Teenagers want watches with more functions like an alarm, timer and Indiglo light.
Teenagers want watches with more functions like an alarm, timer and Indiglo light. Roger Weber - Getty Images

Buying child’s first watch is important step to independence

I REMEMBER my first watch - a square-faced digital number with a silver band that arrived in a small black box for my sixth birthday.

It had three buttons, two to change the time and the last to operate the light that shone with a bright green hue.

I had waited months for that watch and was bursting with glee as I rushed off to school to parade my new prized possession.

When I look back now I realise that it probably cost just a few dollars but for me it signalled a bit of independence, a foray into the world of grown-ups.

For your child, too, their first watch is likely to be a telling memory. Of course there are so many choices available today but as always it is best to buy one most suitable to their needs.

There are a few things to consider, such as whether to get a digital or analog watch, whether to get a timeless classic or the latest character watch and even whether to opt for an expensive brand or a two-dollar-shop cheapie.

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5-12 years

Experts say that younger children, more especially those who are still becoming familiar with the concept of time, should opt for an analog face.

It is not only an easier way of learning but there are also features like different coloured hands or watches split into two coloured halves to help with the process.

The time-teaching watch from Zoobee (www.timeteaching watch.com) for example has different coloured hour, minute and second hands and numbers to help children make the connection between past and to.

Children in this age group often gravitate towards character watches whether it's from books (Fairies Tinkerbell Girls Watch, $27.50 at Absolute Watches) or television programs (Spider-Man Strap Watch, $19.99 from Toys R Us) and although they can be a bit pricey they are usually well made.

It is also important to make sure the watch will withstand bumps and scratches and that the strap is not only comfortable but easy to put on like the Timex kids Analog Elastic Fabric Strap watch (19.95).

If your child finds novelty watches appealing why not try the Lego make and wear watch at $19.99 from Target.

 

Teenagers

This is an interesting age group for all number of reasons not least of which is the fact that personal preferences are being explored and decided upon influenced to some degree by peer pressure.

Older kids want watches with more functions like an alarm, timer and Indiglo light.

This age group can be particularly hard on their possessions so look for a watch that is waterproof, will take a fair bit of punishment and last the distance.

Fashion is usually an underlying factor and during this season for example bright colours are all the rage like the Freestyle Watch range from $79.99 at City Beach or the Tikkers Kids Collection starting at $19.99 from Fruugo.

Brand names are also important with the Casio Baby G boasting a host of features (from $120) and surf icons like Roxy, Billabong and Ripcurl (from $79) still firm favourites.

If your teen is mad-keen about sport, try the Timex Ironman Sleek ($169 from RebelSport) which has tap screen technology or the Garmin Forerunner 10 with an inbuilt GPS for $149.


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