EMTs and Paramedics have super demanding jobs and need a tough watch to match. Now, there are two schools of thought on what makes the best EMT watch:
1) A lot of features and you're happy to pay for watch that will last, or
2) Something cheap and basic that you can throw away should it become too gross.
Either way, we've got something for you in our EMT watch picks below. We also have a buyers guide at the end to help you decide which EMT watch is best for you.
Note: This guide focuses on EMTs, but our recommendations are also suitable for paramedics and EMS in general. We've also covered our favorite watches for nurses here.
G-Shocks are clear favorites amongst EMTs because they are super practical. Renowned for being extremely tough, and packed with great features at an affordable price.
They are easy to read, water resistant (200m) and the silicon band is simple to clean with minimal risk of patient contamination.
We like the GWM5610 G-Shock because it's relatively small (compared to other G-Shocks), has an EL backlight powered auto-light feature so you can turn it on and still keep your hands free. And is solar powered so there's no risk of the battery dying when you need it most.
Add in the atomic timekeeping function that automatically syncs the time every night and you've got yourself a super reliable set and forget watch.
The retro square design is not exactly loved by everyone. But we don't really mind as the practical benefits of this watch make up for its rather bland design.
If you're a deep sleeper, we'd recommend using a different alarm such as a cell phone or alarm clock as the alarm on the G-Shock GWM5610 may not be loud enough to wake you.
G-Shock Tough Solar GWM5610
Sometimes you just need a watch to be just that; a watch. Easily read the time, a few functions (including 24hr time) and you're set.
This basic Timex watch is just that. The cheapest watch in this list, it's ideal for those that just need a basic watch whilst on duty.
At this pricepoint, the Timex Marathon is considered a 'throw away' watch. With such a small investment, you don't really need to think about the purchase. You can buy one and if it doesn't live up to expectations, you can buy another one after a month or two of usage and give this one to your kid brother or relative.
The durability is good, but it is not a G-Shock. It's plastic case does protrude and offers protection from bumps and scratches, but don't be surprised if a solid knock causes damage to it.
With supersized numbers, readability at a quick glance is great. This includes easy-to-read seconds.
If you need a cheap watch that just functions well as a watch, there's little risk in trying a Timex Marathon as your first EMT watch.
The numerous nooks and crannies in the Marathon can trap organic matter more than some other watches in this list. So, you'll need to take a little more care cleaning and washing this watch.
Some buyers haven't been impressed with the size of the band. Suggesting it's on the skinny side if you're an adult male.
Marathon by Timex
Designed by the Swiss for super challenging low light conditions faced by navy seals, the Luminox Navy Seal is a popular alternative for EMTs.
There's a lot to like about the practicality of this watch, but I personally really enjoy the bold, striking design and readability of the numbers. It screams, "I'm here to work, but I will look good doing it".
We've also recommended the blackout version as one of our favorite watches for law enforcement officers.
Boasting lume that is 100x brighter than it's competitors, the tritium lume makes it unbeatable for low-light situations where every second counts.
The tough polyurethane case is designed to weather all sorts of bumps and scratches. With sleek crown guards to prevent any damage to the crown.
As it's designed for navy seals, there's no surprise that it comes with 200m water resistance. Water is the natural state for the Luminox Navy Seal.
The striking design allows this watch to transcend the work/life boundary, so it will not look out of place if you decide to wear it off-duty too.
The plastic band may need to be replaced after a year or two of solid use. But, given the accumulation of fluids and other organic matter that builds up on any EMT watch, it's probably not a bad idea to replace the band semi-regularly anyway.
Whilst still affordable, the Luminox Navy Seal is more expensive than the other watches on this list. Making it more of an investment than a cheap throw away watch. So, if you're a new EMT and not exactly sure whether it's for you, then this may not be the best watch for you.
Luminox Navy Seal Evo 3051
Seiko 5’s have a fantastic reputation for packing higher-end features into an affordable, durable and classicaly designed watch.
There are numerous Seiko 5’s to choose from, but we’ve gone with the SNK809 model because of its easy to read color scheme, mainstream appeal and affordability.
The military inspired Seiko 5 SNK809 is born from the Seiko 5 range that first hit shelves in 1963. The “5” references the 5 features that were introduced for this series, which are still relevant today.
They’ve had a lot of time to make alterations and improvements since they launched, which has allowed them to continue to increase quality, whilst advancements in Japanese mass production efficiencies have allowed them to keep costs very affordable.
The 37mm size suits a wide variety of tastes and doesn’t pose any issue to wear underneath jackets or other work clothes. The luminosity is provided by Seiko’s own Lumibrite and displays luminous dots every five minutes for easy reading.
One of the reasons we like this watch is that it’s hard to find real faults with it. This is especially true considering its sub $100 price point and Seiko automatic movement. If we were being super hard to please, we’d push for slightly more functionality from the automatic movement such as hand winding and hacking (so we can re-sync the time easier).
Whilst the strap is durable, we’d probably opt for a non-canvas option to help avoid nasty pathogens from accumulating.
Finally, the simple and flat design is not to everyone’s taste -- but we think the understated, flat design looks great and is super practical for EMTs.
Seiko 5 SNK809
The second G-Shock in our list of best EMT watches is the DW 9052. I consider it the entry-level G-Shock for EMTs. You can find slightly cheaper G-Shocks, but this comes at an unacceptable performance trade off.
The tough case can withstand everything thrown at an EMT (and then some). The lugs are also designed with durability and comfort in mind, as the straps can move freely inside the lugs. This allows the straps to better hug the wrist and provides a more comfortable wearing experience.
No, you won't get the same functions like solar power or atomic timekeeping that you'll get with the GWM5610 G-Shock, but you'll also pay about half the price. Making this a very affordable watch, perfect for those that aren't looking for a lot of additional functions.
Water resistance of 200m is a great addition at this price point. You don't need to worry about the elements or other liquids your day.
The dial layout is easy to read, with two separate displays for the time and the date, separate by the middle section that counts every 10 seconds.
Whilst the dial readability is good, I don't really like the middle section that allows to keep track of 10s increments. I find it of limited use and this space could have been used to make the time and date displays bigger. The middle 10s count display also makes the watch look a little busy.
Like all G-Shocks the DW 9052 is a bulky watch at 47mm in diameter and 15mm thick. Whilst the thickness is great for absorbing shocks,it becomes an issue for catching on things and if you need to wear it underneath a jacket in winter.
The mineral crystal display offers substantial scratch resistance, but it will get scratched over time. The scratch resistance could be improved with a sapphire crystal but that would certainly increase the price.
G-Shock DW 9052
We’ve consulted with some paramedic friends and scoured the watch and EMT forums to determine the features that matter for EMTs. Naturally, some of these factors will be more important to you than others.
Any watch worn by an EMT is going to need to be cleaned. A lot. An unavoidable part of being an EMT is that you are going to get all sorts of bodily fluids splattered across your wrists and hands. Don’t just think about the face, but the rear casing, band, buttons and even the bezel (if it has one) will need to be routinely washed with soap and/or alcohol.
Internal watch components hate water, soap, alcohol (rubbing and EtOH) and other fluids, so a watch that has good water resistance (please don’t say waterproof -- there is no such thing) should be high on your list of must-haves.
Either a digital watch that displays seconds or an analog with a second hand will generally be required for taking a patient’s pulse etc. Some work environments may even stipulate specific requirements such as an analog with a second hand MUST be worn. Obviously you need to adopt this guide to your own circumstances.
Dial readability in an instant is a must. A dark background with contrasting hands is a great option. Black dials are very popular amongst EMT’s for this reason.
This is particularly critical for night shift duties. Standard practice is to use a non-radioactive photoluminescent material to provide the luminosity. However, this means that the watch needs to be exposed to a light source to “recharge”, which may not be possible on a long night shift with the end result being a watch with poor luminosity and difficult to read at night.
If luminosity is important to you, then your best bet is to get a watch with tritium gas inserts or a back-lit LED. An auto light feature is the next best option which automatically turns on the light if the watch is tilted towards you to read it. The lights up if you turn your wrist.
The band needs to be easily washable as it should really be washed whenever you wash your hands. It should also be easily replaceable as chances are you’ll go through a few.
Band material is also an important consideration as they can be a hotbed for bacteria and other threats to patients. Metal links can trap a whole range of nasties, while leather and nylon can also absorb hazardous pathogens. So, the best choice is a plastic/silicone band.
Wondering whether your watch is going to be able to withstand all the small bumps, scrapes, dings and scratches that it will inevitably receive whilst on EMT duty is not really something you want to be worrying about. A watch with a proven track history of absorbing shocks and abuse should be an important consideration if you're thinking of the watch as anything more than a throw away investment.
Whilst watch size generally comes down to personal preference, there are a couple of additional points an EMT needs to factor in which may lead to a smaller size being preferred. The first is a bulky watch is more difficult to wear underneath a sweater or jacket. Secondly, a larger watch may impede your wrist movement during important procedures such as giving CPR.
If you have any doubt, start with a smaller watch.
Price is clearly going to be a factor. We’ve left it last because there are two different schools of thought when it comes to how much an EMT should spend on a watch.
The first says that just use a very basic watch that fulfils most of the above criteria and replace the watch whenever it breaks or gets too dirty. This is also a great strategy for those that are a little unsure about what watch they should be wearing on duty as a paramedic, especially new recruits.
The second school of thought suggests that it’s worthwhile going for something a little more expensive that you shouldn’t have to replace as often. This will give you a watch that has more features and should fulfil all of your requirements.
Whatever path you decide to go down, leave room in your budget for some replacement bands as these will most likely get pretty gross quickly.
Popular culture has caught onto the fact that G-Shock are the unofficial choice of EMTs, with numerous shows featuring G-Shocks on the wrist of characters employed as EMTs.
My favorite is Shameless, where several G-Shocks can be spotted such as this one:
If you're looking for a watch that will help you 'fit in', then G-Shocks are an obvious choice.
Don’t overthink the decision to find the best watch for your job as an EMT.
Do you just want something to get the job done with a minimum of fuss? If this is you, then go for the cheapest option in our list, the Marathon by Timex.
If you are after something that quenches your thirst for features without breaking the bank, the G-Shock Tough Solar is best for you.
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’ve determined 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 (we’ve featured it in our Best Watches for EMTs & Paramedics guide). 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.
There are few things that are more chaotic than a nursing shift. Whether it is in the ER or in a pediatrician’s office, finding the right watch to keep track of time, while being able to endure all of the tasks you have throughout the day can be difficult.
A great watch for a nurse starts with readability. When you are in the middle of a shift, you want to be able to look down, see the time, and get back to what you need to be doing. Small numbers, artsy designs that make reading the watch difficult, and other factors can be frustrating for you during the day. To find the right watch, you want easy to read numbers, a clear line for each minute within the hour, and if it had a digital reading as well, that would be great.
Nurses are also required to wash their hands constantly, as well as work with liquids and bodily fluids. A water-resistant watch is a must because no nurse has time to take their watch on and off for every single wash. Having a water-resistant watch also helps you to easily clean your watch, another important part of a nurse’s day. The field of medical care is a messy place, so being able to rinse off your water-resistant watch while washing your hands is incredibly helpful. So, what are the best watches out there, that meet these requirements and provide a comfortable option for nurses to wear?
The G-Shock is also incredibly durable, which is important for nurses on the job. It has a scratch resistant mineral dial window, is water resistant for up to 200 meters, and is shock resistant to avoid damage when dropped. The combination of scratch resistant material and water-resistant protection for the watch makes it great for the chaotic situations that come up throughout the day.
This watch is easy to clean, easy to read, and it is completely water resistant (unless you are planning a deep-sea dive), so it checks all the boxes for a nurse in need of a suitable watch. It is also a fairly priced watch with options available at !
Another great feature of this watch is the stainless-steel material. Having an affordable, durable, and easy to clean material on your watch is important, and this watch has it all. The dial window is made of scratch-resistant mineral so that you do not have to worry about the different times it gets dinged against a door or shelf throughout the day. Its resin band material is also incredibly durable and easy to clean while providing a comfortable fit throughout the day.
As always, as a nurse, you need a watch that is water resistant. With a 330 ft., water-resistant depth, this watch can endure all of the various liquids that will inevitably come its way throughout the day. With the combination of water resistance, stainless steel, and a resin band, you know that you can safely clean your watch after it gets dirty, which is bound to happen.
A lot of times we talk about cool or incredible watches that celebrities wear, and while we’d love to own one, they’re priced out of our reach. Not everyone is going to be able to put down $100,000 on a Richard Mille or $50,000 on an Audemars Piguet. Sometimes you need a good daily wear watch that won’t break the bank, but will last you a long time and stand up to the abuse a daily dress watch gets put through.
That’s where MVMT Watches comes in. MVMT (pronounced “Movement“) is a small watch company founded in 2013 by two young men (Jake & Kramer) who dropped out of college to, as they put it, “reinvent the watch industry”. Their goal was to make smart, stylish, and functional watches without all of the markup that most watches have.
After a very successful IndieGoGo campaign, they launched MVMT, stylish and minimalist markups sold direct from the manufacturer. Because the watches are only sold online and not sold through high-end retailers like other watch brands, they are able to sell the watches for very close to cost – in most cases between $95 and $150 per watch.
MVMT Watches are high quality and durable watches that make for a good daily wear without being something you would worry about scuffing or catching. The watch featured below is a 45mm watch from their Classic line.MVMT watches will be Quartz movement watches, which means that they are going to be very accurate and won’t lose seconds like automatic watches. The downside is that you have to change a battery every so often. Aesthetically, it means the second hand will ‘tick’ instead of ‘sweep’ the dial.
MVMT watches feature a mineral glass composite crystal. This is a good middle ground between a high end sapphire crystal and a cheap plastic one, allowing them to save costs but not sacrifice quality. As I can tell, MVMT watches are generally all going to be water resistant to 3BAR, which means you can wear it in the rain, but you shouldn’t swim or shower with the watch.
If you’re looking for an affordable watch option, but don’t want to shell out $500, $1,000 or more, then you should check out MVMT Watches. Their classic line is available on Amazon (here), and even more options are available on their website (here). They have watches in a few stores around the US, but it would be better to just order online and let them ship it to you.
The F16473/1 by Festina is not currently available for retail sale, so you would have to find one used. The Quartz ref. F16486/2 by Festina, however, is a very close relative that achieves the same look and feel as the watch in our photo and comes in at a very reasonable $100.Festina Quartz Men’s watch is a 45mm quartz movement watch with a magnified date display at the 3 o’Clock mark and an independent second hand at the 6 o’clock mark. It is water resistant to 5 bars, or about 50 meters. The crystal that faces the watch is a mineral crystal composite, an affordable crystal to put on a watch. The structured dial is illuminated fluorescent green in the dark, and the strap is leather in an alligator pattern.
As watches go, this is a wonderful piece to own. It gives the look and feel of a luxury watch without the high price tag. If you’re throwing on some khakis and a polo and heading out and need a simple, functional, and stylish watch, you won’t go wrong with a Festina Quartz. It makes for a great every day wear and because of its inexpensive price tag, you won’t be too bothered by any scratches or scuffs that may occur. You may find that the crystal scratches, and you will be replacing a battery every so often, but if either of these ever gets unbearable, you can always swap it out for a new one as they’re very affordable watches.
All in all we think the watch is stylish and it makes for a great header picture. If you’re looking for an inexpensive daily wear that will last for quite a little while, we recommend the Festina Quartz.