What Is A Tool Watch? – What Distinguishes A Tool Watch From A Regular Watch?

You have been involved with timepieces for any length of time; you’ve heard someone mention the term “tool watch”.

I know this is elementary for many people, but this term can be vague for new watch collectors and enthusiasts.

So for those who don’t know the explanation, I will talk about the word “tool watch”.

A Squale Atmos Y1545 Is A Dive Watch

The Term Explained

Looking at the name, you can tell a tool watch is some type of tool.

But what does that mean?

They are not some hammer or screwdriver for which you must pay a lot.

The term is used to describe watches built for another purpose than simply telling time.

The first time the term “tool watch” was used was with the invention of dive watches.

The dive watches were made with a specific purpose; here, we had the rotating bezel, which would be used as a stopwatch so that a diver would know how long he had been underwater.

So a “tool watch”, is made with a specific purpose in mind and is used as a tool.

Although some tool watches are created today, their origins of them are in a time when such watches were the only available tool.

Examples Of Tool Watches

  • Dive Watches; have a rotating bezel which tells the diver when he has to surface.
  • Pilot Watches; have a function which lets the pilot tell two different time zones.
  • Racing Watches; have a chronograph function which can be used to time (race) laps.
  • Sailing Watches; have functions for measuring time, date and sailing direction.
An Omega Speedmaster Is A Racing Watch

Nowadays there are more tool watches than just the examples stated here.

Today there are more effective tools that are being used instead of these tool watches but I have a hard time thinking those tools look as nice on the wrist.


The guy who loves to chat about watches.

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