For most people, checking the time and date is as easy as a quick look at your cell phone. Some may even use a flick of the wrist while wearing expensive smartwatches or fitness trackers. But, most watches today fail to meet the needs of many seniors.
So, I created the guide to finding the best easy to read watches for seniors. These recommendations include both digital and analog watches.
These watches better meet the needs of seniors and the elderly. For example, a large face watch for seniors will help those with failing eyesight. Watches without buttons are helpful to seniors with arthritis.
Having the right watch affects the daily life of seniors – especially the ones who have maintained the same schedule all their life. Any of the watches below should restore independence with knowing the correct time and date.
Video Guide to Choosing the Best 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!
Comparison Chart: Wrist Watches for Seniors
In a hurry? Here is a quick list of my recommended simple and easy to read large face watches for seniors. Each one is also simple and easy to read.
Check out this list or keep on reading for a detailed review of each watch.
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Reviews of Watches for Seniors
I looked at dozens of watches before bringing you this guide. So many seemed to have small buttons, tiny watch faces, or hard to read print. But, here are best watches for seniors that I could find.
How did I choose? The criteria I used are below the reviews.
Recommended Analog Watches for Seniors
Timex Men's Easy Reader Watch
$32.50 in stock
5 used from $ 24.52
First up, the Timex Men’s Easy Reader Watch is a well-known classic watch designed just for seniors. It has been in production for over 40 years with a long track record of quality.
It also has great styling. With at least 12 styles to choose from, it is an elegant, classy watch or a cool, casual watch depending on the style you pick.
But, the most important part is that it has a large watch face watch with bold numbers and easy to see hands.
Bold, full-sized numbers on the screen clearly indicate the time, so you may not even need to put on your glasses! A smaller number in the window tells the day of the month.
There is a small knob on the side for setting the watch. Some wearers with arthritis or poor finger dexterity may have problems with it.
This watch is also water-resistant up to 99 ft (30 m) for short periods of swimming or water exercise class, for example. So, it’s not a big deal if it gets wet from the bath or isn’t taken off for doing dishes!
The soft “Indiglo” light up dial makes it easy to tell time even in the dark, so it has plenty of easy to read features for seniors. This is a great feature for seniors who wear their watch to bed.
Finally, it isn’t distracting. The analog movement goes silently around the face without the tick of the second hand. No tick tick!
AIBI Easy to Read Women's Watch
Another senior-friendly watch is this classic casual watch has an easy to read white dial with bold, contrasting black numbers for easy viewing. The watch face is quite large too which helps making it easier to see.
Wearers say the dark grey leather strap is smooth and comfortable. Other third party watch bands will fit it too for more color selection.
The watch is splash resistant, so it’s suitable for everyday use. But, it’s not waterproof. So you can’t wear it while diving or swimming in water aerobics class. If it gets splashed though during the day, it will work just fine.
This one is just a simple basic watch that does the job.
(Update 11/3/18 – the reviews at Amazon have slipped a little since I first recommended this one. A few people have reported theirs arrived broken but that Amazon replaced them.)
Ultima Unisex Low Vision Watch
$21.95 in stock
The unisex Ultima Low Vision watch is another great watch for seniors.
I really like that it has a 1 5/8” dial size with big, black numbers that stand out perfectly against the white dial face. Notice also that the hour and minute hands themselves are thick and dark and very easy to see at a glance. This makes it very easy for people with limited vision.
Most seniors are familiar with this style of watch too. It looks like the traditional “gold” watch that many seniors are used to wearing. They are comfortable with the stretching expandable band.
It is just a very classic looking watch. The stainless steel back, quartz movement and gold-tone finish give it this classic look.
Users reports that the band of the watch is also very comfortable because it expands and contracts to give you a snug fit.
Recommended Digital Watches for Seniors
TimeChant ATOMIC! Talking Watch
Finally, in terms of simple digital watches, this one is perfect for a variety of reasons.
First, you don’t have to worry about it displaying the correct time. This Easy to Read Talking Watch sets itself every day with the atomic clock.
Second, it talks! At the press of a button, it says the time, day, date, month, and year – out loud. It is ideal for seniors who may be unable to see clearly regardless of the print size. This way, seniors can hear the time rather than squinting to see it!
But don’t worry, it is also a big easy to read digital watch with bold numbers. So, it’s also easy to see for those who would like to tell the time the traditional way. The large, over-sized LCD digits are very easy to see. Nighttime viewing is a breeze too with the backlit display. This is helpful in dim lighting conditions too.
It also features a stylish, comfortable leather strap that fits nice and softly on the wrist. This material is great for elderly skin, which is often more sensitive than others.
One caution though. There are several buttons on this watch. So, seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia could mess up some of the settings
Men’s Digital Sport Watch
$13.98 in stock
1 used from $ 9.76
Thanks to reader Lisa who brought this need to my attention in the comments below.
Many seniors and elderly people, especially those in the early stages of dementia, have trouble keeping up the day of the week and the date. This watch could help with that.
In addition to showing the time in an easy to see format, it also displays the day of the week and the current date. I like that it uses the three letter initial for the day of the week. I personally find the two letter day abbreviations confusing. This seems more clear to me.
The time though is the central focus of the display with big, bold numbers. There is also a backlight function that is helpful for seeing the time during bright or dim lighting conditions.
It is waterproof to 164 ft (50m) so it can be kept on for showering, bathing, washing dishes, etc. No need for the senior to have to take it on and off and risk misplacing it.
One concern to think about though. This watch has several buttons and some extra functions like a stopwatch, alarm, and dual time settings. This could cause some problems if the user pushes buttons and gets the watch settings out of sync.
Armitron Sport Unisex Watch
Ok, I wanted to find a digital watch that senior women would find a bit more feminine. This Armitron sport watch comes in this nice white and rose gold pattern. BUT, there are 11 other color options available that range from basic black to wild colors too!
Of course, the most important watch is that it is easy to read and easy to use. This watch is almost there – depending on the individual wearing it.
The numbers are bold and easy to read for sure. But, this one does have other function that some seniors will not want. Shouldn’t be a problem though – they can just ignore them.
It has other senior friendly features like being waterproof (to 300 ft) and is durable and comfortable to wear.
The Problems With Standard Watches
Most watches made today are designed for a younger generation – with younger eyes. Even as a guy in my mid-40’s, I am learning that my eyes aren’t what they used to be!
There is little to no thought given to the visual needs that are necessary for older people. As a result, some seniors have given up on using watches entirely and just use a clock instead. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
A Personal Example
I didn’t realize how much of an issue this was until a good friend brought it to my attention. He told me his father had dropped and broken his old watch, so he was struggling to find his dad a new watch he could use. Every watch that my friend would buy, his father would only wear for a week or so. Then, he would manage to find an excuse to stop wearing it. He tried 3 or 4 different popular brands, but his father was not impressed. Quite frankly, it seems like his dad was driving him crazy.
As a result, he sat his father down and asked him about it. Then, his father came out with the truth. He just couldn’t see the time on the modern digital watches anymore because their sleek looks and even tinier screens were too hard to read. But, his dad was just too embarrassed about his failing eyesight to say anything. He didn’t want to tell him that he just couldn’t see the tiny numbers as well as he could in the past, even with his glasses on.
My friend knew I have experience working with seniors, so he told me this story to get some advice about this. I thought for a minute and gave him a list of important features a senior needs in a watch. Finding the right watch became a simple task because he had a list of what to look for.
Little did he know he was also helping me write an article! First, the list of features that senior citizens may find useful follows below. Next, I’ve included a list of watches that we considered that meet most of the criteria.
What to Look for When Choosing Watches for Elderly
Keeping a schedule is important. It is also something that many seniors are used to doing. It is, of course, important that they be able to keep up with the current time to keep their schedule.
And, most older folks prefer to use a wristwatch rather than using a smartphone to check the time of the day.
So, keeping in mind their different needs, it is very important that the watch be easy to read.
Here is the list of what to look for when watch shopping:
- Large Watch Face. It probably goes without needing to be said but make sure that the face of the watch is large. The larger the face, the larger the display (usually)!
- Contrasting Color Hands. The minute and hours hands should be a contrasting color so that they stand out from the background. This allows people with failing vision to read the time without straining their eyes.
- Large Numbers (That Take Up the Majority of the Display). Similarly, for digital watches, choose a model in which the numbers take up the entire screen of the watch. Standard digital watches usually have tiny numbers for the time, date, and other features. Often, these displays become crowded and may not be easily readable for seniors. Ideally, the time is the only primary display on the screen for comfortable use.
- Big, Tactile Buttons. Try and find a watch with big buttons because this feature allows for easy access to other functions of the watch, or setting the time. The buttons, if any, should also be “tactile” meaning the user can feel them and feel the “crunch” when they depress them.
- Adjustable Straps. Check the number of holes in the watch strap. Elderly people may have thin wrists, so this means that they will need to fasten the strap on their wrists much tighter. More holes on the watch strap will help this.
Special Note for Seniors with Dementia
For seniors with dementia, only consider digital watch displays. Many dementia patients are unable to read a traditional watch face. (Thanks to reader Veronica for this suggestion.)
Summary and Recommendations
The best watch for seniors and the elderly is one that is easy to read, fits well, and simple to operate. Big bold numbers on large watch faces are the best. And, you can find simple watches in both analog and digital formats! There are many simple watches that meet these criteria and are also stylish.
With this range of watches available for the elderly, keeping track of the time and even the date is not as difficult as you might think, especially for people suffering from dementia or loss of vision. You can also consider fitness trackers that also look like watches.
Don’t forget about keeping up with the time at home as well. Check out my guide to easy to see clocks for the elderly by clicking here.
I hope you find the perfect watch for yourself or your loved one soon. Let me know what watch you choose and why in the comments below, and of course, questions are always welcome too. Please share on social if you found this article helpful!