This article is going to be about how to choose the best, first watch for your child.
What criteria should one follow and what should one take into account?
A quick search on Amazon reveils several hundreds of suggestions, so which one to choose?
In the following I will share my research and recommendations with you. I will also show you examples of wristwatches I would choose (and in fact have chosen) for my boys.
My Boys and Their First Watch
I am the father of two twin boys of 8 years and the time has come to choose a wristwatch for them and as a blogger and watch fan, what could be more natural than sharing my research and experiences with my visitors!
I will therefore review a number of criteria that have been the basis of my choice and I will explain why.
Kids are different and the watch that suits my boys may not fit your child.
Girls and boys often also have different desires.
Many girls at the age of 8 are more mature and ‘sensible’ than boys of the same age group and this may mean that durability is not an important parameter for them.
This is just an example and you should keep in mind that there are no rules without exception!
In the following, I will review the criteria and ideas I have considered in connection with my choice of wristwatches for my boys.
You may not be able to use my parameters directly in relation to your own child, but I hope my research can serve as inspiration and help guide you on the right path so you can choose the right watch for your child.
Girls and boys are often associated with certain colors, types of toys, interests, etc., and it is exploited by, among others, toy manufacturers, but also watchmaking companies.
Girls and boys can be vastly different in terms of favorite colors, designs, etc., also in terms of their own gender.
Some boys like to play with girl toys and may be happy with the classic ‘girl colors’ pink, purple, red, etc.
And some girls may have certain boy preferences and are attracted to the same things that boys are attracted to.
My boys each have their own favorite color that we have always used when we had to buy shoes, bags, lunch boxes, clothes, etc. for them.
Thus, we have always associated my son Michael with the color green and my other son, Emil, with the color blue.
I therefore immediately consider that my boys should have the same watch, but in their favorite colors.
Personal references rather than gender, should govern which watch you choose to buy for your child!
A children’s watch is not just a children’s watch.
A child of 12 will probably not be attracted to a watch designed for a 6-year-old and vice versa.
Often, both age and gender are reflected in the wristwatches that are produced for children.
Watches for boys under 10 are often characterized by action, superheroes, fast cars, etc., where girl watches may have prints of unicorns, hearts, flowers, etc. in the typical ‘girl colors’ red, pink, purple, etc.
Many children over 10 begin to develop a taste for the more stylish and may not want a watch with a lot of illustrations and in many colors.
For me personally, my choice of watch for my 8-year-old boys is very much guided by the fact that they need to get better at learning the clock, and that presupposes that the watch is simple and without too many distractions.
Regardless of age, a child’s first watch should be simply designed without too many colors and illustrations!
Price is a parameter that matters if you do not have unlimited funds and this probably applies to most of us, including the undersigned… So there is an economic consideration to take here.
The problem is that quality is often closely linked to price and therefore it is not necessarily a good idea to choose a cheap watch.
But since children often play wild games, it can be argued that it makes the most sense to buy a cheap use-and-throw-away watch, which admittedly cannot be repaired if it should break, but which can easily be replaced with a correspondingly without major costs.
Conversely, one can use the same basis to argue that it is best to buy a solid and durable quality watch from the start, which can be serviced should the accident occur.
Consider the quality based on your child’s physical activity level and sense of caring for his belongings!
The most important function of a clock is to act as a timer and for a child who has just learned the clock, or is learning it, the most important thing is that it is easy to see what time it is.
The dial should therefore be simply designed with one or two basic colors in striking contrasts and without too many illustrations.
The dial should be analogous to the child’s first watch, because that is the way the child learns and understands the clock best.
You can read more about why here.
There should be large and clear arabic numerals at all hour indexes and the division of minutes should also be marked with numbers. Minute numbers are sufficient for all time markers.
Choose a watch with an analog dial in few colors and clear numbers for hours and minutes!
Some children’s watches have minute and hour hands in different colors and this can probably be a help for some children.
In addition to the hands being made in different colors, there are also models where the hands bear the words “Hour” and “Minute”.
Hands in different colors and with text are in my opinion superfluous. After a little practice, the child will quickly learn to know the difference between the short and the long hand and what their function is.
If the watch has a second hand it’s fine, but it’s not a necessity.
The hands should have a color that stands in stark contrast to the background so they are easy to read!
Watch cases are made in all sizes and it is important that the watch fits well on your child’s arm, especially if you have a physically active child. Therefore, it is important to choose the right size.
Traditionally, watch cases below 38 mm are considered suitable for women, while watch cases above and including 38 mm are considered to be men’s watches.
For children I would recommend a watch case with a diameter of 26 – 30 mm. What to choose more precisely depends on the size of your child’s wrist.
If your child is under 10 years old, choose a watch case with a diameter of less than 30 mm!
The strap is important, especially on a children’s watch, because it is essential that the watch fits well on the wrist, so as not to risk the child feeling bothered by wearing it.
Therefore, I recommend going for a watch with nylon strap, also called NATO strap. They are easy to remove, washable and durable.
Alternatively, genuine leather is also a fine material for a children’s watch strap.
The thickness of the strap should roughly be half the diameter of the case.
If possible, choose a watch with a nylon strap!
Whether the watch you buy for your child should be waterproof or not depends partly on your budget.
As mentioned earlier, quality and price are often closely linked, and in most cases, the better water resistance means better quality, and this tends to mean higher prices.
Ideally, your child’s first watch should be waterproof to 50 m or better!
Many watch fans can hardly get too many complications, as long as it is relatively easy to read the watch and they do not make the watch unnecessarily large and clumsy.
With a child’s first watch, one should completely opt out of complications, as these can contribute to unwanted confusion.
Avoid watches with too many distractions. This includes complications!
Based on the above criteria, I have now figured out the watches I want to buy for my boys.
I have not followed the criteria slavishly, but I think I have found a good compromise.
The two models I chose are produced by Timex and both come from the Time Machines series.
This collection consists of 15 different models, including girls models.
The watches have a list price of $25, which means that should the watches suffer damage during play or otherwise, the loss is limited.
And the loss can be further limited if you use Timex’ so called “100% Worry-Free Replacement Plan“.
This is a special warranty Timex offers if the watch is lost or broken and which means you can have the watch repaired or replaced for only $10.
Read more about the guarantee here.