These Watches Combine The Best of Both Digital and Analog Technology
While perhaps an oversimplification to the watch-educated, many lay consumers without special knowledge will broadly divide watches into analog and digital, with digital watches typically perceived as inexpensive and less prestigious. “Ana-digi” watches, on the other hand, are a stylistic hybrid, with traditional hands alongside digital LCD displays that together can look exceedingly serious and technical or retro-futuristic — and they totally own their battery-powered, quartz-regulated nature.
ana-digi adj. \ ae-nuh·di-jee \ : Describes a watch that combines analog hands with digital, usually LCD, displays. A rather Japanese-sounding portmanteau/abbreviation of analog-digital.
Ana-digi watches, however, are cool for other reasons than just their techy looks — giving the user both analog and digital readouts is often a solution for displaying and visually separating the large amounts of information that current quartz technology offers. Analog hands, if properly legible, allow one to quickly check the time, while secondary information remains in the background. It’s worth noting that positive LCD displays (dark text on light screen) are more legible and preferable to negative displays, but negative displays on ana-digi watches can get a pass since they are usually not used for the primary time-telling.
To be clear, there are some (often rather complicated and fancy) mechanical watches that combine features like jumping hours or the date which are displayed “digitally,” but this isn’t what most people mean when they think of ana-digi. This list will focus on that special, badass breed of quartz watches with LCD displays and traditional hands. Though this style was more popular in recent decades than now (and some funky discontinued examples are still available here and there), below are some of the best currently produced ana-digi watches you can buy today.
Casio G-Shock G-Steel GSTS310
G-Shock has a vast range of ana-digi watches across various collections, and the G-Steel sub-family has steel cases. With the G-Shock suite of functions and technology, including solar charging and extreme ruggedness, it offers a relatively simple design with legible hands and round LCD screens that mimic the look of sub-dials. This GSTS310 is the slightly downsized and more wearable successor to the chunky GSTS110 that introduced the G-Steel.
Casio G-Shock Gravitymaster GR-B100
G-Shock deserves a couple of spots on this list since it offers so many different options of style, purpose, and price point in ani-digi. This Gravitymaster is just one of these, but it’s tough, badass-looking, and totally packed with practical tech. It has many of the durability and other features as the G-Steel above, including Tough Solar, world time, and more, but is designed as a pilot’s tool.
Citizen Promaster Navihawk A-T
The bold sizing and exceedingly busy dial of the Citizen Promaster Navihawk can be aesthetically polarizing, but for the right wrist it can also have a macho, technical appeal. With the brand’s signature Eco-Drive solar charging and a host of functions, it’s also capable of receiving radio signals from various worldwide locations to regularly update time to keep it super accurate.
Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar II
Tissot’s T-Touch stands out from the watches above for more than simply being Swiss-made with an ETA quartz movement. Most notable is that it uses an intuitive touch screen for many of the controls — if you’ve never tried one, get a salesperson to show you next time you have a chance. While not all T-Touch watches use solar charging, this one does (and that’s what you want), and also features a lightweight titanium case.
Hamilton Flight Timer Quartz
As many watches on this list, you’ll notice that this Hamilton has an aviation theme. It also features familiar functions, with a flight time recorder, multiple time zones, a chronograph, calendar info, and more. One thing aside from its styling that sets it apart, however, is its diameter of 40mm, which many wearers should find more stomachable than the brutish sizes that dominate such professional-focused watches.
Junghans Force Mega Solar
The Junghans Force Mega Solar is also refreshingly not sized for Stallone-like wrists at 40.4mm wide and a slender 8.2mm thick, and its styling is more restrained than the sporty watches on this list. The bottom of the dial features one small LCD screen that simply displays the date, radio signal reception (yes, it’s radio-controlled, just like the Citizen Navihawk above), or charge level — and the rest of the dial consists of solar panels with their purplish tint. Again, solar-charging adds a lot of value to any quartz watch.
Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33
Residing in Omega’s iconic Speedmaster family, the Skywalker X-33 shares a familiar case profile with more representative “Speedies,” but the entire dial behind the hands is an LCD display with three lines of large text. Four buttons and a crown provide a range of functionality, all in a lightweight titanium case that will make this otherwise chunky, 45mm-wide wrist equipment wear a lot more easily. (It’s also interesting to note that General Tom Stafford helped draw up the specs for it.)
Breitling Professional Cockpit B50
Many people will think of Breitling’s Professional line as the ultimate ana-digi watch — or, perhaps, something like the ultimate G-Shock. Though distinctly high-end, these watches are truly designed for professionals who need the functionality, reliability, and durability without any concern for luxury prestige nonsense. The B50 features Breitling’s in-house B50 Super-Quartz movement and a typically Breitling size of 46mm that’s more wearable thanks to its titanium construction.