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.
We remember seeing Denzel Washington wearing a Suunto Core Ultimate Black in the first installment of The Equalizer. But there has been some heated controversy over whether the watch he wears in the second movie is actually the same model.In the Equalizer 2, the mysterious and elusive Robert McCall (Denzel) comes back to deliver the vigilante justice expected. This time, however, McCall’s past cuts especially close to home when thugs kill Susan Plummer — his best friend and former colleague. Now out for revenge, McCall must take on a crew of highly trained assassins who’ll stop at nothing to destroy him.
We get to see him using his stopwatch to check how long to complete his kills as he does in the original. Upon closer inspection, it does indeed look like the same trusty watch he used in the first movie – the Suunto Core Ultimate Black. However, the stopwatch feature of Denzel’s watch looks different from the original Suunto. Here is a nice video that explains the differences between the original version and the one shown in the movie.
The watch itself is made to keep pace with a very energetic lifestyle. It features an array of gadgets perfect for those of us that are in the military, are super active, or have secret aspirations to stop assassins… The built in compass, depth measurement, altimeter & barometer will all come in handy during your (and my) next secret mission. The sleek black design camouflages well with most surroundings (other colors are also available). We certainly think it’s one of the better digital watches available today. So, despite the controversies over whether the stopwatch feature does actually belong to the Suunto Core or whether it’s digitally enhanced, we still think the Suunto Core Ultimate Black is a great option to consider for your next athletic watch. Vigilant justice is optional!!
Denzel wears a Suunto Core All Black in The Equalizer.
The Equalizer is a movie adaptation of a novel and TV series by the same name starring Denzel Washington and Chloe Moretz.
Denzel plays Robert McCall, a former spy and hitman who faked his own death and quietly retired. He spends his nights reading at a small diner and engaging the patrons in conversation, one of whom is Alina, a prostitute. The Russian mob boss that “owns” Alina beats her so bad that she’s put in the ICU, sending McCall on a mission of revenge. It is an absolutely amazing movie and spawned a solid sequel (including a controversy over the exact watch worn by Denzel).
The Suunto Core All Black is a men’s digital athletic watch. The watch itself is made to keep pace with a very energetic lifestyle. Featuring a built in altimeter, barometer, and compass, it’s the perfect choice if you’re in the military, or happen to be a retired assassin with a heart of gold. The design is sleek, modern and has an easy to ready detailed aluminium bezel. However, the watch is digital, which means that you will inevitably have to replace the battery after the factory supplied one eventually wears out.
We are big fans of the entire Suunto Core range for those that are after a robust, feature packed watch, but don’t want to break the bank on one purchase.
The stopwatch in the movies use a large number display as shown above. Your Suunto Core All Black won’t have this exact display, but you will have the luxury of having several other features displayed within the stopwatch setting.