Best Nickel Free Watch Reviews

Updated November 22, 2020

A great watch is an accessory that can enhance and complement your personal style, as well serving its functional purpose. What isn’t so stylish, however, is an angry red rash on your wrist from your watch.

If watches with a metal strap bring you out in an itchy red rash, the chances are you could have a nickel allergy. Nickel is found in many everyday items, including jewelry.

Whilst many people can wear a watch containing nickel without any problem, for others it causes irritation in the form of contact dermatitis.

This can be made worse by the fact that you’re likely to wear a watch for many hours so there’s a prolonged time that the watch is touching your skin.

If this is a familiar issue to you, then read on for our guide to metal free watches – or at least, nickel free, and some of the top hypoallergenic watches for you to choose between.

Best Hypoallergenic Watches

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1 Citizen - Eco-Drive Perpetual Atomic Watch Citizen Eco-Drive Hypoallergenic Watch
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2 Seiko - Men's SGG729 Titanium Bracelet Watch
Best Overall
Seiko Men's SGG729 Hypoallergenic Watch
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3 Casio - Analog Sport Watch
Best For Low Budgets
Casio Analog Sport Hypoallergenic Watch
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4 Swatch - SUTB403 Sistem 51 Sistem Notte Unisex Watch Swatch SUTB403 Sistem Notte 51 Hypoallergenic Watch
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5 Ticwatch - E Shadow Most Comfortable Smartwatch Ticwatch E Shadow Hypoallergenic Smartwatch
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6 Huawei - Watch Stainless Steel
Best For Higher Budgets
Huawei Stainless Steel Hypoallergenic Watch
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7 Nine West - Women's NW-1981 Sunray Dial Mesh Bracelet Watch Nine West Women's NW/1981 Sunray Hypoallergenic Watch
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1. Citizen Eco-Drive Hypoallergenic Watch

Highlights
  • Eco-drive, powered by light. 
  • Perpetual calendar adjusts to every month.
  • Alarm function.
  • Water-resistant to 330 feet.

The Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Watch comes from one of the most renowned watchmakers in the business. This model, in particular, hones in on the eco-friendly nature of modern watch technology.

Using a solar-powered battery, there is no longer any need to replace the battery over and over again, making it super eco-friendly.

Crafted using stainless steel and sapphire watch crystal, this watch ensures that users can enjoy ultimate durability and scratch protection for as long as the watch is in use.

With a brand name you can trust and some of the best materials on the market, this watch is a timepiece that is one of the utmost luxury and style.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Diameter: 42 mm Thickness: 11.5 Bandwidth: 22m

Pros

  • Displays days and months, as well as time.
  • Extended warranty.
  • Fold-over clasp for easy access.
  • Solar-powered so no need for battery replacements.

Cons

  • Numbers on the dial are a little too small for some.

2. Seiko Men's SGG729 Hypoallergenic Watch

Highlights
  • Classic, timeless design with attractive blue dial
  • Luminescent hands and markers
  • Hardlex crystal face is resistant to scratches
  • Crown slightly inset so it’s less likely to snag
Best Overall
Seiko - Men's SGG729 Titanium Bracelet Watch

As you would expect from an established watchmaker like Seiko, we found this titanium watch to be a great quality piece.

The design is classic, elegant and timeless, and it’s going to look as good with formal wear as it will with jeans and T-shirt.

It’s quite small in both weight (thanks to the titanium) and size, with a case that’s 37mm in diameter and 8mm thick.

Offset by the blue dial are luminescent markers and hour, minute and second hands.

A nice addition to the dial is the day and date display at the 3 o’clock position, though this watch doesn’t have a perpetual calendar so you’ll have to make a manual adjustment for months without 31 days.

Overall, this is a stylish choice for someone looking for a quality but fuss-free watch for everyday wear.

Specifications

Material:
Titanium
Size:
Case Thickness 8 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
37 mm
Watch Strap:
20 mm

Pros

  • Titanium case and strap means it’s very light
  • Water resistant to 100m
  • Excellent Seiko quality
  • Day and date window at 3 o’clock position

Cons

  • Lightweight feel doesn’t suit everyone
  • Does not have a perpetual calendar - some months need manual adjustment

3. Casio Analog Sport Hypoallergenic Watch

Highlights
  • Classic diver-style sporty design
  • Luminescent hour, minute, and second hands 
  • Great value for money
  • Accurate timekeeping
Best For Low Budgets
Casio - Analog Sport Watch

This Casio watch is incredible value for money, offering sporty style at a bargain price.

It has a resin case and strap so it’s not constructed in the most luxurious of materials, but it is robust enough for everyday wear and is water resistant to 100m so can even be worn in the pool or the shower.

It has an analog display and white numerals stand out boldly against a black dial, with both 12- and 24-hour markers.

There are luminescent hour, minute and second hands so the display is easy to read at a quick glance. A day and date display at the 3 o’clock position is a nice added feature, as it’s the bi-directional rotating bezel.

As it’s a sports watch it would have been nice to include a stopwatch, but at this price we definitely aren’t complaining.

This watch doesn’t feel like the highest-quality piece but it’s a reliable and durable choice of budget watch.

Specifications

Material:
Resin
Size:
Case Thickness 11.6 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
44.6 mm
Watch Strap:
Resin
Battery Life:
Approx. 3 years

Pros

  • Bi-directional rotating bezel
  • Water resistant to 100m
  • Day date display
  • Both 12- and 24-hour markers

Cons

  • It’s a sporty design but there’s no stopwatch function
  • Luminescent hands are relatively weak and there’s no backlight

4. Swatch SUTB403 Sistem Notte 51 Hypoallergenic Watch

Highlights
  • Unusual design with sunburst black and blue dial
  • Exhibition back allows you to view internal movement
  • Constructed entirely by robots
  • Distinctive red hour markers

It’s the unique and striking design which is likely to attract you to this Swatch Sistem Notte 51 watch.

The face has an unusual black and blue sunburst design, edged by a blue bezel, and sits on a black silicone strap.

There are six small red dots placed on the face, which are there to represent movement components. The hour stick markers around the edge of the dial are also red-tipped, making them stand out clearly.

Hour and minute hands are tipped in white, which gives them contrast against the face, although the rest of the hand is black which can disappear into the dial.

A date display at the 3 o’clock position is a useful feature. If you flip the watch over, there’s an exhibition back so you can view the movement at work.

This Swatch model is good quality but there are no major bells and whistles – ultimately whether you feel it’s worth the price tag will come down to whether you’re a fan of the design.

Specifications

Material:
Plastic, Silicone
Size:
Case Thickness 14 mm
Movement:
Automatic
Case Diameter:
42 mm
Watch Strap:
20 mm

Pros

  • Easy to read dial
  • Date display at 3 o’clock position
  • Water resistant to 30m
  • 2 year limited warranty

Cons

  • Case is thick at 14mm
  • Ticking is quite loud

5. Ticwatch E Shadow Hypoallergenic Smartwatch

Highlights
  • Compatible with iOS, Android and Google Assistant
  • Built-in GPS
  • Can track your fitness through your preferred fitness apps
  • Heart rate monitor

If you’re looking for an intelligent smartwatch, this Ticwatch E model could be the answer. Looking first at the design, this is a typical smartwatch with a chunky case, large OLED display and a silicone strap.

But we suspect it’s the features not the appearance that will win you over, as this watch is compatible with iOS, Android and Google Assistant, opening up a wealth of applications for you to choose from.

You can track your exercise using your favourite fitness apps, and there’s a heart rate monitor to see how your body performs during your workouts.

Built-in GPS allows you to both navigate and track your route on runs and cycles, and you can listen to Google Play music as you go.

Syncing this device with your smartphone will also mean you can receive notifications on your wrist, but some of the best features – such as the ability to answer a call from the watch – are only available to Android users.

This watch is competitively priced, too, so we think it’s a great all-rounder.

Specifications

Material:
Polycarbonate, Silicone
Size:
Case Thickness 0.5 inches
Movement:
Digital
Case Diameter:
1.7 inches
Watch Strap:
0.8 inches
Battery Life:
Up to 2 days between charges

Pros

  • Large OLED display
  • Can sync to your smartphone to receive notifications
  • Variety of customised face designs available through the Google Play store
  • Touchscreen operation

Cons

  • Some features (such as answering calls from your wrist) are only available for Android users
  • Some users report screen burn (screen discoloration) issues

6. Huawei Stainless Steel Hypoallergenic Watch

Highlights
  • Combines traditional watch design with smartwatch technology
  • Able to track your activity and workouts
  • Band can easily be swapped to customise to your style
  • Enhanced heart rate monitor
Best For Higher Budgets
Huawei - Watch Stainless Steel

This Huawei watch offers a great compromise for people looking for the performance of a smartwatch with a classic design.

The stainless steel case and mesh strap mean that at first glance, this looks like a regular analog watch.

However, investigate more closely and you’ll find that the traditional appearance is concealing a broad range of the latest features.

Talking of appearances, there are a range of pre-installed watch faces for you to choose from, and the strap is also easy to swap if you want to.

The AMOLED display is clear and sharp and this watch has touchscreen operation.

It’s compatible with both Android and iOS (though some features are limited with iOS) and you’ll be able to access over 4,000 apps.

Notifications can also be delivered straight to your wrist. If you want a device that can give you fitness tracking, a heart rate monitor, apps and more and yet still looks like a ‘regular’ watch, this does it all.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case Thickness 11.3 mm
Movement:
Digital
Case Diameter:
42 mm
Watch Strap:
18 mm
Battery Life:
Up to 2 days between charges

Pros

  • 1.4ich AMOLED display
  • Band can easily be swapped to customise to your style
  • Scratch resistant sapphire crystal face
  • Compatible with iOS and Android devices to display notifications and alerts on your wrist

Cons

  • Using multiple apps can run the battery down quickly
  • Connection to the charger can be fiddly

7. Nine West Women's NW/1981 Sunray Hypoallergenic Watch

Highlights
  • Stylish design in rose gold and silver tones
  • Japanese quartz movement
  • Attractive two-tone sunburst dial

This Nine West timepiece is a perfect choice for someone looking for a fashionable accessory to wear anywhere.

The functionality is basic – this watch simply tells the time, with no extra features – but it’s the style which gets your attention.

The dial in grey tones is half matt and half in a sunray effect, and perfectly offsets the rose gold stick hour markers and simple hour, minute and second hands.

The bezel and crown are also rose gold, and the case sits on a silver metal strap.

We noticed that some wearers found the strap sizing on the large size, but it was fine for us.

There’s an extender link if you need to increase the standard length.

This is a no-frills watch in many respects, but the attractive design makes it look far more expensive than its bargain price point. Just one note of caution – it’s not water resistant, so be careful not to get it wet.

Specifications

Material:
Metal
Size:
Case Thickness 14 mm
Movement:
Japanese Quartz
Case Diameter:
40 mm
Watch Strap:
20 mm

Pros

  • Simple dial with rose gold hour markers and hands
  • Suits casual or more dressy occasions
  • Looks far more expensive than it is

Cons

  • Some wearers report discoloration of the strap
  • Wristband can be a bit large for people with a narrow wrist

Hypoallergenic Watch Buying Guide

Nickel Allergy

Allergies develop when your body sees a substance as harmful and produces an allergic response. 

Why your body might consider nickel as harmful isn’t known, but once you have developed an allergy to it, your immune system will always react. 

You might notice an allergy after the first time you wear or handle nickel, or it might develop after a long period of exposure. 

Nickel is found in a wide range of everyday items, from watches and other jewelry to coins. 

It’s not possible of course to stop handling nickel at all, but choosing a nickel free watch can definitely help you avoid wearing something that could trigger an uncomfortable reaction. 

Materials

Watches and in particular watch straps can be made using a wide variety of materials, from the natural options such as leather to the man made such as silicone. 

It’s easy enough to feel confident that certain materials are nickel free but when it comes to metal watches, what is ‘safe’ for you to wear and which are the materials to avoid? 

Read on to find out.

Is Titanium Nickel Free?

Titanium is not only nickel free, it’s actually one of the materials which are least likely to cause any sensitivity or reaction. 

For this reason, titanium is often used for dental implants or surgical tools.  

If you want to take a look at our selection of best titanium watches, make sure you read our guide on it.

Is Stainless Steel Nickel Free? 

Although many people would expect that stainless steel is nickel free, it does actually contain some nickel – the exact amount can vary. 

It’s less likely to cause irritation because the proportion of nickel is lower, but to be sure to avoid any reaction you could look out for ‘nickel free stainless steel’.

Is Surgical Steel Nickel Free? 

Just as with regular stainless steel, surgical steel does contain a certain amount of nickel. 

As before, you would probably be unfortunate to react badly – surgical steel is considered hypoallergenic for most people and safe enough to use on surgical tools.

Design Of Hypoallergenic Watches

Choosing a hypoallergenic watch definitely doesn’t mean compromising on style. The difference between a ‘regular’ watch and a hypoallergenic one is all in the material. 

In fact, although there are watches which will highlight that they’re hypoallergenic because manufacturers recognize that this is important for many people, it doesn’t tend to be seen as a completely different category. 

So, fear not – if you’re looking for a stylish, comfortable and high-performing watch, you’re as likely to find one that’s nickel free as you are that isn’t!

Pricing Range 

The pricing range for a nickel free watch is extremely wide, as within the category of nickel free you have both inexpensive and more precious materials, mass production and luxury watchmakers and basic and more sophisticated designs and technology. 

At the more affordable end of the market, many mass production manufacturers such as Casio make nickel free options and these can be priced as little as US$20. 

Moving up in price you progress through brands with more unique designs or sophisticated features, and also smartwatches. 

Of course at the very top of the range will be timepieces from luxury watchmakers, where the sky really is the limit and it’s possible to spend tens of thousands of dollars.

Our Verdict

As we’ve shown here, choosing a hypoallergenic watch doesn’t mean that you need to limit your choices.

We found sporty styles, classic styles and smartwatches, all of which are either completely nickel free, or contain a low amount that’s unlikely to cause a reaction.

If you’re shopping on a tight budget, the Casio Analog Sport Watch is our ‘Best for Low Budgets’ choice.

The strap and case are both resin, avoiding nickel all together, and the sporty design offers incredible value for money.

At the ‘Top of the Range’ end of the scale, our award goes to the Huawei Stainless Steel Watch for managing to blend classic design and modern function so successfully.

Then to our ‘Best Overall’, the Seiko Men’s SGG729 Titanium Watch. It offers a timeless design that will look like a classic for years to come, with the build and material quality you’d expect from Seiko.

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