Analog and mechanical watches have had their day. They’ve laid the groundwork for forthcoming options, they’ve been adorned by the most notable individuals, and they’ve helped to usher in the new era of timekeepers for the next-gen wearer. But while these watches have done more than their fair share for the wristwear world, the fact remains that, at some point, their designs became somewhat unappealing, at least for the contemporary audience. As times began to change, wearers beckoned manufacturers to create something a bit more “futuristic” — to adorn their watch faces in blocked numbering, lettering, and illumination. Thus, the age of digital was born.
It’s true that digital watches swept over the wristwear industry like wildfire upon their release, garnering intense adoration for their cutting-edge silhouettes, technical dials, and other interesting additions. But, like their mechanical predecessors, they too would falter, fizzle, and take a back seat to new, emerging technologies. Throughout the years, they’ve made somewhat of a steady comeback; especially within social circles and collector’s groups that vie for nostalgic, vintage timepieces. However, that doesn’t mean that there are contemporary models that haven’t adopted the digitized look. Below, we’ve aggregated some modern-day variants that are either homages or revisions of past models, as well as a handful of new-and-improved timekeepers that have been inspired by their predecessors. So slap on some 80s music and lace-up — we’re getting ready for a night on the town with our favorite digital watches for men.
Casio A168WG-9 Illuminator Chronograph
Digital watches have a long history, meaning that many of the modern and contemporary variants that we know today, had to come from somewhere. If you’re looking for a more “retro” model, Casio’s A168WG-9 Illuminator Chronograph is about as close as you’re going to get, thanks to its vintage design, EL Backlight, and auto calendar. It might look like it’s from the 80s, but don’t worry, there’s still a hefty helping of modern implementation, including a 1/100 second digital stopwatch, variable measuring modes, battery life of up to seven years, and water-resistant qualities that keep it ticking, no matter the circumstance.
Timex Ironman Transit
No digital watch guide is complete without a few Timex offerings. The company’s Ironman Transit is as performance-oriented as it gets, earning it a spot in lieu of the brand’s expansive list of alternatives. But it’s performance isn’t the only thing that makes it special. Aside from its training-focused, 10-lap memory stopwatch, 100-meter water resistance, and an INDIGO dial, which illuminates during the darker hours of the day to keep your vital statistics legible and clear, the watch is also aesthetically pleasing, thanks to its minimalist design, slim silhouette, and understated colorway.
Timex Expedition Grid Shock
Timex makes its second appearance on our list with the Expedition Grid Shock. While the company’s Ironman Transit certainly caters to the performance-focused audience, this hard-wearing variant was built with durability in mind, thanks to its formidable 50mm resin case, acrylic lens, and 16mm resin strap. If you’re heading outdoors for a significant amount of time, you’ll be delighted to hear that the Grid Shock features a 24-hour military time mode, hydration timer, month/day/date calendar, and I.S.O. standard shock resistance, allowing you to take on the wilderness with a clear mind. It’s also water-resistant up to 100-meters, meaning that you’ll be able to snorkel or swim, without having to worry about degradation.
Casio G-Shock GBD800UC-5
Casio’s G-Shock segment has become one of the most recognizable performance watch lines, the world over — and for good reason. The GBD800UC-5, for example, boasts one of the most cleanly-tailored silhouettes in the genre, as well as a suite of hardcore features for the everyday enthusiast. It brings interesting traits — like metabolic equivalent tracking systems, a three-axis acceleration sensor, step counter, and an auto-sensor that places the watch in a sleep state when not in use, helping to prolong its battery life — to the masses, while still staying true to the company’s tried and tested timekeeping principles. It’s even compatible with G-Shock’s “Connected” app, allowing you to keep track of vital health data and training stats.
VW VOID Watches PXR5-BL/BL
Digital watches might not be where they are today without their progenitive counterparts. The VW VOID PXR5, designed and crafted by Michael Young in 2005, is one such model. Back then, the futuristic example was lauded due to its simplistic digital LCD display, woven nylon strap, and buckle-like stature. Today, it remains as a permanent fixture in VOID’s modern watch collection, gifting its elegance, inspiration, and architecture to those who revel in a minimalist style.
Braun Men’s BN0046BKBKG Digital
BRAUN is a mainstay within the minimalist watch movement, and it’s BN0046BKBKG Digital model is a testament to its pursuit of simplicity. Not only does the subdued example boast one of the sleekest silhouettes on the market today, but it’s also surprisingly durable, thanks to its mineral crystal, leather strap, and 50-meter water resistance. Aesthetically, it’s right up there with the big dogs, calling upon a perfectly-sized 36mm stainless steel case, articulate branding, and an intuitive, two-button architecture to make timekeeping as easy as possible.
ZIIIRO Eclipse Super Lumi Watch
There are traditional digital watches, and then there are watches like the ZIIIRO Eclipse Super Lumi — a sleek, futuristic model that takes a different approach to timekeeping. Based on the time of the day, the Eclipse’s brightness will diversify, amplifying its stainless-steel persona with illuminated, Super-LumiNova pigments. Inside, a trusted Miyota 2025 Japanese movement has been implemented to promote the utmost precision, while a crystal-hardened mineral window, SR616SW battery, and 30-meter water resistance help it to sustain moderate outdoor use.
SUUNTO’s Core watch is trusted by expeditionary adventurers around the globe, and that’s no coincidence. The brand’s interesting adaptation of the traditional smart variant is surely robust, taking on a bolstered suite of attributes, including an altimeter, barometer, compass, and storm alarm, to ensure that you’ll be ready for anything. But when it’s not showing you the way through its extensive list of quality-of-life features, it’s still a perfectly-tuned timekeeper, thanks to its tough plastic case, mineral crystal window, and an elastomer strap, making it the quintessential offering for any outdoor excursion.
Bulova’s Computron is one of the most abnormal watches on our list, but it’s earned its rightful place due to originality, retro commitment, and sleek design. It adopts a unique trapezoidal, stainless steel case, and expands its allure with the implementation of an eye-catching blue LED display, day/date window, and dual timezone capabilities. To keep the watch’s overall character cohesive and true, it’s rounded out by a well-coordinated stainless steel bracelet, calling upon a vintage-styled fold-over clasp closure and linkage to give it an appeal all its own.
NIXON Regulus SS
NIXON’s Regulus SS is a fan favorite, and after taking one look at the watch, it’s immediately apparent that the brand wanted to cater to a specific audience. The retro wonder is especially handsome, thanks to its stainless steel-forged case, low-profile silhouette, and adjustable LED backlight keeping it legible and clear when the sun decides to subside. To bridge the gap between an urban silhouette and the more tactical watches on the market, NIXON has been imbued with shock-absorbing materials and outfitted with a five-year battery, helping it to take on any situation with ease. It’ll even join you on your snorkeling and swimming adventures, thanks to its 100-meter water-resistant case and pushers.
Garmin vívoactive Black
Garmin’s become one of the most notable names in navigation, and when they made their first foray into the world of smartwatches, it sent a ripple through the industry. Over the years, their intriguing wrist-worn accessories have gotten better and better, and the vivoactive Black is a perfect illustration of why that is. Not only does the watch boast all of the outdoor-ready inclusions that we’ve come to expect from Garmin, including GPS-enabled running, biking, and golf tracking, a built-in sports app, and a high-definition color touchscreen, but it’s also taken on a handful of fully-customizable options, including bespoke watch face designs, widgets, and apps. All of these exciting features come packed into the company’s sleek, slim silhouette, paying homage to the likes of Braun with an undeniably-handsome architecture.
SEIKO Prospex Fieldmaster SBEP001
SEIKO’s Prospex Fieldmaster SBEP001 bridges the gap between traditional digital wristwear and its more cutting-edge solar variants, creating something that’s equally as enticing, but more purposeful, than the genre’s older examples. It operates via an efficient and precise solar-powered digital quartz movement and boasts a five-month power reserve that can be expanded to an eye-popping 20 months when using its proprietary power-save option. To protect its internal workings, it calls upon a black ion-plated 49.5mm case and a black uni-directional bezel, complementing its dual-time layout. In effect, wearers are able to accurately surmise the time in up to 44 different cities around the world. The best part? It also boasts 200-meter water resistance, so you’ll be able to take on any watersport without having to worry about your Prospex.
Casio Pro Trek PRW2500
Casio is gracing our list once again with its efficient and practical PRW2500. This unique digital variant introduces accurate automatic atomic clock time calibration, ensuring that worldwide readings are as close to the real thing as possible. There’s also a Duplex LCD layout, a two-layer display (for increased legibility), and an electroluminescent backlight, allowing for increased visibility at night. Holding true to Casio’s cutting-edge values, the PRW2500 takes on an altimeter, triple-sensor barometer, a digital compass, and a thermometer, making you the master of your own fate as you traverse the world’s many ecosystems. And if you find yourself diving below the surface of your favorite waterway, don’t fret; a 200-meter water resistance ensures that your watch will come out unscathed.
BRAUN Prestige Digital
BRAUN makes its second appearance on our list with its Prestige Digital example. While its more affordable and modern BN0046BKBKG brings an enhanced approach to its catalog, the Prestige is as iconic as they come, boasting a classic silhouette, minimalist design principles, and a simplified metal/digital face. Don’t let its simplicity fool you, though; it still utilizes a handful of interesting features, including a 100-year perpetual calendar, accurate Swiss-quartz movement, five different language options, and 30-meter water resistance, meaning that you’ll be able to survive moderate downpours and dips without having to worry about a dead digital device.
Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar
Tissot rounds out our guide with the T-Touch Expert Solar — a premium, high-end model that illustrates the company’s endless pursuit for style and poise. When compared to the other options on this list, the T-Touch sports a more “gentlemanly” persona, calling upon a refined external structure, an accurate Swiss-quartz movement, a large 45mm silhouette, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal face. Of course, the digital example might not be so exciting without its expert solar drive, handsome, purple-hued dial, or titanium trappings. All of the watch’s moving parts are housed within a durable, and great-looking PVD-coated titanium case, complemented by the T-Touch’s striking titanium bracelet and luminous markers. A 100-meter water resistance rounds out the luxurious option.
The 12 Best Solar Watches For Men
Want a timepiece with digital appeal, but don’t take kindly to changing batteries every year? Head over to our guide on the best solar watches for men to check out some great examples that you won’t find dead when you need them most.
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