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The Unconventional Guide to the Best Digital Watches for Seniors

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O. Christopher

The Unconventional Guide to the Best Digital Watches for Seniors

In one minute, I’ll get to the carefully handpicked and truly best digital watches for seniors. But that is not only what this piece is for.

Even if you didn’t find the wristwatch that caught your fancy here, I want to be sure that you know what to look out for when shopping for digital watches for elderly people.

To do so, I went deeper into the thought process behind choosing each of these wristwatches and threw in the answers to some frequently asked questions around digital watches for seniors also.

Sounds good, right?

Let’s get to it then.

Special Tip: you can use the table of content below to jump around the entire article faster. This way, you can find just what you need under the right heading if you don’t want to go through the entire piece.

Why Choose Digital Watches for Seniors at All?

I am not saying analog watches are not great for older people also. I believe that there is the right analog watch for just about everyone.

However, when it comes to ease of use and functionality, digital watches take the crown here.

Seniors don’t have to engage themselves in reading the watch hands anymore when they could just glance at the watch face and see the numbers.

Besides, quality digital watches offer more than just the time at a glance. Anything from the current day and date to even prevalent temperature conditions is right there for the wearer to see.

So, in one breath, a digital watch is an easy-to-read alternative that tells the time and still completes your need for a wristwatch at the same time.

How I Chose These Watches

I have spent enough time with elderly ones (in my family) to understand some of their unique needs.

For one, I saw them start holding the phone far away from their eyes/ close to their faces to see what’s on it sometimes. You might have noticed the same too – and this shows how weak their eyesight is getting.

Thus, they need a watch with a large enough display or one that will give them legible returns at least.

Combining all that I found out, use this guide to choose the best watches for seniors too.

1. Legibility

As mentioned above, a digital watch that does not display large enough numbers should be skipped.

Almost everyone who knows me knows that I love my Casio GA-2100 to death, but I would never recommend it for any senior. The watch is great in how it combines a digital and analog display into one but it is not just the right thing for seniors.

As you would soon find out, all of the watches on this list are as legible as they come. Even if held at a farther distance from the eyes, you would still be able to get the right time on them.

2. Waterproof

Seniors can sometimes be forgetful people and I don’t blame them.

They have a lot on their minds and the overload can sometimes make them skip important information. Like not taking off their watches before washing their hands, going fishing (check out dedicated fishing wristwatches here), or doing something else that involves water.

While there is no truly waterproof watch, there are a lot of water-resistant units around today. Unless the watch will be taken on deep-sea dives (in which case I will recommend that you look at the dive watches guide), the picks here will do just fine around water.

3. Functionality

The basic function of any wristwatch is to tell the time. What if it could do more than that, though?

For example, your wristwatch could also tell you what the current barometric pressure is, what the ambient temperature is, and more.

There are also amazing smartwatches for seniors that keep them updated about their health. Here, we have all of the heart rate monitoring to fall detection.

4. Backlight

Even the most legible watch won’t help anyone in a low-light situation unless it had a backlight feature built into it.

You never can tell when a senior will find themselves in a situation where they don’t have access to the light.

Sometimes, they don’t need more ambient light around them. It is just that the contrast on the watch is not enough to see the time then. Thus, a backlight feature would appeal just right in such cases.

That said, I never go for watches with a poor contrast either. They are just too unreliable especially for seniors with weaker eyesight.

Even then, though, the backlight is an important part of the system.

5. Durability

Any watch that you use at all should be durable.

What is the point of a watch that falls apart in just a little time?

I don't think I have had a daily driver that failed me in the first two years. Most times, I only have to change a battery and I am good to go again.

Seniors don’t have to add the reliability – or lack thereof – of a watch to their list of concerns.

Make sure they are getting something that they can wear every day and still keep enjoying it in some years to come. If they ever have to buy another watch, it should be because they like that other watch – not because the other one is failing after such little time of use.

6. Easy Usage

From wearing and removing the watch to setting the time/ other important details on the timepiece, nothing should be complicated.

I have had some people complain about the Casio GA-2100 series due to the technicalities it poses sometimes.

Since only the digital aspect has to be set to sync with the analog section, though, there isn’t too much of a concern there. The only issue is when both parts do not sync and you have to manually get them working together.

Such a steep learning curve could prevent a senior from getting the best of their watches.

That said, this is relative.

I have seen seniors get the best out of their smartwatches than most of my peers, and I have also seen those who need help setting their analog watches. Know which side you/ your loved ones fall on before getting them a digital watch.

7. Style

A watch can come in different styles and designs.

On the case side, you can have anything from stainless steel to silicone. The bands have even more options – anything from silicone and leather to stainless steel is possible here.

The best digital watches for seniors tend to be the ones with a more durable approach. Hence, I will always recommend silicone/ rubber on the watch case and frame. This combination is one of the reasons why the Casio G-Shock remains the toughest watch in the world so you cannot go wrong there.

PS With options like the Apple Watch series and Galaxy Watch series, you can get additional straps to change the look/ style/ appeal of the watch when you deem fit.

8. Great Battery Life

This is maybe the only reason why I don’t highly recommend smartwatches for seniors.

It is much better to get them something that they can wear for as long as a year or two before worrying about changing the battery. With smartwatches, you have to be sure they will remember to charge it every one or two days, depending on their usage of the unit.

9. Dedicated Buttons

If there are extra buttons on the watch for improved functionality, that is even better.

Note that I am particular about improved functionality here.

Say there is an extra button that can launch an SOS call or start a timer instantly, I can see how that will be useful. If there were an extra button that only displayed the date, though, I would not see the need for that.

The latter button could even get more confusing when using the watch.

Special Note: I did not review any smartwatches on this list so that I can keep it close to traditional digital watches, as I know them. If you want to check out what smartwatches can do for seniors, there is a guide to choosing the best seniors’ smartwatch here.

What are the Best Digital Watches for Seniors?

Before we forget why we are here today, let’s see what digital watches satisfy all or almost all of the criteria above and made it to this list.

Like I said earlier, you might not find what suits your preferences here. I highly doubt that as I have scoured around for just the best units, but it could happen.

In that case, remember to use the guide above, among other personal opinions, as a selection guide.

Here goes.

1. FutureFunk Retro Quartz Digital Watch

Future Funk Analog Digital Watch FF104 Black
  • Quartz
  • Black IP stainless steel / Mineral glass
  • W:44mm × H:42mm
  • 3ATM
  • Rubber band


FutureFunk brought some style into the seniors’ section with this watch. I would say that the younger adults can also get in on this watch.

I especially love the sturdy frame of the 44mm watch case which is also presented in three different color options – gold, silver, and black – so that you always have the style that you want.

The watch face marries a retro design with modern functionality and designs. I also love the fact that things are kept as simple as possible here. You get the time and nothing else – and it comes as legible as possible.

Looking at the watch case diameter, though, this one is best suited to older men.

2. Casio G-Shock Square Army Green Watch – Best Digital Watch for Dementia Patients

Men's Casio G-Shock Square Army Green Resin Strap Digital Watch DW5610SU-3
  • post-with-french-clip
  • Boasting a black dial, shock resistance, water-resistant up to...
  • This watch also features an electro-luminescent backlight with...
  • Case: 43mm Square Army green
  • Black bezel


One aspect where this Casio watch beats the FutureFunk above coming right out of the box is the wealth of information on the screen.

A single glance gives you not just the time but the day and date too. This will be great for seniors to keep better track of themselves and their schedules also.

I also believe this to be a fine digital watch for dementia patients as they tend to forget things fast. Besides that, the 24-hour time format and other information on the screen could help reduce the level of confusion that comes in the evening time.

Of course, the watch is not a cure for the condition, but it should help seniors suffering from the disease to manage themselves better.

Casio has kept things simple with labeled buttons that do just what they are advertised to do. Finished with a backlight functionality, rugged shell, and the promise of durability from Casio, you cannot go wrong with this one.

3. NIXON Regulus – Easy to Read Digital Watch

NIXON Regulus A1180 - All Black - 100m Water Resistant Men's Digital Sport Watch (46mm Watch Face,...
  • REGULUS, ALL BLACK. High-tech and element-proof, the all black...
  • THE DNA. Beyond the time, the Regulus has extreme 100m...
  • UNDERCOVER. The Regulus was built to make missions more than...
  • FUELED BY ADVENTURES. We deliver products that meet your needs in...
  • For A Life Well Lived. Through our dedicated teams perspectives,...


This Nixon Regulus watch slightly edges out the Casio above in terms of screen display real estate.

I love the fact that the contrast on the watch is just great so you don’t have to squint to see the numbers in low light. The arrangement of data on the watch face also makes this one of the easiest digital watches to read.

That is not all about this one, though,

A little digging shows that the watch was designed with input from the US special operations. It is, thus, little wonder that it is as tough as this. There is even an easily accessible silent mode if you don’t want all the beeps and alarms on the watch disturbing you.

Also impressive is the promise of 5-year battery life. Of course, that would be dependent on the operating conditions of the watch but we should still get about 3-4 years of operation on average.

Looks like a match made in heaven for the seniors in the house already.

4. Diesel Men’s Crusher Lightweight Nylon Watch – Extra Large Display Digital Wrist Watch

Diesel Men's 46mm Crusher Lightweight Nylon Digital Watch, Color: Silver, Black Logo (Model: DZ1914)
  • Bold, ironic and never shy, Diesel doesn't follow trends; it...
  • Digital displays and vintage-inspired bezels define the Crusher...
  • Case size: 46mm, Band size: 24mm; digital movement with negative...
  • Round lightweight nylon case with black dial and silvert-tone...
  • Water resistant up to 50m (165ft): Wearable while swimming in...


Who said that the seniors can’t have a bit of style in their choice of digital watches?

From all the time that I have spent with Diesel watches (not too many. Just about four of those), I have come to see that the company prides itself in charting out new trends in the watch design market.

Granted, their durability used to be questionable but they have overcome that now with a sturdy design on all of their units.

That is not all about this fashionable, trendy sports watch, though.

Diesel demonstrates that you can get just about everything you need from the watch by looking at it one time. That includes all of the time, water-resistance rating, day, and date info.

The watch also ships with an assortment of buttons that are truly easy to use. I appreciate that one has been dedicated to the backlight, so all the better for seniors.

5. Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch – Digital Watch with Large Numbers

Timex Men's Expedition Shock XL Vibrating Alarm 50mm Watch
  • Adjustable black 22mm resin strap fits up to 8-inch wrist...
  • 100-hour chronograph; 24-hour countdown timer; 3 vibrating &...
  • 24-hour military time mode; 3 time zones; occasion reminders;...
  • Black 50mm resin case with acrylic lens; positive digital...
  • Water resistant to 200m (660 ft): In general, suitable for...


Timex is known for not only their good watches but for the low-price range that they bring the watches at. If you are looking for the most inexpensive digital watch with large numbers, look no further than the Timex Expedition.

I have chosen the XL size so that seniors can get all the screen real estate that they need. There are, of course, other size options that you can choose for a better fit. They are also highly legible in their way so you won’t be trading down on the screen too much.

Looking elsewhere, Timex pairs this watch with a 200m water resistance rating so you don’t have to worry about taking it off to have a bath. Featuring properly labeled and useful buttons around the frame earn this unit extra points.

6. NIXON Ripley

NIXON Ripley A1267 - Gunmetal - Analog and Digital Watch for Men - Expedition and Adventure Sport...
  • The Best of Both Worlds: With digital time, temperature, and...
  • Equipped for Every Occasion: The unique design of this sleek and...
  • Durable and Loaded: Reinforced with a shock-resistant...
  • Custom Built For Easy Reading: The 47mm digital screen provides...
  • From Trail To Town: This team-built custom designed watch was...


Nixon already made this list with their Regulus but they deserve another mention for the Ripley.

The first thing that instantly stood out to me here was the marrying of an analog to the digital watch face, and how it has come out so fine. This is the ideal watch for those seniors who still love the appeal of their analog watches but now need a digital watch to make their lives simpler.

The digital display is so intuitive that it not only displays the time but also gives the day and date information.

For when you don’t want to see the digital time, there is a ‘City Mode’ feature that transforms the watch into a pure analog unit. One word: Amazing!

Like always, Nixon makes this watch available in dual design options – one being decked out in pure black while the other carries a hint of silver.

7. Casio Pathfinder Triple-Sensor Watch

Casio Men's PRO TREK Stainless Steel Quartz Watch with Resin Strap, Black, (Model: PAG-240-1CR)
  • 100 M Water Resistance
  • Solar Powered - Solar panel features rechargable battery with...
  • Triple Sensor - Digital Compass, Altimeter, Barometer &...
  • World Time w/ 31 Time Zones (48 Cities) and Daylight Saving...
  • 1/100-Second Stop Watch (Measuring Capacity 23:59'59.99")


Casio did something different with this Pathfinder unit, choosing to pair an otherwise outdoor, digital watch with a titanium bracelet.

Do I love it? You bet I do.

Decking the watch out in an all-grey finish adds to the appeal that it comes with. I also love the fact that the watch face carries very bold numbers. The contrast could be better, but it is not too bad either.

That said, the watch might be too complicated for some seniors. For example, it carries dedicated temperature, altimeter, and compass sensors. Unless it is a senior that loves to spend time outdoors – maybe fishing, hunting, or camping – they might not get the most out of this watch.

If you require the extra features or only want to get it because you love the appeal, it is a fine timepiece that will serve you well.

8. Timex T80 34mm Watch – Best Digital Watch for Older Ladies

Timex T80 34mm Perfect Fit Quartz Stainless Steel Strap, Blue, 18 Casual Watch (Model: TW2U93800YB)
  • Perfect Fit self-adjustable blue 18mm stainless steel expansion...
  • 24-hour chronograph with lap & split times; month, day & date...
  • Blue 34mm resin case with acrylic lens; gray digital display
  • Indiglo light-up watch dial
  • Water resistant to 30m (100ft): in general, withstands splashes...


Yet again, Timex makes this list. Yet again, they bring us one of the finest pieces of watches for older ladies with a great value for money.

So, what gives here?

Well, we start with the 30m water resistance rating which is decent enough to allow the watch to go into the showers with you. Depending on the design and finish you opt for – of which there are more than five – you can get the pride rainbow artwork on your piece.

Looking at the watch face itself; I appreciate that the time and calendar are as legible as possible. However, you might have to look closer to get the day (Mon – Fri) display. That is not much of a dealbreaker, but it is surely something worth looking out for before putting your money on the watch.

Speaking of the watch display, still, I like that Timex indicates the 24-hour format and also lets the wearer know about any special settings (such as an alarm) at a glance.

Ease of use and watch management doesn’t get better than that, I’d say.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is better: analog or digital watch?

Choosing between an analog or digital watch will come down to personal preferences, style, and purpose.

Digital watches make sense for seniors – especially those with conditions like dementia – as it helps them tell the time better without having to worry about ‘decoding’ the analog time.

The ease of use, longevity, and added functionalities make them a great fit for seniors.

What is the best digital watch?

The best digital watch is a combination of your budget, your style, and the added features you want on a watch.

Thus, the best digital watch for you can be different from the best for someone else.

That is why I have tried to keep different user needs in mind when coming up with this list so I am sure there is something for everyone in there.

Is Apple watch good for the elderly?

I have extensively reviewed smartwatches for seniors in one of my guides (find it here).

In there, you get everything from what smartwatches are great for seniors, what makes them amazing and the shortcomings you have to deal with also.

What is the cost of a digital watch?

Digital watches can cost anywhere from tens to thousands of dollars.

The manufacturer of the watch is a great determinant of what it costs too. For example, brands like Timex and Casio are known to take a conservative approach to price.

Likewise, the features that come with such a watch can drive up the price.

Digital watches designed for hiking, for example, will have an altimeter, barometer, and compass sensors among other things. It is only reasonable that they cost more than other watches without the same features.

Final Words

Like I promised, I believe I have discussed everything you need to know about choosing the best digital watches for seniors. Whether for a male or female, stylish or conservative, or any other preferences that you have in mind, the buying guide up there has something for everyone.

If you have any more questions, you can shoot me a message and I will get back to you ASAP.

O. Christopher