The Best Watches for (Medical) Students
I've been fascinated by smartwatches and fitness trackers ever since I got my first one. I honestly don't pay much attention to analogue watches, but they can be just as great. So I opted-in for a collaboration post with someone who knows a bit more about them.
This post is a little different. One of my friends knows his stuff when it comes to mechanical watches, so we decided to make a collaboration post. We picked mechanical and digital watches that we believe are the best choice for (medical) students.
This section is written by Mark Breznik, a student of Computer Science and Multimedia, a junior software developer, and hobby photographer and blogger. You can follow him on Instagram (@breznikmark) or check out his blog at https://mbreznik.home.blog/.
A nice mechanical watch is a perfect gift from either yourself or family, to mark a certain achievement in your career, such as graduation or getting a degree. It’s a useful everyday tool, and will - depending on the choice, retain or even increase its value in a given period of time. I have prepared a list of options for your first serious mechanical watch, ranging in price from affordable to luxury pieces. Each option contains a number of variations at different price points. They range from manual-wind to automatic having different complications, such as a date window, chronograph, calendar etc. I opted for clean, simple looking watches that go along suits and medical uniforms, as well as everyday use.
Originating from a german Bauhaus aesthetic, the Nomos Tangente checks all the specs a medicine student’s watch should - it’s simple, legible, and formal. The brand Nomos is one of the most well-regarded brands in the watch industry, making watches with their own mechanical movements in Glashütte, Germany. The Tangente is their most classic model and comes in a wide range of prices, from affordable to really high-end models. Nevertheless, it’s a serious watch for a young medical student.
Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope
The second, perhaps even more affordable choice (depending on where you look), is a Junghans Max Bill model. Also from Germany, this watch again follows the principle of simplicity. However, the Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope adds on a useful complication - a chronograph. In medicine, there’s a lot of cases when you need to time certain events, and while we have digital instruments for virtually anything, it’s nice to have something analogue at hand, whenever you need it. The watch also features a date display, which is a nice add-on.
The last in the affordable range is a Seiko, one of the best-known names in the watch industry. Their Presage line features a number of pieces with variations in colour, case size, complications, straps, etc. If you choose to get a Seiko Presage, you will certainly find one of your taste. They also come at quite affordable prices, except for their prestige line, which is more expensive.
Now moving onto more high-end models, we surely have to encounter one from Switzerland. IWC is one of the biggest Swiss names, mostly known for their pilot’s watches. However, they also make dressier pieces such as the Portugieser, which comes in many variations - you’ll find chronographs, perpetual calendars, and simple three-handers. If you want to get something to mark your graduation, this is the way to go.
A.Lange & Söhne 1815 (with pulsation scale)
Now back to Glashütte, Germany. A. Lange & Sohne makes one of the most complicated and best-finished wristwatches in the world. Their 1815 model features a chronograph and a pulsation scale (allowing you to measure heart rate), making it the ultimate medicine watch. The chronograph is a flyback, which means the second hand can jump back to zero without stopping the measurement - which is really hard to accomplish in a mechanical watch. That amounts to a whopping price tag, but it is nevertheless, a work of art - like medicine.
This next section is written by Martin Verbic, a medical student and blogger, who also has an interest in tech, web development and sports. That’s why this section is meant more towards medical students, who are also active in their free time. Follow him on his website, LinkedIn and Instagram.
As a medical student, you might opt-in for something a bit more advanced and something that measures your health stats. There are so many options you can choose from today, but I’ll divide them into 3 categories: health&fitness, smartwatch and hybrids. My criteria for inclusion were: features, design and functionality.
Health & Fitness
This is the category medical students should be most excited about (but be sure to also look at the end for something awesome).
But first, I’d like to add that these watches are nowhere near perfect measurement devices. I also believe none is significantly better (at a specific price point) than the other. You’ll get the most benefit if you stick with one model and track all your data with it over a long period. This is how you’ll be able to compare your day-to-day activities even if it’s not the most reliable.
Garmin Vivoactive 4
Garmin has a reputation for creating great fitness watches that can also act as smartwatches. The Vivoactive 4 is no short of great. Apart from common features pretty much any sports tracker has it features a pulse oximeter, which measures oxygen concentration during the day and while you sleep. It also measures your body energy throughout the day, which tells you when you’re most ready for exercise and when for rest. I have a Vivoactive 3 and am happy about it, although I wouldn’t need a touchscreen. It’s sometimes also a little unreliable, but other than that it’s great.
In the past, I thought of Polar as a brand that focuses highly on athletes that need more functionality and less design. But researching for this post made me realise that they significantly updated their designs and I started to love them. One model especially caught my eye and its name is Polar Ignite. It offers much of the same as some other, but one feature differentiates it a lot. It takes into account your performance during the day, your sleep and other data and then plans your workouts. This is awesome, which makes it one of my favourite ones from this list.
If you’re into sports, but also want real smartwatch functionality, these to models are for you. Note, however, that you may have to pay a bit extra for this, as they have more and better “smart” features. This one was obvious.
Ever since Apple first introduced its Apple Watch it’s been one of the best in the market. Awesome design, great screen and a great connection to your Apple devices. The only thing it lacks is some battery life due to its energy-demanding screen. In particular, I’d like to emphasise that when people first started to track their heart rates using the Apple Watch, they could voluntarily participate in a Stanford University study. You can read more about it and its results here. The second thing is that it now features an ECG and can detect atrial fibrillation. Though not perfect, it’s a great tool for heart patients.
When it comes to hybrids, no one does it better than Withings. That’s why I’m including two of their models, with one coming soon.
Withings Steel HR
Steel HR is Withings’s flagship model and it captivates its users with a beautiful design. I love it because it measures and features exactly what you need: heart rate, sleep, activities and is waterproof. But in particular, it has a 25-day battery life because it only has a small screen that shows some basic data. And on top of that, it integrates perfectly into their “ecosystem” of scales, sleep monitors, blood pressure sensors etc.
The Scanwatch, which is coming soon, is interesting from a more medical perspective. It will feature a medical-grade ECG (as does the Apple Watch and Withings Move ECG) and a pulse oximeter. The ECG will be able to “detect atrial fibrillation and classify your heart rhythm as normal or out-of-range in just 30 seconds to provide valuable data to share with your doctors.” I cannot even begin to explain to you how excited I am. Not to mention the next feature. With a pulse oximeter, it will be able to detect oxygen saturation during sleep and therefore detect sleep apneas. This is maybe an even more important feature than the previous one since sleep is a big problem we’re just now beginning to understand. Oh, and on top of that, it will have 30-days of battery life.
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