3 Things to Look for in a Sport Watch

A timepiece designed with the outdoorsman in mind can do much more than simply tell time

Illustrated arm with Cascio GShock Sport Watch
Sport watches are a less-expensive alternative to other sophisticated GPS timepieces.Casio

Just as a phone is no longer solely meant for communication, a wristwatch needn’t be only for telling time. And you don’t have to give your right arm (pardon the pun) to afford at least some of the advanced features found on today’s GPS-enabled smart watches. Many mid-range sport watches incorporate features beneficial to outdoorsmen. If you don’t want to go all in with a GPS watch, look for some of these attributes that will make your next timepiece more than just a fashion accessory or alarm clock.

Digital Altimeter and Compass

Suunto black military watch
Modern sport watches come loaded with features like a digital compass and built-in barometer.Suunto

Elevation readings are important to outdoor pursuits ranging from elk hunting to snow skiing. But pulling a hand-held GPS from the pack isn't always convenient. Whether you are cutting a contour in deep snow or marking the location of a hot wallow, a watch with a built-in altimeter will keep you oriented at a glance. Combine that with a digital compass, and you have an excellent auxiliary navigation tool that could save the day if the GPS breaks down. Some watches even feature a barometer with built-in alarm to signal the sudden approach of a storm.

Waterproof

Cascio GShock watch
Make sure the watch you choose is water resistant just in case you take a dunk.Casio

Sport watches made for all sorts of outdoor activities are generally water-resistant. However, in order to withstand the hard use in wet environments dished out by hunters and anglers, look for a watch rated for submersion up to 30 meters or more. A watch doesn't care if it got wet spearfishing for snapper, dropping in at Mavericks, or whitewater rafting, it only knows that it is—or isn't—waterproof.

Shockproof

cascio g shock solar watch
Sport watches are typically built tougher than a typical watch to withstand any abuse you might throw at it.Casio

Sportsmen are tough on gear and working with our hands puts a wristwatch in particular jeopardy. Shockproof watches are built to withstand impacts that would ruin less hardy timepieces. If you are going to wear a watch, at least choose one that you won't wear out.