The Best Watches For Kids — How To Get Your Young Ones Interested In Watches
I was slightly over-enthusiastic when my daughter’s first birthday came around. What did I give her? A Flik Flak with Minnie Mouse on the dial. I quickly realized, however, that it doesn’t work that way. It took a few more years before she could read the time or understand the concept behind it (which, apparently, she still doesn’t, considering she takes all the time in the world to get dressed in the morning on school days…). The first watch that she wanted and could properly use was a digital watch.
She first started wearing a Garmin vívofit jr. (Princess edition, mind you). I guess it’s still easier for kids today to read the time from a display rather than decoding the position of hands. On top of that, the watch can connect to an iPad to play games and so on. From there, she also turned to Flik Flak and Swatch. I got her the Swatch “Peanuts” edition in black and white with Snoopy on it because her dad also has a few watches with Snoopy on them, I guess. But at 34mm wide, it is very large for a kid’s wrist. Swatch does offer some watches in a 25mm size but not with the cool prints for kids. It is a missed opportunity as Flik Flak suddenly seems a bit too childish once your kid can read the time properly.
Watches for kids: what are the most important features?
A watch needs to be attractive for your kid to wear it. That sounds simpler than it is since there are so many designs available that it’s difficult to pick just one. However, you know what your kid likes to do, watch, or play. So it’s best to select something that taps into one (or all) of those things. Furthermore, the watch needs to be:
Water resistant: I remember I played by a small creek when I was a kid, and yes, I would get my hands, arms, or just everything in the water. A water-resistant watch is a must-have for active kids, I think. Even when they play outside with water guns or in a pool, they (and you) won’t have to worry about the watch getting wet.
Shock resistant: Kids fall. When they’re on skateboards, skates, or in trees, they get home with holes in their clothes, bruises, scratches, etc. The watch will suffer as well. Let’s ensure that it will last for a while, at least.
Affordable: It’s very tempting to purchase a relatively expensive watch (say, more than €100) for your kid, but I also like to keep it sane. At some point, it will go kaput (although my Casio from 1985 survived), and kids will also eventually want to have something new on their wrists.
Easy to read and use: I was amazed that kids don’t learn how to tell time on an analog display in school here until eight or nine years old. But whether it’s digital or has hands, kids’ watches should make it easy for them to read the time. Digital watches especially need to be easy to use, but hey, if you have kids, you know how quickly they understand anything with a screen.
Comfortable: Lastly, a watch must be comfortable on a kid’s wrist. My daughter takes hers off when it’s uncomfortable or bothering her.
In the overview below, I will show some examples that might spark kids’ interest in watches. And who knows? Before we know it, they might become collectors!
Flik Flak Gameland Collection
Flik Flak has a large selection of watches for kids, divided into several collections. One of those is the Gameland collection. In it, we find watches like this Cyberozaurus, which is for kids who love dinos and dinosaur games. The watches in this collection have a 31.85mm diameter, and they all use a quartz movement. Importantly, they’re also water resistant to 3 bar. The price of this Flik Flak Gameland Cyberozaurus is €44. For more information on this watch and the Flik Flak collection, visit the brand’s website here.
Just like Seiko, Lorus uses names or reference numbers that are difficult to remember. But the RRX59HX9 gets the job done! It has a diving bezel for the cool kids, a quartz movement, water resistance to 10 bar, and a silicon strap for comfort. The 29.5mm case is made of plastic and has a curved acrylic crystal. This watch is priced at €30. You can find more information here.
Swatch Something New LB153
This is perhaps the most boring configuration in black and white, but I remember those early 1980s Swatches, and I didn’t complain back then. These 25mm Swatch models come in many variations, so there should be something among them for your kids. This watch has a water resistance rating of 3 bar (though Swatch indicates that you can take it into the pool without any problems) and is powered by a quartz movement. When I bought a Swatch for my daughter, the boutique punched an extra hole in the strap for her tiny wrist. Also, battery replacements are free for life. That makes it even easier to spend €60 on a Swatch! You can find this watch (and many other models) here.
Casio Baby-G BGD-565-4
These Baby-G watches come in various colors to suit any kid’s taste. There’s even a Looney Tunes collab version, but it is sold out. The brand is always open to doing cool stuff with other brands outside the Casio universe (I just got a G-Shock × Transformers watch a few months ago). Anyway, don’t let the name of this watch fool you. It’s still a big watch at 37.9mm wide, but some kids think that’s cool (I know I did)! It’s water resistant to 10 bar, only weighs 30 grams, and will run for two years on one battery.
It has a lot of features, such as a backlight, chronograph, split times, alarm, hourly beep (remember this?), a countdown timer, and a perpetual calendar. It’s also one of the most expensive watches on this list at €79.90, but it will last (forever). You can find it here.
Timex Time Machines Panda
I wasn’t aware that Timex made watches for kids, but that’s perhaps also because Timex is not represented well in this part of the world. This 29mm Timex ticks a lot of boxes for kids, though. This one has a panda theme, but you can also find versions with other themes (there’s one with a helicopter on the dial that comes on a camouflage strap for the tough kids). Timex even did a Snoopy collab, which sold out quickly. The elastic strap reminds me of Erika’s Originals, but this one has a neat panda theme. The plastic Timex Time Machines (29mm) retail for €29, and they have a water resistance rating of 30 meters.
The youngest watch brand on this list was founded by Cara Barrett. She is a mother of two and has quite the résumé in the watch world. She was a watch specialist at Sotheby’s and later worked as a writer for Hodinkee. The Parchie School-Time watch has an aluminum case with a 32mm diameter and a 30m water resistance rating. It comes on an adjustable nylon strap, and each hand on the dial has a different color to make it easier for kids to read the time. Cara indicates that this watch can be used while swimming (no deep-sea scuba diving), showering, and bathing. The Parchie School-Time retails for $65. There’s just one little problem for those outside the USA: Parchie doesn’t ship internationally. You can find more information here.
Garmin vívofit jr. 3 (Marvel)
My daughter rocks the Princess edition, but there are also a few Marvel editions in Garmin’s vívofit jr. collection. These have a water resistance rating of 5 ATM and quite a few functions — time, date, step count, sleep tracking, emergency function (with a phone number of a parent), alarm, stopwatch, Bluetooth connectivity to Android and Apple tablets to play games (kids get rewards based on activity), etc. The price of the Garmin vívofit jr. 3 is €79.99, and you can find it (as well as all other variations) here.
Let us know in the comments if you have more suggestions for kids’ watches. And if your kids get super excited about watches in general, you can always get this R is for Rolex book too!