If you want to buy a GPS tracking watch you will want to know what qualities make the best watch. You are also going to want to know which companies make these watches. There are a handful of manufacturers in the market, include three big names in watch making or GPS technology. These three are Timex, Garmin, and Suunto.
Each brand offers a different interpretation of the same basic principle - a watch that is also a GPS device. However, it is important to realize that these devices fit on your wrist. Because of this they will not give you turn by turn instructions. They are not voice activated. They don't have a nice little display that will give you a map of the world if you zoom our far enough.
Instead these devices help you track where you have been, how quickly you got there, what changes in elevation you experienced, and your heart rate (if you have a compatible heart rate monitor too). This is a very different GPS unit than most people are familiar with, but once explained it does make a lot of sense.
These watches do receive signals from the satellites that orbit our earth. They are accurate and they can be used in a variety of different real-life situations. They are mainly used for fitness though. That is because GPS information (speed, elevation, distance) are all important for training purposes.
Each GPS watch is very much like a watch in that it has a wristband and visual display. It can tell the time in a very accurate way. They are often lightweight and easy to manage. Aside from these basic features, you will notice that each manufacturer has their own interpretation on how these watches should work and function. Some watches have the GPS receiver within itself while others require you to take a GPS pod with you that will transmit the data to your watch. Both have their benefits, but it appears that more people favor the self-contained GPS watch than the pod one.
Garmin generally has the self-contained GPS tracking in their watches. These models include the Forerunner 205, Forerunner 305, and Forerunner 405. These watches can seem a little large on the wrists, especially the older versions, but are generally light weight enough that you don't really notice the difference. However, since the watches are so large this can pose a problem form small wristed individuals who already use up the entire wrist band on a normal watch.
Timex is also offering a fitness watch. The brand name for these watches is Body Link. These watches are of the pod variety mentioned earlier. Timex has a long tradition of creating quality watches and these generally follow that trend.
Suunto is the other major player in this field. They have a watch that they try and market as a military GPS watch that allows you to set waypoints for field actions. It is essentially a glorified fitness watch without some of the benefits, like heart rate tracking.
Now is a great time to buy GPS tracking watches. It should be even better five years from now as technology improves and more features are put into them. One day you may even be able to get those turn by turn instructions on your watch.
Joe writes gps tracking watch tips and instructs companies on how to the find the best deals on GPS fleet tracking for small fleets.