In recent years, watches have turned into fashion accessories, with most people now opting to use their mobile phones to tell time; however, these traditional time telling devices are still quite useful to some. Seniors are accustomed to using traditional watches to tell time.
Furthermore, some seniors are not used to checking the time on their phones. With that in mind, the watch can help your elderly loved one keep up with their daily schedule by telling time in an accurate and convenient manner.
The best watches should not only be easy to read, but also come with a few additional features that are useful to seniors. With that in mind, the available options include analog, digital and talking watches.
Here’s a comprehensive review of the best easy to read watches for seniors, complete with some recommended products and some of the main factors to keep in mind when shopping for senior-friendly watches.
Video Guide: Easy to Read Watches for Seniors and the Elderly
Here is a video I created that covers all the key points of this guide. Or, keep scrolling to read the details!
Best Analog Watches For Seniors
Here are my recommended watches for older adults who prefer the old standby analog, mechanical watch. The next section will highlight digital options.
Casio is known for their accurate, reliable and durable timepieces; and, this Men’s Easy to Read watch is no different from their legendary offering of years past. This timeless watch comes in the classic three hand (hour, minute and second) analog style. The bezel and case are made using a lightweight and durable resin material.
Furthermore, the watch comes with a long lasting battery that will serve users for no less than 3 years. Other features of the watch include an accurate quartz movement and water resistance up to 50m.
There are a number of reasons why this Casio watch is a great fit for seniors, the main one being the easy to read display. The watch comes with a large face, covered by large Arabic numerals. And highly visible hands that are easy to make out.
This, combined with the high contrast between the numbers and the background make it possible for users, including those with diminished eyesight, to tell the time with a quick glance.
If you are looking for a simple watch that is designed to accurately tell the time, while being easy to read, then be sure to consider this optio
Specifically designed for use by people with low vision, this Ultima watch is a great option for seniors. In addition to having a large face, this stylish and water resistant watch has a gold tone finish and stainless steel back and quartz movement. To round up the watch’s classic look, the Ultima comes with a leather band.
As a low vision watch, the Ultima comes with a big dial face dotted by large Arabic numerals and thick hour and minute hands. Simply put, against the contrasting background, the numbers and hands are easily seen. Your elderly loved one will definitely have an easy time telling the time from this watch even with reduced vision.
It is also worth noting that the Ultima’s design and appearance is quite appealing. The gold finish goes very well with the quality-looking black leather straps. This means that you can expect your loved one to enjoy wearing this watch for its elegance as well as its functionality!
If you are looking for an easy to operate watch that always tells the most accurate time right down to the second, then this Atomic Talking Watch is definitely worth considering. To make it as easy as possible for users with an eyesight deficiency to tell the time, the watch comes with a talking feature on top of the large Arabic numbers and hour, minute and second hands.
This watch has a variety of selling points, as far as senior citizens are concerned. For starters, since it automatically sets itself by connecting to the Atomic clock, it frees the user from having to regularly set it. However, since it is powered by a battery, you will need to get a new battery after every six months or so.
Secondly, upon the press of a button, the watch talks, and tells the time, date, alarm status and signal strength in a clear and audible English voice.
The watch comes with a stainless steel case and band. For an easy and comfortably snug fit, the band is designed in the form of a flex expandable bracelet. This means that it can comfortably fit most wrists, both large and small, without any issues.
Even with the above selling points, this watch does have a few drawbacks. To begin with, you need to manually set the watch to the right time zone, for it to automatically update the time. This process can be lengthy and confusing for some seniors. Furthermore, the watch comes with small buttons that seniors with arthritic or shaky hands might struggle with.
All in all, if you can live with the downsides, this watch will definitely make you or your elderly loved one’s life easier.
A popular option for the last 40 years, it’s hard to argue against the classic appeal of the Timex Easy Reader Watch. Each and every detail of the watch is specifically meant to make it simple and sensible to users. In a nutshell, the watch comes with a gold tone brass case, cream dial and adjustable genuine leather straps.
For easy reading of time, the watch has large Arabic numerals, hour, minute and second hands, as well as a date window at the 3 o’clock mark. The clean dial layout, and contrast between the large numbers and hands against the white dial face makes for an easily readable watch.
To make things even better, the watch comes with Indiglo light technology that makes it easier for users to read the time in the dark.
The wrist watch also comes with scratch resistant glass and a long lasting battery that is said to last for up to 10 years.
However, even though the watch is water resistant for up to 30 meters, users are discouraged from swimming or even bathing while wearing it.
If you are looking for the perfect easy to read watch for your elderly mom or aunt, consider this elegant women’s watch by Anne Klein. This round faced timepiece comes with a navy blue dial under a mineral glass window and rose gold hands and numbers designed for easy reading.
Underneath all this, the watch features a Japanese quartz movement. To top things off the watch features navy blue leather band with a buckle closure system.
To ensure that the user can read the time clearly, there is a lot of contrast between the navy blue face and large rose gold tone hands and numbers. The alpha style hands also make for easy reading as they do not interfere with the numbers in any way.
It is important to note that while the watch is said to be water resistant up to 30m, it should not be worn during swimming as it can only survive light splashes of water.
Best Digital Watches For Seniors
Here are my recommended senior-friendly digital watches for older adults who prefer to tell the time at a quick glance or could become confused by the hands of a manual watch.
Another awesome talking watch by Five Senses, this variant switches things up with a crystal clear digital display. If your elderly loved one would be better served by having a watch that sounds out the time, date and alarm status as well as signal reception status, or by simply reading all this information from a digital display, then this option is a great fit.
Once the watch is set to the right time zone, it automatically updates the time, in line with the Atomic clock, on a daily basis. This great watch even accounts for daylight savings on its own. Simply put, with this watch, your elderly loved one does have to keep fiddling with the settings to make sure that it always tells time accurately.
To simplify things, a large top button is used to activate the audio time telling feature. Once it is pressed, a clear and audible English voice speaks out all the information described above.
The watch also has a backlit display feature that makes it easier for the user to clearly see the large digital display in the dark or limited light conditions.
For those that would be better served by a more feminine looking watch, packing a few extra features, this Armitron Sport Unisex watch is worth considering. This product comes with a resin case and silicone band – both of which come with powder blue and rose gold tone color details. The large LCD screen displays the time, with seconds and day included as well. Lastly, the watch is based on a quartz movement.
In addition to the large LCD screen, which shows large easy to read numbers and characters, this watch also comes with a highly useful backlight feature that makes it easier for users to read the time in poorly lit or dark conditions.
As a feature rich digital watch, the Armitron Sport also comes with military time, chronograph, alarm and even lap time functions. The watch is also water resistant up to 330ft or 100m – and can therefore be worn during swimming and snorkeling; however, it is not suitable for diving.
All in all, this is a great option for highly active seniors, who enjoy engaging in a variety of fun fitness activities.
Talking of feature rich easy to read watches for seniors, this SoundPEATS Smart Watch takes things a notch higher by adding a few more interesting features to the mix. To make sure that the user gets to easily read the time, the watch face can be set to display large characters that include the time, date and day, and battery status, in contrasting colors to the background.
Other useful features found on this high-tech smart watch include fitness, heart rate, and sleep tracking capabilities. The watch comes with 12 sports modes to ensure that users can track just about any activity they can think of. This device also comes with useful smart features including showing call and text notifications – which can even be conveniently read on the watch.
It is also worth mentioning the fact that this watch can be worn for days, thanks to its water and swimming resistance as well as the long lasting battery, which can go for up to 8 days in between charging.
Another great advantage of this watch is that moving through the settings is easy and effortless, thanks to the touchscreen controls.
RELATED: Best Fitness Trackers for Seniors
For those who would rather prefer a super thin digital watch with a sporty look, the Beeasy Digital watch should be seriously considered. The watch comes with a large display that clearly shows the time, including hours, minutes and seconds, day and date. For easier viewing in the dark or poorly lit conditions, the watch also has a backlight feature.
In addition to telling time, this watch also comes with a few extra features that make it more useful to the wearer without overcomplicating its design or operation. These features include an alarm clock as well as a stopwatch, multiple alarms, dual time zone and 12 and 24 hour formats.
One of the greatest things about these extra features is that they can be ignored, with ease, by users who don’t find them useful.
Another highly affordable and easy to read digital watch, the CakCity Men’s Digital Sports Watch rounds off this list. A great option for elderly men who still enjoy a few physically engaging activities, this watch comes with a few unique features.
For starters, for easy viewing, this watch comes with a big digital display that shows the time, day and date in large clear numbers. If you find yourself in limited light conditions, you can use the LED backlight feature to light up the screen and get a clearer view.
Designed for active users, the watch is shock resistant making it great for indoor and outdoor activities including climbing, hiking and swimming – it is water resistant up to 50m.
However, it is worth noting that while this watch is a great fit for some seniors, its complicated settings make it quite complicated for some.
Digital Watches for Seniors With Dementia or Alzheimer’s
When shopping for the right watch, it is recommended that you only consider digital watches as analog displays can be quite confusing to people with dementia. Furthermore, a watch that automatically updates itself and simply tells time, with no added features or even settings is best as it minimizes any likelihood of confusion when reading the time.
Watches with features like alarms, reminders, and speaking options are nice for people with dementia too but this has to be weighed against any potential confusion the extra option may cause. Plus, extra features usually require buttons and menus for programming and accessing them which may not be a good idea either.
Theora Care GPS Tracker Watch for Dementia
If you are looking for a watch for seniors with a simple, easy to understand display, take a look at this one from Theora Care. Admittedly, it has extra features like GPS tracking, but these features are more for the caregiver.
The recipient may not even know the additional features are there. They have no access to them or control over them. Plus, there is nothing clinical looking about the watch.
You can choose from several different display options to suit the needs and abilities of the users. There are analog and digital watch faces to choose from. No button pressing is required either to use the watch. It’s water-resistant and can be worn all the time without being taken off.
For caregivers and loved ones, it serves as a full-featured GPS tracker watch with two way communication (no buttons needed!), established safe zones, and a locking clasp option. Options can be controlled from a smartphone and adjusted based on what stage of dementia the senior is in.
Here’s a video that shows you more about how this dementia watch works:
Digital or Analog Watches: Which is the Best Choice for Seniors and the Elderly?
Digital watches are becoming more popular among senior citizens and the elderly, as they are generally easier to use and don’t require winding or maintenance. However, many older folks prefer their old stand-by wind-up Timex.
Here is a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of digital and analog watches.
Advantages of Analog Watches for Older Users:
- Analog watches are more durable than digital watches. This is because analog watches use mechanical movements, which are more resistant to damage from water, dust, and other elements. Additionally, analog watches tend to have a higher level of accuracy than digital watches.
- Analog watches can be repaired if they do break. The hands can often be replaced along with other mechanical parts. If a watch’s band breaks, for example, it can be easily repaired by replacing the band with a new one. Analog watches also tend to last longer than digital watches because there is no battery to wear out.
- Analog watches are less likely to be damaged by water or other liquids because of the lack of electronic components.
- Analog watches are more accurate than digital watches. Digital watches use a clock face to tell time, while analog watches use a rotating bezel. Analog watches, especially ones with quartz movements, are typically more accurate because they don’t rely on electronic signals.
Disadvantages of Analog Watches for Older Users
- Analog watches can be difficult to read in low light. This is because the watch face is made up of small, individual numbers and symbols that are difficult to see against a dark background. Some watches have hands that glow in the dark or backlit watch faces to offset this.
- Older users may have trouble reading the time on an analog watch if their vision is not as good as it used to be. Typical analog watches have small numbers or just hour markers like dashes rather than using numbers.
- Analog watches typically require more time and effort to keep in good condition than digital watches do. Some must be wound periodically or require regular maintenance like oiling and cleaning.
Advantages of Digital Watches for Older Users
Some seniors may prefer analog watches because they are more traditional, but digital watches offer many advantages for older adults too. Here are a few of the most important ones.
- Digital watches are often easier to read than traditional watches.
- They are easier to use too because they don’t require winding, so they are less likely to go out of time.
- They can be customized to show the time in a variety of formats, including 24-hour time, 12-hour time, or military time.
- Many digital watches are water-resistant or even waterproof, which makes them convenient for wearing in wet conditions. This is also helpful because you won’t have to take them off to shower or do the dishes.
- Digital watches often have more features than traditional watches, such as fitness tracking features, alarms and even weather alerts.
Disadvantages of Digital Watches for Older Users
There are a few disadvantages to consider when choosing a digital watch for older adults.
- Some seniors may find it difficult to operate digital watches because they require more dexterity than traditional watches. Many have small buttons that must be pushed to access certain functions but the buttons are often hard to see or understand exactly what they do.
- Digital watches often have an electronic or “techy” appearance that won’t appeal to some older people. This is especially true for seniors who prefer a traditional or classic style of watch.
- Speaking of tech, some older adults may be intimidated by the technology included in some digital watches
- Digital watches are often more expensive than traditional watches. This is because digital watches use more advanced technology and can offer more features than traditional watches.
- They can be hard to read in bright lighting conditions because sunlight can drown out the light generated by the watch’s screen.
What Features Make A Watch Easy to Read?
1. Large Watch Face
Simply put, the larger the watch face, the larger the characters displayed on it. As such, any easy to read watch that claims to be any good should come with a large face that makes it easier for the user to read the time.
2. Big Numbers
The right watch should have large and readable numbers displayed on the screen. This is especially important when choosing a digital watch. You want something that has a clean display in which the time telling numbers take up most of the space. Remember that a congested display can be quite confusing even if it has big numbers
For analog watches, look for something with Arabic numerals instead of weird symbols in place of the numbers.
3. Contrast And Lighting
Contrast between the hands, numbers and the large dial background (or numbers and background for digital watches) is essential if you are going to easily make out every element of the watch display/face. For easier reading of the time in the dark or limited light conditions, a backlight feature or glowing hands and numbers are an added advantage.
4. Simple Block Style Print
Watches with a simple block style font are easiest to read. This type of watch is great for people who have trouble reading smaller fonts or who have low vision. Stay away from watches with narrow fonts, script or italicized fonts because they are harder for older eyes to read.
5. Backlit Face or Screen for watches
For seniors, it is important to have watches with backlit faces or screens. Backlighting lights the screen up so you can see it better in low light or dark conditions. This is especially helpful for analog watches as the numbers on the face can be difficult to see in these situations. Digital watches that use black fonts will also be easier to read with this technology.
6. Simple Design
While design is a matter of preference, watches with simple designs are generally easier to read and use. Watches with flashy colors and options can be distracting and even confusing – especially for more elderly people or people with dementia.
What To Look For When Choosing Watches For Older Adults
When shopping for watches for seniors and the elderly, here are some important features to look for:
The right watch should be able to always tell the right time.. period! Some watches, especially those that automatically synchronize with the atomic clock, will always tell the most accurate time. Others on the other hand simply cannot keep up, and will end up losing their accuracy with time.
Be sure to look for the most accurate watches, if you do not want your loved one to go through the agony of having to set it over and over again, or worse yet, always having the wrong time.
2. Big Buttons
If you go for a watch with a variety of additional features, be sure to look for a watch with big buttons. This way, you or your elderly loved one will be able to press the buttons with ease, even if you have arthritic hands.
3. Water Resistance
Seniors tend to be forgetful. As such, they may end up taking a bath, swimming or simply spill water or other liquids over the watch. With that in mind, a water resistance watch can be invaluable.
4. Comfortable And Easy To Use Straps
The best watches for seniors should be easy to strap on and remove. While watches with adjustment holes and a buckle may appear to be the obvious choice, those featuring Velcro or expandable bands are much easier to use.
5. Easy to Adjust and Set Time
For seniors, it can be difficult to set the time on a watch or to adjust the time. Often these functions require twisting a tiny knob and pressing a small button. This can be difficult with poor eyesight or arthritic fingers.
If a senior will be setting the time or alarms themselves, look for bigger buttons or a clear process for that. Another option is atomic watches that set themselves automatically according to the atomic clock.
6. Displays Day of the Week and Date
Many seniors prefer watches that display the day of the week and date. Some watches have this information displayed in a small window on the face of the watch, while others have a more comprehensive display that is visible from all angles. Look for clear, bold text when comparing date displays.
7. Talking Watches or Speaking Options
While some may shy from the technology, talking watches that speak are helpful because the senior can hear (outloud) the time at the press of a button. Some of these watches can even alert seniors when it is time to get up, take their medication, or eat.
8. Long Battery Life
Another important feature to look for when selecting a watch for seniors is long battery life. Many watches offer up to 18 months of battery life so no need to worry about your watch going dead or losing time in the immediate future.
9. Lightweight and Easy to Wear
Most older adults prefer watches that have simple designs and are made from lightweight materials. Lightweight watches are easier to wear especially for those with arthritis or other mobility issues.
Alternative Watch Options for Seniors and the Elderly
Of course, not every senior wants a plain Jane watch and may prefer watches with more features or safety options. Here are some other types of watches that seniors may want to consider.
Fitness Tracking Watches
As we get older, our bodies change and our fitness levels may decline. That’s why it’s important to stay active and monitor your progress with a fitness tracking watch.
Fitness tracking watches help seniors by tracking their steps taken, calories burned, and other fitness metrics. These metrics may help encourage more activity for sedentary older adults. To learn more, see my guide to the best fitness trackers for seniors by clicking here.
Medical Alert Watches
Watches that double as a medical alert device are a great way for seniors to stay safe and be notified in case of an emergency. Many can automatically monitor seniors and summon help when it’s needed.
They also allow a senior to call for help or reach emergency services if they fall. These watches can have features like GPS tracking, voice recognition, and alarms that can help to ensure that the person wearing the watch is always safe.
GPS Locator Watches for seniors
There are many GPS locator watches for seniors that can monitor a senior’s location in the event they are missing or wander off. Typically used with people with dementia, these watches can keep track of their whereabouts even if they lose cell service or are out of range of their home wifi.
Additionally, many have features like alarm clocks and tracking capabilities that notify family members in case they fall or become injured. See my guide to GPS watches for seniors here for more information.
Fall Detection Watches
Some watches have sensors that can detect when someone has fallen and will send an alert to your phone or other device. Others can call 911 or have speakers built in that allow the elderly person to talk to a dispatcher or emergency responders to assess their situation.
Learn more about fall detection watches for the elderly here.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Quartz movement in a watch?
Quartz watches are one of the most popular types of watches on the market. Quartz movements work by using a small motor to power a gear train that turns the watch’s bezel or other rotating component.
This type of movement is very reliable and typically lasts longer than other types of movements. The quartz does not provide power to the watch – the watch’s battery does that. Quartz watches are also very affordable.
Is a smart watch good for elderly people?
Yes, a smart watch can be a great idea for seniors and the elderly if they are comfortable with basic technology. Smart watches typically have features that are helpful for tracking fitness and health metrics, as well as providing alerts and notifications related to important activities or events.
Additionally, many of these watches come equipped with built-in sensors that can track vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure. There are easier to use smartwatches that are specifically designed for the elderly, and these watches typically include features such as large buttons and easy-to-read screens.
How do you read a digital watch?
Reading a digital watch is simple. All you need to do is press the button on the watch face to change the time or date. The time or date will be displayed in either 12 or 24 hour format. It is important to know which setting your watch is set to when reading it.
Is an analog or digital watch more accurate?
Analog watches have been around for centuries and are considered more accurate because they use a mechanical movement.
Digital watches use a clock chip to keep time, but they can be inaccurate because the clock chip can be off by a few seconds per day. This difference adds up over time requiring occasional adjustment.
Having an easy to read watch can help seniors better adhere to their daily schedule. When shopping for the right watch for seniors and the elderly, it is important to remember that most seniors only want a watch that can accurately tell the time. In fact, this is one of the few situations where more features are less of a requirement.
With the above information in mind, you can be able to find a watch that accurately tells time in a simple and easy to read manner – something that will be highly appreciated by your elderly loved one.