So the last watch was ruined, eh? You thought a kid’s watch should be able to withstand the rigors of hand-washing and maybe a pool dunkin’, only to discover the great mystery of our time: most products are garbage.
Well, what do you expect of a kid’s watch under $20? By the way, that’s only $10 in 1990 currency, so inflation is causing our budget to go up. This is a fun fact that I hope makes you angry for no other reason than because that’s all it can do.
Okay, you can stop being angry, let’s get your kid a good watch that won’t be found with liquid droplets on the wrong side of the screen. Let’s send the kid off with confidence to the pool or beach, a bath or dishwashing, and even to defend your family’s honor in a Kumite bloodsport of Japanese proportions while keeping their timepiece intact.
What Is a Waterproof Watch, Anyway? Technical Details
Waterproof watches are not only water-proof, but generally much more durable than other types of watches because watchmakers expect them to handle more abuse.
The water-resistance rating of a watch is a good indicator of how waterproof and durable it is, but here is a decoded key for you to reference:
- Up to 10m – These types of watches are not waterproof, despite the fact that 10m is about 30 feet. Read this as 0ft.
- Up to 50m – These are generally water-resistant, but only when it comes to light splashes. You can shower with it, but that’s about it. On better brands like Timex and Casio, you can rely on 50m for everyday use. On questionable brands like QRIXI, you are taking some risk. Skmei is in between these, for that brand you should rely on the customer review rating. You can expect to find a balance of fashionable and utilitarian in this range.
- Up to 100m – The sweet spot for water resistance is 100m. These watches are good enough to shower and swim with. As far as kid’s watches are concerned, you will be hard-pressed to find something with a 100m water resistance that is also kid-friendly. You’re starting to enter military watch territory, which is great if you kid is a GI Joe.
- Up to 200m – Professional diver’s watches have a water resistance rating of at least 200m. These watches are ideal for deepwater activities such as scuba diving. As far as kid’s watches are concerned, your only choice here is a Casio G-Shock, but be warned that those are huge. Again, not a problem if your kid is calling in artillery strikes on the reg.
Best Overall Waterproof Kid’s Watch– Timex Expedition (100m WR)
The Timex Expedition is an excellent waterproof watch for kids because it’s durable and affordable. At 33mm across, it’s just the right size for petite wrists. The nice thing here is the adjustable nylon strap, which provides a snug fit and secure fastening with its hook and lock closure.
This Timex is at the top of our list for many reasons. First, Timex is the last American watch company – one of their slogans is “It takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin.’” That’s some 1950’s Coca-Cola-style marketing they’re not giving up on. Timex is used by professional athletes, hunters, swimmers, Olympians, even Navy SEALs. They make damn good watches. This one is scaled down to a kid’s or woman’s wrist size, in partnership with Mossy Oak, the makers of many a hunting-camo jacket and gear. I only mention all this America stuff because besides Casio and Seiko, the rest of the choices are cheaper Chinese alternatives.
Features include three independent alarms with backup alarms after five minutes, 24-hour (military) time, a backlight, and two time zones. The buttons sit prominently on the sides of the watch, so they are easy to operate.
The Timex Expedition is uniquely suited to the carefree lifestyle of kids. Due to its durable build, kid-friendly design, and affordable price, it remains one of the best waterproof kids’ watches in the market.
Best Waterproof Analog Watch– Casio Sports (100m)
The Casio Sports is a child-sized waterproof watch that is far more durable than it’s looks suggest. The 3-hand analog watch has a “grownup” feel that children would find charming. Of course, the contrasting white and pink color palette is cute and all.
This watch comes in many colors, not just for girls (blue, black, all-white, orange, and everything in between). It’s a popular choice for nurses because it’s durable, reliable, and easy to read.
Casio watches are known for their world-class durability and practicality, and this watch checks both boxes. In terms of durability, it’s got a solidly built case with a water resistance rating of 100m. The resin band is tough and will not wear out quickly, but as it is white, it is susceptible to staining, what with kids playing around in the dirt.
Its case is about 38mm in size, which is within the range for kids’ watches. The white dial provides a clean backdrop for the pink time markers and hands, making them so much easier to read.
Overall, the Casio Sports is a watch for parents who don’t put their kids in front of a tablet all day. It speaks of responsibility – for learning to read analog time, which is like tying shoelaces.
Professional Grade Waterproof Watch– Timex Ironman Classic (100m)
The Timex Ironman is a formidable watch that’s cheap and versatile enough to serve as a kids’ waterproof digital watch.
It has a unibody design where its 38mm case tapers into tough resin straps with a buckle fastener. This design makes the straps slightly less prone to coming apart at the lugs.
It features three alarms, three-time zones, military time, and a calendar. It’s also one of the few watches that provides on-screen prompts to help you adjust its settings. Therefore, it’s pretty kid-friendly.
Nevertheless, it’s a watch made for competitions, which is why it has a start and split time button on its face. That’s handy if your child needs a watch to help them measure lap times, lab experiments, or how long they can hold their breath underwater.
The Timex Ironman is rated waterproof for up to 100m, so it can stay on during the shower, while swimming, or even at the beach.
Colorful Water Resistant Watch – CKE Kids’ Watch (50m)
Children aged three years and older will undoubtedly enjoy the vividly colorful case and multi-colored LED backlight of the CKE children’s waterproof watch.
Although it’s rated waterproof for only 50m, it’s a good inexpensive option for teaching kids how to observe time.
The silicone rubber and plastic case won’t break easily, but it will pick up a few scratches along the way. Even then, the watch stays put for as long as its silicone rubber bands hold up, which is decent considering the price.
The watch offers a complete set of features, including military time, an alarm mode, a calendar, a timer, and a backlight with seven colors.
Giving your child seven different colors to choose from will undoubtedly inspire them to keep track of time.
Most Durable – Casio Baby G (200m)
The Casio Baby G is an everyday watch with extra protection, but it’s not uncomfortably large or bulky. In fact, it’s relatively small for a watch that’s water-resistant for up to 200m.
At 43mm, this watch is big on many thin-wristed adults, so your kid better be a real champ to pull this off. Casio modeled the Baby G after their world-renowned G-Shocks, so it is tough as nails but cheaper and less bulky.
It features five daily alarms, a full calendar, and military time, plus a backlight with an afterglow that keeps the dial visible for longer.
Even without considering how well it functions, you’d want to buy this watch simply because it’s built like a tank (or submarine). Look at that thing, it’s even got bull bars for screen protection.
Just to reiterate, this is a watch for a kid in a warzone. He would make it look good with an AK-47 and a red beret yelling expletives at political prisoners to face the wall and await the judgement of Commander Zero.
Best Automatic Waterproof Watch – Seiko 5 (100m)
For older kids sometimes called teenagers, you might consider an automatic watch like this Seiko 5. This is getting into young adult territory, because it’s classier, more expensive, and also more fragile. However, there are plenty of parents that are eager to make a $200 gesture for Christmas or some such ritual, and hey – this is a damn good choice.
Ideally you want to give this to a kid who is past the “throwing controllers at their TV screen” phase. However, I know several adults still in this phase, so use that as a figure of speech. This Seiko 5 is an automatic watch, which will be wasted on kids obsessed with smartphones and wrist iWatch garbage. This is for a cool kid that lives in the real world, not the virtual reality we call social media.
Honestly, it’s probably not great as a kids’ watch. On the one hand, it’s really nice and a good size. On the other, it gives the kid responsibilities they don’t need – to protect a fragile wrist instrument at the expense of frolicking in the mud and scavenging the debris of post-riot downtown, looking for half-smoked cigarettes and orphaned gloves to flip for a 12 kopek candy at the pawn shop. But I digress with personal anecdotes from the cold brick roads of Leningrad.
To wrap up these fun tales, I would recommend the Timex in the first choice. This Seiko 5 is a good college watch, however. Cheerio.
Buyer’s Guide – Things to Consider When Buying Your Child a Waterproof Watch:
You want to be looking in the 100m range, even for a child’s watch. Here’s why.
A watch with a 50m water resistance rating can certainly survive the water pressure at that depth. However, this pressure-tested rating usually doesn’t account for accidental bumps and button presses underwater.
You can only find “real” water resistance in watches with at least a 100m waterproof rating. Such watches tend to be durable enough to withstand bumps and drops too, so you can be confident they’ll last long enough even with little care.
An everyday watch should be durable, especially when worn on a child’s wrist.
Aim for a durable resin build if not stainless steel. The latter is obviously more expensive, but it will easily outlast any resin watch if given the proper care.
Analog vs. Digital
Digital watches offer more accurate timekeeping, are easy to read, have alarms and an LED backlight. They’re easily the better option for kids.
Even though a large watch may seem cool to a 9-year old (which is fine), it’s more likely to get snagged by the car door or turn wearing anything with sleeves into a nightmare. This can be a good show if your attitude is in the right place.
The best sizes for kids are between 30mm – 40mm. Don’t go any bigger if you want a more natural fit.
It’s hard to bridge the gap between those disposable kiddy watches and a decent waterproof watch that’s going to last a while. For your kids, you don’t need anything rated higher than 100m.
Any of these waterproof kids’ watches would make a practical first watch with all the bells and whistles, including multiple alarm modes, military time, and LED backlights.
The best part is that they are built to last.
Hey everyone – my name is Tom, and I’m a watch collector and enthusiast. I’m glad you found this blog because there are so many generic content farms out there tailored to make you buy random watches instead of the best choice for your criteria.
In this blog, I only recommend the best watch picks for your criteria after personally thinking about what you’re looking for, researching for hours, and cherry picking the top choices for long-term reliable use. I hope you get some value from this site, and thanks for stopping in!