So I've comitted to running 30 mins every day for 365 days. How on earth am I going to stay motivated for that? I've bought the Garmin 310XT of course! I've always loved the bits of tech that have been developed for athletes to monitor their progress. Having used the Garmin 305 in the 2008 marathon I've been waiting for a watch that is waterproof (i.e. can be used for swimming) and the Garmin 405 was a little disappointing in that it did everything that I wanted, except it wasn't waterproof. The 310XT is a Heart Rate monitor, measures speed / distance AND it's waterproof. I paid £160 for a 2nd hand version on Ebay.
So for around £70 I spent my paper money on a Polar Edge which was pretty basic in that all it measured was a heartrate and I think it had a self lit screen! The Edge lasted for years and I was still using it in 2001 for the London Marathon.
When I got into triathlon more seriously in 2002 I realised that I wanted something a little more sophisticated. So I purchased a Polar S710. Apart from it falling apart in the last few years this watch was excellent. I loved downloading all the exercise files into the Polar software and pouring over the data, which even included a gradient profile.
I was bugged by the fact that the S710 didn't do distance and round about that time Timex brought out a groundbreaking watch called the Timex 50 Speed & Distance (there was a Timex 100 which allowed you to take 100 time splits). The main feature was that it measured speed and distance using GPS. The downside was that the GPS signal was picked up by a rather bulky receiver that strapped onto your arm. Never really did like the watch and probably didn't really justify the spend on it. It was pretty unrealiable in town or under trees but I did use it to pace my marathon PB!