If you are an avid outdoors type who is always out hiking or mountaineering, then you may wonder which is a better sports watch, a digital one or an analogue one. Or you may be looking to buy a gift for just such a person. Whereas someone looking for a stylish watch will often be most interested in how it looks and whether its style matches their own, sportspeople and outdoorsmen are usually much more interested in other attributes The first of these is usually ruggedness and the second is functionality.
When it comes to choosing a tough watch there should in theory be little difference between digital and analogue watches. Both have electronic mechanisms that are pretty reliable and both can be put into tough cases. Unfortunately in practise there often is a difference and this has more to do with price than technology.
The two things that really make a watch stand up to abuse are a tough, water resistant case and a strong scratch-proof face. In general digital watches are perceived as being lower quality and sell for less. This perception is slightly self reinforcing because when making a cheaper watch, a manufacturer usually won’t invest quite as much in quality materials. So for instance a high quality, high cost watch will have a strong crystal face that is resistant to scratching and breaking. A cheaper watch will often use a glass or plastic face that is more easily broken or scratched.
The same is true with cases, a cheaper watch will use a simple steel or resin case whereas a quality watch will use a solid steel one.
When it comes to function there are also some differences. Analogue watches usually have dials that are luminous and can be seen quickly in the dark. Most digital watches, on the other hand, need to be illuminated by an internal light. This means pressing a button. So for many people, especially those who wear gloves against the cold or other similar conditions, may prefer a self illuminating analogue watch.