The Best Watches for Kids | Gear Patrol (2024)

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A watch can be a toy, a teaching instrument and more.

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The Best Watches for Kids | Gear Patrol (2)

By Zen Love




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Think back to the watch you had as a kid.

What ever happened to that thing?

Many of us had a timepiece of some variety early in life that left an impression — maybe it was half-calculator, some toy-like contraption, a simple Timex or a rugged G-Shock. And many now-adult watch nerds can trace their fascination with these little gadgets, at least in part, to a childhood memory. When you buy a kid their first watch, it’s potentially much more than buying them a toy.

We’re watch guys over here, of course, so we’re biased. And we’re going to recommend watches beyond what you find in the Walmart toy section. But there are also, naturally, plenty of practical justifications for getting a kid a watch, whether it’s making sure they’re on time for being picked up or it’s a smartwatch with GPS to put your own mind at ease.

There are different reasons you might consider getting a kid a watch — and some great options that’ll satisfy both their needs and even your relatively (perhaps) mature criteria.

Products in the Guide

  • Blok Watches

    Read more
  • Parchie Watches

    Read more
  • Seiko School Time

    Read more
  • Timex Easy Reader

    Read more
  • Casio G-Shock Tough Solar GWM5610

    Read more
  • Swatch LA Night Blue

    Read more
  • Apple Watch SE

    Best GPS Watch for Kids

    Read more
  • Garmin Bounce

    Read more

Why buy a watch for a child?

Kids shouldn’t have to worry about time management the way we work-slave adults do. But there are a number of good reasons for a kid to have a watch: a watch can be a toy, a teaching instrument and more.

Share your interest in watches. If you’re a watch lover yourself, you might want to share that interest with your child — perhaps priming them for inheriting your beloved timepiece(s) later down the road. Some parents even buy a birth-year watch for their kids for later inheritance.

For teaching responsibility, independence and time management. A watch can be a way to simply help a kid start learning to read time, whether it’s analog or digital, and also to begin socializing them to greater responsibilities as they grow. Parents need to balance letting kids be kids, of course, but also helping build habits that’ll serve them well later in life. There’s even some math practice that goes into time-telling.

To help reduce reliance on smart devices. Adults fret over the amount of screen time kids grow up with today. You can postpone that inevitable first smartphone and discourage overuse of such devices with a wristwatch — and, being strapped to the wrist makes a watch harder to lose than the likes of a phone or tablet.

No, they’re not obsolete. Watches in general have already passed the test of technical obsolescence. Initiating a child into the world of watches now isn’t introducing them to a gadget that’ll be irrelevant by the time they’re adults.

They make great presents. Even for adults, watches function as toys, of sorts, and children can appreciate them in this way, too. They might play with a rotating bezel, show their watch off to friends or just feel that a watch makes them more “adult.” The potential symbolic and personal nature of watches have long made them gifts that feel special.

What features should you look for in a kid’s watch?

A lot of features that make a good adult’s watch are exactly what to look for in a watch for a child. Seiko’s description of its design process in making a kids’ watch further offers some interesting insights.

Legibility: As kids are just getting used to reading time, you want to make it easy for them. If it’s hard to read, it won’t hold their attention, they’ll get frustrated and they won’t use it (the same is true of adult watches). Simple designs, bright colors and strong contrast are popular for children’s items anyway, and you’ll find many of the best kids’ watches feature these traits. Legibility is a prerequisite for any good watch, we’d argue.

Durability: You can easily imagine the kind of abuse to which a kid might subject a watch: bangs, bumps, water, dirt and even the kinds of messes you don’t anticipate. And you can’t expect children to baby their watches. Look for watches that can take a beating, like a G-Shock, and which offer decent water resistance.

Size: Children are going to have smaller wrists, but their watches don’t have to be proportionally tiny. They should fit but offer sufficient size to be easily read (see Legibility above). You might consider opting for a watch that’s a little large so they have time to grow into it.

Age suitability: Different watches’ sizes, purposes and designs are going to be appropriate for different ages, lifestyles and genders. Some kids might hit an age where they want a more mature-looking watch and not something that looks like it’s “for kids.” Take these factors into consideration when choosing a watch.

Great Watches for Kids

Blok Watches

The Best Watches for Kids | Gear Patrol (3)Courtesy

Blok Watches

  • $179.00 at

  • Diameter: 33mm
  • Water resistance: 100m

Block is a Swiss brand solely making watches for kids. Self described as “Swiss made, kid proof,” the company’s durable plastic cases offer 100m water resistance (with a screw-down crown) and even a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal to retain legibility long-term. They’re powered by a Swiss ETA quartz movement. A unique element of the brand’s concept is a steel rotating bezel that cleverly helps measure common time intervals of 5, 10, 15, and 30 minutes.

Parchie Watches

The Best Watches for Kids | Gear Patrol (4)Courtesy

Parchie Watches

  • $65.00 at

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Water resistance: 30m

Founded by former watch journalist Cara Barrett, Parchie is yet another dedicated kids’ watch brand. It offers a stylistically playful take on traditional dive watches with an appropriate focus on legibility. The watches feature lightweight aluminum cases and Japanese quartz movements and, like Blok, come on easily adjustable Velcro straps. The brand emphasizes that the watches are made to appeal to adults, too.

Seiko School Time

The Best Watches for Kids | Gear Patrol (5)Courtesy

Seiko School Time

  • $185.00 at

  • Diameter: 31.5mm
  • Water resistance: 100m

In the 1970s, Seiko made watches especially for schoolchildren that went on to delight fans of vintage Seiko curiosities. The brand revived the concept in 2019 with an updated model featuring solar charging but intended for the Japanese domestic market. Though the watches look very minimalist and traditional, their details offer superb examples of watches thoughtfully designed with a specific audience and purpose in mind (see above links). You’re guaranteed to create a Seiko fan for life with a watch gift like this, but they’ll take some digging to procure.

Timex Easy Reader

The Best Watches for Kids | Gear Patrol (6)Timex

Timex Easy Reader

  • $55.00 at Timex

  • Diameter: 35mm
  • Water resistance: 30m

Timex has watch collections specifically aimed at younger kids, but the Easy Reader has a small profile and simple, legible design that makes it a great first watch perhaps for older kids — stylistically, it’s similar to the Seiko School Time above. A cool bonus? The brand’s famous Indiglo backlight that’s sure to delight watch users young or old. With a 35mm diameter, you might just find it gets worn in right into adulthood.

Casio G-Shock 5600 Series

The Best Watches for Kids | Gear Patrol (7)JCPenney

Casio G-Shock Tough Solar GWM5610

  • $140.00 at JCPenney

  • Diameter: 43.2mm
  • Water resistance: 200m

We can’t help but constantly recommend the classic G-Shock square watch. There are a lot of digital Casio watches that would be good for kids, but G-Shocks are nothing if not tough enough to stand up to roughhousing and adventure. The square 5600 series watches are also about the smallest watch G-Shock offers, making them especially good for smaller wrists. They might never grow out of loving G-Shocks.

Swatch Watches

The Best Watches for Kids | Gear Patrol (8)Courtesy

Swatch LA Night Blue

  • $75.00 at

  • Diameter: 34mm
  • Water resistance: 30m

Swatch’s sub-brand Flik Flak is expressly made for little kids, but really all Swatch watches are more or less like toys. Many watch enthusiasts got their start with a Swatch, and there are enough colors and styles to choose from to make your gift feel personalized. You can filter your search by case size and other factors, but we offer this 34mm model as a pleasingly representative sample. A Swatch watch might just be the perfect kids’ stocking stuffer.

Apple Watch SE

The Best Watches for Kids | Gear Patrol (9)Apple

Best GPS Watch for Kids

Apple Watch SE

  • $279.00 at Apple

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Water resistance: “Swimproof”

Yes, the Apple Watch can be a great option for kids — and their parents who want to know where their children are and be able to contact them at all times. Apple offers a Family Setup and other functionality, especially for kids and parents but, like any Apple product, you’ll want to look closely at all of its specs and compatibility to make sure it works for your situation (and your carrier). There are even bands made to fit on little wrists.

Garmin Bounce

The Best Watches for Kids | Gear Patrol (10)Garmin

Garmin Bounce

  • €149.99 at Garmin

    €159.99(6% off)

  • Diameter: 42mm
  • Water resistance: 50m

Garmin makes some of the best outdoor-focused smartwatches available, and this is their line made especially for kids. It includes games that are integrated with apps and fitness tracking and, most importantly, it offers GPS tracking so you can know your kid is safe at all times.

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Related Topics

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