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There are many types of watches available in the watchmaking industry. Sports watches are one that showcases the appeal of having a rugged and bold timepiece on the wrist. So, what is a sports watch?
As the name suggests, sports watches are designed to accompany someone doing their sports or outdoor activities. This watch has been around since the early 20th when wristwatches gained more popularity.
The name of sports watches is quite self-explanatory. It refers to timepieces with a sporty design with bold, reliable, and robust build. In terms of dimensions, sports watches are dominated by large timepieces at mostly 40mm in diameter and above. That further makes a bold presence on the wrists.
They mostly come with features, like a chronograph, tachymeter bezel, alarm, compass, and tide indicator (for divers). But, when it comes to water resistance, most sports watches have an adequate number of at least 100m.
Characterized by durability, accuracy, and often a distinctive design, these watches cater to individuals engaged in sports, outdoor activities, and adventures. That said, mechanical sports watches are prized for their craftsmanship, reliability, and ability to withstand the rigors of demanding environments.
Since the inception of the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso, considered the world's first sports watch, the horological industry embarked on a quest to create timepieces suitable for more active lifestyles.
During the early 20th century, the primary concern was waterproofing, a challenge successfully addressed by Rolex and its contemporaries with the introduction of the Rolex Oyster in the late 1920s.
That breakthrough revolutionized the durability and water resistance of watches, laying a foundation for the sports watch evolution. As time progressed, the focus shifted to enhancing shock absorption, a critical requirement for timepieces intended for active use.
Numerous innovations emerged, each offering unique solutions to mitigate the impact of shocks, further propelling the evolution of sports watches. These developments set the stage for the technological advancements and resilient designs we now associate with contemporary sports watches.
In the latter half of the 20th century, the development of sports watches surged, driven primarily by the needs of divers. Dive watches became a prominent category, featuring enhanced water resistance and specialized features catering to underwater activities.
Simultaneously, the world witnessed the rise of sports watches inspired by motor racing, boasting chronographs and sleek designs. Additionally, watches tailored for mountaineering and polar exploration gained traction, demonstrating the versatility and adaptability of sports watches across various adventurous pursuits.
The features integrated into sports watches to meet the demands of diving, racing, mountaineering, and polar exploration have greatly influenced the designs and functionalities of modern sports watches. These timepieces have transcended their original purposes and have become highly sought-after by watch enthusiasts.
Today, sports watches encompass a host of features such as water resistance, shock resistance, luminous markers, rotating bezels, chronograph functionality, and durability, all of which appeal to a wide spectrum of consumers.
Below are the explanations of some common features that you will find in sports watches.