Six Running Watches (under £100)

You don't have to break the bank to train smarter. We test six of the best running watches for under £100

Posted: 8 February 2010

Suunto T1C
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Suunto T1C

Price £69.99 Contact

Suunto normally operates at the premium end of the market so it’s good to see it offering an entry-level device. Features include heart-rate monitor (signal was occasionally variable but never cut out); heart-rate training zones; a lap counter; and a log to keep track of run data, such as overall time, lap splits, heart rate and calories burned. Screen visibility is excellent, although the button function names are very small. The watch is lightweight but has a plastic feel.

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This may sound like a plug for Timex but I feel credit where it is due. In the early 90s I purchased a Timex Ironman 50 lap model which has been my watch for everyday wear as well as for sport since. It kept perfect time as checked by the BBC pips and was not particularly looked after by your truly (I always wore it, for example, when swimming in pool or sea). Last March I found I could not use the reset button and contacted Timex about the possibility of their repairing it. I sent the watch and was advised the cost of repair would be, I think, £14 (the watch had cost me some £25 originally). I decided to proceed and some days later they sent me a new watch (same model) so either they were unable to repair my old one or it was more cost effective to just send a new one but whatever they honoured their commitment to me. So here's to another 15 years of happy timekeeping by a very satisfied customer.

Posted: 10/02/2010 at 11:49

Ironman - I agree - my first and only running watch was a Timex bought at the London Marathon expo in 2002.  Its been brilliant - easy to use and a clear face!  One new battery since and a replaced strap.  Again very used and abused - its even survived 4 Hellrunners!
Posted: 10/02/2010 at 13:17

I agree. My 1987 original is still running although the case fell to pieces and can't hold the strap.

The only criticism is the resin strap which is expensive and difficult to replace, I prefer the steel bracelet version instead

Posted: 11/02/2010 at 11:15

+1 I love my Ironman Timex - so easy to use and the timer is perfect for pacing races. What more could you need.

When the battery ran out - my wife took it to the jewellers and they reckoned the watch was bust - so sold her an adidas watch. I took the timex to the local shoeguy and he replaced the battery for £3 and it was as good as new. Still is. The adidas watch was a piece of poo - no facilities that i needed and it went back. The timex just keeps on going.
Posted: 11/02/2010 at 11:37

My Timex Ironman has just died   I think I didn't seal it properly after changing the battery and water got into it.  I am gutted as it's a brilliant watch.
Posted: 11/02/2010 at 12:26

Unquestionably the market leader. I'm on my second Timex 50-lap and I wouldn't swap it for anything else. Apart from the running functions I'm a big fan of the alarms (two of them) which can be set to go off on a specific day, just on weekdays or at the weekend. Buy one--you won't regret it. 
Posted: 12/02/2010 at 02:05

I got a lovely shiny new Timex Ironman for my birthday today  My 2002 model has finally been pensioned off - the alarm stopped working but the stopwatch is fine.
Posted: 12/02/2010 at 08:53

Does anyone know how the Adidas 'Shadow Run' feature works? Or can anyone recommend a way to help me set my pace?
Posted: 12/02/2010 at 10:05

I love my suunto t3, (not much more than the t1).  I wear it as my day to day watch, (its black - not orange!), but it beats the polar I used to use.  I swim in it, (using the lap counter to count lengths), bike with it, (with a bike pod) and run with it.  The training effect is a nice summary of a workout - useful for those of us who love to record training details / analyse things.
Posted: 13/02/2010 at 22:02

I cannot believe that there is an article about running watches under £100.00.  I do not need to keep data stored on my watch I write it down after every run.  I have a lap counter that I use occasionally for running intervals and a countdown timer.  Gosh all these tools.

My watch - a lorus quartz from Elizabeth Duke at Argos.  My first one was a fiver in 1989 and my current (third) one was £7.00 from the same place.  It is fantastic value.

Prefer to spend the remainder of the £100.00 on a pair of shoes myself.

Posted: 17/02/2010 at 16:44

I'm looking to buy a watch for running that will measure my distance (I have a pedometer at the moment and this omits about a mile off my run!).

I don't want to spend a fortune, but do want something good. Any ideas?

I'm a regular runner doing a 10k soon,



Posted: 18/06/2010 at 11:16

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