A watch is more than a simple timepiece. Apart from using it to check the time, you can also use a watch as a fitness tracker, as a GPS device, and even as a compass, among other uses. But with hundreds of different types of watches on the market, purchasing the right watch for your needs can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Whether you are buying a watch for the first time or you are replacing an obsolete one, here are some of the factors to consider when buying a watch for your hiking trip.


A watch is more than just a timepiece. Therefore, it’s important to choose a watch that aligns with your lifestyle. For instance, if you are an outdoor enthusiast and you spend most of your weekends camping, hiking, or backpacking, then you should get a watch that has features such as an inbuilt GPS, a chronograph, night vision, compass, and other tactical features. On the other hand, if you are a fitness enthusiast, you should get a watch that has a steps counter and other fitness features. With such features, it will be easier to keep track of your fitness goals.

Wrist Size

It’s important to consider the size of your wrists when buying a watch. If you choose a watch whose straps are smaller than your wrist, the watch will be extremely uncomfortable to wear for long periods. On the other hand, if the straps are bigger than your wrists, it will keep sliding back and forth. In short, a watch should fit your wrists comfortably, without being too loose or too tight. Most wrists fall under four distinct categories – skinny wrists, slender wrists, medium wrists, and thick wrists.

Skinny Wrists

If you have very thin wrists, you should avoid any timepiece that is too bulky or too big, since it will overwhelm your skinny wrists and sit awkwardly on your arm. Also, you should note that if a watch is too large than your wrists, you will find it hard to fit it neatly under your slim shirt cuffs. Therefore, you should stick to slender and small designs, if you have skinny wrists. A watch with a diameter of 38 mm should provide a good fit for people with skinny wrists.

Slender Wrists

If your wrists have a diameter of 16 to 17 cm, then they fall under the category of slender. People with slender wrists opt for a watch that is both slim and sophisticated. To achieve this combination, you should look for a watch that features a thin case. A 40-mm watch should be ideal for people with slender wrists. In terms of thickness, you should make sure that the watch is below 8mm. If it’s larger than 8mm, it will appear overwhelming and bulky.


People with medium wrists have a wide range of options when it comes to wristwatches. That being said, you should stay away from watches that are too small or too large. A watch with a diameter of 42 mm or thereof, will rest comfortably on your wrists and produce a flattering appearance. As for the strap material, you can go for either leather or a metal clasp bracelet, depending on your preferences.

Thick Wrists

If you have thick wrists, then you should select a large timepiece. However, it doesn’t mean that you should overdo it. You should instead aim to balance style with size. A watch with a diameter of 44 to 46mm will be perfect for your wrists. It will not appear too small or too large. Ideally, you should choose a watch with more features.

As much as there are no set calculations or rules regarding the size of a watch, selecting one that aligns with the size of your wrists will ensure that you end up with a proportionate and balanced timepiece. Not to mention that it will appear great and stylish on you.

Strap or Band

Straps are also a vital factor to consider when buying a watch. Leather, steel and rubber straps are the most common. Steel straps are the heaviest while rubber and fabric are the lightest. Leather, on the other hand, looks stylish and elegant. Apart from the materials, the straps are also available in different designs and colors. Therefore, you should choose the one that aligns with your watch.

Leather straps are available in two options – traditional pin buckle and deployment butterfly clasp. The deployment butterfly clasp tends to be more durable than the traditional pin buckle since it protects the strap from premature wear and tear.

Steel straps are more durable than both leather and rubber. They can comfortably handle rugged conditions, including heavy impacts. Therefore, if you are purchasing a watch for hiking, camping, backpacking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities, then you should choose a steel strap. The weight of the strap will depend on the material used. For instance, titanium is lighter than stainless steel.

Rubber straps are ideal for different lifestyles and applications. Most are usually made of silicone and natural rubber. Since rubber repels water, rubber straps will be perfect for water activities such as swimming and rafting. They can also handle hot and humid climates better than steel and leather. With proper maintenance, rubber straps can last for many years.

Watch Movements

A watch’s movement is an integral part of its functionality as well as how it keeps time. Therefore, it’s not something that you should overlook when purchasing a watch. Watches are available in three types of movements: automatic, mechanical and quartz. It’s important to understand their differences so that you can choose one that aligns with your needs and applications.

Mechanical watches: These are probably the oldest types of watches. These watches feature a movement that is powered by a system of cogs and springs. The system has to be wound by hand frequently to keep the watch ticking. After winding the mainspring, it will uncoil and unwind slowly, thus causing the watch’s second hand to move smoothly around its face. Most mechanical watches come with a mainspring that is approximately 9 to 13 inches. Watches with a longer mainspring will store more power, thus reducing the winding frequency. The main benefit of mechanical watches is that they don’t require any battery. If the watch stops ticking, you just need to wind it up. On the other side, the regular winding can be a nuisance for some people. Also, mechanical watches are highly sensitive to the environment. Since they rely on a system of gears and springs, dust, shock, magnets, and moisture can all affect the watch’s movement. Furthermore, mechanical watches tend to be quite expensive.

Automatic watches: Automatic watches operate almost the same way as mechanical watches. They are powered by a system of intricate gears and mainspring. But unlike the mechanical watches, you don’t have to keep winding them to keep them ticking. Your movement throughout the day will wind the watch, as long as you are wearing it. And that’s why they are known as automatic watches. So, what happens when you are not wearing the watch? Well, if you are not wearing it, then it’s highly advisable to store it in a small device known as a watch winder. The watch winder will keep moving the watch, thus making sure that features like date or calendar are up to date.

Quartz watches: Quartz watches are probably the most common. In fact, there is a high chance that the watch you are wearing right now is a quartz watch. What makes these watches so popular is their affordability and exceptional accuracy. Unlike mechanical and automatic watches, quartz watches are powered by a small battery. Apart from being affordable, quartz watches are also incredibly durable. Furthermore, they require minimal maintenance, besides changing the battery occasionally.


As much as it might not appear like something important, it’s always advisable to buy a watch within your budget. You don’t have to buy a watch that is out of your price range just to impress people. Instead, you should purchase something that you are comfortable with, without digging too deep into your pocket. If you are purchasing a watch for the first time, just look for something that serves your needs and falls within your budget. With time, you will learn more about the different types of watches, the features to look out for, your personal taste as well as how to differentiate between fakes and real ones.

About the Author Cindy

Hello, I'm Cindy. I’m a super duper mega hiking enthusiast, with a love for everything that has to do with outdoors, hiking, gear, footwear and more.

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