Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) have a super demanding job and need a watch that is up to the task. After speaking with LEOs (police officers and military police) and conducting other online research, we the best watches for LEOs have the following attributes:
Taking the above attributes into account, we’ve reviewed many watches and narrowed our choice down to the following top 5.
The entry level G-Shock by Casio has a lot going for it. It’s cheap, super tough, shock resistant and has enough basic features to get the job done.
Given the price, popularity and unassuming nature of this watch, there is very little downside to purchasing one. If you like it, chances are you’ll upgrade models to something like a GWM5610 Solar (also in this list), G-Shock Mudman or Rangeman down the track.
Worst case if you do decide it’s not the right watch for you, at least you haven’t spent much money on it and it hasn’t drawn any unwanted attention. If you’re starting your career as a police officer, we think this is the best G-Shock option.
The Suunto Core All Black (or Military) is a popular watch that comes packed with a host of features. An affordable Altitude, Barometer & Compass (ABC) watch that has a good backlight when you need it. Other features include a storm sensing function that recognises a drop in air pressure and sends you a warning. Note, there is no GPS function. If you need GPS you’ll need a Suunto Ambit3 or similar model.
The popularity of this watch has led to it achieving cult status, which has only increased since the release of the popular Equalizer movies where Denzel wears a slightly modified version of the Suunto Core All Black.
The biggest downside to this watch for a LEO is actually its good looks as it has the potential to draw a little too much attention from superiors.
This watch is one to consider if you’re after a feature packed watch with sleek good looks. This could easily be your 24/7 watch, which is certainly something to consider as it means you’ll never have to remember to change watches for duty.
If you’re comfortable wearing a slightly flashy watch, there’s very little stopping this from being the watch for you.
The G-Shock GWM5610 Solar is about as close to a set and forget watch as you can get. With a solar power source and atomic timekeeping, you really don’t need to worry about anything.
Add in the toughness of a G-Shock watch, water resistance of 200m (660 ft) and a discrete square form factor, you’ve got a watch that many LEOs swear by as their main duty watch.
The downsides are minimal. It’s solar powered, so if you’re using the light for an extended period of time it will reach its limit and stop working until exposed to sunlight again.
Of course looks are subjective. But, I think it’s fair to say this isn’t the sexiest watch on the list. That is great whilst on duty as it won’t draw attention, but the flip side is you may want another watch when off duty.
Bottom line is this is a fantastic watch for the on duty LEO. It is roughly double the cost of the other G-Shock on this list, so whether you choose this will depend on whether you like the convenience of solar power and atomic timekeeping in a discrete package.
The Seiko 5 SNK809 is an entry level automatic timepiece that has packed great build quality, versatile styling and durability into an affordable price.
It is an automatic, which means it is self winding with arm movement. Once fully wound, it has a 40 hour power reserve. You will need to move around 8 hours each day to ensure it maintains power and accuracy, but this should be fine unless you’re an officer normally chained to a desk.
This simple yet stylish stainless steel watch can easily be dressed up for any formal events with a new strap/bracelet. It’s simplicity also means it isn’t overly flashy, so it shouldn’t catch any unwanted attention.
The biggest drawbacks are that it’s an analog which clearly doesn’t have a lot of the digital features and instant readability of the digital watches in this list. This may be a huge issue depending on the requirements of your job.
If you are in the market for an affordable, durable and simple automatic that you can wear 24/7, the Seiko 5 is certainly worth exploring further. Potentially a great option for police officers as they start to move up the ranks.
We are big fans of the Luminox 3051 as it’s easily one of the best tactical watches for LEOs. We’ve previously written about this watch specifically for police officers and whilst it is the most expensive in our list, it is still an affordable option for most.
The readability of this watch under ALL conditions, including darkness and underwater is what really makes this watch stand out (pun intended) from the rest. The tritium in the hands and markers is made from a radioactive isotope that slowly decays over time. This is different from most other watches that use phosphorescent inserts that need to be recharged by an external light source. The Navy Seal pedigree means this watch has top, reliable water resistance too.
If your role involves a lot of water contact you might also want to consider a good dive watch as part of your gear setup.
We’ve feature the black out version here to complete the tactical, military watch feel. But you could easily opt for the regular/non-black out model. The case is made from stainless steel with a Carbonox coating which increases durability and provides the nice black matte finish.
This watch clearly isn’t for all LEOs. And we accept that. We’ve included it here as a good tactical option or those that value luminosity above everything else.
Are you a LEO with more suggestions we should review? Please feel free to let us know what you’ve been using below and whether you’d buy it again.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a popular US sitcom that spices up the regular “cop-show” format with easy watching humor led by Andy Sandberg’s character Jake Peralta. Jake’s good, but often naive intentions land him and his precinct in difficult, and humorous, situations. The show has received praise (and awards) for the way they blend current social issues into the story line, such as the Captain Holt’s sexuality.
Terry Crews plays Terry Jeffords, a Detective Sergeant with a hard-ass appearance, but has recently become well acquainted with his softer side after being taken off field duty following the birth of his twin daughters. Terry has an annoying habit of referring to himself in the third person, but this gentle giant makes up for it with his leadership and support of his team through thick and thin.Terry wears a Luminox Navy Seal Colormark throughout the series. Given his bulky, muscular stature, and need to be ready for whatever life as a cop throws at him, the Luminox Navy Seal is a solid choice. With Swiss quartz movement, this watch features a black dial, black unidirectional bezel with white contrasting bezel markers, white hour markers and date displayed at 3 o’clock. The 200m water resistance is rather expected given the “Navy Seal” model, and whilst I can’t recall an episode where Terry needs to hunt any criminals underwater, he can if duty calls!
I need to eat 10,000 calories a day to maintain muscle mass!
Terry Jeffords, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Check out some of Terry’s finer moments in the mashup below:
Not only does a police officer’s watch need to be durable and waterproof, it needs to be comfortable and very easy to read, quickly.
After consulting with some friends of mine who are cops, one watch in particular kept coming up as a particular favorite. Enter Luminox’s Navy Seal Colormark 3050 Series.
When the United States’ Department of The Navy was looking for a new watch to outfit their special warfighters, they turned to Luminox to create a watch that was durable, comfortable, light weight, and – most importantly – able to be read easily in any condition, including under water and in low light.
Luminox answered the call with their Navy Seal Colormark 3050 Series, a watch famous for using tritium inserts, instead of phosphorescent inserts. The difference being tritium is a radioactive isotope that slowly decays over time.
As the tritium decays, it releases electrons that interact with the phosphorus coating of the inserts, exciting them on a molecular level and causing a bright luminescence.
This enables the watch to be easily read in a number of circumstances including under water and in total darkness. And the luminescence of the watch is not predicated on it “charging” in the sunlight, absorbing natural radiation to re-release, because it has its own radiation source.
The watch also has other features that a police officer may find useful, such as an easy to spot date display at the 3 o’clock position and large Arabic numerals for easy reading, and a unidirectional rotating bezel.
The Luminox Navy Seal Colormark has a protected winding crown and runs on a quartz movement – so it does require a battery to operate the engine of the watch.
It is waterproof to 200 meters (660 feet, 20 BAR) so it is safe for swimming and diving despite the screw-on case back (which is sealed with durable gaskets. The case of the watch is a unique carbon compound that is 44mm in diameter, making it both light and durable.
The watch’s strap is a thick silicone rubber – comfortable strap for the wearer that can also stand up to some abuse. The crystal is a tough mineral compound to strike a balance between durability and affordability.
Not a big fan of the Luminox Navy Seal Colormark? We’ve included 4 other options in our article Best Watches for Law Enforcement Officers.