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: 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!
Reviews: Best Analog Wrist Watches for Seniors
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!
Looking for a truly simple watch for seniors that you don’t have to set, wind, or deal with on a daily basis?
Lisa, one of my readers, brought this to my attention. She wanted a watch that didn’t need to be wound or have the time reset. And, that is what this easy to read watch does!
This watch sets itself by connecting to the Atomic clock which is the same system the US Government uses to keep the correct time. It even automatically adjusts for daylight savings time. And, because it is battery powered, it doesn’t need daily winding.
But, you will have to change the battery about every 6 months. The battery though is one of those small flat batteries (CR2032) that you can buy anywhere. It can be done at home too without having to go to a jewelry store or watch shop to have it changed.
It meets my other recommendations too. It has big bold print on a contrasted background. So, most seniors won’t have trouble reading it. It comes in lots of colors and band options too. The one above has the expandable band that is easier for most seniors and elderly people to put on by themselves.
Finally, this watch talks and will say the time out loud. But, the buttons to activate that are a bit small for seniors with shaky hands, Parkinson’s, or arthritic finger joints. The digital version below has an easier to use talk function.
Another senior-friendly watch is this dressy 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 strap is smooth and comfortable. It is adjustable too by adding and removing links as needed.
This watch is not water resistant, so the user should be careful if wearing it for everyday use. So you can’t wear it while bathing or swimming in water aerobics class. Care should be taken from getting it wet.
This one is just a simple watch for seniors that looks great too!
The 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 watch band is also very comfortable. Also, it is very easy to remove and put on because it expands and contracts for a snug fit.
Reviews: Best Digital Watches for Seniors
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
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.
Ok, I wanted to find some watches for older ladies that looked 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 watch features like being waterproof (to 300 ft) and is durable and comfortable to wear.
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.
RELATED GUIDE: Best Medical Alert Watches for Seniors
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.
- Easy to Use Straps and Bands. Think about how you will take the watch on and off. Watches with expandable bands or velcro straps are easier to use that leather straps with adjustment holes. Also, make sure the band or strap is adjustable to ensure a good fit.
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.
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.)
RELATED GUIDE: GPS Tracking Watches for Adults
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!