20 Best Easy-to-Read Watches for Every Lifestyle

Dec 10, 2020
20 Best Easy-to-Read Watches for Every Lifestyle

To some people, watches have become a fashion statement. That’s why you have models like the SevenFriday P Series and Hublot Spirit of Big Bang that prioritize aesthetics over readability. But there are some people who need easy-to-read watches for their practical applications.

For example, racecar drivers need to compute lap speed while their hands are on the steering wheel. Divers require extra legibility because reading the time underwater can be challenging. Whichever lifestyle you lead, having an easy-to-read watch is helpful for different situations.

To know more about easy-to-read watches, check out our guide below.

What makes a watch more readable?

Dial design

One of the first things to look out for when finding easy-to-read watches is dial design. As a rule of thumb, the simpler the design, the easier it is to read. However, there are a few exceptions like the TAG Heuer Carrera models that incorporate a chronograph function with a minimalistic design.

Colour scheme

Apart from the design, the colour scheme also plays a big factor when it comes to legibility. For instance, if you want to increase readability, you should opt for contrasting colour schemes like black and white, as seen in Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and IWC Portofino watches. This makes it easier for you to spot the hands and hour markers against the background.

Lume

luminous dial of Rolex Submariner watch
Photo from Rolex

Watches are generally easy to read in the day. But what happens when there’s little to no light available? This is where the usefulness of lume comes in. If you expect to be in places with low light conditions, it is a good idea to invest in a watch with ample lume so you can still read it. Seiko and Rolex get a lot of praise in this department for their Lumibrite and Chromalight watches, respectively.

Best Easy-to-Read Watches for Different Lifestyles

Whether you’re a runner or a motorsports enthusiast, there’s a right watch for you. Here are some of our top picks for easy-to-read watches depending on your lifestyle.

Sports Watches

Whether you’re going to use sports watches for diving or for casual wear, having an easy-to-read dial can come in handy.

1. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra

front view of Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 38mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 55 hours
  • Water resistance: 150m

To start off this list, we have a special kind of Seamaster — the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra. Based on its name, this watch is perfect for use on both land and sea, which means that triathletes will appreciate the versatility of this timepiece. Indeed, the Omega Seamaster is a popular sports watch even before it became James Bond’s choice. And among the options in the market, the Aqua Terra one has arguably one of the best price-to-performance ratios.

One of the first things that you’ll notice about this Omega watch is that it has a simpler and more elegant dial compared to other Seamaster models. Instead of round indexes, it has trapezoidal marks. Its hands are also less decorative, which makes the dial less cluttered. The minute hand also has an arrowhead for more precise timekeeping. Furthermore, the contrast of the hour markers against the black background helps when it comes to legibility.

The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra is popular for a reason. Whether you wear it for water sports or business meetings, this easy-to-read watch boasts grace under pressure.

2. Oris Divers Sixty-Five

front view of Oris Divers Sixty-Five watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 40mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 38 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

For an easy-to-read dive watch, you can never go wrong with the Oris Divers Sixty-Five. It has one of the most solid specs sheets and with it comes an attractive vintage-inspired design. Looking at the whole face of the watch, you’ll get what you expect from any other diver — thick bezel, round indices, and an uncluttered dial. But what makes this Oris Divers watch stand out is its colourway, which is not only interesting but also very readable.

Green is an uncommon choice when it comes to watches. However, Oris dialled in the right shade so that it looks at home with this watch. And if you look closely, it has a subtle grainy texture that gives it visual interest. To make things better, it is complemented by the golden patina of the handset and hour markers. Lastly, the whole dial is protected by a domed crystal to complete the theme.

At the side of the bezel, you’ll see a hint of bronze that adds to its vintage look. In all honesty, you wouldn’t notice its two-toned colour combination unless you look properly. To conclude, this edition has a unique colour scheme; it doesn’t stray too far from the original look of the Divers Sixty-Five lineup. No doubt the Oris Divers Sixty-Five is a pleasure to wear for any diver.

3. Casio G-Shock

front view of Casio G-Shock Solar Origin GMW-B5000-1JF watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 49.3mm
  • Movement: Digital
  • Power reserve: n/a
  • Water resistance: 200m

Let’s go digital for now with the Casio G-Shock Solar Origin GMW-B5000-1JF. At first glance, it is obvious that this watch can handle tough situations. It even has the word “tough” written on its dial. Moreover, it inherited the design and legibility of past Casio G-Shock watches.

The G-Shock Solar Origin’s LCD screen is very easy on the eyes. To boot, the time function takes up almost 50% of the screen’s real estate. Together with the simple font and colour, these details make this Casio watch a breeze to read the time. In low-light conditions, it can provide a backlight feature, which the brand calls “Super Illuminator”. This is very useful for people who are often outdoors even at night.

In terms of timekeeping accuracy, this watch uses G-Shock’s Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping technology. It receives radio signals from up to six different transmitters around the world. Furthermore, you can sync its time with your phone via the G-Shock app.

Sports watches need to be tough and this model certainly delivers. If you’re out searching for a sturdy yet affordable timekeeper, this one should be on your radar. G-Shock is definitely known for making easy-to-read watches.

4. Seiko Prospex PADI

front view of Seiko Prospex PADI watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 44mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 50 hours
  • Water resistance: 200m

Another worthy contender in the sports watch category is the Seiko Prospex PADI. As proof, let’s break down its name. Prospex comes from the words “professional specification”, while PADI means the watch was made in partnership with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. That being said, you can be certain that this Seiko Prospex watch can handle all your diving demands.

Being a dive watch, it is important for this model to be legible, as lighting conditions underwater can be harsh. To demonstrate, its white hour markers contrast well against the black dial. The hands are also thick for divers to easily spot. Moreover, it comes with a useful and attractive Pepsi bezel to warn divers when it’s time to go above the surface.

In conclusion, the Prospex PADI from Seiko is a wonderful watch for serious divers. Its reliable movement and no-frills design will aid you in exploring the oceans.

5. Tissot T-Sport Chrono XL Tour de France

front view of Tissot T-Sport Chrono XL Tour de France Collection watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 45mm
  • Movement: Quartz
  • Power reserve: n/a
  • Water resistance: 100m

If you’re into cycling, then you must check out the Tissot Chrono XL Tour de France models. This edition from the Tissot T-Sport collection was made in honour of one of the biggest cycling events in the world. Its design is also inspired by bicycle details, such as the champ’s yellow jersey. Meanwhile, the contrasting black and yellow colour scheme makes it very easy to tell the time even when you’re busy pedalling.

The quartz movement provides ample timing features. To start, it has 30-minute and 1/10 of second counters. It also has a central 60-second chronograph hand and both add and split functions. You can expect this watch to provide superior accuracy, as quartz watches are known for that.

Tissot has been a trusted maker of sports watches for years. If you’re in the market for a watch you can bring to your next ride, the Tissot T-Sport Chrono XL Tour de France is definitely a must-have.

Travel Watches

Travel watches started with pilots and flight staff needing a watch that can tell two time zones at once. And despite the added feature, it is important for these watches to have legible dials, as pilots need to tell the time while manoeuvring an aircraft. Read below as we round up five of the best easy-to-read travel watches in the market.

1. Rolex GMT Master II

front view of Rolex GMT Master II watch

Specs:

  • Case material: White gold
  • Case dimension: 40mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 70 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

There’s no question that the Rolex GMT Master II is one of the most desirable travel watches around. History has it that it was even made for pilots and flight staff back in the ’50s. In particular, it is useful to travellers for its dual-time zone ability.

Despite having a complicated feature, the GMT Master II made it to the list of easy-to-read watches. Instead of putting another sub-dial, it uses an extra hand to tell the 2nd time via the bezel. While it is confusing to learn at first, you’ll find that reading the time will be a breeze once you get the hang of it.

The Rolex GMT Master II will make travelling a lot more fun for you. You can’t go wrong with this classic GMT watch from Rolex.

2. Patek Philippe Complications GMT

front view of Patek Philippe Complications GMT watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Rose gold
  • Case dimension: 42mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 45 hours
  • Water resistance: 60m

If you have a bigger budget, I would suggest the Patek Philippe Complications GMT. Like the Rolex GMT Master II, this travel watch from Patek Philippe can tell two time zones. The difference is that this one has no GMT bezel on its case. Instead, it uses a dedicated 24-hour hand that can be adjusted independently from the other hands.

The design of this Patek Philippe Complications watch is bold and distinctive with large Arabic numeral markers. These hour markers come in a rose gold finish to promote legibility as they contrast against the black dial. In addition, they are applied with lume so users can still read the time in the dark.

Jetsetters can never go wrong with a Patek Philippe Complications GMT. It is one of the most prestigious travel watches with a rich pedigree to boast.

3. Zenith Pilot

front view of Zenith Pilot Bronze watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Bronze
  • Case dimension: 45mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 50 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

For travellers who want to make a statement, the Zenith Pilot Bronze is something to consider. It sports a green and bronze colour scheme that seems to be on-trend lately. But beyond its colourway, it has a classic pilot watch look.

On the dial, you’ll see extra-large hour markers and hands. With those, it’s easy to read the time even from afar. Apart from the functionality that the dial offers, this Zenith Pilot watch is also attractive. The cathedral hands are elegant and go well with the Arabic numerals. For sure, you’ll make every watch lover’s head turn when you wear this watch outside.

The Zenith Pilot Bronze boasts a fusion of vintage and modern design. For those who want the best of Swiss watches, this timepiece from Zenith is a strong contender.

4. Citizen Promaster Land Eco-Drive

front view of Citizen Promaster Land Eco Drive watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Titanium
  • Case dimension: 41mm
  • Movement: Quartz
  • Power reserve: n/a
  • Water resistance: 200m

The Citizen Promaster Land Eco-Drive is a good buy if you’re after an affordable everyday travel watch. As its name suggests, this watch from the Citizen Promaster collection has everything you could ever ask for in a watch. For one, it has a simple design that is versatile enough for various outfits. Secondly, it is packed with features that will prove useful when you’re outdoors.

To be specific about the features, it has a perpetual calendar and an accurate solar quartz movement. In fact, this Citizen watch is radio-controlled to ensure that the displaying time is always correct and exact. Furthermore, it is solar-powered, which means you don’t have to go through the hassle of changing its batteries.

This is the watch to get if you value ease of use. While it is one of the cheapest travel watches on this list, it definitely isn’t the last.

5. Sinn Pilot Watch 104

front view of Sinn Pilot Watch 104 watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 41mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 38 hours
  • Water resistance: 200m

Flieger lovers will appreciate adding the Sinn Pilot Watch 104 to their collection. Indeed, this traditional pilot watch from Sinn has a modernized design without losing its functionality.

At first glance, the dial looks cluttered. But the longer you look, the more you’ll realize that it was made for optimum readability. For instance, the hour and minute hands come in a syringe style. The slim tip allows you to read the time with maximum accuracy. Likewise, the rectangular hour markers are thick and are easy to see.

With its sharp modern looks and reliability, this Pilot watch from the Sinn Instrument Watches collection is definitely a good companion for when you’re bitten by the travel bug.

Fitness Watches

Timing your laps is important in a lot of sports. That being said, here are our top five picks for easy-to-read fitness watches that will help you achieve your goal.

1. TAG Heuer Connected Modular

front view of TAG Heuer Connected Modular 2020 watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 45mm
  • Movement: Digital
  • Power reserve: n/a
  • Water resistance: 50m

Outside motorsports, TAG Heuer also makes attractive fitness watches. What makes their fitness watches look good is that these models are inspired by the design of the iconic TAG Heuer Aquaracer and TAG Heuer Carrera watches. One model that you should check out is the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 2020.

Simply put, it is the latest revamped model of the TAG Heuer Connected Modular lineup. It uses the same Google Wear OS that features sports tracking, onboard GPS, and a heart rate monitor. The difference is that TAG decided to introduce their new app called the TAG Heuer Sports app, in addition to the fitness apps that are available in Google Wear OS.

Overall, this model is a worthy fitness watch that borrows a lot of tips from the TAG Heuer design bible. Need a fitness tracker but want that traditional watch design? The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 2020 is your answered prayer.

2. Casio Pro Trek

front view of Casio Pro Trek watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 56mm
  • Movement: Digital
  • Power reserve: n/a
  • Water resistance: 100m

For people who need an affordable watch that they can take while hiking outdoors, the Casio Pro Trek PRW-3100T-7JF is a good choice. It is packed with features and, at the same time, it boasts durable material so you wouldn’t worry about ruining it while on a run.

Among its features are a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, stopwatch, and a full auto-calendar. To boot, it has an accuracy rating of +/- 15 seconds per month. This Casio Pro Trek watch can also handle extreme conditions as it is low-temperature resistant. According to Casio, it can survive temperatures up to -10°C, perfect for your climbing adventures.

There’s no doubt that the Casio Pro Trek can handle whatever you throw at it. It is definitely something you should consider for your next fitness watch.

3. Suunto 9 Baro

front view of Suunto 9 Baro Lime watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Glass fibre reinforced polyamide
  • Case dimension: 50mm
  • Movement: Digital
  • Power reserve: n/a
  • Water resistance: 100m

If you want something that’s built to last, the Suunto 9 Baro Lime watch offers excellent battery life and durability, which is why it is one of the top picks for runners and cyclists. But aside from those features, this Suunto watch also has a long list of features that you will find useful while exercising.

One of the watch’s highlights is its 120 hours of battery life when in ultra mode. Moreover, it also sends notifications if it’s time to charge your watch so you don’t have to worry about it dying in the middle of a training session. In addition, the Suunto 9 offers a lot of new features like climb mode, sprint mode, and bearing navigation.

All things considered, this easy-to-read watch is the perfect companion for serious runners and cyclists.

4. Garmin Forerunner 45

side view of Garmin Forerunner 45 watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Plastic
  • Case dimension: 42mm
  • Movement: Digital
  • Power reserve: n/a
  • Water resistance: 50m

Another running-focused fitness watch is the Garmin Forerunner 45. It has all of the running-related features you need in an attractive and lightweight smartwatch, from an accurate GPS to long battery life.

This watch features a Garmin Coach, which provides adaptive training plans that are tailored for your goals. These workouts can be synced right to your watch. To boot, it has a built-in heart rate monitor that can alert you if you’ve been pushing yourself too much.

Garmin is one of the leading brands when it comes to fitness watches. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you will surely appreciate the usefulness of this easy-to-read Garmin Forerunner 45 watch.

5. Apple Watch Nike Edition

side view of Apple Watch Nike Edition watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Aluminium
  • Case dimension: 44mm
  • Movement: Digital
  • Power reserve: n/a
  • Water resistance: 50m

You know that it’s a reliable fitness watch when it has one of the top sports brands in its name. The Apple Watch Nike Edition is especially for people who are deep into the Apple ecosystem. That being said, it will give you an easier time monitoring your workouts as it is easy to sync with your phone.

Among its features are a compass, an always-on retina display, and a Nike Run Club app baked in. With this app, you can easily monitor your progress and analyse your run with the Pace Graph complication. Furthermore, it has a Nike Twilight Mode that fills the screen with a solid colour to make it easy to read. This is a useful feature to have for those late-night runs.

The Apple Watch Nike Edition is one of the fitness watches to consider if you’re already using an iPhone. Its features and ability to sync with your phone make it a good investment.

Motoring Watches

Horology has a long history with car racing. Drivers need reliable and easy-to-read watches to compute their speed during competition. If you’re into motorsports, here are some of our favourite motoring watches in the market.

1. TAG Heuer Carrera

front view of TAG Heuer Carrera watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 42mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 80 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

A list of motoring watches would not be complete without the TAG Heuer Carrera. In a world where the term “iconic” is being used loosely, this watch definitely deserves that title. As evidence, history books about watches and motorsports never fail to mention this timepiece.

One amazing thing about this watch from TAG Heuer is that it managed to maintain its minimalistic style despite being a chronograph watch. It has two unobtrusive sub-dials for the timer functions. Furthermore, you’d hardly notice a sweeping seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock.

For hardcore fans of motoring watches, the TAG Heuer Carrera is a must-have item. Apart from its long history with motorsports, it has a versatile and easy-to-read design that you can wear every day.

2. Bell & Ross Vintage

front view of Bell & Ross Vintage BR V3-94 R.S.19 watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 43mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 42 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

If you’re not a big fan of minimalism, then the Bell & Ross Vintage BR V3-94 R.S.19 is on the other end of the spectrum. It sports an automotive-inspired flashy colourway that consists of yellow, green, and orange.

However, don’t get the idea that this watch is hard to read. In spite of its busy dial, the colour schemes are well thought out. As an example, the hands come in neon orange that stands out from the background and sub-dials. The dial is also filled with Super-LumiNova to help you read the time in darkness.

Overall, the Vintage BR V3-94 R.S.19 watch from Bell & Ross is a loud timepiece that screams motorsports. If you’re eyeing a casual model that you can wear during race day, take note of this one.

3. Rolex Daytona

front view of Rolex Daytona watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 40mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

While Rolex is famous for its dive watches, they also dominate when it comes to motoring watches. That being said, another big name in the motorsports world is the Rolex Daytona.

The Panda dial, in particular, is famous for its looks. Basically, it has a white background with hints of black just like a panda bear. Enthusiasts say that this is to increase legibility. It has three sub-dials for timing laps and a high-quality movement for precision. To be specific, it makes use of the Rolex 4130 calibre, which is one of the most respected movements made by Rolex.

Whether you’re a Rolex or a motorsports fan, the Rolex Daytona is definitely a watch that should be on your radar.

4. Omega Speedmaster Racing Co-Axial

front view of Omega Speedmaster Racing Co-Axial watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 40mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 52 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

The Omega Speedmaster may be known for being the first watch to land on the moon. This specific model, however, is one of the known motorsports watches in the market. That model is called the Omega Speedmaster Racing Co-Axial.

Like the other Speedmaster models, this one has a chronograph and tachymeter for your timing needs. The difference lies in the design. In particular, the Racing models have carbon fibre sub-dials and a racing-inspired colour scheme; while inside, it runs on the calibre 3330, which has a co-axial escapement.

This Omega watch was made to push a race car to its limits, so if you’re a hardcore motorsports enthusiast, this timepiece is worth checking out. It has all the goodness of an Omega Speedmaster with the racing theme treatment.

5. Tudor Fastrider Chrono

front view of Tudor Fastrider Chrono Black Shield watch

Specs:

  • Case material: Ceramic
  • Case dimension: 42mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 46 hours
  • Water resistance: 150m

Tudor is not primarily known for making motoring watches, but the brand started collaborating with Ducati to make a chronograph that can be used in the race track. With that said, it is worth taking a look at the Tudor Fastrider Chrono Black Shield.

This watch comes in a stealthy matte black ceramic case with a bead-blasted finish. Furthermore, the marks on the tachymeter come in a darker black to maintain the monochrome look of the case. However, that monochrome theme gets broken when it comes to the dial. The hour markers and the hands pop out with their bronze colour. This makes it easy to read the time despite the busy chronograph dial.

When it comes to quality, Tudor has been tried and tested. And their partnership with a big brand like Ducati is a testament to that quality. Indeed, this Tudor Fastrider Chrono watch is something to look forward to.

Final Notes

Easy-to-read watches will always be in style. Apart from being convenient, they tend to be elegant, thanks to the simplicity of their design. It is always a good idea to have at least one watch with good legibility.

Bauhaus watches are usually easy to read. If you’re interested in them, check out our review of Sternglas Watches!

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