts to perfection. Thus, it’s left to you to decide why you need your watches in the first place, then go for the ones that work best for you.