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We live in an age where watches are more accessible than ever. What was once a luxury item is now an essential part of many a wardrobe. If you’re new to the world of watches, you’re probably wondering: Are digital watches better than analog?
While this question will ultimately be settled by matters of taste, digital watches are arguably better than analog because they offer better accuracy, visibility, and have many features. Digital watches are also ideal if you value functionality more than style. Although digital and analog watches are available at various prices, digital watches tend to be more affordable.
There are a lot of nuances to which style of watch is right for you. Read on to learn about several potential deciding factors for your purchase and determine which type is right for you.
Why Digital Watches Are Better Than Analog Watches
In terms of pure functionality, digital watches edge out analog watches. For accuracy and visibility, digital watches are almost always better than analog options. Durability gets complicated, but digital watches still trend more durable.
Here are the features that make digital watches better than analog watches:
If you need pinpoint accuracy, most digital watches outperform analog watches.
Generally, digital watches use an electronic oscillator regulated by a quartz crystal to tell time. Analog watches, meanwhile, traditionally use a mechanical, spring-based mechanism.
Outside factors influence the accuracy of mechanical watches. Potential deterrents include spring tightness, arm movements, and temperature. These factors all lead to a more significant variance of timing from mechanical watches.
Quartz watches, meanwhile, remain more accurate. A study from the National Institute of Standards and Technology found even the cheapest quartz watches maintained time accurately to within less than 1 second per day.
Something to note: Some analog watches, such as the LIGE Leather Analog Quartz Wristwatch from Amazon.com, are powered by quartz rather than mechanical mechanisms. If you need pinpoint accuracy and want an analog watch, you have options.
Unlike digital watches, however, you can’t assume an analog will have that accuracy.
Because of their screens, digital watches also tend to be more visible than analogs.
Even the simplest of LCD digital watches offer backlight. Take the MJSCPHBJK Men’s Digital Sports Watch from Amazon.com. The watch is simple and approachable for newcomers, and even it includes a luminous screen.
Due to their mechanical interface, analog timepieces are far less likely to include this feature. You’ll need to individually check if your preferred analog watch is visible in the dark. One potential option is the MDC Glow in the Dark Watch from Amazon.com. It offers a classic design that’s easy to match with any outfit and is also waterproof.
Digital watches rank slightly higher than analog watches for durability.
For extended battery life, an LCD digital watch is your best bet. As UC Berkeley grad Thomas Wong explains, the stepping motor of an analog watch typically requires more energy than a digital watch.
Because of this, LCDs tend to outlast analog watches.
How To Choose Between a Digital and Analog Watch
Now that you know the benefits of a digital watch, it’s time to choose the watch for you. Although digital watches may be better than analog watches in some aspects, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right for everyone.
Let’s go over some steps that’ll help you choose your watch, whether digital or analog.
Determine Your Style
If you’re purchasing your watch as an accessory, the most critical question to ask yourself is which kind of watch best fits your style.
Above all, watches are accessories. Regardless of features or price, if a watch doesn’t fit your style, it’s not worth your money.
The primary visual difference between digital and analog watches lies in their interface. Digital watches have a digital screen, while analog watches have the look of a traditional clock.
Digital watches offer an excellent look for the functional outdoorsman or the tech-savvy. The LCD and nylon strap of the Timex x Mossy Oak Expedition 33mm lives up to its adventurous name. Meanwhile, luxury products such as the Apple Watch Series 6 provide an advanced, customizable screen. You can find both on Amazon.com.
Analog watches have an elegant, old-school flair. Like the Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Sophisticated Sport Watch from Amazon.com, some have a metallic band to match their watch face. Others, such as the Timex Easy Reader 38mm from Amazon.com, use a leather band.
Consider a variety of watches before you pick which style fits your vibe. There are plenty of options, and there’s no reason to rush into the first one you see.
Consider the Features You Need
Next, determine what features you need in your watch. Digital watches are more feature-rich than their analog cousins. If you don’t want extra features, though, you may prefer analog watches.
The most straightforward digital watches will have LCD screens. Although low-tech by modern standards, LCD screens still display more than analog watch faces. Take the CakCity Men’s Digital Sports Watch from Amazon.com, an affordable LCD watch with alarm, stop-watch, and military time functionality.
The Casio Men’s Classic Quartz Watch from Amazon.com, an analog model at a comparable price range to the CakCity, only tells the time. If you want an analog watch with premium features, you’ll have to pay the price.
Of course, smartwatches blow both watches previously mentioned out of the water. Should you want the richest feature suite possible, smartwatches are the style for you.
Set a Budget
Finally, set a budget for your purchase. Much like with style, the price range for watches varies wildly within either category.
These days, you’ll be able to find both digital and analog watches at affordable rates. Prices rise as you browse more prominent brands with better features. You’ll need to compare styles and features to determine your appropriate price range.
Generally, however, you’ll find basic digital watches at cheaper rates than analog watches.
Whether digital watches are better than analog watches depends on your preferences and budget. Either category houses incredible variety in style, function, and price range. That said, if you value function over style, digital watches are the choice for you.