An article in paper a few weeks ago noted that casual wristwatch sales were down 10 to 15 percent last year. The reason? People carry their cell phone everywhere and the time is always correct, so a watch becomes less important. This is especially true with youngsters, who are starting to see a watch as some anachronism from their parent's generation. "That's all it does--tell time. Can you believe that?!" In a world where an electronic device is expected to multi-task out of the box, this humble little thing seems terribly unambitious.
If you're traveling through developing countries however, riding a bus along a cliff in the Andes, for instance, that cell phone you're carrying might as well be a paperweight in your pocket. If you're out camping in the wild, anything that relies on a signal to give you the time isn't going to work.
If you're a traveler, a watch is still useful. My favorite wrist companion is a Timex Indiglo. I've been through a few now, so I guess I can't say a long life is their strength. However, you can buy one for less than $40, so it's not going to ruin your day if one gives out after a few years.
These things are rugged and they light up at night. That's all they do, but it's a good trick. When you're bumping along on a sleeper train trying to figure out how much time until daybreak, a button lights up the watch face, no fumbling for a light source required. When you're trying to figure out how many minutes of annoying commercials you've sat through at the movie theater, no need to have that cell phone on. The light can even be, well, a light. I've used it to locate a set of keys or a wall light switch.
Search through some Indiglo watches here.