Now more than ever, the line between smartwatches and sport watches is becoming increasingly blurry. But outside of their many overlapping features, these are two different types of watches catered toward two different types of users.
Among countless other features, smartwatches allow you to text, make and receive calls, check social media, and otherwise stay connected at all times. Some of the best sport watches for men include those features as well. But at their core, they’re all about health and fitness tracking.
Today, we’ll explore the finest specimens from the latter camp—the sport watch. Along the way, I’ll analyze their features, which activities they’re best for, and the different types available, from budget and luxury options to analog and Swiss-made timepieces.
It’s a good day to be a wrist.
Today’s market is flooded with sport watch options ranging from super-niche to entry-level. If you’re a semi-serious athlete looking for a jack-of-all-trades timepiece, you can’t go wrong with Garmin’s Forerunner 245.
On a budget and don’t care about watch trends? You still have endless options—but look first to the Fitbit Versa 3 for its impressive suite of features that defy its approachable price tag.
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Sport watches are all over the place. Some get deep in the running weeds. Others have features made specifically for mountain climbers. Others still are… well, perfect. Perfect for everyone.
Filling the big shoes of that last bucket is the Garmin Forerunner 245. It’s got too many features to mention, from an integrated heart rate monitor and stress tracking to incident-detection alerts and cadence metrics. You may not use all of them, but it’s nice to know they’re there.
Put another way, this is the one-size-fits-all watch for anyone who’s into an active lifestyle and appreciates the attention to detail, but doesn’t necessarily want to get all fussy about it.
Material: Fiber-reinforced Polymer | Diameter: 42mm | Battery Life: 24 Hours – 7 Days | GPS: Yes | Water Resistant: Yes
The Fitbit Versa 3 is far and away one of the best sport watches for men in the budget category. You get all the bells and whistles that the fancy-pants watches offer, minus the fancy-pants price tag. Sorry for saying fancy-pants twice back there. Won’t happen again. Moving on.
This sporty timepiece features built-in GPS, Spotify compatibility, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, a daily Sleep Score to make sure your Zs are on the right track, and Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Score, which involves tracking your vitals and offering its opinion as to whether you’re ready for a tough workout or a recovery day.
And in case you missed it, yes, your watch has opinions now.
Material: Synthetic | Diameter: 50mm | Battery Life: 12 Hours – 6 Days | GPS: Yes | Water Resistant: Yes
If every word I’ve written up to this point has piqued your interest, I love that. Love. But chances are, you’re doing a little cherry-picking. And if you’ve decided to cherry-pick this section, I’m guessing you enjoy water or water-adjacent sports.
Lucky day. This one’s for you. The tried-and-true Ironman Classic 30 from Timex is about as far as you can get from a smartwatch, but a sport watch through and through it is—especially when it comes to water sports. It’s water-resistant to approximately 320 feet, importantly. Snorkeling. Swimming. Go for it. It also features a 99-lap counter, 30-lap memory recall, and has an approachable price for what you’re getting.
Material: Resin | Diameter: 38mm | Battery Life: 10 Years | GPS: No | Water Resistant: Yes
Coros makes some of the best and most reliable sport watches out there today and has an excellent reputation among both elite and amateur athletes—including world record marathon holder Eliud Kipchoge representing the former camp. The entry-level Coros Pace 2 is right on par with that reputation.
This digital watch is packed with all the fitness metrics you’d expect from a sport watch of its caliber, including the ability to track interval workouts and create a circuit of exercises. Further sweetening the pot, it’s a super lightweight timepiece that won’t interfere with or distract you from your workouts.
Material: Fiber-reinforced Polymer | Diameter: 43mm | Battery Life: 30 Hours – 20 Days | GPS: Yes | Water Resistant: Yes
Will any old sport watch do for tracking your runs on basic levels? Yes. Should you maybe sit this one out if you’re not a die-hard runner? Probably. Also, to each their own. You do you.
If you’re still with me and the Garmin Fenix 7, we’ve got some exciting features to acquaint you with. For starters, it’s the first Fenix with a touchscreen—a must for many runners. And in addition to being tough as nails, it features some of the most advanced maps I’ve seen, not to mention endless 24/7 health monitoring stats.
Which is all good and fine, but it’s all for naught without music or podcasts, right? Right. Spotify, Amazon Music, and other apps are integrated.
Material: Fiber-reinforced Polymer | Diameter: 47mm | Battery Life: 57 Hours – 18 Days | GPS: Yes | Water Resistant: Yes
Apple watches are ubiquitous among amateur athletes, almost making them a no-brainer for this list. But since they’re a combination of sport watch and smartwatch-proper, breaking the best Apple Watch into its own category just makes good sense to me, so here we are.
Launched in the fall of 2022, the Ultra is a beast when it comes to features. The 36-hour battery life is impressive and perfect for weekend-warrior camping trips, and it features updated heart rate zones and cadence metrics for runners.
Safety is also a priority with the Ultra—fall- and crash-detection are integrated, plus a siren can be activated by pushing the “Action” button. Basically, if there’s a sport or activity you’re into, this thing probably has a feature or an app specific to it.
Material: Titanium | Diameter: 49mm | Battery Life: 36 Hours | GPS: Yes | Water Resistant: Yes
It should come as no surprise that Garmin is making its third appearance on my list of the best sport watches for men. They just know their way around a wrist. Now, do I feel like I should apologize for saying, “they just know their way around a wrist?” Yes. Am I going to? No. Nope.
Onward and upward, the Vivoactive 4 is a powerhouse of fitness tracking and overall smart features that will help keep you performing at your peak. Outside of these features, it allows you to download and stream playlists from Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer. This means you can leave the phone at home, making you that much leaner when you’re training.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 45mm | Battery Life: 6 Hours – 8 Days | GPS: Yes | Water Resistant: Yes
Advanced features are nice, even necessary if you’re a serious athlete with serious goals that you need to track over time. But we’re not all elite athletes and, let’s face it, there are dozens of features that the average person will never touch on a more advanced sport watch.
Enter: Polar’s Unite. If you fit the description above in any way, this watch likely has all the features you need and not much else. Heart rate tracking. Activity tracking. Step counts. You get it. It’s also lightweight and has a stronger than average battery life.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 44mm | Battery Life: 50 Hours – 4 Days | GPS: Yes | Water Resistant: Yes
Not all of the best sport watches for men were made with down-and-dirty outdoor activities in mind. Some, in fact, are more suited to James Bond-like activities. Which… is a really broad stroke. But if there ever was a timepiece capable of helping you make sense of that stroke, it’s the I.N.O.X Mechanical from Victorinox—the very same company responsible for the original Swiss Army Knife.
This ruggedly attractive watch is begging for a place in your everyday rotation. But don’t judge or underestimate it based on its luxury looks or Swiss-made automatic movement. On the functional side, you’re working with water resistance to 650 feet, borderline indestructible construction, and scratch resistance. If you’re looking for a sport watch that wears a lot of hats, you found it.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 43mm | Battery Life: Automatic Movement—No Battery Required | GPS: No | Water Resistant: Yes
Since I don’t have a deep bench of sport watches for men in my watch wardrobe, I personally prefer a one-and-done digital version with just enough features to keep me informed as to my heart rate and general activity metrics. But if there’s one watch with any potential for converting me to analog, it’s the Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch from Skagen.
Thanks to its mechanical hands, from a distance this looks like an unassumingly handsome dress watch that’s more than worthy of sidling up next to a suit for work, weddings, and all manner of related leisurely pursuits. But zoom in, and you’ll find a suite of sport watch features like step, sleep, and heart-rate tracking, plus integrated apps like Google Fit and Apple HealthKit.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 38mm | Battery Life: Up To 1 Week | GPS: Yes | Water Resistant: Yes
100% Swiss-made, Breitling’s Endurance Pro is the thinking man’s sport watch. It’s no doubt a luxury timepiece worthy of attention, but it’s also got loads of function under that aesthetically pleasing hood.
For starters, it’s made of a proprietary material that’s both stronger and lighter than titanium. It’s also water-resistant up to 10 bars (or 330 feet), scratch-resistant, accurate to approximately 10 seconds per year, and happens to look damned good while it’s at it. And since we’re on the subject, let’s go ahead and tack on a few bonus points for being trusted by a handful of record-holding triathletes and Ironman competitors.
Material: Breitling’s Breitlight | Diameter: 44mm | Battery Life: 3-4 Years | GPS: No | Water Resistant: Yes
The Rolex Yacht Master 42 is proof that the best sport watches for men come in all shapes, sizes, and, yes, precious materials. Elements of the dial have been made with 18-karat gold from Rolex’s own foundry, and it features a come-hither black dial that skews more elegant than busy. While it’s certainly not the cheapest Rolex out there, it is one of the most versatile.
On the sporting side, this is a durable, waterproof timepiece that’s ideal for sailing, kite surfing, or floating on your back while you think about nothing as gentle waves have their gentle way with your zenned-out body. Hey, to each their own. And when it’s time to get out of the water and make your cameo at a formal evening event, the Yacht Master won’t skip a sartorial beat.
Material: 18-Karat Gold | Diameter: 42mm | Battery Life: 70 Hours | GPS: No | Water Resistant: Yes
What To Look For In The Best Sport Watches For Men
Sport watches are niche products, and you’re likely in the market for one because you live an active lifestyle, aspire to live an active lifestyle, or just want to count your steps to stay motivated. Regardless of your reason for wanting one, outstanding options are available to you.
Specific features can be as basic as heart-rate monitoring or as advanced as customized plans and profiles for triathlons, duathlons, and anywhere between.
To the detriment of many a training plan or well-intentioned outing in the woods, battery life is an oft-overlooked feature of sport watches for men. If you’re planning a camping trip in the middle of nowhere and lean on technology to keep you headed in the right direction, battery life is going to be key for you.
If accurately tracking runs in the city is your priority, consider it less of a concern. Either way, pay attention to the power your sport watch’s battery is packing.
Not everyone has the budget for multiple watches. Sometimes all you’re looking for is a handsome watch that can transition from the field to the bar, the track to the office, or the trail to the shower.
Some sport watches look like sport watches… which looks exactly how it sounds. Others are elegant and hide their technical features behind glittering diamonds and impressive facades. Minus the glittering diamonds, maybe.
Good sport watches are specialized toward their wearer. But the best sport watches for men are specialized toward anyone who wants to get moving and keep moving—my top overall pick, the Garmin Forerunner 245, has something for everyone.
Its features run deep but aren’t intimidating, and its unassuming looks work in almost any physical or social scenario, making it a solid entry point for nearly anyone in the market for this type of watch.
Smartwatches allow you to stay connected at all times via texts, phone calls, and social media. Some of the best sport watches for men include those features as well—but at their core, they’re all about health and fitness tracking.
In short, yes. Both amateur and professional athletes wear sport watches to monitor their heart rates and help improve their overall performance. Usain Bolt, for example, wears Hublot’s King Power. And elite runner Eliud Kipchoge—the first person to ever run a marathon in less than two hours—wears Coros sport watches.