Many of the watches we have today are more than mere time-telling accessories. Over the decades, advances in watchmaking technology have allowed watchmakers to design timepieces with more specific, varied purposes. For example, we now have dive watches for seafaring adventurers, sports watches for outdoor enthusiasts, digital watches for those who love greater convenience, and many more.
In this article, we will be focusing on a specific type of timepiece made just for the explorers out there: the altimeter watch. Read on to find out more about what an altimeter watch is and some of the best altimeter watches in the market today.
What Is An Altimeter Watch?
First and foremost, altimeter watches are essentially timepieces that can measure altitude above a fixed level. Altimeter watches are equipped with barometric altimeters which use changes in air pressure to calculate the altitude the wearer is currently at.
In analog timepieces, you can find different scales for altitude (in feet) and air pressure, with indicators that will illustrate the exact measurements. These scales can usually be found on the dial or bezel of the watch. Smartwatches and digital timepieces, on the other hand, have in-built altimeter functions which can quickly calculate your current altitude for you. These watches are perfect for all the tech-savvy explorers out there.
15 Best Altimeter Watches
Without further ado, let us take look at some of the best altimeter watches you can get right now.
1. Oris Big Crown ProPilot Ref. 01 733 7705 423
First up on our list, we have the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Ref. 01 733 7705 423 with its robust and powerfully-built exterior. Just one glance at its rugged all-black profile, and you can already tell that this Oris watch is made to withstand the harsh conditions of the great outdoors.
Housed in a 47mm black-plated stainless steel case, this Oris Big Crown ProPilot piece showcases a complex watch face in black and a grey textile strap that perfectly complement each other. Accentuated by indicators in white, yellow, and red, the black dial consists of luminescent white hands and Arabic numerals, a small rectangular date window, an air pressure scale, and an altitude scale (in feet). Powering all these functions is an automatic Oris 733 Caliber, which is based on an SW 200-1 movement. This caliber comes with a solid 38-hour power reserve.
You can get the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Ref. 01 733 7705 423 for approximately $4,340 USD.
2. Citizen Promaster Altichron Ref. BN5055-05E
The next watch on this list, the Citizen Promaster Altichron Ref. BN5055-05E serves as the perfect timepiece for those in the beginning stages of their adventurer lifestyle. It has a very sporty and rugged build, but with an added hint of a cool, vintage vibe.
This Citizen watch is presented in a 47mm black stainless steel case, paired with a black and brown Cordura strap. Fitted on top of the case is a rustic bronze-tone rotating bezel that adds to the watch’s old-school aesthetic. This bezel is marked with white indicators for the electronic compass function, which you can use to navigate yourself out of any tight spots.
The busy-looking watch face is also made up of a black dial with the following components: an analog time display, a square date window, a skeletal, arrow-shaped hand for the compass, and an altimeter function with a range of up to 32,000 feet. In addition, this Citizen Promaster timepiece is equipped with Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology, so it can be charged using various light sources.
Retailing at just $595 USD, this is one of the best altimeter watches you can get at such an affordable price.
3. Casio Pro Trek Ref. PRW-60T-7AJF
Next up, we have the Casio Pro Trek Ref. PRW-60T-7AJF which boasts a very quintessential sports watch vibe. As part of the brand’s renowned Pro Trek collection, this watch was designed to be a multi-functional, rugged outdoor timepiece through and through.
This Casio watch comes in a 47mm stainless steel case and bezel paired with a lightweight titanium bracelet, so it does not feel too heavy on your wrist despite its sizable build. This bezel, which is engraved with the names of 29 different cities, can be used to track 29 different time zones. The dial shows off a hybrid digital-analog display with luminescent sword hands, thick hour indices, and an LCD window on the lower half of the watch face.
This model is also equipped with triple sensor technology, which means it comes with an altimeter-barometer, a compass, and a thermometer. On top of that, it also has a chronograph, a perpetual calendar, and a power reserve indicator. This watch is driven by a quartz movement that runs on solar energy.
If you want an altimeter watch jampacked with a bunch of other functions, you can get the Casio Pro Trek Ref. PRW-60T-7AJF for just $609 USD.
4. Suunto 9 Baro Ref. SS050149000
The Suunto 9 Baro Ref. SS050149000 serves as the perfect companion for adventurers and those with active lifestyles. It is a multi-functional smartwatch that is built to last, regardless of whatever may come its way. Aside from the impressive features offered, this Suunto 9 watch is also highly regarded for its aesthetics, having been awarded the iF Design Award in 2019.
The Suunto 9 Baro Ref. SS050149000 is presented in a glass-fiber-reinforced polyamide case with a hardy titanium bezel and a comfortable silicone strap. The dial has a fully digital display with touchscreen capabilities and an LED backlight for optimal legibility even in poor lighting conditions. As mentioned, this watch comes with a multitude of functions, including 24/7 activity tracking, a GPS, an altimeter, a weather indicator, a variety of sports modes, and more. Powering this Suunto model is a rechargeable lithium battery with a lifespan of up to 14 days in time mode, so you need not worry about having to change this watch’s batteries.
Retailing at $669 USD, this is one of the best all-around altimeter watches for explorers of any level.
5. Apple Watch Series 7
Another great watch option for those who want a timepiece with more handy features than just an altimeter is the Apple Watch Series 7. This is a great choice for novice adventurers who are not really looking for a professional outdoor watch, as it can be used for both active and casual days.
The Apple Watch Series 7 comes in either a 41mm or 45mm case and is made from materials that you can customize to your liking. You can choose between titanium, aluminum, or stainless steel for the case and silicone, leather, stainless steel, or fluoroelastomer for the strap. In addition, on the rectangular retina dial display, you get access to the following: detailed health functions including blood oxygen tracking and ECG apps, music players, activity tracking, map functions, an altimeter, and lots more.
Priced at $799 USD, this is recommended for those who want a customizable lifestyle watch that makes for a good companion outdoors as well.
6. Alpina AlpinerX Black/Orange
For something that caters more to younger audiences, take a look at the Alpina AlpinerX Black/Orange. Our favorite thing about this piece is that it is something new from such a well-established Swiss brand, with its robust and highly modern design. With this timekeeper, Alpina has proven that Swiss watchmaking remains as resilient and innovative as ever.
The AlpinerX is presented in a 45mm black-tone case and bi-directional compass bezel, both made out of stainless steel. This is paired with a vibrant orange strap of your choice, which can be made from either leather, rubber, or fabric. The dial has a hybrid display that showcases an analog layout, with luminous orange hands, white indices and hour markers, and a digital screen on the lower half of the dial. The outer rim of the dial is also colored bright orange, matching the AlpinerX Black/Orange’s strap and adding to its quirky, playful vibe.
This watch also boasts a multitude of features, such as an altimeter-barometer, a compass, a connected GPS, a UV indicator, alarms, timers, and the like. It runs on a Horological Smartwatch MMT-283-1 movement, which has an impressive battery life of a little over 2 years.
If you want a contemporary, Swiss-made altimeter watch to accompany you on your next adventure, you can get this piece for approximately $895 USD.
7. Garmin Fenix 6 Ref. 010-02410-23
The Garmin Fenix 6 Ref. 010-02410-23 is the go-to timepiece of many individuals who love staying fit both indoors and outdoors. It shows off a very cool, robust, and monochromatic design that is sure to complement virtually any type of attire.
This Garmin watch comes in a 47mm black case made of durable carbon fiber and is paired with either a silicone or titanium band. The dial has a touchscreen memory-in-pixel display with a resolution of 260 x 260 pixels. Performance-wise, it comes with excellent functions, from health monitoring and fitness tracking to environmental sensors and outdoor recreation. Of course, it would not be on this list if it did not have a barometric altimeter as well. This Garmin Fenix 6 timepiece is powered by a lithium-ion battery that you can charge using either electricity or solar energy.
The Garmin Fenix 6 Ref. 010-02410-23 retails at around $729 USD.
8. Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar Ref. T121.420.47.051.04
Another great watch for the contemporary explorer is the Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar Ref. T121.420.47.051.04. This is yet another top-notch Swiss watch made for any and every kind of outdoor adventure. The best thing about this model is that it is the perfect combination of classic, sleek, and stylish.
This Tissot T-Touch watch comes in a 47mm lightweight titanium case with anti-magnetic properties, a scratch-resistant black ceramic bezel, and a smooth rubber strap. Its compass bezel and dial are peppered with bright white and orange indicators, contrasting delightfully against the black exterior of the watch and enhancing its stylishness.
The dial also shows off a hybrid digital-analog display, with luminous hands and a touchscreen feature. Outside of its time-telling capabilities, this watch is equipped with a perpetual calendar, an altimeter, a compass, a barometer, mobile connectivity, and more. This Tissot watch is powered by a quartz solar tactile movement that boasts Swiss craftsmanship.
If you are interested, you can get this suave altimeter watch for $1,150 USD.
9. Casio Pro Trek Camper Line Ref. PRG-30-5
Next, we have another model from the iconic Casio Pro Trek collection, in the form of the Casio Pro Trek Camper Line Ref. PRG-30-5. As part of a selection of timepieces specially designed for camping, this is a truly quintessential outdoor watch.
This particular Casio model comes in an oversized 51mm black resin case along with a silicon band in brown. It has a fully digital dial, with bold black fonts against a white backdrop and an LED backlight for better readability. Since this watch is optimized for the wilderness, it comes with numerous features designed to make the outdoors an easier experience, such as an altimeter, a barometer, a digital compass, a sunrise/sunset display, and low-temperature specifications. Inside its tough yet casual exterior, you can find a solar-powered battery driving this whole timepiece.
The Casio Pro Trek Camper Line Ref. PRG-30-5 retails at just $370 USD.
10. Polar Grit X
The Polar Grit X is another digital sports watch made for outdoorsy folks who enjoy active lifestyles. It is known to be an incredibly tough timepiece that comes with loads of features meant to guide and help its wearer in every type of situation.
This Polar watch has a 47mm stainless steel case along with a reinforced polymer caseback and a durable silicone strap. The watch face showcases an always-on touchscreen display with anti-fingerprint coating, which ensures the dial will remain clean, highly legible, and not get smudged up just from touching.
This timepiece has a multitude of functions all geared towards making your outdoor excursions smoother and more enjoyable, including swimming metrics, a running guide, weather information, GPS, compass, an altimeter in training mode, and the like. Just like most of the smartwatches on this list, the Polar Grit X runs on a rechargeable battery with up to 40 hours of battery life in training mode.
The best part is that you do not have to spend thousands of dollars on this powerfully-built altimeter watch. The Polar Grit X has a price tag of approximately $499 USD.
11. Suunto 7 Ref. SS050382000
Another outstanding altimeter watch from Suunto is the Suunto 7 Ref. SS050382000. Despite being one of the predecessors to the aforementioned Suunto 9 Baro, this watch has its fair share of differences compared to the previous Suunto model we recommended. One important example of this would be their battery lives, as the Suunto 7 has a 2-day lifespan when fully charged, while the Suunto 9 Baro can run for up to 14 days.
The Suunto 7 Ref. SS050382000 comes in a large 50mm glass-fiber-reinforced polyamide case with a rose gold-tone stainless steel bezel and a silicone strap. The dial features an AMOLED touch display with a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels. This watch comes with a barometric altimeter, GPS tracking & navigation, sports mode, a 24/7 activity tracker, and more. It is also driven by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which has a 48-hour battery life in smartwatch mode.
If you felt like the Suunto 9 was a bit too complex for you, this Suunto 7 timepiece makes for a great alternative at just $429 USD.
12. Favre-Leuba Raider Bivouac 9000
The Favre-Leuba Raider Bivouac 9000 is another altimeter watch that boasts masterful Swiss craftsmanship. Unlike most of the altimeter watches mentioned on this list, this timepiece pulls off a fully analog display that pairs well with its bold, sporty design.
This Favre-Leuba watch stands out with its tonneau-shaped lightweight titanium case, paired with a bi-directional rotating bezel in black and an antelope grey leather strap. Its black dial consists of luminous silver hands and hour indices, a third hand in vibrant red for the altimeter function, a sub-dial for air pressure and altitude, a small seconds counter, a date window, and a power reserve indicator. All of these components are powered by an impressive, hand-wound FL311 caliber with a substantial 65-hour power reserve.
Retailing at around $8,205 USD, this is one of the best altimeter watches that does not have a digital or touchscreen display.
13. Garmin Instinct Tundra Ref. 010-02064-01
For something a little different, check out the Garmin Instinct Tundra Ref. 010-02064-01, with its distinctive, light-colored exterior inspired by the vast tundra biome. This is one of the most highly recommended models from Garmin, a top brand for high-quality outdoor watches.
The Garmin Instinct Tundra shows off a 45mm fiber case paired with a matching white silicone strap. The dial has a touchscreen display through which you can access the following features: a built-in compass and barometric altimeter, a heart rate monitor, smartphone notifications, and many sports/training functions. All these are made possible, thanks to the watch’s powerful battery which has a 14-day lifespan in smartwatch mode.
Priced at only $309 USD, this is one of the best value-for-money altimeter watches on the market.
14. Coros Apex 46mm
The Coros Apex 46mm is a highly-regarded timepiece among those who love going on outdoor adventures. Whether you are on a leisure walk in the woods or a serious hiking expedition up a mountain, this watch is one of the best companions to take with you because of its multi-functionality.
This Coros Apex watch is presented in a 46mm black-tone aluminum case with a titanium bezel and a silicone strap of the same hue. The dial has an always-on memory LCD screen with a display size of 240 x 240 pixels. Rather than just being an altimeter watch, the Coros Apex 46mm ups the ante by incorporating features such as training and sports guides, health monitors (heart rate, blood oxygen, etc), and environmental sensors (GPS, compass, a barometric altimeter, etc). Lastly, it boasts a reliable battery life of up to 100 hours in UltraMax GPS mode and 30 days in regular use mode.
You can get your hands on the Coros Apex 46mm for around $350 USD.
15. Suunto Traverse Alpha Ref. SS022469000
Lastly, we have the Suunto Traverse Alpha Ref. SS022469000, which is a consistent recommendation when talking about tactile, outdoor altimeter watches. Right off the bat, it has a very cool and sleek design that will surely appeal to any explorer.
This Suunto Traverse Alpha piece is quite bulky, coming in a 50mm black composite case paired with a stocky stainless steel bezel and a textile strap in black. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, it possesses a matrix display with an LED backlight for optimal legibility, no matter the circumstances. On top of that, this Suunto watch also incorporates a multitude of capabilities uniquely suited to the fervent adventurer: outdoor modes (for hiking, fishing, and hunting), sunrise/sunset time alerts, speed and distance trackers, an altimeter function through FusedAlti™, a compass, alarms, and more.
Priced at $580 USD, this is one of the most reliable companions you can bring on your different outdoor excursions.
From the list above, you can tell that there is quite a wide variety available when it comes to altimeter watches in the market. Whether you want an analog piece or a highly versatile digital model, you are bound to find what you want and need. You also do not have to worry about spending thousands of dollars, since there are many outstanding models that come at affordable prices. That said, all the recommended altimeter watches listed above are indeed worth checking out!
Photo Credits: Official Watch Sites and WatchShopping
Interested in watch lists? Check out our article on the 15 Best Sailing Watches!