If you’re new to the world of watches, you’d be forgiven for coming to this guide seeking help with an issue with your watch. However, a watch complication doesn’t mean that there is a problem to be fixed. Instead, a watch complication is any additional function that falls outside its main task of telling the time.

Date displays, chronographs, and dual time zones are some examples of watch complications that can make your timepiece more dynamic and practical. Depending on the timepiece you have, your watch might have only one complication or multiple. The most common watch complications include timers, alarms, and dual time zones.

Read on to learn more about different wristwatch complications.


Common Types of Watch Complications

Date and Day Display

Exactly what it sounds like – a date and day display will show you the current date and day of the week on the watch face. There are many ways it can be displayed, some simple and others more complex. Sometimes it will be a window, such as on our Waterbury Traditional. Other times the date and day will appear in separate sub-dials. Annual calendars show the month, day, and date. Going further still, a date and date display can be as complex as an Equation of Time display which accurately displays the date, day, month, and year as well as the difference between calendar time and solar time.



After a date and day display, a chronograph is the most common type of watch complication you’ll find. This helpful feature works as a timer so that you can track your personal best time on the treadmill, make sure your bacon doesn’t burn, or use it as a stopwatch without interfering with your watch’s regular timekeeping.




Though alarms are most commonly a feature of digital watches, some analog watches do have an alarm complication that functions with a mechanical movement rather than a digital mechanism. From setting a reminder, to helping you wake up, or keeping you on track of your schedule, alarms are extremely useful complications to have on a watch and can be set independently from the current time.



INDIGLO® Backlight

Until Timex came along, trying to read the time in the dark was a bit of a pain. But since the introduction of our INDIGLO® backlight feature, you can easily tell the time no matter what the light level is. This complication is a quality-of-life improvement that allows the face of your watch to light up with the press of a button, illuminating the dial and allowing you to tell the time in the dark.


GMT/Dual Time

A GMT complication, also known as a dual time complication, is ideal for those who love to travel. GMT watches, like our classic Q Timex GMT watch, feature a GMT hand that can be set independently from the main hour hand and used in conjunction with the bezel to track a second time zone. This allows you to easily host work meetings abroad or know when the best time to call home is while vacationing across the globe.


Watches with Multiple Complications

Some watches feature more than one complication. Many of them are designed to complement each other, effortlessly enhancing the function of your timepiece.


Digital Watches with Multiple Features

T5H5919J IRONMAN Classic 30 Full-Size Resin Strap Watch primary image

If you’re someone who enjoys having plenty of complications on your watch, a digital watch like our Ironman Classic watch is ideal. Digital watches boast multiple useful functions in one place. With a super clear display featuring the day, date, and time, and buttons for easy access to all the timers, stopwatches, and alarms you could ever need, not to mention the INDIGLO® backlight feature, there are many reasons to wear a digital watch. 


Shop our range of Men’s digital watches and Women’s digital watches.


Timex’s Tide-Temp-Compass

With many different complications that come together into one sleek, elegant timepiece, our Expedition North Time-Temp-Compass watch is the ultimate accessory for tech-savvy adventurers. This sophisticated watch features multiple functions including a tide tracker, a temperature sensor that can read the temperature of the air or water, and electronic compass with a nostalgic analog display.


Key Takeaway

With so many complications to choose from, it can be daunting to choose the perfect watch to suit you. Be sure to consider your needs when deciding which features and functions to choose. For example, a keen adventurer may appreciate a compass and tide tracker but may not need an alarm, while those who enjoy working out might find a chronograph helpful. Similarly, an avid stargazer may find a compass with INDIGLO® backlight to be extremely useful. Consider your lifestyle and hobbies to help get the most out of your watch.

If you’re looking to learn more about Timex and our timeless timepieces, check out our guide How Do Watches Work? as well as Watch Anatomy for more information.



  • Waterbury Traditional Day Date 39mm Leather Strap Watch
    Waterbury Traditional Day Date 39mm Leather Strap Watch
    39 mm Black/Stainless Steel/Black
  • TW2W50200 Timex Legacy Tonneau 42mm Fabric Strap Watch Primary Image
    Timex Legacy Tonneau 42mm Fabric Strap Watch
    42 mm Black/Gunmetal
  • TW2V38000VQ Q Timex GMT 38mm Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch primary image
    Q Timex GMT 38mm Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch
    38 mm Stainless Steel/Stainless Steel/Black/Other
  • T5H5919J IRONMAN Classic 30 Full-Size Resin Strap Watch primary image
    IRONMAN Classic 30 Full-Size Resin Strap Watch
    38 mm Black/Blue/Digital/Black
  • TW2V64400JR Expedition North® Tide-Temp-Compass 43mm Eco-Friendly Leather Strap Watch primary image
    Expedition North® Tide-Temp-Compass 43mm Eco-Friendly Leather Strap Watch
    43 mm Brown/Stainless Steel/Black/Stainless Steel




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