Sport Watch Buying Guide

If, like many, you vowed to get fit, lose weight or tone up but have yet to realise your ambitions then read on. Our guide to the latest fitness and sports watches and the functions they offer will help whip you into shape in no time.

Entry Level Sports Watches

Your choice of sports watch undoubtedly depends on what you want to achieve so consider whether it’s climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or running a marathon; your goal will inform which functions you need on your watch. An entry level price point for a basic digital watch with chronograph for timing is around a mere £40, with offerings from household brand names such as Casio and Adidas so there really is no excuse to get started – your time starts NOW!

  • Casio Unisex Classic Alarm Chronograph
    Casio Unisex Classic Alarm Chronograph
    A classic digital sports watch from Casio featuring 12/24 hour time display, backlight illuminator, date, chronograph and alarm.

    RRP: £20
    Available from: Watch Shop
  • Asics Unisex Race Regular Alarm Chronograph
    Asics Unisex Race Regular Alarm Chronograph
    Designed with athletes in mind, this Asics watch features intuitive functions including chronograph and lap timer, countdown timer with alarms for interval training, dual time and is also water resistant to 50m.

    RRP: £69
    Available from: Watch Shop
  • Adidas Unisex Peachtree Alarm Chronograph
    Adidas Unisex Peachtree Alarm Chronograph
    Sleek sports watch with a high visibility display, date function, chronograph for timing and alarm.

    RRP: £50
    Available from: Watch Shop

GPS Watches

Key in the marketplace for fitness are watches which utilise GPS to accurately track distances, speed and the all-important number of calories burned to help you keep track of your performance and motivate you to continue. Many of these now offer connectivity to either your PC or smartphone so you can do clever things like see your route on a map, record personal bests and monitor your progress over time. Brands coming up trumps in this arena include Garmin and TomTom who might be familiar to you if you have a satellite navigation system in your car.

  • Timex Ironman Easy Trainer GPS
    Timex Ironman Easy Trainer GPS
    An affordable GPS watch designed for runners and walkers who want to track pace, speed and distance. Also includes workout memory, interval timer, alarm functionality and two time zones.

    RRP: £99.99
    Available from: Wiggle
  • TomTom Runner GPS Watch
    TomTom Runner GPS Watch
    Allows you to track time, distance and pace on a high resolution display as well as achieve goals with the help of its graphical training partner.

    RRP: £149.99
    Available from: Tom Tom
  • Garmin Forerunner® 10
    Garmin Forerunner® 10
    This simple GPS watch is voted best for runners with functionality to track distance, pace and calories as well as track personal records. Utilise Garmin connect to review data and share runs.

    RRP: £99.99
    Available from: Garmin

Heart Rate Monitor Watches

The other main fitness function if not tracking distances is a heart rate monitor. We all know that to increase our fitness levels and burn fat we need to exercise aerobically and that means an elevated heart rate; but how to work out at the correct intensity? Enter the integrated fitness watch. These all-singing watches from specialist equipment brands such as Polar and Beurer provide multiple training features including heart rate monitors which allow you set a target zone and bespoke training programmes to help you reach your fitness goals.

  • Beurer PM90
    Beurer PM90
    A comprehensive training tool including ECG precise heart rate measurement, altitude measurement, fitness test and lap timer as well as metabolic calculator. Comes complete with bicycle mounting bracket, training and PC interface software.

    RRP: £99.99
    Available from: Argos

  • Cardiosport Combi C3
    Cardiosport Combi C3
    Designed for health and fitness at all levels, the Combi C3 includes the brands patented CardioZone training system allowing you to set a target training zone and sustain it. Functions include interval timer, fat burn and body mass index, calorie counter and heart rate display.

    RRP: £70
    Available from: HaB Direct

  • Polar FT7
    Polar FT7
    Described as an integrated fitness watch with heart rate, the Polar FT7 includes multiple features including calories burned, training history, data transfer to PC or Mac as well as additional watch features including day, date, dual time zone and water resistance of 30m.

    RRP: £93.50
    Available from: Polar

Swimming Watches

If you’re a water baby at heart, there are even sports watches specifically designed to help you achieve your goals in the pool. No more counting tumble turns, let your watch take the strain with functions that log your distance, pace, stroke count and even swimming efficiency allowing you to focus on improving technique. Brands with dedicated swimming sports watches include Speedo, Garmin and Swimovate.

  • Speedo Aquacoach Watch
    Speedo Aquacoach Watch
    Count laps, distance, speed and calories with this feminine offering from renowned swim brand Speedo which recognises all 4 swimming strokes. Water resistant to 100m.

    RRP: £85
    Available from: Speedo
  • Swimovate Pool Mate
    Swimovate Pool Mate
    The Pool Mate features accurate motion sensors to work with all major swimming strokes with no set up required. With data stored from over 100 swimming sessions you can track progress efficiently. Available in four colours, blue, pink, black and grey this watch also features a chrono mode for use in other sports. Water resistant to 50m.

    RRP: £69.99
    Available from: Wiggle
  • Garmin Swim
    Garmin Swim
    Billed as the only watch that logs your distance, pace, stroke count and stroke type and includes free wireless online analysis at Garmin Connect. This water baby has the power to increase your swimming efficiency and with its slim profile it won’t drag you under. Water resistant to 50m.

    RRP: £129.99
    Available from: Wiggle

Outdoor Sports Watches

For those of you who prefer a more holistic or extreme approach to exercise, exploring the wider world and getting fit at the same time, you may wish to consider additional functionality including compass, altimeter and other orienteering tools to help you on your way. Don’t expect feminine design and colour ways but do expect to pay a premium price for a watch with specialist functionality from the likes of Suunto and Luminox, the brand whose watches are worn by none other than the US Navy SEAL’s. Base jumping anyone?

  • Luminox Recon NAV SPC
    Luminox Recon NAV SPC
    From the brand that brings us the original Navy SEAL watch and its self powered illumination system, comes the NAV SPC. This watch is the ideal navigation tool with its tachymeter scaled to measure walking speeds and a removable compass as well as 200 metre water resistance.

    RRP: £360
    Available from: Jura Watches
  • Suunto Ambit 2
    Suunto Ambit 2
    Designed for outdoor adventure with the latest GPS technology and advanced functions to keep you safe wherever your journey takes you. Includes a barometer, storm alarm and 3D compass technology. If that wasn’t enough it also features multisport functions for running, biking and swimming allowing a data log for each activity including distance, duration, pace – the perfect partner for taking on a triathlon.

    RRP: £360
    Available from: Facewest
  • Casio Pro Trek Pathfinder Titanium
    Casio Pro Trek Pathfinder Titanium
    Lightweight and durable with its titanium strap, this Pro Trek watch weathers the storm with an altimeter, barometer, compass and thermometer to survive in the toughest environments. With 200 metre water resistance, this watch can be your guide on a multitude of adventures from kayaking to hill walking.

    RRP: £350
    Available from: OutdoorGB

For further in-depth features on sports watches, please visit our sports watch reviews page and check out our review of the Polar FT60 sports watch here.

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